Category Archives: Visual Diary

Marian Bantjes – Graphic Designer.

Marian Bantjes – Graphic Designer.

I came across this film while looking up training videos on my new friend  Not only does Lynda have a wealth of tutorials on anything from Photoshop to Twitter, it also has the odd documentary, such as this one that I found on famed graphic designer, Marian Banjes.  This was the first time that I had heard of her and her beautiful design work.  I really enjoyed this truly insightful film, which showed us Marian’s highly original and intricate design, as well as her hand-crafted and decorative lettering/typefaces.   I also enjoyed seeing designers that we have come to know as a result of our VisCom course, and familiar faces from the film Helvetica, namely Michael Beirut and Paula Scher.






Then & Now.

Then & Now.

Meeting with last year’s MScDM students yesterday, while a little scary when considering  the sheer magnitude of the final research project which lies ahead, was really inspiring and exciting.  I loved the attention to detail in the design of their site, the Easter 1916 logo in particular, and was driven by the notion that determination is often rewarded in a situation such as this.  I also loved the use of original archive photographs and the idea of the “then and now” photographs, matching old photographs of 1916 Dublin to those same locations today.  This morning, while mooching around the internet, I came across the gorgeous blog of South African blogger “Miss Moss” and her post about a vintage photo collector, Giuseppe Savini.  I would so encourage you to have a look at it.  Savini photographs his old collected images in the location today, matching them up with the building or landmark in front of which they were taken.  They made me laugh as they were so very clever.  A great idea.  Wish I had thought of it.

The Worst Album Covers Ever Created.

The Worst Album Covers Ever Created.

Here are some more design gems that I felt I needed to share.  When I first saw these crazy album covers I laughed my head off.  Calling them “The Worst Album Covers Ever Created”, really was no exaggeration.  To be honest, I have never heard of any of these artists.  At first, I was unsure as to whether these were just fictional/joke bands, and was convinced it was all just a wind-up.  Now, I know that Wikipedia is not always a reliable source, and the fact that I was able to do a Google search, which provided me with results, is not necessarily proof enough, but if someone went to all that trouble, the fair play to them.  I have included some examples.  Some are badly designed and dated, some are weird and others, well you can see for yourself.  Sorry about the rude ones, but one has to wonder what the designers were thinking, especially since we all now all the more aware of the power that the image has in conveying a message.  I can understand being subversive to get a reaction, but are these controversial, or just plain gross?  You decide. If you have some free time visit , to see the rest.

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens.

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens.

Last week I though that I would watch a film that would be in keeping with my “documentary diet” and give me some insight and perhaps inspiration for my photographic image assignment.  As is so often the case, I had heard about this film and for some reason had never thought to rent it.  Well, thanks to the DVD section of the GCD libruary, now was my chance.

I, like most people with an interest in the arts, had a good idea of some of the work of famed celebrity photographer, Annie Leibovitz, and her work for Vanity Fair magazine.  She is responsible for so many iconic photographs of our generation.  Who can forget her glamorous photographs of a very pregnant Demi Moore, which evoked much discussion on women, pregnancy, and motherhood and our associations with these ideas.    What I really enjoyed was the insight that we, as the audience, were given into her quite remarkable life, as told by her many famous and influential friends, in a film made by her sister.  Like many, I’m sure, I wasn’t aware of how Leibowitz began her photographic career, or much about her personal life.

Annie Leibowitz first made a name for herself as a photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, in its early days in San Francisco.  During this time she was to jump head-first into the popular culture of the day, and all the madness that went with it.  She went on tour with the Rollling Stones and spent time photographing John Lennon and Yoko Ono, creating the legendary images of their last day together.  Lennon was shot and killed just hours after Leibowitz had left their apartment.  On watching this film, I really was struck by the vast number of “famous” images for which she is responsible.  Photographs so familiar, and yet I had never even thought about who might had taken them.  One also cannot forget her photographs of a defeated Nixon’s exit from the White House grounds in 1974, with the guards rolling up the red carpet.  So symbolic and so simple an image to communicate the demise of a controversial term in office.

