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.
Swedish graphic designer Oda Haugerud creates beautifully simple and carefully considered printed matter, combining analogue and digital techniques. Throughout her portfolio of self-initiated and academic projects, her subdued but potent style consistently shines through in lovely paper products. All of them results of thoughtful process and research, no doubt influenced by her multidisciplinary background in art history, film studies and art & publishing apart from graphic design. My personal favorite is the featured work Meteorit, a collection of illustrations and products inspired by the event on February 15th of this year, when a meteorite was 2 minutes from hitting Malmö, Sweden before landing in Tjeljabinsk, Russia.
dOCUMENTA (13) — 100-notes-100-thoughts are a series of 100 notebooks designed by Italian design company Leftloft and published by German art house Hatje Cantz, in order to mark the occasion of this year’s edition of the 100-day arts festival that takes place in Germany once every five years and will be running in Kassel from June 9 until 16 September. Comprised of facsimiles of existing notebooks, commissioned essays, collaborations, and conversations of artists, scientists, philosophers, linguists, psychologists economists and political theorists involved in the event, the notebooks appear in three different formats (A6, A5, B5) and range from 16 to 48 pages in length. The idea is to document and share the musings and thought processes of many influential figures, in a true It’s the journey that matters philosophy, as said by the organizers: A note is a trace, a word, a drawing that all of a sudden becomes part of thinking, and is transformed into an idea. Bold colors and understated typography make these books into simple and desirable objects… I’d want one of each!
Timepiece company Uniform Wares commissioned UK-based creative consultancy Six to design a series of promotional mailers, stationary suite, gift vouchers, watch box inserts and supporting gift wrap materials for their wristwatch collections. All of the printed material was designed to reflect the simplicity of the company’s pared-down aesthetic, based around a philosophy firmly rooted in classic British design and contemporary styling. The use of strong, contrasting, albeit neutral colors is used throughout the series, finely complementing the wristwatches’ minimalist designs. I’m especially in love with the subtle use of the identity on the watch box, as well as the bold simplicity of the gift voucher numbers. The vector illustrations of the designs are beautifully expressive as well… Also, I’m having a hard time choosing a favorite watch!
Japanese product designer and art director Teruhiro Yanagihara of Isolation Unit has designed TYP – an elegant collection of leather goods for the Tokyo based leather manufacturer Morpho. The collection essentially comprises a variety of booklets or wallets, a brand concept derived from a paper and stationary theme. Available in ISO standard paper sizes (C4, A4, A5, B6, A6, A7), TYP has a very thin and simple design, which is emphasised by the closing mechanism that works only through folding. The booklets are also available in a variety of colours.
If there ever was a minimalist rock band, certainly they were the White Stripes. From the visual concept to the two-only members, Jack and Meg White, respectively, guitarrist and drummer. The band was active from 1997 to 2011, making a sound with deep influences from the Mississippi delta blues to the classic rock from the 70’s. The fact that they used only guitar and drums not only caused many raised eyebrows, but also passionate enthusiasts. The strict color palette (red, white and black) was the base of their entire visual concept, creating a bold, striking and straightforward body of art, as can be seen in all their records’ artwork. Their minimalist roots are evident most notably in the “De Stijl” album (2000), designed by CHOLOMITE!, where they strongly reference the Dutch art movement both aesthetically and conceptually.
William Hall designed this gorgeous catalogue for Calvin Klein’s flagship store in Avenue Montaigne, Paris. Hall states: Since the catalogue was not intended to be sold, it was possible to eschew the traditional assumption that a cover should define or be indicative of its content. Instead there was an opportunity to create an enigmatic and alluring object, the abstract qualities of which demand attention in their own right. I think the intention to create an enigmatic and alluring object has been met as a result of the absence of any sort of adornment (like text or graphics) on the front cover. The contrast between the shiny and matte surfaces on the cover is also very nice.
Swedish graphic design company Konst & Teknik can count work for Mono Kultur magazine in its impressive portfolio. Particularly mentionable here are the book covers for Deleuze och mångfaldens veck and The Rest is Silence, and the extremely useful CopyPasteCharacter—an online tool giving easy access to typographic characters—that negates the need to learn alt codes and other such shortcuts. What a marvellously simple time saver.
Katja Gretzinger is a graphic designer living and working in Berlin, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland. She runs a small graphic design studio, aptly named the Katja Gretzinger Graphic Design Studio. Her work shows a great eye for typography, composition and the power of colour.