Archive for March 2015

Q&A with Rule 29’s Justin Ahrens

Want to build a firm with strong organizational values? Follow the lead of Rule29’s Justin Ahrens.

As founder and principal of the creative firm Rule29, Justin Ahrens has built a creative culture based not just on doing good work but also doing actual good. It’s the kind of ethos that builds team loyalty and creates a healthy work environment conducive to creative problem solving.

Here, Ahrens discusses Rule29’s organizational values and the positive impact that extends far beyond the walls of his Illinois-based firm.

How does one establish and lead a company with strong organizational values? Are there key concepts or rules? 

Culture is created by defining what your company stands for and making decisions based on those values. Workplace culture is the manifestation of the company’s beliefs and values. It ultimately becomes the “How We Do Things Around Here.” These beliefs and values have to be established early on and used to help identify the right fit for the right employees and the right clients. The rules that need to be followed are pretty straightforward ­– be true to your values. They need to be your benchmark. Read the rest here.

ScenoGraphics, book review

Scenographics (promopress) offers readers an unprecedented look at the intersection of set design, graphic design, and illustration through the work of 40 prominent artists from around the globe. Scenographics is unlike any other design book we’ve seen recently in that every spread takes you on a journey to a fantastical world created by artists committed to concocting their wild ideas. Just when you think you’ve seen every crafting stunt under the sun, you turn the page and there are more (great) projects. The artists push the boundaries of the handmade unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and you’ll be left puzzling over how many hours were spent cutting, gluing, assembling, arranging, lighting, and photographing each scene. Read the rest here.

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Design: Jess Bonham, Camille Walala

Perfectly Imperfect: Human Connection

Although letterpress printing is a traditional, laborious process, and flies in the face of modern technology, it’s never been more popular. People crave the beautiful imperfections and sensory experience of this timeless media, and designers value the handiwork and intrinsic qualities it adds to their creative output. In this feature post, we show the designs of Felix Sockwell, Gary Rozanc and Chad Michael, plus the printing talent John Selikoff (Vote for Letterpress Press, South Orange, NJ), the craftsmen and women at Studio on Fire (MPLS), and Gary Rozanc himself. Read the article here.

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NPR poster detail by Felix Sockwell.

Aaron Draplin: Being Productive Anywhere, Anytime

Meet Aaron Draplin: Award-winning designer, noted conference speaker, frequent flier and to-do list crusher.

Aaron Draplin likes to keep busy. He’s been the proprietor, designer, janitor and receptionist at Draplin Design Co., in Portland, Oregon, since he opened shop in 2004. And that’s just the way he likes it.

Draplin’s identity work has been recognized by leading design publications and he’s often asked to speak at industry conferences. This year alone he’ll be doing a workshop at Design Ranch in Austin, Texas, speaking on the main stage at the HOW Design Live Conference in Chicago, and presenting at TYPO Berlin, among many others. And when he’s not doing work for clients such as Timberline, Union Binding Co., and Gnu Snowboards, he’s making his own DDC merch and selling the products on his site.

This big man – in life and personality – has a relentless travel schedule, so we caught up with him to find out how he manages his projects and conquers his daily to-do list, all while staying true to his character. Read the rest here.

 

Stewart Scott-Curran Explains How Sprite Markets to Two Very Different Demographics

Stewart Scott-Curran wears more than one hat—he’s an art director, graphic designer, and illustrator. Currently he’s he art director at CNN digital, and he hosts Creative Mornings in San Francisco, where creatives of all walks of life share their experiences with a group of like-minded individuals looking for inspiration and the motivation to take the next step in their careers.

Curran values his deep connection to the creative community and how important that is to the development of designers, writers, and artists, which is why he facilitates Creative Mornings. He also regularly speaks at creative conferences, and here on CreativeLive, he is teaching a class on drawing in Illustrator.

Here, he talks to us about the Sprite campaign he developed while he was an in-house design manager at Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Read rest of article here.

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9 Type Designers to Watch

When looking to create a “top” list of anything, it’s always best to ask the experts, which is precisely what we did here concerning type designers. Of course, typography, like everything else in art and design, is highly subjective. People like what they like. Period. But interestingly, when we reached out to highly respected type design aficionados Gail Anderson, Ken Barber, Roger Black, Tim Brown, Tobias Frere-Jones, Allan Haley, Cyrus Highsmith, Jason Santa Maria and Christian Schwartz and asked them who they thought should be interviewed for this article, there was a surprising amount of consensus among the suggestions.

Don’t expect to see the popular kids here. Sure, some may be familiar and some have been at it awhile, but others are just hitting their stride. Each designer featured has a unique take on their craft, and has had success with at least one typeface. Several of these creatives started as graphic designers and then pursued typography out of necessity, making type for themselves and clients. No matter the paths they followed, one thing is certain: The designers below are all reaching a creative apex. Read the rest here.

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Brandon typeface by Hannes von Döhren.

Sweden’s Snask is Sweet, Filthy, and Full of Life

Everything about Snask, a snarky Stockholm-based creative agency, is an anomaly. Their work ranges from handmade objects to digital commodities for clients near and far, and they take on so many self-initiated projects—like starting a record label, running their own design festival, brewing their own beer, writing a book, even designing a custom pink bike—that it makes you wonder how they have time for anything else. But they do. Creative director Fredrik Öst talks about the Snask philosophy and why it’s not cool to overwork your staff.

What does the word Snask mean?
Magnus Berg and I started Snask as an idea while we were studying in the U.K. We talked a lot about eye candy and that the design we wanted to make should be that. Snask means candy in old Swedish, but it also means filth and gossip, which we find brilliant. Basically, from 0-12 years old, you’ll do anything for candy, and from 12-70 you’ll do anything for filth. When you’re 70 and up, you gossip about children, grandchildren, and others, so Snask means life, in a way. Read the rest here.

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