When I was first out of University and doing the rounds of the local design firms to show off my portfolio, Icarus Design was one that I was particularly impressed by in both quality of work and attitude. There I spoke to Director David Robinson who was very generous with his time, looking through my work and offering encouragement – for a fair number of years I received a yearly Christmas card from them as well, long after the time they must have been wondering who the hell was this person they were sending them to It’s great to see that they are still going strong and still producing some fantastic work after all this time.
When I was in my final year of University, we had three of Adelaide’s top designers come to talk to us about their respective businesses. I remember being really impressed with Brenton Murray who I guess had been running his firm for just over 5 years or so at that point – it seem to have a very genuine and passionate attitude to his work and I particularly liked the emphasis on illustration he had on a lot of the pieces he demonstrated. Now 28 years strong, Brenton Murray Design is now BMD Brands operating out of offices in both Adelaide and Burleigh Heads Queensland. He’s still producing exceptional work and has built a fantastic team of designers around him including Nerissa Douglas (an excellent illustrator as well as designer), Steve Balmer and Katie Pelosi,
as well as Brenton’s son Ben. It’s an interesting browse through their logo gallery to see how many iconic local and national brands they have worked on, including San Remo Pasta, Bremerton Wines, Crowies Paints and The Adelaide City Council to name a few. To have been around so long is quite an accomplishment in this city, BMD Brands are obviously (and demonstrably) doing something right.
I have been waiting eagerly for a while for this to finally go live, but Shadia Design’s website has just been launched as of Valentine’s day. Shadia Ohanessian was one of the first professional graphic designers I got to know in Adelaide, she let me help her out with some work for Amnesty International when I was still at University, if she had offered me a full-time job I would have taken it like a shot, I still would! There is a lot to like about Shadia’s work, personally I admire the fact that she has followed her own unique path in design for 27 years and has never been a follower of specific design trends, her work doesn’t look like anything else other than her own unique tastes and sensibilities. She’s also not afraid of colour, it literally ‘bursts’ out of whatever she has designed, playful and stylish, but never overdone, in a manner where a lot of us might fear to tread. It’s hard to pick out a particularly favourite project from all of the work she has on her site, but if I was forced to, I would have to pick the design work for No Strings attached Theatre. It incorporates all the elements I love in her work as mentioned before, but also treats a sensitive subject matter with the respect and insight it deserves in an overall beautifully designed packaged. Kudos also for designing a unique and engaging website to display her work with.
As we are well established into the new year, it’s time for another of my annual rundowns of my favourite Australian album covers of the previous 12 months. 2012 didn’t feel as vibrant cover design wise as perhaps 2011 did, there were fortunately a select few gems covering some very interesting music and as to be expected, a lot of it was for independent and under-the -radar releases rather than the more chart friendly fodder. I’ve tried where possible to credit the creators of the artwork, feel free to leave a comment if you can fill in any of the gaps.
Lake Air: Dappled Cities
That’s a very unusual photo – this cover is saved by a beautiful colour combination between the light blue and magenta red and some nice typography.
Provenance – Collected Works: The Lovetones
Love, love the very 70′s-ish illustration employed, complimented by some very beautifully complimenting typography – unfortunately, the rest of the package doesn’t quite live up to the promise presented by that wonderful cover.
Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard: The Beards
Artwork: Chris Edser
I featured this cover earlier this year on my blog, extensively and lovingly rendered, the cover folds out to this fantastic poster. There is also a film clip that comes to life straight off of this poster.
Sights and Sounds: Made In Japan
Artwork: Patrick Meehan
Nice handrawn type which I am a sucker for – not much more to add.
Artwork: Simon Christou
Stick a fox on it, works everytime!
The Late Blue: Gypsy & The Cat
Artwork: Mark Alsweiler
This almost ‘Dylan-esque’ rendering (refer to his painting on the cover of his album ‘Self Portrait’ to see what I mean) seems perfectly appropriate for the music of Gypsy & The Cat. Quite spectacular on a 12 inch format I would imagine.
Pacifica: The Presets
Art Direction, Design: Jonathan Zawada
While I’m not a big fan of the 3D rendering employed to portray the artists on the cover, I can certainly appreciate the thought and direction that has been put behind this cohesive package for the Presets.
The two covers below are for singles from the album which I actually prefer.
