Alessio Longa is a graphic designer from Milan, he’s currently completing the training course at the New Academy of Fine Arts – NABA, in Milan, where he attends the Graphic Design & Art Direction course.
His biggest source of inspiration is the international typographic style of the 1950s, also called the Swiss school: it always strikes him in its rigor and in being balanced and clear.
Editorial graphics are also a big source of inspiration for him, as they projects him into a dimension in which the white space is no longer ‘empty’ but it becomes ‘cluttered’.
The style that he prefers, and that he tries to apply as much as possible, plays on using fairly rigid grids, minimalism, leveraging the use of typography as a design and communication element.
Design Issey Miyake is a tribute project to the Japanese designer Issey Miyake, who revolutionized the world of design, with particular devotion to innovation and experimentation, ranging from fashion design to product design, inspiring minds in all areas of design.
Filippos Fragkogiannis is an Athens based freelance graphic designer and art director with a focus on typography, print design and visual identity. His projects center around visual identities, posters, and print collateral, and he regularly enhances type foundries with bold imagery.
With an MA in Visual Communication, and a BA in Graphic Design from Vakalo Art & Design College and the University of Derby, his research-based approach is rooted in semiotics, symbolism and the mechanics of visual language.
How did you become a designer?
Going back, I think a number of experiences shaped me, and lead me towards graphic design, like my decade-long involvement in graffiti since the age of 14. Tags, names, and letters were the main elements we were spraying in the streets at the time. This premediated injection of verbal forms in the public space has much in common with the way posters make walls speak. No wonder why my early steps as a graphic designer was making posters for school parties, graffiti stores, and rap artists’ concerts. At the same time, I was, and still am, drawn to language, and its capacity to determine, disseminate, and establish any given information. The way the written word can be archived, shared, printed, and reproduced always interested me. Studying graphic design was a conscious choice, and all of the above not only played a key role in me following this path, but also in adopting a type-focused approach from early on.
How would you define your vision of design, your style?
My interest lies in the way language is used in visual communication and guides our interpretation of society. Whether it’s for advertising, propaganda, political discourse, or the expression of feelings, language is a powerful tool. So, I explore the capacities of this tool to produce designs based on simple forms and condensed meanings, that can make as big an impact as possible. In terms of approach, my design could be described as sharp, transparent, and plain-spoken. It calls for the viewers’ attention and tries to earn their trust, all the while allowing for multiple interpretations. I want the outcome to be direct and honest, to serve its purpose, and get the message across in a straightforward manner. I’m all for a simple, truthful, and type-centered design. I try to avoid adopting one style or another. Instead, I develop a creative methodology that moves from accumulation to condensation and abstraction.
First, I do a comprehensive research on the given subject, gather all the necessary information, then I process these materials, find a sensible hierarchy between them and, finally, take out everything that seems unnecessary or redundant. I experiment a lot, and reject many attempts before arriving at a final result that would be fulfilling to both me and the client. Avoiding verbiage is my main concern, since we live in saturated times in terms of visual and verbal stimuli. I also try to avoid risky certainties and prejudice. My intention is to communicate, through design, messages that speak a universal language and are addressed to a wider, international audience. I aim for designs that are simple, easily recognizable, and aesthetically appealing to the viewer.
A designer or studio you admire?
Artists working conceptually with typography and text in public space such as Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Lawrence Weiner, John Fekner and Josephine Kaeppelin always interested me. At the same time, my designs reflect my affection for fonts, and I’m always eager to collaborate with exciting type designers. Typefaces, to me, are a true inspiration. I think of them as vessels for concepts, moods, and gestures. To spark my creativity, type foundries are my go-tos.
Could you tell us about any of your projects?
A project reflecting my type-oriented approach is my work for NOMAS Magazine, a travel edition for visually wandering the world. Among other things, I got to imagine the code system of the featured countries for which I picked National Codes Pi with the aim of highlighting the font’s application both on paper and online. On the masthead of the magazine, I colored three codes in red, green and blue to hint at both the RGB system and the online continuation of the project.
Another great experience was enhancing Fonts.gr online presence with new features, pushing the envelope further. Along with Georgia Harizani, we created the company’s Instagram and Facebook shops, a Google My Business listing with a comprehensive font directory, and added the finishing SEO touches to their website. Needless to say, designing the foundry’s first AR filter on Instagram was so much fun. You should try it!
