Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

Thoughts and wishes on the old and the new year

December 31, 2013, 5:07 PM

 

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It’s been a bit quiet on my blog for the past two years, mostly because I post on Twitter the interesting bits and pieces that I find. However, I’m hoping to get back on the blog in the new year, as I miss its ‘journal’ quality, and clearing my thoughts through writing. Twitter, even if very useful for many things, is much more ephemeral. I’ve already back-posted a few things, I’ll add more in the next days, especially photos and quick notes from some inspiring exhibitions.

This year has been a gut-wrenching ride, reaching the highest and lowest points in my life in the last four or five years.

One of the most challenging projects I’ve ever been involved in was launched in January, the rebranding of the ITV network (you can read Rudd Studio’s case study and blog post about it) — quite a maturing experience for me. After that, I took a break and did a self-promo package, two booklets, sent together with handwritten letters to people that I admire and want to work with. The black booklet showed my work and explained my background and beliefs, inspired by Mr Michael Wolff’s saying that ‘nobody hires portfolios, you hire human beings’. The red one showed my Picturing Thoughts personal project. The ‘set’ you can see below was sent to my former colleagues, Brandient, as thanks for our work and relationship over the years, both before and after my move to London.

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The booklets turned out to be the best idea and investment ever, leading to conversations, meetings and interviews with many top British designers, people that I’ve been looking up to for many years, including Mr Wolff himself. The list is too long to include here, I’m thankful to all of them, especially to those that I got to work with, as they are among the very kind ones that have helped me get so far as a designer, doing work that reaches pretty much all the continents on this planet – a thought humbling and amazing at the same time.

I was also lucky to be included in the After Hours exhibition, the Picturing Thoughts booklet was featured on It’s Nice That, I became a TypeToken contributor and one of my logos was included in the Animal logo book, published by Counter-Print.

It hasn’t been easy though, I went through more than a decent share of lows, doubts, mistakes, sacrifices, some big, some small. Some were for the better in the long run, some, I don’t know yet. All I can do is keep moving, strive more and hope that things will be even better next year.

Thank you, have a great, happy new year!
Iancu

Later edit: lest I forget, the arrangement of a word, calligraphy, handwriting etc to form an image is called a calligram.

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Picturing Thoughts

, 2:05 PM

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‘Born out of a relentless need to explore, Picturing Thoughts is an ongoing personal project which turns thoughts into images, thereby creating space for more interesting thoughts. — The title is inspired by Alan Fletcher’s book, Picturing and Poeting, its own title being borrowed from a remark allegedly made by Kurt Schwitters.’

This description sums up what my Picturing Thoughts project is all about. It can be found on both the project’s website and on the second page of the project’s first booklet, which I printed in the beginning of 2013, collecting the best twenty of the first fifty pieces. At the moment (end of 2013), there are seventy pieces on the website and more than a dozen in the works.

It’s Nice That, the popular online magazine, featured the project in July and were very kind in their description of both the project and my work. I photographed the booklet for their feature, you can see the images below (click on images for larger versions).

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My initial plan was to do and post them on a monthly basis, but reality rarely matches our initial plans. I work on them in my sketchbooks almost daily, after which I finish them in Illustrator in batches of five and post fifteen or twenty pieces every two or three months, sometimes more, depending on my workload and other personal projects.

All pieces are usually designed as posters, but I have no plans of selling them at the moment. What matters most is doing them, the process, learning through it. I plan to print a second booklet sometime in 2014, but I have two other booklet projects that I have to finish first. If you’re wondering, I use the booklets for self-promo purposes, they’re printed digitally on an HP Indigo by the fine folks at PurePrint (they print the Eye magazine, which says it all). You can hardly tell the difference from litho (offset), digital has come a long way.

By the way, eight of the Picturing Thoughts were also included in the ‘After Hours’ exhibition, showing work by some well-known designers, and a few young designers among which I was very lucky to be included. You can read my blog post about it.

If you’d like to see all of them, please go to PicturingThoughts.com — subscribe or follow on Tumblr if you’d like to be notified when new ones are posted. Thank you, hope you’ll find them inspiring.

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Igarashi Alphabets

November 25, 2013, 12:53 PM

This post was initially published on TypeToken.

Takenobu Igarashi is one of the Japanese greats, his work ranging from graphic design, industrial to environmental and even sculpture. He’s been a member of AGI since 1981. His book, ‘Igarashi Alphabets: From Graphics to Sculptures’ showcases quite a few of his typographic projects and experiments in both 2D and 3D mediums. His interest in three-dimensional letters and typography has led to projects like ‘Aluminum Alphabet’ (1983), ”Ori (Folded) Alphabet’ (1985), his impressive ‘MoMA Calendar Series’ (1984-1993) for which he’s drawn over six thousand different numerals (isometric, done before computers), ‘Transformable Alphabet’ (1981), ‘Mirror Alphabet’ (1981), ‘Scultpure H’ (1981) and many others.

