Art by Futura
See more of her work on her portfolio site.
I started Kitsune Noir, what we know call The Fox Is Black, back in 2007 not knowing the path it would set me down. At the time, blogging was still sort of unknown. A few people were doing, some of them making a living off of it, yet there’s was still a wildness to it. Cut to now when anyone can create a digital presence with ease, be it Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. I think this is great btw, it’s easy to create a self-expression that fits you, the true you, despite the trappings of your physical situation.
That physicality though, and the constraints associated, are kind of awesome. We as designers do our best work when presented with limitations, they’re guard rails which focus and hone our ideas. So last November my partner Kyle Fitzpatrick and I started down a path to write and design a magazine called BOY CLUB, and as of today, we’re ready to show it to the world.
We consider BOY CLUB a magazine for people who like men. It leans toward the world of gay men, telling stories and highlighting situations that we find interesting, but we created this for people of all genders and sexualities. We intended this to be irreverent and slightly off-kilter, elements that feel completely missing in a world of minimal, Kinfolk-ian inspired publications.
While Kyle handled all of the editorial and writing for the entire magazine (he’s the Editor In Chief) I had the joy (and slight bit of horror) of designing the book, as well as photographing 95% of it. As a lot of you know, I’m a web designer by trade. My current creative director role at Disney has me overseeing the design of sites, apps, creating for social media, video branding, etc. Designing a magazine is something I’ve never done and it ended up being such a great challenge.
To start, I knew in my gut that it needed to be colorful. Culturally gays are an expressive and vibrant group of people, I mean, look at Pride, the movie The Birdcage—hell, we have a rainbow pride flag! There’s nothing about us that isn’t a bit eccentric and over the top and I wanted to own every bit of that.
From a type perspective I chose a face called Noyh, which was created by Chatnarong Jingsuphatada, a Thai designer who’s based in Bangkok. The typeface comes in a regular, slim and rounded version, 72 fonts total, so there was a lot of flexibility for me to play with. I loved that it’s a quirky, odd little font. Again, my goal was to create something with a unique character, that would be stand apart at the newsstand.
When I think of the layout of BOY CLUB, I remember changing everything about 100 times. Slightly hyperbolic but you get the idea: it’s never perfect right away. The first issue is 88 pages, so you can imagine the challenge of bringing cohesion page after page, ultimately telling a story from a single point of view. I love using big, full-width images to capture nuance or emotion with food or people. The hardest part to design was the recipe section which were also the pages I started with. Illustrating a step-by-step process is like dancing to a song you don’t know.
The last big hurdle we faced was printing the magazine. Lots of challenges here were around price and quality. We obviously wanted this to be of the highest quality but we received quotes for 300 copies at around $9,000. No, thank you. Ultimately we printed the book offset on a thick matte paper with a nice glossy cover. Were we excited by the printed result? I would say I’m 95% happy with the final product, which isn’t too shabby for never having printed anything like this in my life. Plus the ink on the paper smells so damn good. Overall I think we’re 100% happy and 1000% proud of what we’ve accomplished. This is only the beginning, though. We’re already running with the production of the next issue and have concepts for the next 3 issues (and beyond), which will be published quarterly.
In order to continue, we’re looking for sponsors and advertisers to be involved. We self-financed the first issue because we truly believe in what we’ve created. Additional help from the design/art/creative community would be amazing. Collaborations in the future would be super fun as well. If you’re interested definitely email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a list of links where you can purchase the first issue as well as follow us along on our journey, which we’ll be updating as stockists pop up.
• BUY ONLINE HERE
• Skylight Books, Los Feliz, Los Angeles
• & Pens, Los Angeles
• ReForm School, Silver Lake, Los Angeles
• Coming Soon: Needles & Pens, San Francisco
• Coming soon: BQDSD, NYC
• Coming soon: Shorthand, Highland Park, Los Angeles
How do you illustrate the feeling of anticipation? Perhaps sweaty palms or a perspiring brow? That’s not exactly the most… appealing, of imagery. Aaron Tilley and Kyle Bean though have come up with a refined, almost elegant way of portraying this haunting emotion for a recent issue of Kinfolk. They’ve put together a series of common objects and placed them in high-stress vignettes. You know what’s going to happen in each, the inevitability strikes you instantly.
