For this month, I'll make an exception in the book section bringing you a very special Slanted Magazine about Portugal.
Slanted is well known for publishing a great body of work on typography and graphic design. In their #27, they interviewed most of the prominent Portuguese designers, type designers, illustrators and design studios. It is great to see so many talented friends in the spotlight through their work and words. But besides work, there were 3 very interesting and insightful articles on Austerity (by Violeta Santos-Moura), the Pioneers of Portuguese Design (by Mac Cormack) and few others that will definitely help to contextualize the Portuguese design scene. Read more
In some lettering news, couple weeks ago I've entered in the Magnética Magazine competition: Overblack.
We were meant to explore the importance of the black book in the creative process.
This is an homage to failure, experimentation and doing what you need to do. There are no boundaries or limits in your black book. You're free to do what you want without being afraid of judgemental opinions.
Through photography, I shot a black book and painted it all over with acrylic paint. It was really experimental and the main reason to get in this competition was to be able to do more manual work. Which was great!
Dating from the 5th century BC, The Art of War is still a reference not only in a war context, but for life in general. As one of the most important books on military strategy and tactics, this book goes beyond war and its strategies and tactics. 13 chapters with rules that you may or may not disagree with, but one thing is for sure: it doesn't matter what you do for a living, this book will guide you to the importance of planning, strategy and context. Read more
It's with great enthusiasm that I put my headphones on while listening to this album. It has that perfect calm and storm contrast that is often characteristic of this band.
Start with their first tune, Prayers/Triangles, and you know what I mean. I think the album cover captures what I feel when I listen toGore; a beautiful and elegant flamboyance of flamingos that transmits as much energy as a perfect storm and as much wonder as when you're watching National Geographic's instagram feed.
Outliers is one of those books that you will probably stumble upon every now and then when looking for "books that I've read" or "books that everyone should read" and don't be afraid of going with the flow because there's a big chance that Gladwell will turn into one of your favourite writers.
With great and useful insights that will help you to understand what makes someone successful, it will demystify every preconception that you have ever had about this theme.
In a very personal note, this book made me look at my life with a different and fresh perspective. We are taught to think about our future, and what we want to do, to be, to visit, etc. Malcolm analysis how the year, the day and the place you were born and where you lived in your early years of life will define most of your personality and, most likely, your achievements. It's a book that made me embrace my past experiences, while understanding how people like Bill Gates, The Beatles and Bill Joy were/are so successful.
Gladwell, points out the connection between sense of opportunity, risk and motivation in one of the most brilliant books that I've recently read.
In case you're still wondering, this book is not about the need to be intelligent to be successful and on this note I will finish this with one of many brilliant metaphores that you will find in this book:
[...] IQ is a lot like height in basketball. Does someone who is five foot six have realistic chance of playing professional basketball? Not really. You need to be at least six foot or six one to play at that level, and, all things being equal, it's probably better to be six two than six one, and better to be six three than six two. But past a certain point, height stops mattering so much. A player who is six foot eight is not automatically better than someone two inches shorter. (Michael Jordan, the greatest player ever, was six six after all.) A basketball player only has to be tall enough — and the same is true of intelligence. Intelligence has a threshold.
From a design perspective, it's great that once in a while we see such powerful content absolutely unbranded and unnamed. What you hear is what you get. Untitled Unmastered gives you no reason to ignore it until you give it a go and hear it for the very first time. After his highly awarded and powerful To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick shares with the world what, apparently, was not good enough to be in TPAP. In this post I will not talk about is music, because as a big fan of his writing, anything I would write wouldn't be good enough to describe it. Now, about the album cover, it's great to see someone so humble and so successful that doesn't feel the need to hide behind appealing visuals to send his message.
In a culture where everything you share is highly curated, sometimes it's great to step back and just give room to the content.
Lisbon is all trendy and cool nowadays but on the very edge of it, the freshest tunes will be played by Jibóia. The guitar of Óscar and the drums by Ricardo Martins will definitely keep you going on these hypnotic and vibrant oriental rhythms. It will make you feel like travelling in a midnight train where everyone's body is asleep while their minds are dancing to this groovy album.
Design and Art Direction by my lovely friend Margarida Borges and Photography by Luís Martins.
Last Friday morning I flew Jersey. A beautiful island in the north of France, shared by French and English culture. Although it's winter and the weather can be quite terrible for footpaths close to the sea, I still fell in love by the amazing places that this islands has to offer. Besides all of these amazing places to visit and explore I was quite surprised by the diversified signage that you can find in Jersey's villages. Engraved stone, metallic scripts, golden foil on windows, painted tiles, you name it. A lot of different styles too. And as a designer I was quite surprised by this. If you're living in London it's just an hour flight from Gatwick to get there. Plan ahead and you manage to see the whole island in couple days. It could be less, but this is not London, and therefore you have to be aware that, depending on the bus that you need to take, you might have one bus in every 2 hours.
You can see all the photos that I took in my flickr album.
I bought this book and the Design as Art I went to The World of Charles and Ray Eames exhibition at the Barbican. I would like to read these two books because they reflect on a quite specific theme: design and culture. The Language of Things turned out to be a great book to understand how design is able to influence and take part of someone's opinion or choices. This book is great because it makes you reflect on very specific matter with great examples that most of the times we applaud and nod our heads without questioning.
I highly recommend this book because it helps to define the language of the world we live in and what we can do (or ask) to better understand it and, as a designer, to produce better work. Which doesn't need to be necessarily useful.
If I had to elaborate a question based on this book I would ask: Why does design need to be useful? And if it's not necessary is it still design?
In the end of January, I went for four days to Rome. And it is indeed a beautiful city. One of those where literally you only feel like walking around and everything you'll see might be even better looking than what you saw earlier in that day. I like to call it an open air museum. You have plenty of things to see and you can put your mind at ease because you'll definitely not see even a 1/10 of what this city has to offer. I've seen quite a lot of images of this city before this trip and even before what design was. It's the city where students don't need books with images as they have everything there. It's incredible.
I took some photos of the city, because I would love to keep some souvenirs from the city, but I also wanted to have a different eye on the things that I see. You know, there are so many good photos of things that I saw in Rome. I just felt that it was ok try to show something else or at least with a different perspective from the photos that you find when you search for Rome images in Google.