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Igarashi’s philosophy is best summed up by his own words:
‘My approach to design and sculpture has always wavered between my wish to do something useful for society, and my desire to create something beautiful with my own hands. In my opinion there are three essential things in work: passion, challenge and discovery. Without that, work gets boring; with that, work is enjoyable. And artwork that is enjoyable also results in success.’

Have a look at the Igarashi Studio website for more projects.
You can also read his AGI profile.

Book details:
Publisher: ABC Edition Zurich (1987)
Language: English, German, French
ISBN-10: 3855041024
ISBN-13: 978-3855041022

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Isidro Ferrer

September 15, 2013, 1:02 PM

This post was initially published on TypeToken.

Isidro Ferrer is a Spanish graphic designer and illustrator, member of AGI since 2000. He graduated in drama and scenography, and worked as a stage actor before turning towards graphic design and illustration. His ‘plays’ with ordinary objects, different meanings, photography and typography have led to an awe-inspiring body of work that reminds of greats like Pierre Mendell, Armin Hofmann, Anthon Beeke or Polish poster designers. He’s been involved in a wide range of projects, from posters and identities for cultural institutions, illustration for adults and children, comics, TV cartoons, packaging, publishing to monumental and wayfinding. He has published more than 30 books, been involved in many exhibitions and won a lot of prestigious awards.

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You can admire more of his projects on his website, IsidroFerrer.com. Some more info on his AGI profile, an interview from AGI Open Barcelona in 2011 and another interview by IndexBooks.

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Anthon Beeke – It’s A Miracle

August 9, 2013, 1:10 PM

This post was initially published on TypeToken.

Dutch design is well-known for its boldness, but even among Dutch designers, Anthon Beeke is certainly one of the most provocative. His work not only informs and surprises, but it often tests the limits of free expression. “It’s a miracle” is a new book from BIS Publishers, celebrating Anthon Beeke’s impressive body of work. Chapters are introduced by well known names, such as Steven Heller, Marian Bantjes, James Victore, Erik Kessels and others, each portraying different aspects of Beeke’s life in design, including Amsterdam, jazz, erotica, collecting, typography, photography, provocation and communication.

His works range from beautiful and elegant pieces like the “Body Type” alphabet (created in reply to Wim Crouwel’s computer alphabets), playful, like the poster for Dick Bruna’s fameous Miffy character (done as he says, to beat his friend Bruna in his quest for simplicity), to gut-wrenching, like the “Troilus en Cressida” theatre poster, in which he portrays a woman as a Trojan horse, emphasising the play’s story. Either way, his work will hardly leave you without a reaction.

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“I don’t know a single maker of images who thinks more freely and is more all-round than Anthon Beeke. As far as I am concerned, he is the freest spirit in Dutch design history.” — Erik Kessels

Book details:
Publisher: BIS Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9063693303
ISBN-13: 978-9063693305

You should also visit Anthon Beeke’s website.

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Have a great Twenty Twelve!

December 29, 2011, 5:15 PM

Hopefully, this new year will be more work, less talk. I haven’t been writing much lately, but if things go well, you’ll be looking more than reading. Comments will be welcome, as always. May we all have a great one — cheers!

Iancu

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‘Gastrotypographicalassemblage’ — Lou Dorfsman’s Most Impressive Creation

November 11, 2010, 12:50 AM

Just like the other greats, Lou Dorfsman‘s work is always a pleasure to watch, to analyze, to admire silently, filled with awe. Known mostly for overseeing the identity of the CBS channel for more than 40 years, Lou Dorfsman was a master typographer and designer, involved in all the aspects of CBS’ branding. Luckily, the Shoreditch-based Kemistry Gallery recently held an exhibition presenting one of Dorfsman’s most impressive works, the 11-metre wide handmade wooden typographic wall entitled “Gastrotypographicalassemblage”.

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Here are some more details from the gallery’s website (link):

Created during an era when designers were both artisans and well-trained communicators, the wall is the largest modern typographic artefact in existence, described by Michael Bierut as ‘an irreplaceable piece of design history.’ With custom type created by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase, the wall contains almost 1500 individual characters.

“There are few pieces that represent the typographic and design spirit that illuminated that moment of history, and certainly none on a scale as ambitious.” — Milton Glaser.

The original wall is still in restoration, but even if finished, moving it would’ve been quite a feat — the gallery showed a large, 1/2 scale print of the wall. Several parts were reproduced in real size, though. Other posters and prints were presented as well, next to a huge plastic CBS logo and an old TV from the wall’s era. More photos after the jump.

» Continue reading

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And Snow Covered The Land…

February 8, 2010, 11:18 AM

Such a wonderful thing to draw aimlessly on a torn paper, randomly picked among the piles of books and papers on your desk, never knowing what you’ll eventually get to — and not even suspecting that it’ll be related in any way to future events. If Mr. Glaser says ‘drawing is thinking‘, could it be that drawing is also a small peek into the future? I wonder…

(also on flickr)

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Best wishes to all!

December 25, 2009, 10:17 PM

May we all have a wonderful year in 2010!

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