Thoughts on Album Cover Art

Album cover art from Taken by Trees and Allah-Las

If there’s one album I listen to on repeat, it’s the self-titled debut from the Allah-Las. Not only is it a joy to listen to from beginning to end, I enjoy the album cover, which features a pony-tailed girl listening to a seashell amidst the dark grey skies and khaki shores of an uninhabited beach. While perusing new music, I came across the latest album from the band Taken by Trees featuring a familiar cover; in fact, it seemed to be the very same image from the Allah-Las cover only flipped and brightened. Rather than listen to the album, I dismissed it altogether thinking, upon first look and judgment (which I admit is petty and ridiculous), that it was a blatant rip-off of my favorite album. But that is not the case, and this is an issue that warrants further discussion.

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July 15, 2013 / By

‘Anorak’: A Design Magazine for Kids

Anorak magazine

Anorak magazine

While on vacation in London last week, I spent some time at the Tate Modern museum marveling at their fantastic design shop. Out of all of the books, objects, and wares inhabiting their basement space, the kids department was the most inspiring. One of my favorite finds—even though it’s been around since 2006—was Anorak, a “happy mag” for kids. Founded by Cathy Olmedillas, who previously worked with seminal UK publications Sleazenation and The Face, the magazine is aimed at 6 to 12-year-olds, but it has plenty of poppy illustrations, games, cartoons, and stories to appeal to design-minded adults too.

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July 12, 2013 / By

Optical Worlds by Matthew Craven

Statue by Matthew Craven

Matthew Craven Ancient Pleasures

Ancient structures within labyrinths, tessellating totems, and faceless generals—these are the landscapes created by Matthew Craven. A recent graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, he renders mixed media optical illusions that are as bold as they are perplexing. With an emphasis on black and white patterns and natural shapes, Craven’s work recalls the past while capturing a completely modern aesthetic.

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July 10, 2013 / By

Moveable Type by Pablo Delcán

Pablo Delcán chalkboard lettering

Pablo Delcán is a design wunderkind. His book cover art continues to enthrall with clever takes on Vladimir Nabokov and Jules Verne classics as well as reinterpretations of stories like The Three Little Pigs. (It’s hard not to fall for a story rendered entirely out of strips of bacon!) And though he continues to rack up impressive book jacket credits, his lettering skills are just as worthy of awe and applause.

In a short video aptly titled “Lettering”, Delcán showcases various lettering pieces including a series of chalk drawings done on a blackboard in his kitchen. Inspired by the front page news on that day’s New York Times or New York Post newspaper, he sets a boundary of 2 to 3 colors and gives himself 20–40 minutes every morning to create a single chalk drawing that stays up for a day before being erased the next morning. Though ephemeral in execution, his skill is both sharp and enduring.

July 9, 2013 / By

Mixionary: The Art of the Classic Cocktail

Mixionary Bloody Mary

Though once considered more of a learned skill than an elevated art form, mixology has gone one to become a phenomenon. Whether you’re a purist and revere the classics or prefer the thrill of spirited invention, concocting cocktails is a marriage of science and innovation. Australian creative agency The Monkeys has taken that concept a step further with Mixionary, a series of color-blocked posters that celebrate the most beloved cocktails through deconstructed screen prints.

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July 8, 2013 / By

High Tide: A New Creative Studio

High Tide for Truth and Soul Records

High Tide for Warby Parker

Punctuated by beautiful typography and eye-catching imagery, High Tide is a new creative studio focused on engaging design. Recently launched by art director and illustrator Danny Miller and brand marketer Ariel Stark-Benz, the Manhattan-based studio already counts venerable spectacle company Warby Parker as a client. “We always aim to create work that is unique, simple, timeless, and ideally helps people communicate better with the world,” says Miller. I would argue that simplicity factors into their work too.

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June 27, 2013 / By

Norwegian Design from Morten & Jonas

Morten & Jonas Design

Morten & Jonas bookendsI’ve always wondered if there’s a term for those of us continually attracted to the simplicity of Scandinavian design. Once you give in to the clean lines, natural elements, and pops of color, it’s often hard to gravitate towards any other aesthetic. It’s a design style that continues to expand internationally, too, as evidenced by Gestalten’s recently published book, Northern Delights, as well as through an enduring popularity on Pinterest. I was thrilled to recently discover Morten & Jonas, a unique Norwegian design company that creates everything from modern furniture and bookends to cake stand lamps built by prison inmates.

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June 26, 2013 / By

A Modern Dog Hammock by Torafu Architects

Torafu Wanmokku dog hammock

There are dog beds, crates, carrying cases, and even strollers, but has there ever been a dog hammock? Japanese architecture firm Torafu has answered with a resounding yes (er, “hai”). The Wanmokku, which translates to “architecture for dogs,” is not only an easy-to-assemble plywood frame that acts as a hammock support, it encourages the use of a dog owner’s own clothing to attract their beloved four-legged friends.

Though currently built to accommodate a Jack Russell terrier or other smaller dog, one might argue that it might also work for cats, rabbits, and ferrets. Simple, clever, and utterly charming, the Wanmokku serves primarily as a snuggle space for your pet. But it works as a mini trampoline too.

June 25, 2013 / By