Minimalissimo


Categorized “Graphic design”

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!


Based on the development of a  self-organising, programmatic and rhizomatic design, Atelier Carvalho Bernau created this series of deceptively simple, geometric designs for Amsterdam-based publishing house Octavo. Briefed with the wish for a collection of cheaply published books that are functional, durable and beautiful objects, the designers approached this project with an awe-inspiring and thought-provoking methodology of research of both the physicality of books and of  how their data could be used to make readable connections between the individual titles visible. The results are a design system in which each book is unique but relates to the others, so that what sits on the shelf is a visual continuum. Every book has its unique cover through a unique position on the map in relation with other publications, its colour scheme and placement of typography. No parameter is random, all data can be read: it is possible to understand that books with the same colour(s) bear some relation with each other; that the point to which the triangular areas point indicate yet another level of relation between the titles. Having had the opportunity to attend a conference in which they explained the entire process of their design research and systematic, I can say it was...


Simplified Clothing, or SMPLFD, is a north-american collective from Detroit that believes firmly in “less is more” and strives to deliver thoughtful imagery by means of bold, clever and simple designs. Despite that straightforwardness, they aim to be thought-provoking: We feel an enigmatic demeanor is more fashionable than the opposite so our designs merely elude to ideas, rather than state anything definitely. In other words, they are a door to enter, rather than a billboard that talks at you. What I like about SMPLFD is their freshness. The world today is saturated with t-shirt designs that are a dime a dozen, and these just catch the eye in the middle of that busyness. I especially like the quirk of the featured cardigan and the reductionist Marlboro logo tee (which, admittedly, took me a moment to figure out).


Swedish design and architecture studio Claesson Koivisto Rune has created beautiful reinterpretations of traditional Moroccan cement tiles for company Marrakech Design. Using traditional materials and an old artisanal production process, the studio created three clean, beautiful patterns – Stone, Dandelion and Casa – that are obviously inspired by classical Arabic geometry as well as Japanese aesthetics, with a Scandinavian twist to them. Available in several colors, the three tile designs can be arranged in various ways, offering several different macro-patterns for each. There is also the possibility to dispose the tiles in random ways, providing non-repetitive formations. This is an exciting, genuine hybridation of traditional craft and contemporary design, and I positively would love to have a patio floor filled with these patterns…


Chicago based architect and designer Jermome Daksiewicz of Nomo is the mind behind this unusual series of screen prints of airport runways. One for the airport enthusiast perhaps, but these precise screen prints present interesting industrial patterns with an attractive simplicity to them. The continually growing series in which new suggestions can be made, include such runways as John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and London Heathrow Airport and measure 18″ x 24″ in size. Something a little different, but I like them.


Designed in Brooklyn, NY by Bubble Calendar LLC, this poster-sized calendar (122 x 46 cm) has a bubble to pop for every single day of the year. Set in Helvetica Neue and with a very simple and elegant design,  it’s a very appropriate tool for both design-conscious and modern homes or offices as well as a fun learning tool for kids (who are we kidding, adults would love to pop those bubbles too). Days of the week and all major holidays and weekends are marked in bold for easy reference (there is also a version with weekends marked by black backgrounds) in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. The calendar is printed on thick paper (80 pound cover stock) and can even be customized with a personal logo. I’m very sure that I’d have a hard time not popping all the bubbles in one go… Photography by Alex Kotlik.


Milan based Italian designer and architect Denis Guidone, a Minimalissimo favourite for his minimalist watches, has recently created My Book for Nava Design. Guidone has taken a minimal, yet unusual approach to the concept of this book. He explains: It is a blank book with a pretext to imagine a story, a book that you could write yourself, day after day; It is a white space to imagine, you can also leave the pages blank and  fill them in with simply your thoughts. I like the idea it is not a notepad or a sketchbook per se (although it could perhaps be used as such), but instead it is a book to encourage storytelling. My Book is available in brightly bound red, white and black.


Published in 2011, this book by journalist Harriet Walker surveys one of the most wide-reaching movements in fashion, taking the reader through the transformations of minimalist along the decades, ever since Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel in the early 20th century, when women’s clothes became pared down and practical after centuries of complex construction. Walker argues that minimalism is not an exclusive club for intellectuals, but an egalitarian popular movement, and writing the book led other conclusions: The process of simplification has underpinned every great progression and movement, not only within womenswear but politically and culturally. Reviewing the work of designers who, over the decades, have adopted minimalist principles in their work, from Coco Chanel to Donna Karan and Jil Sander; and from the avant-garde style of Japanese masters Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto to contemporary interpretations by Gareth Pugh, Roland Mouret, COS and Zara, Less is More tells the story of an enduring aesthetic that has subtly shaped modern fashion.


Based in Manchester, England, freelance artist, illustrator and designer, Rob Bailey has created this beautifully illustrated series of thirty landscape drawings – Wish You Were There. They were originally based on the blank address lines on the reverse of a postcard. These minimal illustrations, measuring 30cm x 50cm, successfully present a reduction of visual elements without compromising the space and shape of the landscapes. I think individually these wouldn’t produce the desired impact, but as a collection, would make for wonderful wall art.


Known for his iconic designs for Joy Division and New Order record sleeves, Manchester-born Peter Saville became a pivotal figure in graphic design and style culture ever since his first work for Factory Records in the late 1970s. Encouraged by friend Malcolm Garrett from early on to discover the work of early modern movement typographers, Saville found their elegantly ordered aesthetic more appealing than the anarchic style of punk graphics and from them drew the inspiration for his first commercial project, the 1978 launch poster for The Factory nightclub in Manchester. When the club spawned the Factory Records label, Saville was named its art director and given unprecedented level of freedom to design whatever he wanted. His body of work features many experimentations with printing techniques and further on with digital tools, but Saville is well-known for his refined take on Modernism and has worked with notoriously minimalist brands such as Jil Sander and Raf Simons. He has also recently designed the English football team home shirt.


m_lab is a project recently completed by Barcelona based company Espluga + Associates, whose area of expertise ranges through advertising, naming, graphic design, branding and many other things ending with …ing. m_lab is the first store of Mesoestetic in Europe (the company specializes in developing skin care products). The level of involvement Espluga + Associates had in this project was truly comprehensive. The work included visual identity, graphic design, interior design, branding and packaging. I love how the lab-like sterility of the interior was made stylish by incorporating recognizable furniture pieces and familiar typography. Helvetica-driven signage and packaging make a great contribution to the overall design. The whiteness of the white is accentuated by the blue-tinted recessed lighting, which is another clever and beautiful detail.