I’m a big fan of illustration, but really good illustrators seem to be few and far between in Adelaide. One of the best illustrators/designers of local note is Chris Edser, I seem to see his work all over the place. I really like the fact that he seems to work in so many styles that it isn’t always immediately apparent that it is his work. He was co-creator of my favourite AGDA Awards posters of a few years back , along with designer Sam Barratt, cohorts with Yianni Hill in the collective Screamdance, I love the sense of whimsy and humour in the work and the way he uses it across various mediums and applications, from band posters to animation, children’s books to shop interiors, even the sides of a tram. He updates his website with lots of cool stuff to look at, recently a fantastic hand drawn proportioned map of his garden in the suburbs of Adelaide. I only wish I could draw so good.
So the the poster for the 2011 Adelaide Fringe was launched today designed by (Bulgarian?) designer Kamen Goranov. So we’re outsourcing our design work to Bulgaria now 🙂 ? In all seriousness, nothing against Mr Goranov and his design which is actually pretty nice as a responce to creating some ‘iconic ambassadors’ for the event (though I’m a little over the whole spray paint, stencil effects thing that), but there are so few opportunities for local designers to produce work for such a high profile Adelaide event, we really have to open it up to all and sundry? We can’t have this one small crumb? Actually, I’ve been thinking lately about the whole ‘open contest’ aspect of the Fringe poster and what it has really become. Back when the Fringe was really what it still calls itself ‘a fringe event’ for more ‘cutting edge, low budget or experimental’ acts, maybe not considered appropriate for the more ‘prestigious’ Adelaide festival of Arts. In that context, a public submitted poster design contest is perhaps an appropriate grass roots type of promotional piece. The fact of the matter is though, is that the Fringe is now grown into a whole other beast, a serious, money making, mainstream commercial enterprise, even surpassing the Adelaide Arts Festival it was once on the ‘fringe’ of. This is increasingly being reflected over the years in the promotional poster. Where once the poster was a visual introduction to the eclectic and outsider aspect of the Fringe, as it has become more corporate and more mainstream, so it seems, has control over the poster and the overall ‘branding’ of the event. The poster was once designed as ‘a whole’, image and typography having to be incorporated together, a poster to advertise The Fringe – the shift in recent years has been to the public submitting an image or illustration that has then been ‘branded’ by the Fringe’s designers of choice with the event s set corporate typography (or as one talented ‘wag’ posted on Facebook, ‘It’s good to see that the Fringe is staying true to its mission to bring bad typography to the world’, I wouldn’t be mean enough to say that, no matter what I might think 😉 It’s not just a poster anymore, but t-shirts, mugs, hats, keyrings (whatever they can think to put it on actually). So maybe it’s time The Fringe got with the times and really sold the ‘poster’ contest like it now is, it’s no longer a poster competition, rather it’s a ‘provide an illustration’ competition, or, lets be honest about it, a cheap branding contest. So why don’t they just really bite the bullet, get serious and actually hire some of the brilliant local brand specialists to design a cohesive promotional program for their now very commercial exercise? Maybe because by calling it a ‘poster’ rather than an expansive brand identity, they can justify the paltry ‘prize’ reward of the $1000 travel voucher the winner receives, I’m not so cynical as to propose this is 100% the case, but good luck to Mr Goranov if he plans to try and use his prize to get to Adelaide to check out the fruits of his labour.
It’s ‘Adelaide Week’ on design blog Australian Infront, I’ve sent them a stack of links, it will be interesting to see who else they dig up and feature!
It’s always cool to see expatriate South Australian designers doing well in their endeavours overseas. Such is the case with Marie Schultz, now residing in London, who continues to build upon her incredible portfolio with some very interesting and accomplished work indeed. Be sure to explore her extensive site featuring work she produced back in Adelaide as well as a range of design pieces done for some big names in the UK (mostly featured in her downloadable pdf folio). Also of note is her project Sibling Cities, a photographic project between her and her sister Cathy, the aim of which is to capture common visual links between the two on a weekly basis to a chosen theme. They post weekly diptychs exploring the contrasts of their lives between Adelaide and London. It’s a facinating and inspiring project that has recently received accolades from the Australian Graphic Design Association and an admiring Facebook community. As the ladies say, check it out and share the love.