Minimalissimo


Categorized “Graphic design”

Last week I was introduced to SUITED — a new beautifully designed biannual fashion and art publication with a singular mission in mind: to celebrate those who have found what they are well-suited for. The first issue highlights the latest work of fashion designers Melitta Baumeister and Rad Hourani, featuring remarkable photography by the talented Paul Jung, which focuses on South Sudanese models Mari Malek, Mari Agory, Nykhor Paul and Atong Arjok, in a quest to raise their voices to effect change in their home country. Passionately dedicated to the needs of others, these women are opening up a dialogue not only among their fellow citizens but around the world. With a strong minimalist aesthetic, the magazine strikes a superb balance of extraordinary visuals and insightful articles. A hugely impressive début publication, which has left me excited to read future issues.


An identity, stationery and promotional materials design for the architectural photographer Luka Žanić, realised by Studio8585 — a Croatian design studio which provides simple and elegant brand solutions. The project takes advantage of a typographically challenging set of characters in the form of a monogram, cleverly framing Luka Žanić’s beautiful photography within the context of cues associated with modern architectural identities. The logotype is based on a monogram in which a characteristic and potentially awkward second initial “Ž” is used as a device which brings the two initials together, juxtaposing them through a diacritic. The designers make use of simple forms to create a bold monogram, producing a sculptural quality in its asymmetry and vertical balance. Outstanding.


So, how is a book named You Have Too Much Shit minimal? You may ask. Chris Thomas may answer, you’d be surprised. Based in London, UK, Thomas is a multi-disciplinary designer with a strong emphasis on graphic work with radical interests. Recently, he published a small self-help book titled You Have Too Much Shit. The publication comes in small copies of risograph-printed booklets with a monolithic design for the cover. The black type on ivory textured paper reminds one of Constructivist propaganda, which is an underlying purpose of the book itself. Not only the cover conveys minimalism, but the contents also do the job. Criticizing on the consumerist culture of today’s world, Chris cheekily offered a possibility towards a simpler lifestyle. Here, the designer (possibly part-time philosopher) goes beyond superficial minimal idealism to promote a deeper look at our maximal way of living and buying. I personally love the way YHTMS pushes the boundaries of Minimalissimo and gives us a chance to broaden our objective of delivering minimal projects to our readers. The book can be digitally downloaded for free. Or you can also buy it, ironically of course.


The resurgence of print as an ideal platform to showcase content is fascinating, especially when you consider that it never went away completely; but simply battled for the public’s attention against electronic publishing and websites. Around the world it is evident there is a continuous process of customized, one of a kind design, designed for print media; especially magazines and books. Emerging from an homonymous exhibition, sponsored by Bauhaus University of Weimar, is the first edition of Forms of Formalism. Tailor-made by a small team of six contributors including graphic designer Michael Paul Romstöck and photographer Louis De Belle, the volume explores many facets of formalism and how it can be applied and discussed alongside visual art, literature, music, mathematics and philosophy. The parallels between old-school minimalism, negating figurative qualities and enhancing simplicity; and formalism with its emphasis on form over content; the visual identity for this book is quite relevant and appropriate. The cover is a bold opening statement with its white background and clean cut title. Inside the book is divided interestingly, the first half focuses on photography on glossy paper, while the second half holds essays printed on matt paper. The attention to the experience of the...


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.


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...