Category Design

On repeat: Nicolas Jaar’s newest EP ‘Nymphs II’

Nicolas Jaar

There’s a particular sound of electronic music that I’m attracted to these days, which is a lot less melodic and much more abstract, and the most recent Nicolas Jaar EP really defines this aesthetic for me. Titled Nymphs II, these two songs are a 15 minute journey in sound which covers such a wide spectrum, culminating in the second track which has a steady backbeat layered with haunting vocals. If you’re interested in hearing more from Jaar I can recommend this mixtape as well.

Universal Everything transforms the Sydney Opera House into a living mural

Universal Everything transforms the Sydney Opera House into a living mural

Collaborating with over 20 different animation studios worldwide, Universal Everything has created a living mural on one of the world’s most iconic buildings, the Sydney Opera House. You may have seen projection mapping similar to this but UE’s approach is quite different, instead using hand drawn cell animation techniques similar to those of early pioneers of animation Len Lye, Norman McLaren and Walt Disney.

The effect are transfixing and the work of the animators, folks like Drew Tyndell, Ori Toor, Masanobu Hiraoka, are phenomenal. The opera house is such an interesting canvas to work with and these artists have taken full advantage of the space. Watch the full piece below, and if you’re interested in learning more about the project, you should click here.

Lyon&Lyon’s Six Mile Pencil

Lyon & Lyon's Six Mile Pencil

While this project isn’t exactly new it’s still extremely charming. The duo of Lyon&Lyon have dreamed up the Six Mile Pencil (or if the Ten KM pencil if you’re smart and your country uses the metric system) which is meant to highlight just how much use you can get out of it.

In a bid to create an honest low tech product, the six mile pencil was born from the idea of encouraging people to get back in touch with the almost redundant skill of using a pencil. The pencil displays how many miles of graphite you have used and how far your thoughts have travelled.

The pencils are packaged in a superb way, harkening back to the good old No. 2, but with a distinctly brighter palette that makes it feel fresh and contemporary. Simple and effective! You can purchase a pack of 4 in either style (which also comes with a snazzy notebook) by clicking here.

Lyon&Lyon's Six Mile Pencil

Subway Syntax by HunterGatherer

Subway Syntax by HunterGatherer

Really enjoying this new project about New York City commuting called Subway Syntax, an ongoing series by HunterGatherer that puts words to your underground feelings about the daily slog. I’ve never experienced the pains of commuting in the Big Apple but THE HG team has brought a light hearted perspective to the matter with their combination of wooden figures with animated faces. Check out the video below to get a taste and then view the full range of shorts so far by clicking here.

And if you want to learn more about Todd St. John, the brains behind HunterGatherer, you should read this interview he did with Pilgrim Surf Supply. It’s kind of a long read but he’s an incredibly interesting guy so you definitely won’t get bored.

A video posted by Subway Syntax (@subwaysyntax) on

Sawdust continues to prove they’re the best studio for experimental type design

Sawdust studio - typography

London based design studio Sawdust, made up of Jonathan Quainton and Rob Gonzalez, are leading the way in type design and their new portfolio update proves it. Creating work for clients like Wired, IBM, Coca-Cola and more, their approach is more akin to art or illustration, beautifully communicating a bold message. I personally love the path they’re traveling because a lot of the pieces have a futuristic, somewhat alien feeling to them. I feel like I don’t see this style in editorial all that often and would love to see it pop up more frequently.

Sawdust studio - typography

Sawdust studio - typography

The Heinrich Manuever, a work of art in motorcycle form

The Heinrich Manuever, a work of art in motorcycle form

My knowledge of motorcycles is extremely limited though my appreciation is great. Their design, like the design of any product, can be akin to a work of art if done by the right people with great skills. I’d place the Heinrich Maneuver from Dues Ex Machina into that category, a fully customized BMW R nineT which now has a refined, futuristic feeling to it. From an aesthetic standpoint I liked this point they included about the color of the bike.

Colour was critical for the tank. Craftsmanship that deserved to be showcased, and the gloss white livery is a winner, leaving enough exposed alloy to highlight the hands on approach.

It’s all about the details. You can read more about Deus’ customization, or even order this bad boy for yourself, by clicking here.

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

SF Design Week’s 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

SF Design Week's new identity reflects a cities spirit

Attempting to capture the essence of a place, such as the city of San Francisco, must be a daunting challenge. What’s defines the city to you may not resonate with others. Character, one of the finest design firms in SF, has taken on such a challenge and succeeded with stunning results.

For this years San Francisco Design Week, the Bay Area’s largest design event, Character crafted a campaign called “Look Closer” which highlighted the idea that design is all around us, even if it’s not obvious. This message was exemplified by a four physical letters made from intricate frameworks fronted by mirrors.

Each letter was hand-fabricated and placed into an environment with a direct relation to the SF Design Community. Beacons of timeless design. Epicenters of commerce and innovation. Nature and places of preservation. The designs we make as designers reach far and wide as do their implications for the future.

SF Design Week's 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

SF Design Week's 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

SF Design Week's 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

While the large letters in their beautifully photographed surroundings may be the centerpiece the entire campaign is a treat. 99% of the time I’m not a fan of orange but that’s absolutely the perfect shade. The type is clean, legible, and confident and the whole endeavor feels exactly what you’d want a contemporary design week to feel like.

You can learn more about the campaign’s design by clicking here.

VR company Oculus focuses branding on a perfect new logo

New Oculus Brand/Logo

This morning my digital friend and talented designer Cory Schmitz posted some new work he collaborated on with Mackey Saturday, Nicolaus Taylor, & Jon Malkemus, a rebranded logo for Oculus. For those out of the loop, Oculus is a virtual reality headset manufacturer who’ve almost single-handedly pioneered the direct to consumer market. Paired with their recent acquisition by Facebook they’re preparing to change the way we think about VR.

With such an intrepid, cutting-edge company though you can’t have a logo like the one below. I mean, it’s fine, it’s an eye and you need your eyes to see VR, blah blah. But it’s too cliché and is lacking that feeling of “this is the future strap it on your head.”

Old Oculus Logo

On the other hand the new mark screams simple futurism. The oblong O is a perfect representation of not only the brand but a visually cues into the Oculus Rift hardware itself. In a world of iconic marks it’s amazing to me that I’ve never seen a mark like this before, or at the very least, there’s no other recognizable brand out there utilizing an O shape quite like this.

I believe this branding is pretty new as I haven’t been able to dig up much more information or find any additional photos. It will be interesting to see how the overall brand scheme comes together. Excellent work to start.

Oculus Rift

‘The Birth of Saké’, a new documentary exploring the venerable world of saké making

The Birth of Saké

I’m extremely intrigued by the upcoming documentary The Birth of Saké from director Erik Shirai. Previously having helmed the camera for Bourdain’s No Reservations , Shirai’s film focuses on the workers and production seasons at Tedorigawa, a fifth-generation, family-owned sake brewery in Ishikawa, Japan.

What the documentary highlights for me is the intense determination and amount of hard work that goes into creating something so seemingly simple. In an interview with Bon Appétit magazine Shirai describes the challenge of sake making.

What people don’t understand is that you can’t just make sake with machines and program everything. There are all of these variables because it’s a living thing. Things are changing based on the type of rice, the type of grain, how it was steamed. You have to be able to adapt and work with it. Only someone who has that experience can do that.

As you’ll see in the trailer the cinematography is incredibly well-done, capturing the quietness of the Japanese winter but also the frenetic pace and demand that the job requires. The level of quality is on par with the work of other contemporary film documentarians like Jiro Dreams of Sushi director David Gelb or the production team behind A Chef’s Life.