One of my singular pleasures of the year is when I receive my Type Directors Club annual in the mail. I’ve been a member since 2010 – one of the benefits of memberships of course is that you receive the beautiful Type Directors Annual each year, which, in my humble opinion, is the best curated collection of design examples from around the world year after year. Membership in the Type Directors club offers a lot more than just the annual though. It’s a way to connect and interact with the world’s very best designers, creative directors and typographers – and of course, if you work is up to standard, a way to present your very best work in front a very distinguished audience (Adelaide firms Voice and Studio Band were both awarded in the latest Type Directors awards for example (well done guys!) I thought I would share some of my favourite pieces from the latest annual, I’ll think you’ll agree it’s some cracking work.



How to Ruin Everything: Essays By George Watsky
Ben Denzer Art Direction Jason Booher

I thought I would start off with what is probably my very favourite pieces in the whole annual. I wish I could spend my life designing book covers that look as care-free as this.
Just when you admire how beautiful the cover is, you then turn it over to see that the back cover may be even better. I remember being so knocked out by this when I saw it on the bookstore shelf that I immediately had to have it, just so I could admire that cover at leisure. Luckily for me that it is also an awesome collection of essays written by the very clever and very funny George Watsky – perfectly encapsulated in that cover.
Make sure you check out Ben’s site for some more of his awesome work.


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Jazz St. Louis Gala Invitation
Design Direction
Sarah Newitt
Design Kiku Obata & Company

I really like how this invitation uses the vernacular of mid-century jazz album typography but modernises it with a contemporary typestyle update and the use of a modern neon colour palette. It’s sophistication is totally appropriate for its intended audience. I would want to go to this if I received it in the mail.



The New York Times Magazine
Frank Augugliario, Ben Grandgenett, Chloe Scheffe, Matt Willey
Design Director
Gail Bichler
Art Direction
Matt Willey
Deputy Art Director
Jason Sfetko

The New York Times Magazine produces the goods week after week, displaying the very best publication design you can imagine. Gail Bichler and Matt Willey are two of my design heroes with what they are able to achieve with the NYT Magazine and a constant inspiration upon my own work. This issue turned it up a notch by turning the whole magazine 90 degrees as a play upon the issues subject matter: Life above 800 feet. Every detail is considered, down to a custom typeface to fit the heights of the new dimension. Keep in mind these guys are doing this sort of work on a weekly basis, check out the Winter Olympics issue they produced recently as another beautiful example of publication design going the extra mile.




Just Another Unicorn Hoodies
Creative Direction and Calligraphy
Mariana Castellanos

Most streetwear you see around the place these days is about as cool as something your grandmother would give you for Christmas – and most graffiti inspired designs are about as wearable these days has a hyper-colour t-shirt. These are something else though, tangible subtle lettering on muted colour backgrounds, they are a typography buffs dream attire. While ultimately they are ‘too rad’ for someone like me to wear, I could imagine someone cool like Chris Cooper or Nic Eldridge could pull it off.




It’s Time For The Hope Singers LP
Mattias Amnäs, Anders Bollman, Fibi Kung
Creative Direction Perniclas Bedow
Calligrapher  & Illustrator Fibi Kung
Design Firm Bedow

I’d seen this online a few months back and admired it, so I was as happy as could be to see that it was featured in the latest typography annual. It does this old heart good to see such considered typography used so well on an LP cover! Unfortunately by the looks of it, with a run of only 300, I’m imagining it’s not the easier of records to actually get a physical copy of.



Stravinsky LP
Design Fons Hickmann, Lizzy Onck
Studio Fons Hickmann m23

Ok, squint your eyes a little bit. See it? Pretty clever play on the traditional Op Art technique. It’s the sort of music that is ripe for such interesting interpretation, but seldom is, which lets this particular design sit well apart from the pack.



Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine
Design Simon Abranowicz
Creative Direction Robert Vagas

I’m not particularly concerned by the machinations of the business world on a weekly basis, but luckily I am enamoured by great design and typography, which must be the reason I’m quite often picking up copies of Bloomberg Businessweek. This cover is a real standout for a magazine that prides itself on producing stand-out covers. Bold, weird and king of icky at the same time – you wouldn’t think the subject matter would particularly lend it self to such an original presentation. But here we are, with Bloomberg Businessweek securing it’s regular berth in an edition of the Typography Annual. And the design inside is just as good.


So that’s just a brief overview of some of the gems waiting to be discovered in the latest Type Directors Annual (these ones I featured weren’t even selected as judges choices, so there is still a bounty of typographic excellence to be discovered. I will also urge you, if you have the means, to become a member of the Type Directors Club yourself if you are not already – personally I think it’s a small price to pay to be in the company of such extraordinary work – not to mention the designers and typographers behind it.

The Type Directors Club



Pine no longer, deliverance is at hand – it’s your late-in-the-day-lazy-old-list of the past weeks most interesting design links. Conveniently posted here so you don’t have to search so much.

Doing the most work doesn’t necessarily translate into doing your best work, how to keep your creativity when the pressure’s on.

It’s easy to get into the doldrums at this time of the year after the spark of getting back into working starts to dwindle – so check on what these designers are most looking forward to in the coming months to perk up your enthusiasm.

Can’t find that elusive font that you’ve spotted out in the wilderness? Maybe those letters don’t come from a font at all.

Khoi Vinh always has something thoughtful to add to the design discussion, but he’s getting worried that not enough of us are playing along.

Unit Editions have another great design book out, this time on the rubdown lettering solution of my wayward youth, Letraset.

Mark Farrow has had a long-standing relationship with the visual language of the Pet Shop Boys that continues to this day.

Rob Ryan is a man with much more patience that I think I could ever hope to muster. Check out his beautiful cut paper illustrations and how he goes about creating them.



I don’t spend nearly enough time on here discussing local illustrators (actually, I probably don’t spend enough time on here period). It’s not a deliberate omission, just a slackness on my part to go in search of them (so hey, if you’re an illustrator and want a possible shout-out drop me a line!) I’m envious of the particular skills and fortitude of the individual who devotes their life to the illustrative arts. That’s a particularly long-winded way of introduction to the awesome talents of the awesome Owen Lindsay. If you’re familiar with the Adelaide CityMag or it’s late lamented predecessor Collect Magazine then you would have seen Owen’s work – it’s always a bonus when his pieces are featured there-in (though you should be reading it regardless). Owen describes his style as fun + engaging – that’s a good start – I’m particularly fond of his info-graphics, there’s always a ‘Where’s Wally’ quality to searching through the illustrated tidbits and letting out a gentle guffaw when you ‘see what he did there’. It’s a fine line between cool and kitsch when you work in a cartoony style, but I’ve yet to see him cross over – don’t be fooled by the medium, this is eminently clever stuff designed with thought and care into subject, layout and colour. I like the fact that he’s also not a one trick pony, his illustration goes from loose and easy to tight and technical when need be. what I’m trying to say is it’s good stuff and you should definitely check out more of his work (and also pick up a copy of CityMag if you’re out and about in Adelaide).

January, sick and tired you’ve been hanging on me. Yes I’m sick and tired of this heat and there’s still at least a couple of months of Summer to go here. Anyway, my enthusiasm for sharing the weeks best design links that the interwebs have to offer remains un-dampened. Go forth and be similarly entertained.

A designer’s job is never done, or does it just feel that way?

How to take design feedback from non-designers and not get your fee-fees hurt, or come at them with an axe – your experience may differ depending on feedback.

And on that previous note – waste not want not.

Most of us pretty much enjoy what we do in the design field – it’s certainly not for the recognition or financial incentives. It’s pretty easy to get sucked down that hole into becoming a workaholic (and a drag at social gatherings). If this feels like you, maybe the new year is a time to look into some recovery methods.

