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 Mailís much-anticipated redesign. The publication focused on superior approaches to design, in everything from architecture and fashion to housewares and, of course, Audiís 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 Mailís much-anticipated redesign. The publication focused on superior approaches to design, in everything from architecture and fashion to housewares and, of course, Audiís line of luxury vehicles.

UNISDR – Season’s Greetings

Provided the concept, copy, and layout for e-card. After providing creative direction for the 2011 International Day for Disaster Reduction logo, I took the essential element from the logo to produce a holiday greeting card for UNISDR. The image uses words from the disaster risk reduction terminology to highlight the silhouette of the children from the International Day logo. In addition, a landing page was developed to highlight the organizations 2011 achievements. You can see the webpage here.

OCHA ROAP Map Atlas

As part of an ongoing project on Natural Hazard Risk for UNOCHAís regional office in Asia and the Pacific, after analyzing and producing a hazard risk map for each country in the region, the final accumulation was to produce a publication. This was the cover I designed using Wordle. The rest of the publication was also prepared using Adobe InDesign. The publication was not produced as far as I know since there were other priorities for the organization at the time (i.e. responding to Cyclone NARGIS that hit Myanmar in 2008).

How-to Mapping Guide

Working with the United Nations Development Programme on a HIV/AIDs and development programme for Southeast Asia, I researched, wrote, and designed this publication that was released in 2004. This how-to guide stresses the importance of mapping as a tool for understanding and responding to HIV vulnerability. The content for the guide came out of an expert meeting on mapping from the organizations highlighted on the cover. You can find this publication along with others that I designed here.