Where are they now?

In the early ’90s, the graphic design landscape was undergoing a dramatic shift. Desktop publishing was in its infancy and everyone was making it up as they went along—some better than others—while trying to keep up with the new technology and software. Then in 2000, the dotcom bubble burst, and in 2008 the worst recession since the Great Depression hit. Many studios weathered the storm, while others simply closed shop.

Here, we talk with the survivors of the past few decades, many of whom have reimagined their careers, and in some cases, started new vocations altogether. Read the rest here. (Poster design by Modern Dog.)

You had to be there: Steve Frykholm

Herman Miller is the master modern furniture maker with eclectic, ergonometric products for home and office. For more than 100 years, the company has enjoyed economic highs and weathered economic lows. No one better captured these highs and lows than Steve Frykholm, former vice president of creative design, who for three decades told the tale of Herman Miller through stunning annual reports.

Among the finest ever made, Steve Frykholm’s annual reports for Herman Miller are far more than summaries of financial data; they are stories of people and the products they make. Frykholm demonstrated his love for the men and women of Herman Miller with annual reports that swept awards and became collectible. Today, these books stand as text book examples of design at its best: human connection through creative courage, audacity, ingenuity, and flawless execution. “It was never just about me,” he reminds, “I was surrounded by talented men and women who brought these books to life.” Humility is perhaps the least acknowledged secret to success—and longevity.

Now (sort of) retired, bearded, and bespectacled, Frykholm contracts with Herman Miller as spokesman for the company’s design and culture. Speaking at the the 2017 Hopscotch Design Festival in Raleigh, NC, he did what he has done his entire career: he left the audience wanting more. Afterwards, we contacted him to ask him if he’d share more detail that time in Raleigh did not permit.  Below, more of Steve Frykholm’s fantastic stories. Read the rest of the story here.

The Fundamentals of Graphic Design

Timothy Samara is a New York-based graphic designer and educator. He has taught design at the college level for nearly 15 years.

As the author of eight graphic design books for Rockport Publishers, his academic reach spans the globe.

All of his books have a common thread—they address the fundamentals of graphic design. “The fundamentals always surface for consideration, no matter how advanced the student or complex the project,” he says. Here he discusses the importance of understanding the core elements of graphic design.

What are the basic fundamentals of graphic design?

The fundamentals of graphic design are about seeing (and understanding) how the qualities of visual material—shapes, images, color, typography, and layout—work, and work together… and then being able to decide which qualities of each are relevant and engaging and useful for visualizing a particular idea or solving a certain problem. Read the rest of the interview here.

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The site functions as an online brochure for a family-owned construction firm, showcasing projects and providing basic company information. The choices of bold iconography and photographic image elements, together with a strong layout grid, geometric visual elements and an industrial, slab-serif typeface all allude to the precision of the company’s work, nations of architectural detail and tools, and the family’s heritage—in a nod to Italian International Style modernism.

Controlled Chaos: Parallèle Graphique Keeps Order in Their Wild Design House

The work of Parallèle Graphique might be described as controlled chaos. While some projects by the French studio are sparse and contained, others almost seem to go off the rails with beautiful, illustrative elements juxtaposed with custom typography, often confined in tight compositions.

Before joining forces, partners Marceau Truffaut, Chloé Plassart, and Thomas D’Addario collaborated on BimBaam!, a showcase of their personal work with comments from like-minded creatives. In 2014 this partnership blossomed into a business because, as Trauffaut points out, “It can be very painful to make money and find clients on your own, so by collaborating we share a network of contacts and we’re able to do bigger, more interesting projects.” Read the rest of the article here.

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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.

 

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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Meet Montreal Design Studio Valleé Duhamel

Montreal-based designers and art directors Julien Vallée and Eve Duhamel continually surprise and delight their clients (and their clients’ customers), by creating complex narratives that marry lo-fi, hand-rigged objects with high-end production techniques. The results are often mind-boggling and leave the viewer to wondering, “How’d they do that?” Their video and animation work for clients like Reebok, Hermès, MTV, Coca-Cola, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as a smattering of niche design publications and events, has garnered awards from Adweek, Communication Arts, and Applied Arts, among others. And Vallée, who’s also a Young Guns winner, has already had his monograph Rock, Paper, Scissors, the Work of Julien Vallée published by Gestalten. Read rest of story here.

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AKU and the Rise of the Great Estonian Design

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, isn’t home to many designers, which is perhaps why AKU has attracted such a wide range of clients. From microbreweries and music festivals to the more buttoned-up Estonian parliament, founders Alari Orav, Kaarel Kala, and Uku-Kristjan Küttis have already made a name for themselves in their mother country—but the international design community is getting to know them, too. At first glance, their work is startlingly simple, but upon further inspection you begin to appreciate the intricacies involved in color choice and type placement, as well as the use of illustration and graphics. This spare yet exquisite layering of details is the result of years of experience—Orav, Kala, and Küttis have been honing their design skills since they were teenagers. We recently caught up with them about the growing design scene in Estonia, how they collaborate with local artists, and their special recipe for particularly exciting work. Read the rest here.

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