There’s an underlying stink to great design

I recently wrote about the great talent in the Communication Arts 2013 Illustration Annual highlighting three examples of my favorite work. Aside from the talented artists, the magazine features up and coming (or already well-established) freelancers, agencies, and organizations pushing the boundaries of visual communication in the digital, advertising, or marketing space. Two agencies caught my eye in the illustration annual that come from the opposite ends of the visual communication spectrum, yet highlighting that great creative work comes from having a clear concept and knowing the rules to break them.

Stink Digital is a company that focuses on interactive film and at the same time found a way to integrate film, web, digital, and campaigns to provide an overall visual and engaging experience. Off the top of my head, they remind me a lot of Canada’s National Film Board who have also stretched the boundaries in documentaries and animated film on social issues.

The National Honesty Index is a great example of a campaign integrating the digital and physical worlds. Stink Digital worked on the visualizations of the data that tested the honesty of Americans with questions like “Are men more honest than women?” and “Are Los Angelinos more trustworthy than New Yorkers?”. Yet, exploring the website revealed that a lot more went behind the scenes (like the video below) in not only gathering and communicating the data, but also helping to build the brand and “cool” factor of Honest Tea.

Going digital seems to be a no-brainer these days when it comes to marketing communications, and even newsrooms, yet it’s nice to learn that there are people out there, like Underline Studio, who are still doing creative work in layout and publication design. Having great design in your hands is a great feeling despite all the emphasis on e-books and tablets.

Here are some examples of “classic yet creative” stuff they’ve produced.

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“The logo for InterAccess, an electronic media arts gallery, was inspired by cables and the networked nature of electronic arts. For each exhibition the gallery produces a dual purpose brochure/poster. When folded, the piece acts as a brochure with essays written on the exhibition, and when fully unfolded it reveals a promotional poster. The Networked City poster was produced for an exhibition of artworks located throughout Toronto. The poster acted as a map indicating the locations of each of the artworks.”
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“University Affairs, Canada’s most reliable source for higher education news, is the go-to publication for faculty, administration, staff and graduate students at universities and colleges across the country. Our redesign is central to the magazine’s push to strengthen its relationship with its readership, particularly younger faculty and graduate students.”
Pairing up with ad agency Lowe Roche, Underline Studio designed a custom insert for Audi in the first issue of The Globe and Mails much-anticipated redesign. The publication focused on superior approaches to design, in everything from architecture and fashion to housewares and, of course, Audis line of luxury vehicles.
Pairing up with ad agency Lowe Roche, Underline Studio designed a custom insert for Audi in the first issue of The Globe and Mails much-anticipated redesign. The publication focused on superior approaches to design, in everything from architecture and fashion to housewares and, of course, Audis line of luxury vehicles.

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