...being the blog of steve kirkendall egomaniac-about-town


Gridnik's delight

Design collateral from the Wim Crouwel retrospective at the Design Museum, London.

On Monday, I met my fellow comics/culture fiend Mark W at the Design Museum’s Wim Crouwel A Graphic Odyssey. Guest curated by the brilliant Tony Brook of Spin (Hi Tony), this major retrospective of the Dutch design superstar’s work covers his entire career from his start in exhibition design to his role as elder statesman today. A large part of the exhibition covers work created for Total Design, the ground-breaking multidisciplinary firm he helped establish in 1963. This was a great thrill for me as I’d just spent last weekend reading TD 63 – 73, Unit Editions’ new book about Total Design and it was fantastic seeing the work close up. Afterwards, we headed for the shop and bought several pieces of Spin-designed exhibition collateral, but left while we still had enough money for the train fare home.

Recommended, go see!

Tags: graphicdesign, exhibition


Reasons to be cheerful

Barney Bubbles original artwork, taken at PROCESS

Last week I met my comics purchasing partner in crime, Mr Mark Wild, at the Barney Bubbles PROCESS show at Chelsea Space. Featuring Bubbles’ artwork, sketchbooks and related epherema, it examines the working practices of this long lost genius. I will never have enough space, anywhere, to fully explain my genuine love and admiration for his work. As well as being a brilliant thinker, Barney Bubbles was also a master craftsman, creating designs for reproduction without the visual feedback afforded by a computer. I wonder what a lot of younger designers think on seeing his original artwork, created as it was using Rotring technical pens with PMT’s (Photo Mechanical Transfers) pasted onto artboard with colour overlays in black (no matter what the colour specified) and little notes all over it with instructions to the printers. How strange it all must seem to these digital designers of today!

The show is curated by Paul Gorman, author of the Bubbles monograph, Reasons To Be Cheerful (which has since been revised and expanded) and it runs until October 23. For more Bubbles info, check out Reasons To Be Cheerful online and the blog of Bubbles’ old friend and ex-colleague, David Wills.

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Laughing at the clients from hell

"Your hourly rate is okay, as long as you don’t need more than an hour. And you can show me how you did it so I can do it on my own next time."

Are you a web designer? Graphic designer? Maybe another type of designer? Whatever you are, you are sure to spend the rest of the day laughing like a drain at this clients from hell site, featuring real quotes from real clients that anonymous designers have suffered. For some reason, I imagined Fred Willard saying most of these quotes, which made it twice as funny.

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Stefan Kanchev

TV graphics (1) by Stephan Kanchev.

Tenuously continuing the Bulgarian theme I began here, yesterday I came across the work of the brilliant Bulgarian graphic designer, Stefan Kanchev (1915-2001) on Grain Edit.

He worked across the entire spectrum of graphic design, creating posters, stamps, book covers, TV graphics and logos. In 1994, the International trademark centre in Ostend rated him as one of the top trademark designers in the world alongside Saul Bass and Paul Rand.

TV graphics (2) by Stephan Kanchev.

Do yourself a big favour and visit the Stefan Kanchev website. WARNING: Your jaw will be on the floor for the rest of the week.

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Excuse me, Miss – can I design the logo?

New Bawburgh School logo designed by Steve Kirkendall. Original design next to design embroidered onto sweatshirt

My wife works as the school secretary for Bawburgh School here in lil’ ole Norwichshire. Bawburgh School recently redesigned their logo and asked me if I would help them. My outrageous natural talent, years of experience and the fact I would work for free were all factors in their decision-making process.

