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  • Ancient Greek stoicism is an inspiration for our favorite zine of the week

    “I was trying to get a sense of my own interpretation of its ideas, and then came upon the concept of Enchiridion – a small book containing condensed information on a subject – and it kinda became obvious I had to make my own” says Oslo-based design student Simen Royseland on his inspiration for his latest project, a zine called Enchiridion, inspired by the ancient Greek philosophy Stoicism

    “At first glance, Stoicism might seem to rest upon some naive – almost banal – ideas, but I believe there is a hidden depth to the school of thought, and this is something I wanted to use as a concept in the design process. I tried to make the typesetting and layout as simple as I could, almost non-hierarchical” says Simen to It’s Nice That. 

    Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD. Stoicism is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics which is informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting this moment as it presents itself, by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain, by using our minds to understand the world around us and to do our part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others in a fair and just manner.

    It was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that emotions resulted in errors of judgment which were destructive, due to the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a religion (lex divina), and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how a person behaved. To live a good life, one had to understand the rules of the natural order since they taught that everything was rooted in nature. 

    Later Stoics—such as Seneca and Epictetus—emphasized that, because "virtue is sufficient for happiness", a sage was immune to misfortune. This belief is similar to the meaning of the phrase "stoic calm", though the phrase does not include the "radical ethical" Stoic views that only a sage can be considered truly free, and that all moral corruptions are equally vicious. 

    From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular during the Roman Empire—and its adherents included the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It later experienced a decline after Christianity became the state religion in the 4th century AD. Over the centuries, it has seen revivals, notably in the Renaissance (Neostoicism) and in the modern era (modern Stoicism).


  • This is what it feels like being Rita Matos in poster format

    From November 30 to December 22 Rita Matos realm of posters is on view at the gallery FOCO. “What We Feel Like”, an exhibition curated by Joana Portela, is Rita Matos’ first solo show in a contemporary art gallery, featuring more than 20 unique posters, questioning its function and value, as social, political and cultural expressions.

    The presented posters are particular compositions, which Rita Matos’ has been searching and developing in an experimentally way, as a freelancer and in collaboration with musicians such as Moullinex, for its illustrated fanzine from the new album Hypersex, the German magazine of electronic music and urban culture called BORSHCH, music labels / crews such as XXIII from Porto, bands like Ermo, and other designers close to her personal and professional circuit, on more specific interventions related to cinema (Keizers Kino , with Nuno Beijinho) and typographic experimentation (Ficções Typografika with Miguel Mesquita).

    “What We Feel Like is part of the desire to bond the universe of design with contemporary art, which almost never connect, even on a small scale. The exhibition breaks the rhythm of the usual design tools, to test the boundaries of typography into a more artistic purpose. The aim is to decompose the poster by presenting it in multiple forms, such as printed, painted and virtual matter. The title and concept for the exhibition, can be seen as the idea to feel like part of a subculture, urban family, a group or a specific movement - the way we share the same ideas and interests, hear the same music, the way we dress, or who we relate to, is a social and political position, which can contaminate other mediums and forms of expression” writes the press release of the exhibition.

    Rita Matos has also presented "Unapologetic 2018", a Feminist Calendar, inspired by the practice of See Red Women's Workshop done in collaboration with Elisabete Gomes. From the typographical experimentation, it gives body to the experiences of the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, described in her book "We should all be feminists".

    More info here


  • For Richard Hollis "design is a verb as much as a noun"

    "Richard Hollis designs for the Whitechapel has two main characters: the "British graphic designer Richard Hollis and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in East London" writes Rick Poynor on Christopher Wilson’s monograph which is an exemplary examination of a very British body of graphic design. "The opening two chapters of the book introduce each of them. Then – in chapters that form its centre – the interaction of Hollis and the Whitechapel is presented. The book reproduces much of what was printed for the Whitechapel during the two periods in which Hollis worked for the gallery: 1969–73 and 1978–85. There are extended critical captions on the work reproduced. These two phases of the gallery’s life were in several respects formative, both for the institution itself and for the wider cultural and social life of Britain. Coverage is completed with considerations of the ‘interregnum’ period (1973–78) and the years after 1985, when Peter Saville became the gallery’s designer. Hollis’s Whitechapel years were a time of radical change in the methods of print production: the book documents and explains the technical shifts from specification for hot-metal composition and letterpress printing, through photocomposition, rub-down lettering, paste-up, and on to desktop publishing. Wilson’s discussion is illuminated by his extended interviews with Hollis, with those who worked at the Whitechapel, and with others involved in these events. Quotations from these interviews enliven the narrative. And by looking closely at one period of the designer’s work, Wilson finds the model for Hollis’s whole production. So the book functions partly as a history of one of the essential components of the London art world in that time, and as a survey of the work of ‘one of the finest British graphic designers of the past 50 years’".

    Richard Hollis was the graphic designer for London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery in the years 1969–73 and 1978–85. In this second period, under the directorship of Nicholas Serota, the gallery came to the forefront of the London art scene, with pioneering exhibitions of work by Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Cornell, Philip Guston, Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti, among others. 

    Hollis’s posters, catalogues, and leaflets, conveyed this sense of discovery, as well as being models of practical graphic design. The pressures of time and a small budget enhanced the urgency and richness of their effects. Christopher Wilson’s book matches the spirit of the work it describes: active, passionate, aesthetically refined, and committed to getting things right. As in Hollis’s work, ‘design’ here is a verb as much as a noun.

  • A badminton match with Tor Weibull’s Bad Mono typeface

    Swedish Tor Weibull is currently studying a Masters in Type Design at ECAL/Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne. This playful graphic designer entered the game of type whilst creating the visual identity for photographer's Carl Anders exhibition ‘A Game of Badminton’ at Galleri Monitor in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

    “The exhibition displays several photos from a badminton match. That's also where the inspiration for the identity came from. As the game includes a square patterned net it felt obvious to work with a clear grid in the identity. The Game also includes movement, high and low. So that became a big part in the inspiration of developing and drawing the typefaces that’s in use, Bad Mono” says Weibull.

    Play the field here.

  • With Fedrigoni 365 typographic calendar TM makes a wish

    Fedrigoni 365 is a project by design studio TM. Danny McNeil, Creative Director, decided to commemorate the year 2018 by asking leading UK-based creatives to contribute a piece of work to a design compendium, which takes the form of the Fedrigoni annual Calendar.

    The result of this process is a striking black tome that holds 365 single-colour designs within. Each design was created as an interpretation of a date that was provided at random to each participant. Confines were established to challenge each designer’s creativity by restricting the book to one paper and one colour print, which forced their pieces to focus strictly on concept, shape and form.

    The brief was created to be deliberately restrictive, although there were slight concerns that it may be too limiting and could result in designs that were much of a muchness. It turned out that these worries were unfounded. The Calendar has organically shaped into a beautiful visual story whose pace varies from page to page, and spread to spread.

    All proceeds will be going directly to the Make-A-Wish charity. Be part of the project here.