Maybe that’s why there’s such a preponderance of mental issues in the creative industry? This article concentrates on the web industry, but I think it’s stories carry across to anyone working in design.

And if you’re looking for some means to relax a little, this simple site may be a good place to start.

The Guardian has gone through a dramatic re-design.

Designer’s love ’em, why do they remain so addictive?

This is a great little resource brought to you by the folks behind Kickstarter. I’ve been slowly trawling through it.

It’s Monday, so that means another load of links to start your working day off right and get your designer mind working on all cylinders with a road-up of some of the weeks best design post (and the usual dose of cat video goodness as seen above). Get at it!

It’s Nice That is the creative blog that Facing Sideways hopes to be one day when it grows up a little. In the meantime, check out their top 25 graphic design features for 2017.

Hamish Smyth is an expat Australian designer behind publisher Standards Manual and design studio Order. Design Week recently asked him ‘What will graphic design look like in 2018?’ and answered with some thoughtful ideas. 

Apparently companies are finally listening to designers (and it’s only taken 70+ years, give or take)! This is what you need to know before you take that seat at the boardroom table.

If I see the name ‘Beatles’ mentioned in conjunction with the word ‘designer’ my eyes are immediately going to light up. Gordon House was an artist/designer who contributed to the visual palette of said super group as well as a mess of other significant touchstones of the swinging-sixties, yet remains relatively unknown today.

The humble pencil is usually the first instrument we turn to when sketching out an idea, and who doesn’t find some meditative release in the simple act of sharpening the point, reader to transfer though to paper? Do we ever give much thought to where said instrument originates or how it’s made? Read then this interesting report on one of America’s last pencil factories.

If you haven’t grabbed yourself a copy of designer/illustrator Noma Bar’s new monograph Bittersweet, do so at your nearest convenience. In the meantime, read this great piece on him over at Creative Boom.

As social media becomes more and more prevalent in society, its ethical implications also become more pronounced. The answer may lie in better design.

Finding it hard to get motivated on that personal project that’s been percolating for a while? Maybe you need to finally set a deadline, or maybe you don’t.

Heath Killen has set up shop and is working under the monicker of Honeymoon. Heath is a real ‘designer’s designer’ and one of the top talents operating out of anywhere with a very inspiring attitude towards life and the profession of design. Check out some of his beautifully imagined past and present projects ay his new site.

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve covered this, but being an area of certain interest to myself I figured the time had come around to give it another shot. The main reason I stopped  doing it a few years back is because i was having such a hard and frustrating time coming up with with a substantial enough list to make it viable. Design for music really seems to be in the doldrums in Australia, even as I noticed a significant uptick in quality the quality of overseas cover design in 2017. Maybe we just need a bit of time to catch up. My choices are based on the sole criteria of ‘I wish I had done that’, so judge the results as you will. There are some fantastic contributions to the form below, mostly coming from the fringes of what you would regard as mainstream releases. I’ve got to say it was a real slog coming up with what I regarded as worthy inclusions, but maybe I’m just not thorough enough or I’m getting too old to know what ‘the kids are down with these day’. I’ve always held that if the musical artist cares enough about their records, then more often than not, they will package it in a design that shows the care they’ve put into it. Maybe in this age of Spotify and Apple music it’s just not a consideration anymore. Most of these albums are also available as vinyl releases, they certainly deserve to be presented in that format. I haven’t tried to credit the designers /artists/photographers behind the covers this year, is was holding me back from actually putting this up, digging for credits for every piece, but please feel free to get in contact if you know of any and i’ll add them accordingly, in fact, If you are one of the creators of these pieces I would love to hear from regardless. As I’ve said above, these are my favourites, if you have any of your own please feel free to leave a comment, I’d certainly love to see any crackers that I might have missed.