A is for Alpine: A is for Alpine
Artwork: Tim Royall
I’m not sure what it all means, but it was certainly a cover that stood out on the racks, and a beautifully designed package as a whole.
Broken Brights: Angus Stone
There seems to be at least two separate cover designs for this album, this being my favourite of the two. The deluxe package that came in the (above) bag was spectacular and very thoughtfully put together. No idea who designed the package as a whole, maybe he did it himself?
The Touch Of You: Barry Morgan
Lovely Kitsch-ey cover, perfectly appropriate for Mr Morgan, who a little of goes a long way!
Black Rabbits: Grinspoon
Another beautiful cover by the wonderful WBYK – not looking quite as WBYK-ish as that piece for The Lovetones, but carried very effectively over the whole package and marketing material I have seen.
Anastasis: Dead Can Dance
Sleeve Design: Berendan Perry
Photography: Zsolt Sigmond
Lovely and approriate cover photo by the awesomely named photographer Zsolt Sigmond
Slay Me In My Sleep: Grand Salvo
Design: Mark Gowing
Night Sky: Sophie Hutchings
Design: Mark Gowing
Where would I be in these end of year reviews without the wonderful work that Mark Gowing produces for Preservation? If only more music labels took such a considered approach to the design of their releases. Two more beautiful examples this year, Night Sky being one of my favourite releases of the year. I do miss those big poster cover foldouts they did though!
The Moment: Mia Dyson
Great photo – overall, nicely handled.
Cable Mount Warning: The Maple Trail
This one was a real surprise to me, perhaps the most underrated release of the year, you’ve got to listen to this if you have the means an absolutely beautiful collection of understated tunes. That said, what a gorgeous and unusual cover! Absolutely like nothing else I’ve seen this year, no idea who was responsible, but well done to everyone involved.
Thinking In Textures: Chet Faker
Art Direction & Design: Christopher Doyle
Photography: Jefton Sungkar
Once again, designer Christopher Doyle doesn’t disappoint, he’s getting rather good at these things.
The Drifter’s Dawn: The Tiger & Me
Artwork: Tim Allan @ Made Visual
When I first saw this online I excitedly thought that maybe that little booklet thing on the front, was actually attached to the cover – unfortunately that’s not the case, still an effective piece of artwork though.
Toward The Low Sun: The Dirty Three
Artwork: Mick Turner
Mick Turner, may you never put down your paintbrush. Another beautiful selection of tunes from The Dirty Three once again complimented by the artists deft touch for their cover graphics.
Bless This Mess: Lisa Mitchell
Graphic Design & Cover Artwork: Grace West
Drawings + Scribblings: Lisa Mitchell
Oh Lisa! You never let me down with you cover designs! Another very beautiful cohesive package design from the lovely songstress together with another batch of wonderful music.
So there you have it, feel free to suggest any covers that you may have seen that you think deserve to be on the list. Also, any updates on missing design credits would also be greatly appreciated!
I’ve been remiss in not featuring old work buddy Chris Cooper along with business partner George Randle’s new studio venture, Band. The above piece of work has been making the rounds of various design blogs for the last few months, and there are some absolutely brilliant pieces featured on the site, the designs for Cuckoo and Heart & Soul being particular favourites. I’m hoping to have a little chat with the guys in the new year to feature here on Facing Sideways, but in the meantime, go check out some of the stuff the guys have been working on.
Prana Studios have just updated their website with a new look and some new stylish work. There is a lot to like here, including some fantastic illustration and identity pieces and a lovely concise inspiration wall, it’s always nice to see what inspires other designers in their daily work. Also keep an eye out for this years Prana Print series of hand illustrated black and white design to purchase for the holiday season, a nice personal gift for the appreciator of fine print work in your life.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that Paul Sahre is one of my very favourite graphic designers, so when I saw that he was looking for sponsors for a new project through Kickstarter, it was a no-brainer that I was going to contribute.
“Saturn V Relaunch” is a photography project and book that will see Paul rebuilding and launching a Saturn V model rocket, some 40 years after his father tried to do the same thing. Paul’s design and 70s era rocketry = awesome in my books.
Paul describes the project as “a shot at dad redemption… in order to introduce two boys (his sons) to the grandfather they will never know”.
