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  • Wrapping up the Christmas spirit for those in need

    "So Many Likes – When all you Need is Love" reads Base Design's custom made wrapping paper for a Christmas charity initiative filled with good vibes.

    This year ASK US FOR IDEAS have asked 12 of London’s finest creative studios to design 12 highly limited and unique wrapping papers aka prints and are making them available for us to use in the lead up to Christmas. 

    "Given each one is hand-screen-printed, limited to 200 worldwide, designed by the industries finest and printed on GF Smith’s most delectable Colorplan paper they’ll likely look as good in a frame" reads the charity's statement. 

    The proceeds are all going to WRAP UP LONDON, an initiative that works to keep vulnerable people clothed and warm in the winter period. "This will ensure that the exterior of your gifts are both classy and conscientious even if the contents aren’t" notes AUFI.

    Sustainability is also on the agenda as these paper Christmas wrapping papers are made of fully recyclable paper.

    The exclusive run of 200 of the 12 bespoke designs went on sale on 29 November and you can buy them here

  • #TGIIF: The only Instagram account to follow this Friday is @anothergraphicdotorg

    Curated by graphic designer, web developer and founder of Studio Studio, Mathieu Cieters Another Graphic's Instagram account is one to dive into for ages.

    Serving as an online archive of typography focused graphic design this account is filled with grids and lines and letterforms in a variety of fonts and techniques. Cieters, a laureate of Toegepast 20, founded Studio Studio in Ghent, Belgium.

    Check more of his typographic realm and adventures here and here.

  • #TGIIF: The only Instagram account to follow this Friday is @mohammadrsharaf

    Visual artist and designer Mohammad Sharaf was born Iand raised in Kuwait. Now the New York based creative whose agenda is bringing to life “things that actually make sense” caused quite a stir with his installation “The Cemetery of Banned Books”.

    Consisting of 200 tombstones, decorated in the form of book covers and installed on a wasteland near the place where the Annual Book Fair of Kuwait takes place Sharaf created this cemetery in protest against state censorship.

    In Kuwait, more than 4,300 books are prohibited–both translated publications and works by local authors with iconic books such as “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or the fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen being among the censored titles.

    The census of books is handled by a committee at the Ministry of Information and Communications. The list includes literature that, according to officials, does not fit the Islamic society–secular and atheistic.

    Speaking to Euronews, artist Momhammed Sharaf said he had two goals when designing the cemetery.

    "The first was to shed light on the banned books," he said. "The second is to show people that we can say 'no' in a very peaceful way, without manifestations, and without writing in journals."

    "The secret behind the success of the attempt is that it did not disrupt the people's movement, and it did not ruin anything. It speaks for itself."

    The installation of Sharaf stood for four hours before it got demolished. The artist fears that he may be charged due to the illegal installation of objects.

    Check Sharaf's typographic activism and more here

  • How Roger Excoffon's Choc shocked the Big Apple

    Choc (French: "shock") is a display script typeface designed by Roger Excoffon in 1955. The typeface grew out of Excoffon's repeated and ultimately abandoned efforts to make a bold of his typeface Mistral

    In the 1980s, the prevailing opinion among designers was that, because of its lack of modernity, it was one of Excoffon's "tacky fonts that should only have been used for parodying the shop window of a provincial butcher, baker or hair salon". In the 1990s, Choc was distributed digitally with the graphics software CorelDraw under the name Staccato 555

    CorelDraw's widespread use in signmaking shops may have helped Choc in becoming widely used in signage. Because the letterforms evoke the forms of East Asian calligraphy (whether intentionally or not is unclear).

    Choc is especially often used in signs for Asian businesses. The New York Times wrote in 2018 that "Choc has become a typographical shorthand for Asian-themed restaurants" in New York City, where it is frequently seen.

    "It's a typeface that draws the eye with its inherent contradictions. It seems to have been drawn improvisationally with a brush, and yet it's so hefty it looks like it could slip off a wall. It's both delicate and emphatic, a casual paradox, like a Nerf weapon. Choc is far from the most popular typeface on the storefronts of New York, but it can still be found everywhere and in every borough. It's strewn on fabric awnings and etched in frosted glass. It gleams in bright magenta or platinum lighting. It's used for beauty salons, Mexican restaurants, laundromats, bagel shops, numerous sushi bars. It may be distorted, stacked vertically, or shoehorned into a cluster of other typefaces. But even here Choc remains clear and articulate, its voice deep and friendly, its accent foreign, perhaps, yet endearing. You've already seen it, probably repeatedly, like a stranger you recognize from your morning commute" reports NYT.

    Explore more of this typographic adventure here.

  • Blaqk are keeping it fresh with a mural installation and four paintings in Amsterdam

    Keep it Fresh projects is a group of creative people from different fields, with an extensive international network. 

    The renowned graphic design duo Blaqk, the collaboration between Greg Papagrigoriou and Chris Tzaferos (Simek), spent some days in Amsterdam bringing their creative genius to the Netherlands.

    Blaqk created a mural installation at KIF's “White Wall project”. Mixing Papagrigoriou Grigoris' organic forms and lines with Simek's geometric and systematic shapes, they created this harmonic configurable art piece.

    Also using a Graphics Interchange Format, they created a loop animation giving more complexity and dynamism to their piece on the digital sources, creating on that way, another language or perception of their body of work.

    The graphic designers and visual artists based in Athens, Greece, work by combining many graphic elements - calligraphic forms, letters, lines, geometric shapes, patterns, negative space and textures. 

    They work with murals, painting, graphic design among other things. Greg works mostly with calligraphy and sometimes with geometric forms and Simek with geometric shapes and lines.''

    Blaqk, created in March 2011, teamed up with Keep it Fresh, a community of creators who believe that "any art expression is a different world with immense possibilities, and creativity is a cataclysm for a common positivism and improvement of our environment". 

    KIF's mission is to form a worldwide community and network of creative people with a common passion for explore and push the boundaries, create, develop ideas, keep the minds and creativity fresh.

    Last but not least, Keep it Fresh released four original paintings done by Blaqk which you can check and purchase here

    Images @Keep It Fresh