A great, beautifully simple design by Traianos Pakioufakis (check out some more great album design on the site), for Jen Cloher’s self-title album. It’s really comes down to the sublime candid photograph by Luke McLean Stephenson (the black edge of the pic poking through is a nice touch). The restraint in the design is what really works for this cover, it helps that it’s a cracking batch of sons to listen to as well!



King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released 5(!) full album releases in 2017, the above is just one example, they are all great designs, awesomely produced by the great Jason Galea. Nice to see a current band so involved with producing good music and great visuals.



This is an album that has sort of snuck under the radar, I haven’t really heard much about it at all for such a high-profile Australian act. That said, I like the cover, and Cut Copy seldom disappoint with their artwork – sort of a through-back to the 90s, it has that late Not Only Black & White magazine aesthetic happening (design by vocalist Dan Whitford) – plus the imagery forms a kind of visual haiku if you look at it long enough.


The Kite String Tangle-The Kite string tangle

A great image can make all the difference as this cover demonstrates. It’s an engaging graphic used here (not sure if it’s a photo or some photoshop trickery) by The Kite String Tangle – I like the little logo in the bottom corner there too but I’m not sure whether it distracts too much from the overall visual. Great colour range too.



Country music isn’t renowned for it’s engaging album cover imagery, but Fanny Lunsden’s cover here for her album Real Class Act is a definite exception in that regard. Even a seemingly simple photograph can be used to stunning effect when handled right. I love the choice of typeface in the top left corner as well, I only wish the artist’s name had been similarly considered, as it kind of spoils the overall effect tucked there in the bottom right-hand corner.


Methyl Ethel

Methyl  Ethel have been getting plenty of airplay and some love from international music mags like NME. As you would expect from an outfit described as an ‘Art Rock Band’ the cover comes with the requisite ‘first year of art school’ painted nude, aesthetic -(by Holly Fewson) which is actually meant as a compliment, there’s a really nice freshness to it, in contrast to the choice of that black background which gives the cover a bold standout quality. I’m sure this looks stunning on the full 12 inch album, brave choice to leave the band name and title off only their sophomore release.



There’s alway room for a bit of nostalgia when it’s handles just right. The name ‘The Cherry Dolls’ lends itself  to such a treatment – and they’ve certainly gone with it. There’s kind of that early 80s indie record artwork thing going on there too with the hand script at the top and the colour overlay. It’s in ‘full stereo’ too! Which is always good to know.



There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about Holly Throsby’s After a Time cover, but in a year worth of covers that couldn’t be bothered, I thought it would be nice to finish up on something that shows just a little bit of thought can produce something quite sublime and appropriate – needless to say the typography is well considered also.


With 2018 upon us, it’s time for me to rise from my pit of self-imposed ennui and into the light of a brand new year and a brand new lot of design links to engage you with!

Does your design suck? Well it won’t get any better if you don’t stop picking at it and don’t keep these five things in mind.

I’ve almost finished compiling my list of my favourite Australian album covers of 2017, in the meantime, why not check out The Creative Review’s rundown of their favourite 2017 album covers from all over the place and the best music videos of the year as well.

And while we’re on 2017 best of lists, here’s Literary Hub’s 64 best book covers of 2017.

2017 is dead, long live 2018! Here’s a list of design trends that need to die along with it.

Why do we keep thinking we’re seeing sexual anatomy in logos? Is this really a problem?

2017 was often a frustrating year for me – so good advice to tackle 2018 with is greatly appreciated!

Another great interview from The Great Discontent. Gary Taxali was one of the first illustrators/designers I really took notice of when I was studying. It’s great to see he’s still round and still producing great work.

The New York Times is one of the great bastions of editorial illustration. With the various goings on in the US at the moment, the year was a particularly strong one for their use of various innovative spot illustrative elements. Here’s a really great rundown of some of the best pieces produced through 2017.

Print magazine is shutting up shop – on its print edition at any rate. I’ll really miss their young creatives overview and their regional design annual.

But don’t despair! It looks like printed magazine of many varied sorts will still continue to go strong in 2018. Here are some predictions on what forms they may take.