Date Archives November 2013

Anthony Burrill’s “I Like It. What Is It?” Is A Book You’ll Tear Through (and Apart)


Graphic artist, print-maker, and designer, Anthony Burrill, is famous for his persuasive form of communication. His most renowned works (plus a couple new ones) have been collected together and, as of last week, published within a book, I Like It. What Is It? Not just any ol’ordinary hardback, this is meant to be read, and then torn apart and hung on your wall. It’s a fun project, but also reminds us to the current state (and possible future) of design publication.

“Burrill is a great designer because he makes you notice and appreciate truths that would otherwise remain dead and inert. His work has such resonance because it’s so true: we should all work hard and be nice.”
—Alain de Botton

Very much like an author, Burrill is an artist who works with language. But, he has found a distinct voice through the presentation of his words. He prints ‘language’ into pieces of art, so one can read his work, but also visually admire it as well. His process of image making is born of tradition, largely employing hand-made methods (screen, press, woodblock, etc.).


It’s a craft he takes seriously, working hard to select the perfect inks and papers to print his projects onto. It’s a dedication that pays off, you can sense the diligence by simply standing in front of or holding one of his works. It’s an aspect of Burrill that I’ve always appreciated, I never fail to fill of tenacity when I gaze into the pieces hung on my wall. Famous for pieces like “Work Hard & Be Nice to People,” Burrill’s style is now a highly recognizable one, so much so that publishing a book featuring his work is a no-brainer.


Consisting of 30 pieces (and sticker sets), the book is a tight little bundle, oozing aesthetic. Each design is printed on 355 x 279 mm stock, giving the book some weight and a sturdy feel. The backside of every design reveals the story behind the work. Flip through looking at cool project after cool project and learn a little something a long the way too. Not bad.


As if that’s not enough already, each piece is removable. Awesome. The book is wrapped in a manner that they’re easily detachable, the intent being you can read this book, but also use it too, affixing the works to wherever your liking.



In this month’s Creative Review, Mark Sinclair writes about the move of graphic design publications from traditional book formats to “products.” Paper-based creations, gifts, and new formats are appearing on shelves where books sit. It’s flushing a lot of money back into publication, as publishers are discovering new and creative ways to bring life back into the market. I welcome it, as products such as Burrill’s new book are well-thought, well-executed, and an evolution. I Like It. What Is It? is a Laurence King publication and designed by A Practice for Everyday Life. Kudos to these folks for pushing the medium.



I’ve always wondered about the statements in Burrill’s work. They’re bold, they’re colorful, and often carry a lightness of touch and humor. But what exactly do they mean and where do they come from? Are these his beliefs? Quotes? Something has always urked me about not knowing the origin (and intent) of many of Burrill’s messages. I can rest easy knowing that my questions will be answered within this book. The tales on the backside of each page are written by Creative Review’s Patrick Burygone; there’s sure to be many creative insights and learnings to take away.


I Like It. What Is It? is available for a mere £19.95. A steal, if you ask me. I’ve ordered two, one for the shelf, one to tear apart and hang all over the damn place. To coincide with the release of the book, an exhibition at London’s KK Outlet will be running November 8th to the 30th. If you’re London based (or planning a trip soon), be sure to swing by and soak up the wonderful work of Anthony Burrill.


Typefight, a brawl on the baseline

Typefight_AAscenders up. Slab. Dip. Slap. Uppercase uppercut.

Occasionally a project comes along that I find is worthy of the adjective genius. I tend to use a lot of glowing adjectives but this one in particular, you’ll see me use very sparingly. It’s got to be clever and inspiring and make me wish I could participate, something akin to 10 Paces and Draw. When I saw Typefight, it fit the bill.


Born out of day-job boredom of Drew Roper and Ryan Paule, Typefight began in 2011 as creative exercise between the two. Before long Bryan Butler and Dan Brindley wanted in on the font fight club action.  After long hiatus, the site relaunched in October. Now, every week two contenders face off with a randomly assigned character. Designers from anywhere can “weigh-in” and compete. Site visitors can vote on which interpretation they like best.

Typefight also features the “Heavyweight” series in addition to their regular fight. Heavyweight challengers are working through the alphabet A to Z. Designers are Match-ups featured in the series are given a color palette to stick to because they are then  printed by Mama’s Sauce, a printing company I mentioned in my post on my favorite instagram accounts, and sold on Typefight’s website. The designers get a portion of the proceeds and the rest goes to Typefight for print costs and upkeep.


It’s so interesting to see the different contenders interpretations of the letters. Some take a solid, geometric strategy, others hand-letter. Some designer play with depth while other play with texture. While the pairings almost always look so nice together, each individual letter could stand along as it’s own print. My favorite match-up so far is when Darren Booth and Mary Kay McDevitt duked it out over the letter D. Booth  made his D in a surreal 3-D perspective and layered it with interesting patterns and textures while McDevitt made a goregous, fancy hand-lettered D with some simple patterning. In the end, Booth knocked McDevitt out 908 to 409.


So far Typefight has held 76 fights, 61 from before the hiatus, five since the relaunch and 10 from Roper and Paule’s match-ups. All are on display in Typefight’s gallery.


