Immune - Floria Sigismondi

floria.jpg"Floria Sigismondi is a multi-disciplinary artist whose photography, videos, films and sculptures have had a major impact on contemporary visual culture. Six years after we released her first book Redemption, we are publishing Immune, a second collection of Sigismondi’s groundbreaking images that reflect the evolution and diversity of her recent work.

Immune features a remarkable blend of new photos including previously unreleased stills from the prize-winning video clips she has created for music acts including Christina Aguilera, the Cure, Incubus, Björk, the White Stripes (click for video) and Sigur Ros (click for video). These are complimented by more personal artistic images and self-portraits.

The bizarre, otherworldly look that Sigismondi has become famous for is still clearly recognizable, but Immune also highlights the range of her creative vision. In addition to presenting classic images, the book shows work that is subtler and at times irreverently critical of current politics."

CBC gallery on Floria Sigismondi 

Synopsis from the publishers' website.  hardcover $80


Helpful book for guiding your career


How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul

Through industry magazines, awards annuals and opulent monographs, graphic designers love showing their work off to other designers. “Look what I’ve done!” they say. We look at this work and admire its surface beauty  with a pinge of envy. “I want to produce work like that,” we say.

But how did they get there? And is that really the ultimate goal for the design profession, to be recognized by other designers? In critiques of the graphic design profession, it has been stated many times that the ultimate goal is to produce good work for good clients, not to proliferate your studio’s fame in industry publications. Although it is good creative motivation to strive to achieve quality work that is celebrated by your peers, graphic design is in service of a client’s message first and foremost. How do you function day-to-day within this demanding service industry and still maintain creative passion? How do you balance your artistic motivations with practical matters such as finding a job, dealing with clients and managing a business?

Adrian Shaughnessy’s new book “How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul”, from Princetown Architectural Press, adeptly presents advice about design as a career. Shaughnessy is a self-taught designer who co-founded the successful London design firm Intro. Throughout the book, the author’s tone is inviting and encouraging as he offers practical information while illustrating his points with his own experiences and interviews with noted figures such as Neville Brody, John Warwicker, Angela Lorenz and Rudy VanderLans. Shaughnessy emphasizes that the successful designer is one who is a thoughtful, caring and culturally aware.

This is an invaluable book for students, recent grads and those trying to define their career path. Importantly, the author begins by outlining the creative, philosophical and practical attributes needed by comtemporary designers. The reader is then guided through interviews and portfolio presentation, finding jobs, being a freelancer and setting up a creative studio as well as dealing with clients, finding new work and nurturing the creative process. This book is unique in that it shares insight into motivations and interpersonal dynamics. Ego, confidence, and personality (not to mention talent) play a big part in the success or failure of a designer.

In the foreword, Stefan Sagmeister writes, “I hope this book helps young designers find their way. I don’t think that the ‘designers don’t read’ bullshit is true. A good book will find good readers.” Unfortunately, my main critique of the book is its design. New designers are perhaps the most susceptible to the allure of design picture books — beautiful reproductions by famous designers dangle like carrots before them. (“My style’s going to be a little like Sagmeister, a little like Cahan & Associates...”) For the most part, the illustrations of work reproduced in the margin appear grey and rather uninteresting. These examples are easily available in full colour glory in other publications, so to show them here in poor quality could be a factor against purchasing the book for those looking for some quick inspiration. The book is designed using a sort of “default” style (given the theme of keeping your soul, I found this generic aesthetic an odd choice) which uses a single sans serif family throughout, and devices such as slashes, underlines, footnotes and varying paragraph widths as visual interest. In such designs, attention to detail is vital because the sparceness requires that all elements stand up to scrutiny. Unfortunately, the paragraphs suffer from awkward justification and word spacing which I found fairly distracting, until the author’s voice superceded the printed words.

Shaughnessy’s friendly writing and sound advice make “How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul” an excellent companion to a fledgling design career.

$26.95 paperback, available in the store. 

Emigre Exits (and the influence of design magazines on my career)

emigreend.JPG"Everything must come to an end, and after publishing Emigre magazine for over 21 years we’re both relieved and just a little bit sad to announce that #69 will be our final issue. This milestone issue features a behind-the-scenes look at the history of Emigre magazine, while our contributors and colleagues bid us farewell. It was quite an experience." Rudy VanderLans & Zuzana Licko

Emigre, the magazine and font foundry, has been a significant influence in my design education. I studied visual communications at the Alberta College of Art & Design from 1992-95, so Emigre had already been around for decade when I first became aware of them. It was in the monograph published on occasion of their 10th anniversary where I discovered the origins of digital typography and design.

I remember a most significant purchase made at SWIPE books while on a visit to Toronto. I bought my first issue of Emigre and a copy of the British publication Eye. On my student budget, this was a thoughtul, weighty purchase. And it was the start of what can only be described as a design magazine addiction!

Actually, Communication Arts was the very first magazine to influence my career — in fact, it lead me to my career. I first discovered the magazine in the Saskatoon Public Library when I was in highschool. Until feasting my eyes on its lush glossy pages, I had not realized that my love of images and letters could translate into a real profession. My parents generously paid for the expensive subscription as a Christmas present and very soon afterwards, I made up my mind to become a graphic designer.

Communication Arts has long been my measure for the ultimate in top-quality design, so it was a huge thrill and milestone that my Leaflet project was included in the 2004 Design Annual (and featured on the cover design!). I am equally pleased that they have selected the UPPERCASE line of typographic greeting cards for this year's Annual.

Hallmark Humour


Animator Chris Harding created an amusing short for the folks at Hallmark Shoebox Greetings. It is amazing that this is a corporate video — it does show that they have a sense of humour over at the Hallmark corporation. Link found via Newstoday.

Harding is also featured in the upcoming book in the Pictoplasma series, which UPPERCASE will carry when it become available in North America. There is an animation festival in Berlin this month presenting some fabulous talent.


Christmas Cards


Here are snapshots of the Christmas cards in production, using a Print Gocco (my new favourite contraption). There are ten different designs, so all told the effort of making these greeting card singles and sets required over 2000 impressions — all by hand!