Going back to the end of the Apollo space missions on the early 1970s Paul remembers his father – an aerospace engineer – building a Saturn V model rocket. After months of cutting, gluing, sanding and painting, Paul’s father launched the rocket in an open field, only to have the chutes fail, and the model rocket plummet back to earth. Paul remembers this as the first time he ever saw his dad fail – at anything. So when he recently discovered the launch pad in his now late father’s attic he decided to take the experience full circle by trying to launch the rocket again.
In Paul’s words, “Saturn V Relaunch is a tribute to the days before NASA cutbacks when every kid wanted to be an astronaut in order to explore the unknown, if only in our own backyards And to all of the model rockets that caught fire on the launch pad, exploded mid-air, were lost in a tree or disappeared from sight, never to be seen again.”Saturn V Relaunch sees Paul building another Saturn V model from the same vintage Centuri model kit his father used (he found one on eBay). Upon completion, the rocket will be launched publicly from Sahre’s father’s 40-year-old launchpad. The entire process and the launch, which is planned for the second quarter of 2013, will be documented and self-published as an art/photo book, which Sahre will write and design himself. There is also a plan to produce a short documentary on the Saturn V Relaunch.
The cool part is, every Kickstarter backer gets their name affixed to the exterior of the rocket, which Paul is “envisioning as” a Nascar type situation, with the rocket covered with names”.
For Paul the project is about more than a model rocket. It is “about a time machine posing as a model rocket”! But it is also about exploring “some basic ideas that we can all relate to: memory, family (specifically fathers), loss, trying again, and what (and how) we pass on to our children”.
So for five bucks you can be a part of this project, and if you’re feeling even more generous, there are various rewards offered at various money donation levels. I’ve found donating to Kickstarter projects to be a very rewarding endeavour in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this one later in 2013.
Lots of things happening in the Adelaide graphic design scene since I last put keyboard to screen, including lots of updates to local design firms websites.
Some nice new wine label and identity projects by Damian at Sage, including this striking piece of work for The Farm Shed.
Typespace have a whole new look to their site and some great new work on display, including this colourful identity for Floral Image that I’ve seen around town.
One of my favourite studios Working Images have also updated the look of their site, some stunning identity and environmental pieces to peruse while you’re there.
Old stomping ground, Burton Nesbitt Graphic Design, is now simply de.co, with an updated look and website along with some updated work on display.
Ecocreative who I discussed in my previous post have also since updated their website.
sector7g have updated UK band Ride’s official website, doing a very nice job of capturing the bands jingly jangly shoe-gazer feel as well as making me insanely jealous in designing for one of my favourite bands of the 90s.
Late to party as usual, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful clip Chris Edser has produced for local band ‘The Beards’ single ‘Got Me a Beard‘ which recreates the album cover in glorious animation.
It always intrigues me living in this small city of Adelaide how many people are making a living out of Graphic Design, what really amazes me is how many of them are really good. Producing great design is hard enough, doing it with commitment to a particular set of personal ideals is another. I’ve been fascinated by a rise in design studios that have taken a focus on only taking on work of a socially responsible manner, I visited a firm in New York called Hyperakt whose directive is to work with clients who fight for justice, celebrate culture and diversity, spread knowledge and engage in social entrepreneurship. Local design firm Ecocreative seem to be following a similar path. They are dedicated to communicating messages that bring about positive change and producing media with a commitment to sustainability. It’s a message that most studios would get behind, though I think it’s interesting and courageous that they are dedicated to being so upfront about it, particularly in such a small market as Adelaide. While you might say it’s easy enough to promote yourself as ‘eco-conscious’ they back it up with some very nice, considered work than definitely demonstrates they practice what they preach. Though I’m not a big fan of the website design there’s some great touches, like the section on the folks who work there and their activities towards sustainability outside of the 9-5. Director Matthew Wright-Simon can often be found espousing his sustainability in design message across the twitter-verse and is well worth following for such.
Luka Va is a Lithuanian illustrator and designer (now living in Adelaide or is that Melbourne now?) who I’ve been meaning to feature since I bought a print of hers on Etsy a few months back. I first became aware of her from her prize winning entry for the National Parks of South Australia t-shirt competition. Her illustrations are intricate and full of whimsy, staying on the right side of both – plus, she draws lots of cats and bunnies, always a good thing in my book. She has lots of nice prints for sale at he Etsy shop, as well as selling her wares at local craft and art fares.