Design after disaster

In the wake of the appalling terrorist attacks in Paris I saw a number of designers and artists using their craft to show support and solidarity on social networking sites.

The most recognisable and widely shared of these was a brilliant mark created by Jean Jullien, a French artist living in London, which combined the CND symbol with the Eiffel Tower to produce a striking and universal icon which could be shared to show unity with the victims and families of the attack.

Jean Jullien Peace for Paris

I saw this symbol reproduced in a number of different guises and shared by a significant number of friends and celebrities:

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 18.18.00  Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 18.18.15 Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 18.56.30

Currently the original post has been liked over 155 000 times on Instagram account and his tweet has been shared 57 000 times. I appreciate the fact that Jullien decided not to sign his work before sharing it and has allowed it to become a symbol of hope after such an atrocious event. Indeed, in this article for Wired, Jullien admits he didn’t want or expect any exposure for his image and is “sort of almost embarrassed to be getting that much exposure as a result of such a tragic event.” (Jullien 2015). However, sadly the same can’t be said for other people with one person taking this symbol and using it to sell t-shirts:

Peace for Paris Tshirt

Nothing on this page mentions anything about donating profits to any charity – although I’m sincerely hoping they will do. I think the vast majority of people will agree that profiting from a terrorist attack is pretty atrocious, but what if this profit isn’t quite so direct. What if it comes via recognition for a fantastic symbol you created, or a design award for a poster created to raise money post-disaster? At what point does profiting from disaster become acceptable?

This all reminded me of an interesting post by Michael Johnson of Johnson Banks, which debates whether posters created to raise money for the Haiti earthquake should be entered into design awards. My initial reaction is that this sits very uneasily with me, at my most cynical I can acknowledge that design as an industry is sometimes very centred around a core of egotistical, self-congratulation that lauds mantlepiece ornaments above really making a change in the world, or indeed, at a shallower level – helping clients sell more products. And I think that at times when designers truly have used their skills to help change the world we almost, in a sense, shouldn’t undermine this by believing that a shiny award is the real thing they should care about. Forget the £10 000 you raised for charity, here is a metal plate to tell you that your work is good. Doesn’t that intrinsically feel wrong?

However at the crux of it, I think where I stand is that if a design is created initially as a gut reaction to a disaster or with the primary intention to help then any reward the designer may get as a bi-product of this is a good thing. But when a creation is more about their ego than the cause perhaps we should reconsider what we’re applauding.

My thoughts go out to all of the families affected by these attacks:
Donations to the French Red Cross can be made here
And donations to Medicins Sans Frontieres can be made here.


The BAFTAs illustrated

In the time since I’ve last written a blog post, quite a lot has been going on in my life. I’ve graduated from Falmouth University (sob) and found myself about as far removed from the seaside town as it’s possible to be, working for the fantastic design agency B&B Studio in the cliché that is Shoreditch. You may recognise B&B’s name from the plethora of blog posts I’ve written about them in the past and I’m now absolutely chuffed to now be part of the team!

Anyway, while I’ve been keeping myself busy, the design world has been chucking out all sorts of great stuff and I think after around 7 months of getting myself settled it’s about time I started writing about the things I love again. So to start us back off are some fantastic posters for tonight’s BAFTAs created by the illustrator Malika Favre working with the team at Human After All.

(As a slight side note, I went to a brilliant workshop by Human After All as part of the 2014 D&AD New Blood exhibition last summer where we spent a few hours coming up with ways to “Hack the Commute.” It was a really great afternoon topped off by our group winning the pitch and getting goodies from the team, so a very belated thank you to them for that!)

Back to the main topic of the post, the theme for this year’s BAFTAs is based on ‘The big reveal’ and Favre has cleverly incorporated this idea into the shadows of her posters.

favre bafta

Each poster depicts the duality explored within the films by using the shadows as a device to show how the characters, or the plots, develop. She created the main image above to advertise the awards and then 5 more posters for each film nominated for the ‘best film’ category.

Favre Bafta
The Theory of Everything
Bafta Favre
Bafta Favre
Bafta Favre
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Bafta Favre
The Imitation Game

These posters pretty much sum up fantastic illustration for me. They create intrigue, they maintain each film’s personality whilst staying firmly part of a set, they’re ridiculously clever and they’re beautifully executed, so you could say I’m a fan!

I was first introduced to Favre’s work a few months ago when she created an image for TFL’s year of the bus campaign, where they commissioned a number of illustrators to design oyster card wallets. She created a scene showing Route 78 with gorgeous simplicity (although the wallet is now sadly sold out):

Favre TFLI love how she manages to illustrate both a scene and a mood; She seems to know just how much detail is needed within an image to connect with the viewer whilst keeping the illustration as minimal as possible. Her colour palettes are always gorgeous too, which is demonstrated best in her scenes from Fuerteventura:

Malika Favre

I also adore her cover for The Washington Post:

Malika FavreAnd this great robot for the cover of Knack Weekend:


Her website is full of gems so I recommend having a scroll.

I discovered the BAFTA posters on the Design Week Blog.

Making flour bloom – When execution is key

I’ve just arrived back from a lovely week away to some very exciting post from Opal Print, a printing company based in Bath:


Inside were some gorgeous posters, designed by Mytton Williams  and photographed by Alistair Hood. They were created to showcase Opal Print’s exceptional print quality and were printed live during an open day at Opal.

Opal Print, Mytton Williams Poster The idea was to take something ordinary – such as plain flour – and use their skills and expertise to make it into something beautiful. A risky strategy but one that’s really paid off.

Opal Print, Mytton Williams Poster

Opal Print, Mytton Williams Poster I wanted to try and capture some of the detail in the posters but they photos haven’t turned out too well so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

Opal Print, Mytton Williams Poster These posters are a perfect example of how to pull together a solid, simple idea with great execution to make a stand out piece of work.

Also it’s worth having a nosey around Opal Print’s website for pictures like this, which are almost as lovely as the prints themselves:

Opal print, printing plate

Opal printLovely stuff – Thank you!

The Chartered Society of Designers Need Your Help!

So for those of you who aren’t aware of the CSD, they are, to quote their website ‘the professional body for designers and the authority on professional design practice.’ Basically the CSD assesses designers and if they and their portfolio are deemed good enough, they are awarded membership into the society.

Anyway they want you, yes you, to help them by filling in the survey below. It will take 10 minutes and give you a nice warm happy glow!

CSD Survey

Thank you