Vibrant Wooden Products by Lina Benjumea


Lina Benjumea is a Columbian architect and artist currently living in Hong Kong after spending the past 12 years in New York. A woman of many skills, she used to work in fashion merchandising and brand consulting and has moved into product design and fine art. Lina, like more and more creative people now, isn’t easily defined by titles. She calls herself a world traveler and perhaps it is best to say that Lina is a creator inspired by the world she sees.


She carefully hand crafts every brightly colored, pattern covered, wooden product she sells. Her work ranges from furniture and household goods to skull figures and, my personal favorite, cyclopean matryoshka dolls named The EYE Family. Most of the things she creates are recognizable as plates, stools, necklaces or whatever object it may be. Her totem-like structures, however, are more sculpture than kitchen ware. They look as though they were assembled through a playful problem solving process in search of the perfect combination.


Fresh ideas come to Lina from her frequent travels around South America and South Asia combined with her experience in the big cities of New York and Hong Kong. It’s great to see artists reinterpret ancient cultures in updated designs. Her work would never be mistaken for tourist trap products of the sort you find in airport gift stores, but they do bring to mind foreign countries where the sun shines all year round.


She said about her art, “I do it because it really relaxes me and keeps me centered, it’s like therapy. I am a color freak, after running for years from my roots I’ve gotten back to them with my work, which has brought me inner peace, just like meditation.” I can see how working with wood and painting such detailed patterns are peaceful activities, especially for someone whose day job and hobbies must be taxing. As a viewer though, rather than feeling more calm, I’m excited by Lina’s art and imagine having a piece on my desk would add extra vibrance to my room.


I admire Lina’s distinctive eye-catching and modern style. Her work is attention grabbing without being overwhelming. Her work makes me want to be bolder in my color choices when designing and plan more trips to tropical places.

You can view more in her Etsy shop Nuki by Titiribi. (The name of her store pays homage to Columbia. Nuki is a city on the coast and Titiribi is a city in the Andes.) She also keeps a personal blog and Pinterest.


Fantastic Illustrated Maps by Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers - Google Park

Who doesn’t love a good illustrated map – particularly when they look as great as these ones created by the London-based illustrator Alex Mathers! Born in Denmark, Alex is a self-taught illustrator and writer who has worked with clients such as Time Out London, Google and Saatchi & Saatchi, NY. Specializing in digital vector maps and landscapes, Alex says that he was strongly influenced by a geography degree he completed seven years ago. It’s clear to see the influence and his maps are absolutely beautiful.

Alex Mathers - Gas Network

Some of you might remember Alex from the desktop wallpaper he made for the site more then 3 years ago. It’s fantastic to see how much his work has grown and developed since then. You can see more of it on his website, or check out his site for creatives called Red Lemon Club and the illustration platform he runs called Ape on the Moon. Busy guy!

Alex Mathers - Huggies Map

Alex Mathers - Volcanic Secret

Alex Mathers - Cuboild City

Chow Scout – Scouting the depths of amazon for fun and delicious food finds

Chow Scout - Scouting the depths of amazon for fun and delicious food finds

Elsa Lang, the better half of Always With Honor, has started a new blog called Chow Scout which hunts down the best foods and treats that Amazon has to offer. It’s still relatively new but you can already see that she’s digging up some unique finds like Aardvark Sauce, Taiwanese Pineapple Cake Butter Cookies, and of course, adorable packages of Kewpie Mayo.

Best of all, she’s using an affiliate link to earn money which is being donated to the Oregon Humane Society. Nothing better than helping pets in need AND eating delicious foods.

BASECAMP Seduces with “Emmanuel”

BASECAMP "Emmanuel"

Let’s face it – electronic R&B is here to stay. Be it the sad-eyed, inventive crooning of James Blake or the drug-addled sexuality of The Weeknd, producers everywhere are slowing down the beats per minute and tugging harder on your heart strings with every line. In between glitches and pops, ass-shaking low end, and cooing vocals lies the enchanting romantic music of 2013.

The young production trio of Aaron Miller, Aaron C. Harmon, and Jordan Reyes formed BASECAMP earlier this year. The Nashville production group bring something different from their hometown, but there is a sense of real musicality. “Emmanuel” was their first single, coming out a few months ago, and has been met with almost universal acclaim. It’s easy to see why. The bass line rumbles along, a falsetto melody line that twinges between timbres leads you through the disparate aural forces. A complete pop song, affected and affectionate all at once.

‘All Streets’ – A Map of America Made Up of 240 Million Roads

All Streets

Consisting of 240 million individual road segments, All Streets is a staggering map of the US created by Fathom Information Design. Containing no other features, the map emerges simply by the roads that are marked on it. There are no outlines here, with no cities outlined and other terrains marked. It is – as the title suggests – simply all streets.

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A video game inspired short on the history of the Barbican, a microcosm of London

A video game inpired short on the history of the Barbican, a microcosm of London

Being born, raised and still currently residing in California, I can’t say that I’m familiar with the history of The Barbican, the storied area of London, England. To be specific, a barbican is simply a gate or outpost used to defend a city, but THE Barbican has a rich history which is masterfully told through this short video by Persistent Peril.

Working together with The Barbican, PP were able to give the short a video game aesthetic, depicting the history of the Barbican area using color to show the passing of time and the development of man made structures. Honestly, they do such a great job with the pacing, sound effects, and overall look and feel that you become engrossed in the history of the place, even if you know nothing about it.