26/05/2014Jazzing with Pentagram

This graphic identity for Jazz, an institution for jazz performances in New York, is a refresh of an identity designed ten years ago by Pentagram’s Paula Scher – who now revisited it to simplify the original design and make it more contemporary.

It is a wonderful, vibrant and lively identity that seems to capture the spirit of jazz perfectly- from typeface design to brochure layout, it lends itself to so many different applications that work really well together as a whole.
This is a nice explanation for the original logo, from Pentagram’s website:

The 2003 logo featured a circular disk that resembled a record for the “a” in Jazz, but with a square dot in the middle of the letter. When Scher was designing the logo, she had initially asked Marsalis to define jazz and he said that it was “syncopation.”

“I asked what syncopation meant and Wynton said it’s when you have a bunch of things in a row that are alike and one of them is off,” says Scher. “That was the basis for the filled-in ‘a.’ The center was square because it was a square peg in a round hole.”

The unique circular form became iconic over the years, and the refreshed identity has preserved and extended it by making the graphically heavy, round element a part of the identity system as a whole. The circular form has been expanded into a new typeface for the institution, as well as graphic patterns used in applications.”

The new identity has been introduced in a colorful campaign designed by Luis Bravo for the 2013-2014 season. Brochures, advertisements and other promotions feature a series of lively, unguarded portraits of jazz musicians.

Jelly Roll, the new custom font for Jazz at Lincoln Center:


The updated identity applied to stationery:
Print pieces from the 2013-2014 season campaign designed by Luis Bravo and his team at Jazz at Lincoln Center:

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- Pentagram Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Kayla Jang, designer. Jelly Roll font designed with Jeremy Mickel, adapted from House Industries’ Neutraface 2.
- 2013-2014 season campaign designed by Luis Bravo, Maya Sariahmed, Mike Tully, Casey Walter, and Ho-Mui Wong at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Portrait photography by Whit Lane and Marylene Mey.

All images ©Pentagram’s website

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14/05/2014Pop Go the Women: Rosalyn Drexler

Self Portrait, Rosalyn Drexler

‘The Culture Show- Pop Go the Women: The Other Story of Pop Art’ on BBC2 tells the story of female artists who were left out of the established narrative of pop art – Pauline Boty, Marisol, Rosalyn Drexler, Idelle Weber, Letty Lou Eisenhauer and Jann Haworth. It is astonishing to see those talented woman who were well known at the time, experimental and ground-breaking, but completely forgotten today. I felt both sad and angry to hear how marginalised they were for being women, not getting enough opportunities as their fellow male artists, or disappearing into family life and motherhood. As Jann Haworth said “people are more important than art”. True, but I wish they could have had both…

I was especially taken by Rosalyn Drexler’s work, her vibrant and dynamic paintings seem contemporary even today:

Ernie Kovac’s Funeral

Race for Time

Home Movies

Study for No Pictures

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20/02/2014Goodbye Bialik!

Today I am saying goodbye to Cafe Bialik. The cafe publishes a monthly flyer/ music performances program advertising its playlist and changing exhibitions in the cafe, and I designed their monthly program, creating three different design directions since June 2010 (2010-2011, 2012-2013, and the flag-inspired series on this post), plus a special World Cup month design in 2010.

I enjoyed developing colourful and vibrant designs to fit the spirit and feel of Bialik, and it was a challenge every time to think of a new and refreshing way to showcase the cafe and its music program in an eye-catching layout.

In the last program series I took physical elements from the Cafe’s space (windows, lamp shades, floor etc) and in a process of abstraction turned them into flag designs.

Goodbye Cafe Bialik, and good luck to Anna, their new designer : )
bialik-feb14 bialik-jan14 13-12-bialik 13-11-bialik 13-9-bialik 13-8-bialik 13-7-bialik

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13/02/2014On the road with Alice


It must have been 14-15 years since the last time I have seen this film, and watching it again was an unexpected surprise (because I didn’t remember how good it was) and an uplifting experience.

Wim Wenders’ 1974 ‘Alice in the cities’ is a gem and my favourite movie at the moment – it is sensitive, slow paced, sweet and moving. Beautifully shot in black and white with a very low budget, and music by the mighty CAN (apparently they were friends of Wim Wenders at the time and wrote the score in 10 minutes as a favour).

It tells the story of a German journalist, played by Rüdiger Vogler, who finds himself having to care for a 9 years old girl- Alice (played by the amazing Yella Rottlander) and follows their relationship developing across New York, Amsterdam and Germany – a road movie with a difference.

Oh, and a cool poster too!
Alice-in-the-cities-2 Alice-in-the-cities-3 Alice-in-the-cities-4

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14/01/2014My kind of eye candy


So perhaps I was a bit too optimistic- hoping I could continue posting on this blog while working full time, moving house and surviving the festive season… but last week I saw a brochure at work that made my heart sing a little, and I’m in the mood for sharing.

It’s a promotional brochure from GFSmith, a British premium papers supplier, and I love how the design is subtle, yet so bright and playful with an explosion of colours. To me this is visual poetry- it’s all about paper, colour, and print.

The paper flap with information covers part of the photo, and peeping under it feels like you are about to reveal a hidden gem. Images are printed 4 colour process with Magenta, Cyan and Yellow swapped out for Rubine Red, Process Blue and Yellow 012 to increase saturation- now, that’s useful information for a graphic designer!

image-front  image-inside

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