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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.

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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!

 

monster-children-vinyl-art-5

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.

 

Cut-Copy-Haiku-From-Zero

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.

 

Realclassact

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.

 

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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.

 

Holly-Throsby-After-a-Time-iTunes-cover-2-1024x1024

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.

 

 

 

As Christmas and the end of the year draw nigh, so does your weekly dose of design related goodness collected from all around the web-o-sphere. Will Santa grant your wish with a Monday Load of Links next Monday? Leave out a glass of milk and a Scotch Finger Biscuit next Sunday eve and see!

Michael Carney has been consistently maintaining the visual image of the band The Black Keys (as well as some other cool performers like Randy Newman!) over multiple releases. This is a great interview with him on his work and working within the music industry. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a big fan.

Those crazy Russians during the Soviet era sure did like to make a statement in regards to what we would consider the most utilitarian of public spaces. Check out these oddball bus stops from that time photographed by Christopher Herwig.

Personal Style vis client expectations is the slippery slope most of us working designers navigate on a working week basis. These three art directors talk on how they handle the balancing act.

A lot of us grew up poring over the typographic experiments of The Face magazine, Raygun and Not Only Black and White magazine if you live downunder. I’m not sure those rule-breaking days of contemporary magazine design are of much concern to the average consumer these days as we would like to imagine, but maybe a more subtle approach to typography is winning readers over?

Did you make an impact on design in 2017? If your name’s not on this list, then, obviously, you must try harder!

Design thinking as an STD, nice.

The Casual Optimist is my church this time of year as I worship at the altar of the most notable book covers of 2017.

And speaking of great book design, there’s still time to enter The Australian Book Design Awards if you’ve created any noteworthy tomes of your own in the past year (you have until December 22 to enter).

Rules for working in a studio, actually pretty good rules for working anywhere.

Is design enough to change the world? We’ll get right onto it after rock ‘n roll does I guess.

Back after a short vacation to Melbourne to see Sir Paul McCartney in concert. A large load of design related links to start of the working week (obligatory cat video back next week!)

Not my sort of music, but the Wu Tang Clan have certainly paid a lot of attention to their visual image over the years.

I’ve sometimes thought of starting my own Kickstarter project over the years )I’ve certainly funded my fair share of them), here’s some tips on funding your own Kickstarter campaign.

The Smudge reminds me of the type of publications produced by the British underground press in the 1960s. I’ve just purchased a couple of back issues and I’m really looking forward to reading them.

Speaking of the British underground press of the 1960s, this new book purports to include the cover of every British underground paper that launched in the sixties. I may have to purchase my own copy when finances allow after the Christmas season.

With each issue based around a single object, MacGuffin magazine is a platform for fans of inspiring, personal, unexpected, highly familiar or utterly disregarded things. It’s a beautifully designed magazine and weighing in at a hefty 220 pages, a thorough read. The latest issues is on ‘sinks’.

Looking to donate some money in this season of giving? Women Who Code and Design That Matters may be a good place to park some cash if you are in a charitable mood.

The Time person(s) of the year are the silence breakers. Thank God it’s not D2S.

Would you kill to work at one of these companies? (I might come close if Adult Swim offered). Interesting that The New York Times is one of the choices too.

Designer Dave Sedgwick discusses how to push a brief.

I’ve been known to take a Skillshare class or two. This one on The Art of the Story: Creating Visual Narratives by Debbie Millman looks fantastic (it features Paul Sahre as an added bonus!)

Legendary logo designer Ivan Chermayeff has died.

I really like these ceramic and porcelain ghosts.

What did graphic design look like in the medieval period? A question that I’m sure has been on all our minds at one point.

Lots of people reflecting on 2017 online at the moment. This is a pretty good list of what one person learned throughout the year.

Ultraviolet is the Pantone colour of the year.