And then the glossy celebrity photographs, spreads for Vogue and Vanity Fair for which she is probably best known.  I found it amazing to see the arc of her  work, from simple, personal and observational to high end, overtly styled, produced, directed and manufactured.  But one cannot deny the artistry behind these images either, from Kirsten Dunst (aka Marie Antoinette) at the palace of Versailles, to George Clooney surrounded be a legion of semi-naked ladies, both explain why Annie Leibowitz is considered by many to be the queen of her craft.

Exploitation Film Posters.

Exploitation Film Posters.

I came across this book, which I completely forgot that I had bought, in my bookshelf the  day we were given the movie poster assignment.  I have been seriously thinking about setting my film in a period some time between the 1920’s – 1970’s, so that I can go to town with my love of vintage/retro design.  This book therefore was a great find.  That aside that it’s a good laugh.  Some of the posters are really out there.  And when one thinks that we are now considered much more liberal than our friends in days gone by, I had to laugh, as some of these really are quite racy, when you can image them plastered up on walls around town, or outside the cinema box office.  Others clearly advertise morality tales, the posters themselves warning young women of the dangers of sex and drugs.   The tag lines are a hoot.  This book is well worth a look, if only for a good laugh.  I’ve put up some of my favorites.   Enjoy.

Another Campbell’s Soup Can Incarnation.

Another Incarnation of the Campbell’s Soup Can.

When I saw this on a wall hidden down a small side street in Temple Bar yesterday, I thought it definitely had a place on my blog, since I have made so many references to the infamous Campbell’s soup can and its many send offs.  This one I thought was particularly clever.  It made me laugh.

Celtic Tiger Prawn Soup



At last I felt that the time was right to have a look at this site.  Alina had warned me when she first mentioned it, “Be careful”, she said as it has been known to be truly addictive. And she was right.  I have a love of looking at lists on the internet. Maybe I’m not alone in this?   Looking at lists of hotels, vintage leather handbags and art deco lampshades on ebay, you name it, clothes on asos/ on amazon…the list goes on. I can spend hours perusing and hitting the next button, so understandably I was cautious and had to choose my timing well, especially since FFFFOUND houses examples of interseting/beautiful/innovative design.  Mmmm.

And I wasn’t disappointed.  There were so many things that I really liked.  And with all the design projects that we are now responsible for, its a great way to see what is current. Below is an example of product design that I found on FFFFOUND and thought was right up my street, (I had mentioned my love of retro packaging in an earlier post). It was designed by students from Westerdal’s School of Communication, Norway.  Its retro yet modern and harks back to the futurist propaganda posters of old.  The simple use of colours to create contrast is really effective, be they in terms of the images or the text. Each design uses minimal colours and to such great effect.  If I saw this in a grocery store it would go straight in my trolley.

In the past I would have just appreciated that this design really appealed to me, I now find myself asking “Why”.   Why is it that this design works?  I now look at the choice of typeface and examine the information hierarchy.  I look at design in a new way, which makes me appreciate it all the more.

A little more info about this project:

“Designed by Eivind Reibo JentoftJune Saglie Holte & Rebecca Egebjerg | Country: Norway

“The brief was to make a package for Møllerens new (fictional) ecological muesli cereal series. The different flavours are Corn, Nut, and Blueberry/Black Crowberry.

The main target-group are strong, well-educated, urban women in the age 25-40, Who care about making an ecological choice for both their health and the planet’s. We named the product “Vilje”, it means WILL in Norwegian and is also a womans name.

We wanted to make something that was a clear alternative to the boring and simular competition. We focused on making a package that was easy to use and didn’t make a lot of mess for a quick breakfast. It is printed on 100% recycled paper. The design is inspired by the 1940′s propaganda posters directed towards woman and radiates energy, health and happiness.”