Minimalissimo


Categorized “Graphic design”

Cereal is an independent food and travel journal published quarterly featuring an extremely clean art direction, minimalistic yet stunning photography as well as original content which is much appreciated at a time when we are overwhelmed with the pace of information. Based in Bristol, UK, the magazine features contributors that have a strong presence in the editorial world such as interiors photographer Line Klein and lifestyle writer Nick Baines. The quality of Cereal though simple and minimal, makes me yearn for that quietness and the minute details of everyday life. I am definitely looking forward to their future issues.


This creative public service campaign was designed by Caroline Brickell of Ogilvy & Mather Gurgaon ad agency for WWF India. The series, titled Animal Trees, consists of three works featuring rounded silhouettes of threes placed to form a panda, bear, and hippo. By making trees look like endangered animals, the advertising makes the point that wildlife and the environment are interconnected. I love the optic illusion the posters create, making our eye to see the animals first and notice the trees only after reading the tagline. What a beautiful and provocative way to conway the message.  The campaign received the Design Gold Pencil award in the Public Service / Posters category at The One Show.


When you look at the shelves of skincare products in a shop, they’re normally so full of information and busy designs that a mere glimpse of Swedish brand Verso Skincare‘s packaging is already refreshing and interest grabbing. Championing the innovative Retinol 8 formula (it helps the skin cells to mimic how young cells behave and is an improvement on the standard retinol formula, 8 times more potent and with none of the famed drawbacks like having to avoid sunlight), Verso is Latin and means reverse, a clever metaphor reflected on the elegant packaging. The brand identity & packaging design were developed for over a year (!) by Swedish studio Today Creative, resulting in a thoughtful brand image that reflects the product’s uniqueness.


NY-based multidisciplinary creator Joe Doucet strikes again: this deck of regulation playing cards called MINIM is an exercise in editing and stripping things down to the edge of comprehension. The already fairly straightforward and classic signs for hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades have been reduced to minimalistic geometric symbols. My personal favorite is the spades, and the diagonal mark across the back of the cards is so brilliantly simple it could’ve always been there. The deck will be available as a limited edition along with seven other products at Doucet’s Play exhibition in the Wanted Design NYC pop-up store in from May 17th-20th.


Singapore-based Foreign Policy Design Group are in charge of this beautifully simple branding and wayfinding design for the Steven Holl-designed Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, China. What I love about this project is that the graphic design draws its power basically from language. Oriental characters are typically very visual and graphic in nature, and the composition of Chinese and English create an elegant balance that stands strong on its own. The use of black to accentuate the branding material is also very elegant. What a lesson in simplicity.


idea ink is a series of Japanese books focusing on the theme of “ideas of the future”, published by Asahi Press and designed by Tokyo-based design studio Groovisions. The books focus on themes from gastronomy; environment and social issues to information graphics and even love and the quest for marriage outside of Japan. The graphic design for each book is clean and crisp, yet colorful and alive at the same time. A refreshing approach considering the excess of graphic information in a city such as Tokyo, yet still coherent with Japanese philosophies of simplicity and elegance in style. Groovisions also have Muji as their clients, another Japanese company notable for its minimalistic products. I particularly love the monoweight lines of the illustrations and the pastel color pallete. One of the things I love in Japanese design is the potency of “silent” designs, and to me this definitely falls into that category.


Munich based multi-disciplinary designer Aurelian Hallhuber, has recently completed the design of 0/1 – a strikingly minimal book and thesis project providing an overview of the different modes of representation and ways of which binary codes can be used in the field of visual communication. Hallhuber writes: Whether it be filled content, as a design feature or as an inspiration for creative processes, showing a strong reduction of the binary code, the possibilities are hidden in the smallest details of the visual world. This German designer clearly knows his craft, which makes this book a joy to read, if only from a limited online perspective. Beyond the beautifully embossed cover, I’m really liking the choice of typography too. Gorgeous work.


The contemporary cycling culture is really easy to embrace these days with beautiful graphic and packaging designs like James Greig, who is behind the clean and elegant brand and site, Cyclelove. It is a refreshing site that is actually less about bicycles and more about people and their bicycle lifestyles. And after I have spent too much time going through the photostream of all bike related images, the features on all bicycle paraphernalia, I found the perfect gift for fellow minimalist design-loving, bicycle-riding enthusiasts in this simple ‘Just Ride’ limited edition print of abstracted bicycle frames by Greig on heavyweight matt black paper with a white gloss ink, hand-numbered, and packaged in a custom CycleLove poster tube.


Lately I am much more interested in graphic design, so that is why today I bring you another piece of great minimalist rebranding for Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, in this case, a project developed by the Norwegian Neue Design Studio. Norwegian Shipowners Association has around 160 members – shipowners in the tanker and bulk transport sector, short sea sector and offshore activities. We wanted to create an iconic, simple and elegant identity that would communicate NSA’s universe as well as being serious, bold and forward-looking, showing NSA as a competent and global actor. Again I find this to be very effective work, with a great combination of simplicity and symbology, representing the open sea using just two rectangles in different blue tone colors. I hope to discover and share with you similar rebranding works that are just as impressive!


The design challenge for BRR was to capture the essence of Antarctica – ‘The Earth’s White Box’ whilst retaining both the integrity of the scientific research and capturing the visual beauty of this majestic continent. The BRR team realised that information on this continent was like an iceberg floating in the ocean. As icebergs reveal a small section of themselves above the horizon whilst concealing a greater part underwater, there is a large percentage of information that still requires investigating for the betterment of our planet’s future. This way the studio BRR explains the rebranding made for the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute, an entity responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand Government activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, in particular the Ross Dependency. The result is a clean and plain, but at the same time very effective graphic design work, made with a simple combination of geometric shapes to appear as icebergs in the sea, as well as using a monochrome code and sans-serif typography. Just perfect!


Today I wanted to introduce you to the gorgeous cloth-bound hardback catalogue for fine artist Arik Levy‘s Absent Nature collection. Beautifully and meticulously designed by Chicago based Bud Rodecker, this 128-page catalogue illustrates, in minimalist fashion, Arik’s simplistic sculptures of broken organic forms, which are supported by a well considered use and style of typography throughout. With the deboss on the front cover perhaps being my favourite feature, I must admit, Absent Nature is one of the most exquisitely designed catalogues I’ve come across recently.


The Italian minimalist designer, architect and teacher Angiolo Giuseppe Fronzoni needs little introduction. Not least because we recently featured his wonderful Quadra Lamp design. Today however, I am introducing you to a book by Ester Manitto on the teachings of Fronzoni. The book, titled A Lesson With AG Fronzoni – From teaching design to designing lifestyle, written both in Italian and English, is an act of gratitude from student to teacher and also an invitation to others to contribute to the reconstruction of a story of human and professional experience of the highest value and of great current relevance. Ester Manitto permits us to enter the world of AG Fronzoni’s workshop school, founded in Milan in 1982. The workshop school trained and directed its students towards the practice of continual research into the essence of form in life, nature, art, architecture and design, and a respect for learning by doing. The art direction and layout of this minimalist book, which has been beautifully illustrated, was designed by Genoa based creative studio Artiva Design. You can order the book for only ¢18. Something I will most definitely be doing.