Mine Kafon

Video

Mine Kafon is a short documentary by Callum Cooper featuring a low cost solution to landmine clearance. This product, designed by Massoud Hassani consists of a wind-powered, rolling object made from bamboo and biodegradable plastics. It has an integrated GPS device that allows the user to follow its path and whether it has detonated any landmines.

Another intelligent solution to a serious, social problem. The documentary itself is yet another brilliant addition to Cooper’s portfolio.

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Says it all

Designing an effective visual identity is one of the hardest jobs of a graphic designer. Compressing a myriad of messages of an organisation or product (history, culture, attitude, philosophy etc.) into a single mark can be close to impossible. And an effective identifier shouldn’t just communicate to an audience but also be appealing when used across different media and in different sizes. A designer needs to make sure that a successful logo works even when it is stripped of any cosmetic treatment (such as shadows, colour gradients, relections and glows) and printed in one colour or used as a favicon. Coming to think of it, great logos are a rare species.

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Sphere-sculptures

One of the most fascinating and unconventional design companies I ever came across is definitely Greyworld. We visited their studios in London and I was immediately struck by the beauty and simlicity of their work. One of their most creative jobs is ‘The Source’ (2) : an eight storey high moving sculpture at the London Stock Exchange. It consists of 729 vertically mobile spheres along wires, that are like pixels which create a low-res sculpture.

While looking up for similar sculptures [such as Stella McCartney’s ‘Lucky Spot’ (1) or the recent  ‘Ball Man’ by Ratcliffe Fowler Design (3) ] I came across a superb variant of these sphere-sculptures called ‘Kinetic Sculpture’. It is situated at the BMW Museum in Munich. It is a metaphorical translation of the process of form finding in art and design. Take a look at some images:

A fine line

While listening to an Italian artist’s new album I came across this track entitled ‘La linea sottile’:
la linea sottile fra il tuo bene e il tuo male
la linea sottile fra dormire e sognare
c’è una linea sottile fra tacere e subire
cosa pensi di fare?
Da che parte vuoi stare?
(…) la linea sottile fra venire e partire
c’è una linea sottile
fra star fermi e subire
Ligabue – La line sottile
The fine line between your right and your wrong
The fine line between sleeping and dreaming
There’s a fine line between being silent and suffering
What will you do?
Which side will you take?
(…)The fine line between arriving and departing
There’s a fine line
Between standing still and suffering
This particular track caught my attention due to its excellent depiction of the ‘fine line between’ different opposites. There’s a fine line between life and death, freedom fighter and terrorist, freedom of speech and  defamation. The same event or object is perceived differently according to the words one uses to describe it.
Choose your words wisely.

A+B=great work

While in London, we met up with Alex Lampe and Benji Wiedemann at the A+B studio in Links Yard. Apart from giving us a very warm welcome, and a thorough presentation of their work, they also shared with us their philosophy: why they do what they do, and how. They define themselves as ‘strategically motivated, creatively driven and interdisciplinary’ and stress that they consider themselves creatives not designers: they start with nothing and create something.

Ideas are their currency. Strategy is their weapon. Bespoke solutions are their raison d’être.

Strategy is the foundation of their work. It is also the starting point of their design process followed by concept and design. The very last stage is only 40% of their job as creatives and they describe it as the articulation of strategy. Through this process, they devise a graphic language (body), a campaignable idea (mind) and the written word (spirit) that make up the core of their creative solution. This model is evident throughout their portfolio of jobs and provides a simple illustration of a holistic and coherent solution.

Meeting up other graphic designers and listening to them speak about their work and their philosophy has been one of the most beneficial events of this year. Getting under the skin of some of the best professionals in the field has been essential in the formation of my own character as a graphic designer. Apart from talent and skill there are 3 fundamental qualities: professionalism, ambition and insanely intensive work. One of the best projects of A+B (Design for patient dignity) was produced during the Christmas break. If you really want to produce good work, such sacrifices are necessary.

Invasion

‘Human beings divide themselves, create spaces to call their own. They agree between them to respect that ownership. This is very basic, almost primal. Your home is your home. Once the door is closed, you have privacy, relief from keeping up the face you show the world. Other human beings come in only if invited. They respect this because it’s what they want as well.’

Cody McFadyen (2006) Shadow Man