New York-based, Finnish designer Lotta Nieminen has recently updated her website with a year’s worth of projects, each of them refined and showcasing a mastery of subtlety, now a trademark of Lotta’s style. One of my favorites is the branding, art direction and website design for Paintbox, a modern manicure studio in New York offering classic manicures and a curated selection of nail art. Making something look simple, effortless and beautiful is one of the trickiest aspects of creative endeavours, and usually the result of relentless study. I had the opportunity to witness Lotta present the making of this project during OFFF Barcelona 2014, and follow her initial struggles that ultimately culminated in a beautifully rounded, successful project – not surprising from a designer of her caliber. Brand strategy by Figure NY and website development by NoFavorite.
Categorized “Graphic design”
Less is the story of a wine lover who wanted to make good wine affordable for all. His idea was simple: remove the superfluous and keep the essential. By selling his wine in bulk, our client aimed to reinvent the customer experience, inviting shoppers to fill their bottles directly from wooden casks at his shop. This way is how Landor introduces the magnificent branding project that was created for Less — a minimalist identity that reflects the brand’s goals, whilst communicating only what is necessary, removing the superfluous and going beyond aesthetics. Following this discourse, the identity appears only by removing material, either sandblasted on bottles or cut out on recycled paper, showing four slightly modified stripes to form the word Less. The packaging also becomes bespoke with the label customized by a drop of the wine it contains. I also suggest watching the superb video brand presentation, because for this project, D&AD Awards honored Landor’s work by featuring it in their Branding book of 2014.
This collaboration between French lingerie line Maison Lejaby and Belgian designer Lea Peckre has bred an Autumn Winter 2014 collection focusing on a sophisticated use of light toned neutrals in see-through bodysuits, with sheer fabrics in asymmetrical drapes and geometric volumes. The figure-hugging shapes emphasize the female curves in a feminine, ethereal and seductive way. Paris-based creative studio Twice were responsible for the art direction and graphic design of the lookbook, framed in simple and elegant graphics that highlight the collection’s power. Photography by Harley Weir.
This beautiful example of minimalist graphic design has been created by Sydney based Zé Studio for the start-up technology company Connected Apps. The project included identity concept and development, as well as an icon set and animated monogram for use within the company’s app framework. Designers explain: In defining the identity for Connected Apps, we avoided obvious connections from point A—B. In our strategic research, we came across a formula known as Dijkstra’s Algorithm which finds the shortest connecting path using a series of placed nodes (commonly used to find the shortest path for navigation maps). This formed the basis of the visual identity. I really like the subtlety of this approach. Instead of illustrating the concept, designers stimulated our imagination by the clever use of the dotted grid. The nodes do not visually appear to connect until the monogram animates from a start to end point in the shortest path – a way in which Connected Apps aim to reach their clients’ audiences.
The brand and innovation firm Wolff Olins has developed this beautifully simple project for Infotech Enterprises, an Indian firm specialised in engineering and data services. Seeking a strategic change, the new brand Cyient was created to generate new customers, talent and even acquisitions, starting a new chapter after two decades. The new identity for Cyient is incredibly simple in its design, with a customised “E” with a dot for the logo and for the communication — a characteristic that will always make the brand identifiable, even without using the logo. Furthermore, this dot will be ever present and will reinforce all the visual elements of the brand — framing texts, images, graphics or videos. A simple yet powerful concept. You can also watch a video presentation of the brand.
Korefe’s concept and design for The Deli Garage: L’eaundry is subtly bold concurrently. The luxury brand introduced the new range of luxury detergents that resonate scents of high-end boutique perfume houses. The notion to treat your second skin like your first is the crux of the line. The graphic design and packaging is a nod to this. Korefe is a multidisciplinary design firm based in Hamburg, Germany. Their body of work and expertise extends to areas of advertising, books, corporate design, corporate publishing, interior design, brand innovation and assistance with product development. L’eaundry is a beautifully considered product whose brand is reinforced by the integrated, and obvious, design integration. Available in both Figue pour Femme and Olibanum pour home, all of a sudden the arduous task of laundry doesn’t seem, or smell, so bad. Photography courtesy of Korefe.
With the ever captivating World Cup in its final week, the Manchester based freelance designer Rick Hincks has developed this minimalist series of World Cup Posters, trying to collect great moments of the competition’s history. The work was based on these three simple rules: it must be a significant moment that happened during the run of play; the layouts are the same; and there are only two colours used — a colour of the club and white. I really like the nostalgic feeling of these posters and clearly remembering many of these moments, making you realise just how important your team’s performance was for you, even more intensely than watching the real images.
