Around the web we can find many minimalist versions of logos and packaging of well-known brands, and these examples are usually made by students or designers as personal work. However in this case, Microsoft has developed a new logo, for its new operating system, Windows 8, based on the concepts of simplicity and clarity and using just a single blue colour. I think this is the most important point about the new logo. A representative explains: It was important that the new logo carries our Metro principle of being “Authentically Digital”. By that, we mean it does not try to emulate faux-industrial design characteristics such as materiality (glass, wood, plastic, etc.). It has motion – aligning with the fast and fluid style you’ll find throughout Windows 8. The new logo design has been made by Paula Scher at Pentagram and I really enjoyed it when seeing it for the first time.
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In 1966, Robert Smithson created a series of works called Alogon. The second piece in the series was exhibited at the seminal exhibition of minimalist work called Primary Structures in 1966. This piece is currently in the Museum of Modern Art collection. Of the work, Oxford University Press says: [E]ach [work is] composed of a number of step structures arranged in order of decreasing size, conveying Smithson’s belief in the illogical and absurd nature of existence. Though each of the parts is static, their dynamic arrangement introduces tension into the work as a whole. I hadn’t seen this work until recently, but find it interesting to look at in comparison to his bigger land-art works, such as Spiral Jetty.
SIMON&ME is located in a small store, founded by Simon Freund, in Kreuzberg, Berlin where they sell selected menswear and hand picked selected goods. One of their goods is this beautifully minimalist copper bracelet. Produced in Munich by a blacksmith, the bracelet has an understated elegance. It is void of any logo, embellishment or detailing other than formed during the forging process. Over time the shine will fade giving the bracelet its unique color. We believe that there is nothing greater than the satisfaction of possessing a cherished piece that simply lasts; and knowing that the product you are holding is made from craftsmanship and passion. Last weekend I had the pleasure to visit SIMON&ME in their store and have a look at the products. The bracelet is a simple, beautiful, jewellery piece that will last for years and will endure seasonal trends. A perfect gift for someone special.
San Francisco based audio accessories brand Native Union, strive to bring communication back to how it should be: simple and enjoyable. With this in mind, they have designed the award winning Switch – a compact, lightweight, and portable Bluetooth speaker. It pairs to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with wireless ease, letting you listen to all your audio with unmatched sound and quality. The name Switch derives from its ability to play audio effectively in both a vertical and horizontal position. Aside from its sound quality, it’s the beautifully minimalist box design that has me particularly impressed. The speaker’s rubber exterior encases all sides of the box except the metal speaker screen. The exterior also features the Native Union logo, which unfortunately is its only aesthetic flaw. I would have preferred a more subtle (same colour) engraving. However, an intuitive volume wheel inspired by hi-fi audio systems is convenient to use, regardless of the speaker’s position. Switch comes in a variety of colours and is available on both the Native Union and the Apple stores. Images courtesy of Apple.
Last week, we featured a stunning collection of leather bags by TSATSAS, and I have recently been introduced to another of equal beauty – this time by the Polish clothing accessories brand Slava Varsovia. Slava Varsovia aim to highlight the significance of traditional craftsmanship. Hand-made by local artisans, Slava accessories are designed with passion that rises from a tradition with a modern edge, down to the tiniest detail. Designed by Anna Szydlowska, the Slava accessories features a number of beautifully crafted leather bags, designed with a notable simplicity and very subtle brand logo. The series includes several meticulously crafted shoulder and oversized bags, totes and elegant clutch bags of varying sizes and colours. Photography by Zuza Krajewska
There have been many exercises in paring down the wallet to the ultimate minimalistic design, but I believe London-based Taiwanese designer Chieh Ting Huang has arrived at that ideal quite successfully. Nothing Fancy is a collection of non-stitched minimalist solutions for the wallet, re-imagined for the contemporary lifestyle. Using only a foldable leather hide template and rubber bands and eliminating everything else (stitches, snaps, zippers, etc.), Chieh delivers a wallet, a coin case, an iPhone holder and a passport holder within the same principles. The result is a well thought, beautifully executed and impeccably styled range of products that has left the design blogosphere wishing for one of their own. My personal favorite is the passport holder and I’m especially in love with the customized rubber bands!
Milan based Italian designer Henry Timi has built some incredible minimalist furniture over recent years, designing simple and pure shapes, refusing excess and the unnecessary. I would like to share with you today a small selection of seating furniture that reflects these qualities, but many more can be found on the Henry Timi website. Timi explains his design philosophy: I summarise and I develop objects with a minimalist vision. I just think of pure products – purity as the beauty. I promote the simplicity as the depth and the refinement to give value to objects and persons. I make things simpler in order to be better. These pieces may not exude comfort exactly, but what I do appreciate is their quiet elegance, clean lines and detail.
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Manifiesto Futura, an independent multidisciplinary design studio based in Monterrey, Mexico, have recently added to their impressive design portfolio with this minimalist identity and packaging for the tequila based alcoholic drink, Tiqo. Tiqo is apparently a drink for a quiet moonlit night gathering at the beach, which is echoed by the circular forms in the sleek geometric logotype. Even with the stark colour palette of the bottle, it still has a strong presence and would unlikely go unnoticed on a supermarket shelf. It’s always refreshing to see such design simplicity in alcohol packaging.
Kent Wang is a small company founded in Austin, Texas dedicated to making high-quality, classic menswear at reasonable prices. Founded in 2007 out of a frustration with the difficulty of finding even basic linen pocket squares at local retailers, they have since expanded into several product lines offering classic, timeless designs. One of my favorite products from their range is the Sneaker white. An absurdly clean design, beautifully finished in leather, make these sneakers into desireable pieces – even for girls! In the 1960-70s, shoemakers used to make simple, minimal shoes like these. Today, they only make excessively sporty designs plastered with logos. Let’s go back to a simpler time. A simpler time, indeed.
Korean-born Heesang Lee is a graphic design student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has redesigned the packaging of the popular model-building essential, the X-Acto blade, giving it a clearer, easily recognizable presentation of the types of blades available. My focus on this new design is consumers can easily know what they need at a glance. Firstly I redesigned X-Acto logo. The ‘X’ is a stenciled letter that becomes a symbolic mark for X-Acto knife. Then I simplified information of the package, the numbers in the center are the blades number, and the back illustrations show the shape of blades. As we usually identify the blade by the shape more easily than the number of its type, Heesang has prioritized the information that the consumer needs first. Taking into account that there are over 14 types of blades produced by X-Acto, I think she has successfully achieved a more efficient and sophisticated packaging in its minimalist redesign if we recall what the existing packaging is.
I love the vibrant colored sleeves by reWrap. The sleeves are created according to the Cradle to Cradle principle. This means: 100% reusable materials, 100% renewable energy and 100% social production. The sleeves are made of felt (98%) and yarn (2%) and are fully biodegradable. To avoid unnecessary use of materials for the label, the logo is stamped into the sleeve, a nice detail. By time the logo will slowly fade. The makers expected the use time to be 5 years and after use your sleeve will turn into compost rather than waste. The sleeves – available for laptop, Macbook, iPad and iPhone – are sewn together in a small Amsterdam located workshop that provides employment to people with a handicap.