Above left is the final design and next door to it is the design embroidered onto the red sweatshirts the children wear. It’s the first time I’ve ever designed anything to be embroidered and it was interesting to compare the drawing and the colours. You could say, it was a bit of an education. (Sorry…)

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I like Little White Lies

Zachary Quinto as Spock - cover of Little White Lies May/June 2009

Yesterday, while I was loafing around in Borders, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the Star Trek issue of Little White Lies, the magazine of Truth & Movies. I snatched it off the shelf and was beamed into Trekkie heaven. Kicking off with a stunning cover illustration of Zachary Quinto as Spock by Siggi Eggertsson, they review the new Star Trek film, interview the director JJ Abrams, discuss Star Trek fan shows and carry the science/fiction theme further with related stories, including an article about loving the alien, if you know what I mean (and the ad for William Shatner’s new book raised a smile). There’s also a round up of the other new films they like, too.

Star Trek illustration by Andy Miller

It’s my first proper look at this magazine and I am really impressed. The writing’s great and so is the design and art direction. The Star Trek space craft silhouettes (“Fire Everything”) on the inside front and back spreads were neat (they are also used as the current background on the fantastic Little White Lies website too) and I absolutely loved the little ray guns placed next to the names of the magazine staff on the colophon. And that’s a really groovy headline font you’re using there too, folks.

May I also take my compliments up a notch by congratulating you on the superb choice of illustrators this issue. Along with cover illustrator Siggi Eggertsson, there are some great drawings in the back section by Andy Miller (above). One question tho’ – why weren’t the fab illustrations on pages 32 (below) and 54-55 credited, hmmm?

Star Trek illustration by ?

Anyways, if you love Star Trek or contemporary film, you should buy this magazine. Kirk(endall) out.

All images © 2009 Story Publishing.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Wired UK!

Cover of Wired UK 06.09

As a longtime fan of Wired magazine, I am really happy about the second coming of the Wired UK edition, this time courtesy of Condé Nast. And may I say what a wonderful cover the second edition sports – bold, simple imagery, primary colours, a nod to comics and my first initial made large.

Oh, and if you’re a real geek, you’re probably still buying the Wired US edition anyway. If you don’t, you should this month, ’cos guest editor JJ Abrams (Lost, Alias, Cloverfield, Mission: Impossible III, the Star Trek movie, yada yada yah) has commissioned Paul Pope to draw a Star Trek strip.

Incidentally, US Wired Creative Director Scott Dadich gave a talk last week in London at EDO, which I missed (sob), but I read all about it here at magCulture courtesy of Mr Jeremy Leslie. It’s a facinating read and a great look behind the scenes of one of the most creative magazine art departments working today.

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On the third day of Christmas...

Christmas card from Designed

…the Royal Mail sent to me, a Christmas card delivered ten days earlier. I’m not complaining (Christmas is their busy time, etc) but that might be some kind of record considering it was posted from and going to an address in Norwich.

Anyway, I mention it because it was from Designed, who did the beautiful mailer for the ‘21st Century Music’ series at the Norwich Arts Centre. Printed using metallic inks (that my photo above doesn’t do justice to) it has a wonderful op art design that vibrates/animates the Christmas star featured on the front. It really is a joy to behold, shame I didn’t get it sooner!

Oh, and singing the beginning of this post is optional.

Happy new year everyone!

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Bubbles and Squeek

Imperial Pompadours sleeve by Barney Bubbles

After Ace Jet 170 mentioned the upcoming Barney Bubbles book he later mentioned a post about Bubbles on the John Coulthart site.

One of the many people to leave a comment there was a David Wills (aka Squeek), who was Barney Bubbles’ great mate back in the day. He has his own blog about his early days with Mr. B. I started to read it last night – it’s a facinating read for any fan of Barney Bubbles’ life and work – read it here.

Above: Barney Bubbles’ sleeve for The Imperial Pompadours, image courtesy of John Coulthart. He also sent me this link about the album itself which sounds like a bit of a bonkers affair.

Below: A Bubbles-designed tour badge for Elvis Costello’s “Punch the Clock” tour. Note the mixed type-size along the top – a lovely, funny touch. Oh, and it’s gone yellow ’cos I got it in 1983.

Barney Bubbles badge for Elvis Costello’s 'Punch the Clock' tour 1983

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