Hey is a design studio working mostly in brand identity, illustration and editorial design. Small in size but very big in outreach, the Barcelona-based studio is much beloved internationally, with a marked a style based on simplicity and synthetis and a lovely use of color and geometry. Verónica, Ricardo and Mikel kindly received me for a brief chat about the process behind their very own brand of minimalist work. When you work with synthesis, ultimately you are seeking a concept, and for the most direct way of translating and communicating that graphically. Their poster work is prolific and one of their favorite ways to distill their graphic philosophy. Using the power of cogency — the capacity one has for remembering something visual — they create work that is immediately memorable. Hey always search for the essence in their concepts, and approach a problem with a methodical functionality that is refreshing and produces results that are so well-crafted they become endearing, like with their latest personal project, Every Hey — a daily Instagram feed where they illustrate characters from pop culture. Every illustration is created based on a modular grid system, without ornament, in an effort to optimize the eye in order for it to see better, a strategy they have applied time and again with their popular Monocle maps. The studio’s...
Connected Magazine is a new contemporary fashion magazine that has just launched its first issue. As the brainchild of Nani Lim and Pontus Samuel, the magazine started of as a school project and evolved into a platform for the Stockholm-based duo to express their identical love for photography, fashion and design; a platform that celebrates the motivation of good design instead of mere current trends: There is a very one dimensional look on fashion today, which is basically “buy! buy! buy!”, and we felt that the function behind clothes sort of got lost in translation. The style of minimalism is the tool that is used to express their aesthetic and visual language both in the design of the magazine as well as the articles they feature. The images exude an appealing simplicity and the styling of the editorials are of a minimalistic elegance. The magazine communicates the team’s personal tastes and inspiration to their audience. I love the fact that it is so personal and shared in such a beautifully crafted and designed publication, which makes this project more meaningful. As the editor Nani Lim so eloquently sums up: Most of our inspiration comes from meeting creative people and the interaction...
I have been an admirer of York-based graphic designer and writer Daniel Benneworth-Gray‘s for a while now — be it his beautifully simple, mathematical book covers or the captivating articles in his long-standing blog. His latest design work is particularly spare, balanced — there doesn’t seem to be a pixel out of place. His book covers show tremendous subtlety, power, and a welcome and refreshing pop of color. We caught up with Daniel recently and chatted with him a bit about his creative process. Being particularly fascinated by the way one achieves the delicate balance of minimalist compositions, I was very interested in how he achieved his particular brand of simple. My objective is always to find that perfect point just before minimalism becomes emptiness, where the aesthetic, mathematical purity of an idea resists clinical starkness. If I become too conscious of how I’m achieving that, or if I try to pursue it in a very precise way each time, I leave myself no room for chaos. Daniel says that as simple the end result may be, it belies a creative process of scribbles, mess and mistakes. I’ll work with pen on paper (or increasingly, the rather smashing Paper app) for a long time before going...
Marijana Gligic’s Type II Perfume is a prototype for the luxurious perfume bottle and package design. Its dedication to adhering strictly to minimalist lines and typography is to be commended. Gligic has made a concerted effort to express the luxury brand through its emphasis on form and one that would resemble forms found in nature, such as geographical crystals. The overarching concept was driven by a want to showcase the product and its packaging as sculptural work that can be showcased in an everyday space. I feel that this is both beautifully articulated and executed. The bottle itself is comprised of alabaster gypsum and was awarded for best packaging exhibited at the Belgrade Polytechnic College. Born and based out of Belgrade, Serbia, Marijana Gligic is one to watch. Awarded for her photographic work, editorials and graphic design, she is sure to continue to flourish through her considered disciplined dedication to beautiful simple design. Photography courtesy of Marijana Gligic.
French born designer and illustrator Thomas Danthony who is currently based in London, has designed N — a 42 page black & white book featuring a collection of graphite and ink drawings. Self-published, N is available in two versions, one of which is a luxury book with a hand made cover. The project was an experimentation by Danthony, differing from his commercial work, which allowed him the freedom to create a simple aesthetic. He explains: My goal was to take a bit of time off the computer to create something by hand, I was looking for a way to keep my commercial style, which is digital and to translate it on paper. To make it possible, it had to be simple, so I only worked with a pencil, a brush and some black ink. I then decided to design a small book to collect the series. I really enjoy the strong and simple compositions throughout. From the concept of the book, to the illustrations themselves, this is a superbly executed self-initiated project. There’s also a short video about N, which is directed by Tom van Schelven.