Observations. Ideas. Passing thoughts. Likes and gripes. The following blog is something of a random visual and written notebook brought to you by totalcontent. We’ll be covering a wide range of topics, from words and writing, to typography and technology, graphics and popular culture, music and lyrics… and much more besides. Hope it tickles your fancy and feel free to have your say.
I’ve been a long-time admirer of Howies
– who tongue-in-cheekily style themselves ‘Cardigan Bay’s third-biggest clothing company’. They’re right-on without being preachy or self-righteous, trying to do the right thing as far as they can by providing organic, low-impact goods. As my bulging T-shirt drawer will attest, I’ve bought plenty of stuff from them – even when I haven’t particularly needed it – just to support what they’re doing. (I’m not quite sure whether this is acceptable or not).
Howies’ copywriting is always spot on too, particularly their emails and collectable quarterly catalogue. And they use every opportunity – from labels in jeans to blogs and booklets – to spread the word. The writing is never over-chummy, but has a simple, easy-going tone of voice, which is difficult to resist. A recent wheeze is the T-shirt of the week
… a limited edition by an artist or illustrator available only for seven days. Thought-provoking, smile-inducing, and seriously good-looking, they’re a regular graphic treat. This is the latest, designed by Aron Jones and Tim March, and hand printed in Howies’ customised shed in deepest West Wales.
got it covered.
For those of us who like to judge a book by its cover, here’s a wry-yet-chirpy blog comparing and contrasting book cover design from around the world, along with suitably pithy commentary.
What’s really intriguing is the way different styles are adopted for different markets and how covers are refreshed from one edition to the next. But the real eye-opener is how your reaction is so easily manipulated, even before you’ve read a word. You can’t underestimate how a cover sets the tone for a book, or influences your frame of mind as you start delving into the writing.
Shown here, a new Faber & Faber edition of Paul Auster’s ‘New York Trilogy’ designed by the fabulously talented Jonathan Gray
(who also did the ‘Common Ground’ cover for 26). And Art Spiegelman
’s cover for the Penguin Deluxe Classics Edition of the same book. Get under the covers at www.thebookdesignreview.com
that’s me in the corner.
Sorry. Bit of a hobby horse. Really enjoyed the Design Week Awards last week – they were slick, inspiring, and it was great to catch up with friends, clients and collaborators. There was also a truly worthy Best of Show winner in the Peezy, a funky urine sample device for women (really).
As if that wasn’t enough, work by totalcontent
was up among the awards again (details in the ‘recently’ section if you’re interested). Not that anyone would have known. For some reason, copywriting is barely ever credited. At awards or on the finished article. Even when it’s totally central to the success of a project. Designers, photographers, illustrators, printers, even the paper stock gets a name check. But the poor old writer? It’s a perennial frustration, and I still can’t figure out why words get so little recognition. OK, you can come out now, moan over.
as easy as A-B-C.
I’m not too sure about Alphabeat’s music, it’s a just a bit too unashamedly ‘pop’ for me. You might remember the inane but infectiously catchy ‘Boyfriend’ from last year. Even if you don’t, when I tell you that the Danish band’s influences are Wham! and Abba, you’ll get the picture. Having said that, the cover for their debut UK CD, ‘This is Alphabeat’, is a graphic designer’s wet dream. With echoes of Peter Blake, Victorian poster type and nursery building blocks, it’s colourful, quirky and nostalgic. Which begs two questions. Firstly, would you buy a CD on the strength of its cover art? And secondly, anyone out there know who designed this little beauty?