Minimalissimo


Categorized “Graphic design”

Amsterdam-based graphic designer and illustrator Tim Boelaars has a series of limited-edition screenprints based on his sets of icons for everyday use, printed as different colored posters of 18” x 24”. Tim has drawn a lot of attention to his unique iconography work, with an established technique of bold, geometric, monospaced line work that illustrates a range of whimsical yet quirky commonplace things (well, except for the weaponry series). While each and every object may not be absolutely minimalistic in their portrayal, the arrangement of the icons in a monochromatic, perfectly ordered and straightforward fashion is very elegantly simple. Photography by Tim Boelaars, featured image from The Noun Project.


A simple yet elegant infographics project titled oceaniaeuropeamericasafricaasia by advertising creative Gustavo Sousa embodies more than just the intention of spreading awareness on global issues. It challenges our own knowledge of current affairs and assumptions of design and colors. Using the Olympic symbol of the 5 colored circles aptly in time with the 2012 summer games in London, Gustavo chose to depict current social concerns in a short video while categorizing a color in relation to each of the continents. As he mentioned in an interview: The rings represent healthy competition and union, but we know the world isn’t perfect. Maybe understanding the differences is the first step to try to make things more equal. What was most interesting about the project in addition to its minimalist style of presentation was that there was deliberately no graphics key given to which color represented which continent, which I saw as a test of the viewer’s own personal knowledge of the issues pertaining to each continent and was surprised by which ones I guessed right or wrong. Even though there has been some criticism about the accuracy of the statistics, the actual scale of the circles as it changes with each issue does not...


Italian full service advertising agency, Concept Store, based in Pescara, have designed this elegant, minimal and beautifully presented wine packaging for Vecchie Vigne. The design, lead by Marco D’Aroma of Concept Store, has a clear minimal layout for the label’s flagship store, Gentile, which includes a beautiful use of typography, spacing and colour contrast. The preciousness of the product is given by the care and study of individual details, ranging from the choice of paper and clever use of black and white lettering. The wine itself, is a red 2009 reserve, however I am unable to give you an opinion on the taste. If you happen to taste Vecchie Vigne at some point in the future, please share your thoughts. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this packaging as much as I do.


And now, for a bit of minimalistic art history fun! The graphic designers from Polish studio re:design have recently published the first of three installments of a series entitled Iconic Painters to Guess. The premise is quite simple: choose a famous painter and decode them into three symbolic elements. Some are quite clear and immediately recognizable, like the ubiquitous Andy Warhol, Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, others less so. My favorite is a tie between Vermeer and Van Gogh (I still can’t believe how long it took me to figure that one out!). In the current blogging sphere where a lot of people are quite tired of badly done minimalistic movie posters and book covers, this little game seems like a breath of fresh air. If it were developed into a card game I’d definitely try to get my little hands on one!


IXXI is a surprisingly simple modular connecting system where one can create their own graphic collage or pixelated photo enlargement, which can be used as wall art or space separators. Born from the discovery that there was no modular system to connect postcards, the creators developed the prototype for a project called The Brabant House, where they connected 20.000 postcards. Responding to fantastic reviews (including a nomination for the Dutch Design Awards), the founders decided to develop the system to a consumer product. The decorative packet consists of the IXXI connectors and printed synthetic paper cards, which are moisture resistant and tear-proof. Featured in this article we can see the brightly colored, geometric Loco! tiles designed by Studio Boot, which are presently my favorite, but aside from the Loco! design, there are also reductionist renditions of famous portraits and artworks, such as the Frida Kahlo portrait and my other favorite, the Girl With A Pearl Earring.


Berlin-based multidisciplinary creative hub HORT was charged with the daunting task of redesigning the identity of the icon of Modernism, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. The new identity’s elements consisted of stationery, brochures, posters, tickets, website etc., but also the redesign of the signage of Walter Gropius’ famous Bauhaus building. Given this, the studio wanted to make it clearly distinguishable what is part of the original structure and what new additions had been made. They followed the premise of strict typography and minimalist layout, standardised formats and no color. The chosen corporate typeface was Courier, the most generic and incidental typeface, in consonance with the studio’s belief that a generic design would work best in order to make the distinction between old and new. An important alteration of Courier’s “A” letter was made, saluting Herbert Brayer’s existing logo on the façade of the Bauhaus Dessau building, and the new logotype is always set vertically. We decided to search for a solution that would relate more to the original ideas of Germany’s most influential Modernist school instead of relying on the visual clichés connected to Bauhaus – it seems almost impossible to use circle, square and triangle nowadays without it coming across...


Emanuele Cecini designed the identity and branding for new creative agency, Orange Hive, based in Frankfurt, Germany. The designs included the creation of a logo, print stationary, website layout and art direction of the branding photography. The logo finds a surprising and elegant balance of lines and empty spaces, the branding is straightforward and uses a limited number of elements and information, and the pop of color provided by the orange accents gives the ensemble a nice twist, preventing it from being boring instead of the classy minimalism it achieved. I’m especially fond of the signage application!


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).


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.