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Design

Hundreds of Symbols From Prehistory to Modern Day Comprise a Gold 'S' Screenprint by Seb Lester

August 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

“S” (2020), metallic rose gold screenprint on black Plike art paper, 330 gsm, 24.4 x 24.4 inches. All images © Seb Lester, shared with permission

Centered on the letter “S,” an anachronistic print from Seb Lester (previously) blends hundreds of symbols into one embellished form. Rendered in metallic on black paper, the typographic piece captures an incredibly long timeline, from prehistory to the Dark Ages to the Renaissance to present day. Look closely and you’ll spot snippets of cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphics, emojis, and modern logos.

Based in Lewes, England, the artist and calligrapher channeled the heavily detailed marginalia and flourishes of illuminated manuscripts. “I have spent two decades studying the most beautiful examples of intricate letterform and ornamental design I can find. This letter ‘S’ is arguably the most intricate letterform that has ever been drawn,” he shares with Colossal.

Lester released a limited run of 150 gold screenprints, which currently are available in his shop. Check out the video below to see all of the piece’s gleaming intricacies, and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up with his latest releases.

 

 

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Craft Design

Subverted Consumer Goods Become Wearable New Apparel

April 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

During the weekday, Nicole McLaughlin works as a graphic designer at Reebok. But after hours her relationship to branded apparel and personal accessories takes a different creative turn. McLaughlin uses a wide variety of recognizable consumer goods to form totally new products. Often focusing on footwear, McLaughlin has formed slip-ons out of tennis balls and Levi’s waistband patches, and sandals from eBay packaging tape and IKEA bag handles. Additional creations range from an umbrella of The North Face puffy coats to foldable chairs comprised of athlete’s Gatorade bottles and foam sports fan hands.

The artist chops up and subverts the original functionality of these recognizable products and brands, but also is always careful to maintain—and often repeat—visible logos while she gives each item a new meaning and use. McLaughlin documents her creations in a closely cropped, plain manner that calls to mind images cataloged for an anthropological study. You can see more of her fashion interventions on Instagram, and keep an eye on her online store for functional pieces, all of which are currently sold out.

 

 



Design History

When TV Logos Were Physical Objects

May 15, 2017

Christopher Jobson

It goes without saying that nearly everything made with graphic design and video software was once produced using a physical process, from newspapers to TV Logos. But some TV stations and film studios took things even further and designed physical logos that were filmed to create dynamic special effects. Arguably the most famous of which is MGM’s Leo the Lion which first appeared in 1916 and would go on to include 7 different lions over the decades.

Recently, television history buff Andrew Wiseman unearthed this amazing behind-the-scenes shot of the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française logo from the early 1960s that was constructed with an array of strings to provide the identity with a bright shimmer that couldn’t be accomplished with 2D drawings. The logo could also presumably be filmed from different perspectives, though there’s no evidence that was actually done.

Another famous physical TV identity was the BBC’s “globe and mirror” logo in use from 1981 to 1985 that was based on a physical device. After filming the rotating globe against a panoramic mirror, it appears the results were then traced by hand similar to rotoscoping. One of the more elaborate physical TV intro sequences was the 1983 HBO intro that despite giving the impression of being animated or created digitally was in fact built almost entirely with practical effects. You can watch a 10 minute video about how they did it below. (via Quipsologies, Reddit, Andrew Wiseman)

Update: It turns out the BBC Globe ident wasn’t rotoscoped or animated, instead it was recorded live using the Noddy camera system and the color was created by adjusting the contrast. Thanks, Gene!

 

 



Craft Design

New Sportswear Logos Embroidered With Flowers and Vegetables by James Merry

March 28, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Iceland-based artist James Merry (previously) uses sportswear logos as the basis to his embroidered designs, planting thread-based mushrooms, strawberries, and various flowers on top of Nike swooshes and the ADIDAS logo’s three bars. Although you might not guess it from the simplicity of his sportswear alterations, Merry is a key collaborator with Björk, and has designed many of her costumes for tour and film. You can see more of his blossoming sports logos and elaborate costume designs on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Design History

Delicate Sketches of the Original Peace Symbol to be Exhibited in London

February 20, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Sketch of nuclear disarmament symbol, by Gerald Holtom. © Commonweal Collection.

Stretching back over a half century, one of the most iconic symbols adopted by the international community has been the peace symbol. Utilized by millions of activists, organizations, and artists across the globe, most people are probably unfamiliar with the design’s unique origins and the meaning behind the multi-pronged symbol.

Artist Gerald Holtom created the symbol for the first Aldermaston March in 1958, part of a series of anti-nuclear weapon demonstrations in the 1950s and 1960s. The symbol was next adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and soon peace groups around the world displayed it in a variety of configurations. But what exactly does it mean?

Holtom designed the peace symbol around the visual language of flag semaphores, a telegraphy method for communicating with flags at a distance, combining the letters “N” and “D” standing for “nuclear” and “disarmament.”

Flag semaphores for the letters “N” and “D” and an overlay. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Holtom’s original 1958 sketches are now in extremely fragile condition and are rarely seen in public. However, a few of them, along with 300 objects from a century of anti-war activist campaigns in the UK, will be on view as part of People Power: Fighting for Peace at the Imperial War Museum in London from March 23 through August 28, 2017. You can read more about the peace symbol’s history over on Hyperallergic.

Hey art and design teachers, here’s a fun project idea: have students create new symbols for ideas important to them using flag semaphores or some other symbolic alphabet as a starting point. Send the results to [email protected] by March 20, 2017 with the subject ‘Peace Project‘ and we’ll share our favorites here on Colossal.

 

 



Craft Design

Artist James Merry Embellishes Sportswear Logos with Embroidered Plants

August 5, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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As part of a recent series of embroideries, artist James Merry softened the bold logos of sportswear companies by adding stitched flora to vintage clothing. For instance a glacier flower and moss grow from an old Nike sweatshirt, and a FILA logo is topped by a mushroom cap. Merry is a longtime collaborator with Björk and creates many of her extravagant costumes for stage and music videos, and you can read a recent interview with him over on i-D. (via Quipsologies, Booooooom)

 

 

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