You can see more images from the shoot and read the article by visiting Kinfolk here.
I wouldn’t say I’m the type of person who watches a lot of TV though I feel like I am. When I get home from work my partner Kyle and I tend to put on one of a hand full of shows. We love Black-ish or Jessica Jones, some Adventure Time or Absolutely Fabulous. Afterwards we gravitate toward the type of show where someone talented needs to make something. Top Chef, Project Runway, The Mind of a Chef, A Chef’s Life… these are the kinds of shows we tend to get sucked into.
Enter our most recent fascination, the classic PBS television show This Old House. First airing back in 1979, it was one of, if not THE, original home improvement show, focusing on renovating older houses back to a pristine (albeit slightly updated) condition. Bob Vila used to host the show but lord knows what that guys up to these days.
Watching the show is interesting to me as a designer, particularly as a designer who works primarily digitally, because it raises a lot of conflicting feelings in myself. The work these guys do is precise, measured with lasers and chalk lines. At the same time it feels very loose. Mortar is effortlessly slashed across the top of a brick, roof shingles are nailed down in seemingly random places, a massive trench is dug with giant machine by a rather sloppy looking man named “Lenny.”
When I compare these renovations to my world of designing apps and websites and shareables and GIFs, my “craft” is more like applying wax to a Pysanky egg. But that’s not even it. It’s precise, it’s calculating, but I can Command + Z my way out of any mistakes. That and there’s nothing visceral about the work, nothing fulfilling about that custom Pinterest image, or sense of glee after you’ve applied that filter to the photo of the quiche you’re about to eat.
What I’m trying to get to is that it’s impressive to watch anyone who’s skills allow them to create something with a “permanence” in life, permanence meaning the thing made could at least last a few lifetimes. Your UI will be a fad, your UX will seem retro, and your IA will seem archaic. But that old house? It’s still going to be there.
Now to get back to that magazine I’m digitally designing…
Kodak announced today they’d be releasing a new super 8 camera designed by Yves Behar. The camera has the ability to shoot in a digital format as well as traditional super 8 film cartridges which Kodak produces to this day. I feel like Behar has done it again, creating a stunning object that embodies the history of a super 8 camera while giving it a contemporary and perhaps timeless quality. Similarly there’s the K-01 which Marc Newson designed for Pentax which draws comments of admiration when used in public. They feel extremely similar to me, combining strong design with incredible functionality.
Not too be too much of a naysayer, I find it hard to believe that the product will revitalize the 8mm medium. They say the best camera you have is the one that’s always with you, and unfortunately I doubt this beautiful piece of design will be the one.
One of my favorite places to grab a quick bite while I was in Paris was Frenchie to Go, a quick service cafe located in the 2nd arrondissement. The place is a bit quirky with a unique menu (a fantastic breakfast sandwich) so it makes sense to have that unique sense apply to advertising as well. The folks at Content Design Lab created some offbeat graphics and flyers that highlight the unique voice and style of FTG.
It feels like “artisanal coffee” has had it’s day in the sun but then another interesting innovation comes along and makes me feel like there’s still more there. This seems to be the case with Stumptown’s new Grand Cru Cold Brew, which is a batch of rare Gesha seeds from Honduras that have been cold brewed which brings out a “bright and clean, with notes of orange blossom, juice of papaya, and a sweet crème brûlée finish.”
Plus look at that bottle! It’s gorgeous! Does anyone know who created the graphics?
The American Museum of Ceramic Art has some great pieces in their collection (which you can see here) but this tea set by Paul Eshelman really caught me eye. Created in 1985 the slip cast red stoneware has a minimal Memphis vibe which I’m loving. How great would it be to bust this out after a nice dinner party?
I love a good coffee branding project and the folks at Manual have continued to impress with their work for Sydney based coffee roasters, Pablo & Rusty’s. What I always find impressive is the breadth of the work as Manual has put their stamp on nearly aspect of the business, not just some business cards or a cup design.
We began by taking inspiration from the core of their business—the humble coffee sacks and stencil typography often found printed on them—and reinterpreted this as modern, sophisticated custom-drawn logotype. In our research we discovered that many of their customers and staff referred to them as ‘P&R’ for short, so we recommended building on that brand recognition and created a monogram that would work at small sizes. This duality in naming and branding provided the backbone for all print, packaging, and retail design elements.