Minimalissimo


Categorized “Graphic design”

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.


British designer, David Weatherhead has developed the Round and Round Calendar which involves three discs that read the date at the finger turn of a disc. The innovative calendars are available in a variety of colours and sure beat turning the page on the usual desk calendar. A minimal shape, color language and hand gesture movement are brought together for a design that is both playful in use and in it’s visual presence. I love it. Round and Round Calendars are produced by Seletti.


German creative studio Deutsche & Japaner, based in Mannheim, specialise in a variety of disciplines, such as graphic design, product design, interior design, illustration and scenography as well as conceptual creation and strategic brand escort. Earlier this year, the studio designed a limited edition book titled X / I / I. The beautifully minimal designed book (particularly the cloth cover) is the first in the series from TENWORDSANDONESHOT, presenting the featured artists from the blog in a printed publication. The blog and the book share the same rules in the sense that there are only ten words written by the artists to outline their personality and just one studio image to offer an impression. Each entry has been designed in a completely different style using various sizes and typeface for both imagery and comments, resulting in a simple yet visually interesting book.


This collection of pictogram history posters was designed by H-57 creative agency as a part of their collaborative project with the website First Floor Under. The posters are designers’ take on famous biographies, real and fictional, expressed in not more than three or four steps. Thus, the lives of Michael Jackson, Hitler, Darth Vader, Jesus, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon, Bruce Lee and Caesar were summarized in a pictographic and humorous way. And, according to H-57, more similar works are coming: We want to create many of them to give our point of view on the most famous world stories. Unfortunately, the ones with tragic ending are the funniest and most interesting. With the popularity of typography and infographics on the rise, we see a lot of movie and music posters, art and literary works getting beautiful minimalist makeovers. These H-57 historic strips are a noteworthy addition to the array of inspiring designs.


London based graphic designer Genis Carreras (or ‘gex’ as he likes to call himself) has created a series of minimalist and witty Philosophy Posters. The project is an attempt to explain complex philosophical theories through basic shapes. Carreras offers his take on such ideas as solipsism, humanism, determinism, absolutism, relativism, nihilism and many others. These aesthetically pleasing pieces are also aiming for an educational value, which is why each poster includes a brief summery of the philosophical notion. There is also a book in the works, called Philographics, in which all these posters are compiled for one very short read. Who knows, maybe minimalism is all we need to make other ‘isms’ easier to grasp…


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.


Business card design is a challenging art. Rather than having each field separately labeled in a traditional way, I really love this minimalist design as the email address contains all relevant info, except the phone number. Great idea!


Swedish illustrator and graphics designer Patrik Svensson has created a fantastically minimalist series of typography posters. The project is a visualisation of various movies by using only letters from title or other typography characters. Svensson explains what he wanted to achieve from the series: I have always been a fan of designers that integrate with the viewer to create a sort of game together. I always strive to leave some space for the viewer to fill. It’s a balancing act. The humour is also very important – graphics without a sense of humour is often dead to me. Personally, The Karate Kid, The Matrix and Basic Instinct are the stand-out designs for me.


Graphic designer Alex Lin is the author of the signage and wayfinding of The Glass Pavilion, Japanese design firm SANAA‘s first building in the United States, housing the Toledo Museum of Arts’s entire glass collection. Since the near total of the pavilion’s interior and exterior walls are made of glass, the resulting visual noise for the visitor is extreme. In response to that, two basic rules were developed for all signage: if on the ground, it would be dark gray; everything else would be white. Respectful of SANAA’s well-known understated architecture, Lin’s signage and iconography is a work of subtlety, mindful of its surroundings, light and whimsical.