Delight & inform

An Ode to Record Covers

Before CDs and mp3s, the vinyl cover was a veritable 288-square inch canvas that offered a unique story-telling opportunity for artists and designers. Although losing their public prominence, many album covers remain iconic images that  conveyed a sense about the music and the era: from Andy Warhol’s design for the Velvet Underground to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to Peter Saville’s striking minimalist designs for Factory Records. Recently, Fast Company offered insight into the story behind the data visualization used on Saville’s design Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures (above), arguably one of the most recognized covers of all time.

Music to Our…

As the city around us begins to recover we are focusing this week on the magical healing artform of music. These incredible sounds wake us in the morning, accompany us through our day, and lull us to sleep. Music has inspired all forms of creation – from art, architecture to fashion and technology. As Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Kicking it off, we recently re-discovered Philip Glass’s original compositions for this wonderful Sesame Street video, “Geometry of Circles.”

Design Women

An exhibition in Los Angeles heralds the incredible work of women designers through decades of male-dominated fields. “California’s Designing Women: 1896–1986” includes terrific and influential work by 46 women designers working in ceramics, clothing, furniture, jewelry, textiles, and graphics. The exhibition includes a reproduction of Deborah Sussman’s dramatic supergraphic, a piece originally installed in the Joseph Magnin Department Store in San Jose in 1986. On view at the Autry National Center in LA, through January 6.

Building Cities

As NYC and all impacted by the effects of Sandy start to re-build, we were inspired by this vibrant and hopeful mural in Seattle depicting a city being built. Illustrators Invisible Creature worked with artist Don Rockwell and traditional sign-painters Foley Sign Company to bring the mural to life in South Lake Union. Check out this accompanying video documenting Foley Sign Co’s process of scaling and painting digital art onto a 100′ x 30′ wall.

Australian Nostalgia

Australia has a style and character all its own, and has for years. The Island Continent is a new site that gets nostalgic for the cool, fun, quirky and humorous Australian past – especially the 1980s. In luscious, gorgeous, technicolor photography, the site provides an archive of books, advertising, design, photography and memorabilia that is all quintessentially Aussie. All are categorized in themes, like “Community Murals in Oz ’82,” and “Photography from a Road Trip to Cairns.”

M/M Monograph

M/M Paris have consistently defied categorization and boundaries in their work for fashion, art, music, and exhibitions. A stunning monograph of their work is being published, highlighting their projects with Bjork, Stella McCartney, the Tate Modern, and more.

Get Made


MADE is a gorgeous new quarterly journal focusing entirely on the artisinal and handcrafted. The first issue featured Danish motorcycle-makers, Australian shoe cobblers, and foodie/photographer/blogger Katie Quinn Davies. The magazine celebrates and promotes the individuals and collectives making their own way in every category.

Alphabet Bitmap

Canadian magazine Uppercase recently invited 26 designers, illustrators and typographers to bring back the bitmap by designing an assigned letter. One used cut squares of paper to create a gradient “O”, another cast shadows via holes in paper to make an illuminated “E.” All are beautiful renditions of the 26 Roman characters, cast in a new light. Some great background on their process is up on the site.

South African Pride

In tribute to Nelson Mandela, South Africa is releasing gorgeous new banknotes with the leader’s image and scenes from his life etched on them. The notes are layered with rich ranges of color and pattern, showing the iconic and beloved man in five scenes. Check out the video introducing the new money released by the South African National Reserve Bank.

Little Literaries

Playful book publisher McSweeney’s is branching out from its already-expansive line of magazines and quarterlies, adding children’s books to the mix. The collection of books will emphasize endearing illustrations and interesting story-lines for kids, with the quirky McSweeney’s perspective. One new release, Jordan Crane’s Keep Our Secrets uses heat-sensitive, color-changing ink on the cover and pages, allowing for hypercolor-style interaction.


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