What do you like the most in your job?
To me, graphic design is a practice filled with excitement. From concept to design, printing, and delivery, it’s applied nature allows one to have a tangible outcome eager to start a conversation with its end receiver. It’s a practice that’s fueled by interaction and human contact. Therefore, as a graphic designer, I always felt a sense of responsibility about how my work questions and contributes to the values of our society and culture. In addition, graphic design is enlightening on a personal level. Working on visual communication made me more observant, more alert to details, more aware of the appearance and structure of things. It helped me improve both my communication skills and my critical thinking. Last but not least, as I go deeper into signs, symbols, and the metalingual function of language, it gives me a thrill to navigate and try to decode today’s information-saturated world.
For the future, what are your professional projects?
Right now, I’m working on expanding my outreach online and offline, introducing my work to a wider audience, and developing new collaborations with creatives and clients that are open to bold, radical, and unexpected design. Collaboration, to me, is as important as self-awareness, and a deeper understanding of one’s own interests, skills, and needs. I’m trying to find the right balance between research, commercial and personal projects, and collaborate with brands that value design as an asset, and understand its potential to deliver results and lead to renewal. I plan to continue to celebrate contemporary design through blogging, and I am heading towards the future with the desire to push my creativity further, and keep trying to bring something new to the table.
Alex Valentina is a graphic designer from Italy graduated at ISIA Urbino (Italy) and at KHIB Bergen (Norway). He believes in the importance of combining multiple disciplines in visual communication. Besides the obsession for typefaces, Alex is also a musician, music producer and video director.
“I’ve studied graphic design at KHIB in Norway and at ISIA in Italy. During my school years I was always very busy with my musical project and spent most of my time in studio producing. During those years I was freelancing as graphic designer for music labels or other music projects.
I still continue to alternate these two worlds, because each gives me a different type of energy and allows me to oxygenate the mind when I spend too much time on the same projects. Nice thing when I do graphics is the possibility to actually listen to other people’s music something I can’t do when I spend entire days just mixing frequencies and abstract sounds.
Lately I’ve been dedicating a little more time to personal graphic projects, searching for my own dimension and trying to understand if I actually have something to say and if I can say it in an innovative way. In any case, throughout my life typography has always been a constant obsession, to which, however, I had never actually committed. but collecting and cataloging special fonts on my computer has always been one of my main late late night pastimes 🤓
When the graphics becomes too formal, rigid, and “geometric” is when i generally tend to get bored. I’ve spent years loving that style but at this moment I feel this approach belongs to another historical period, or at least that is not stimulating enough compared to what is required of graphics at this moment in time.
I feel that in addition to all the rules, we should be able to add more soul to the things, to be able to infuse more meaning. Authenticity is the hardest thing to achieve these days. for me, visual communication does not only mean regularising but just as much creating quality products that can generate true communication, allowing life, ideas and a vision to shine through as much as possible. opening a dialogue is the first step to being 100% honest with ourselves, with our creative process and with the end user, whether it’s a customer or anyone else that has contacts with what we do.
An authentic design has to be sincere, human and alive. Being honest with yourself and with your own process shows results in the outcome, people feel it and this helps to establish a direct form of communication with fewer filters.
Graphic design is less about selling and more about saying: “this is me, this is what I stand for, what are your thoughts on this? what’s your reaction?
Borja Flores, is a graphic designer from Valencia, Spain. Currently, at the advertising agency called Aftershare. He works in advertising campaigns but as well collaborate with a video producers, luxury fashion brands, and dedicate his spare time to invent his own work with a strong interest in the graphic design.
Borja Flores says “I prefer do many collaborations, although they are free only if I can show my work, if the artist imposes his tastes I am not interested”.
Design for the editorial and Fashion Film ‘Medusa’ by Pellicer Estudio. The Fashion Film was in the final selection at the 5th International Awards @fashionfilmfestivalistanbul.
“As written by Ovid in Metamorphosis, Medusa was transformed in the monster we all know after she was raped by Poseidon in Athenea temple. Athena’s wrath made her blame and punish Medusa stirring her hair in snakes. Now anyone who looked she would turn to stone but not because she wanted to. The boys on the jellyfish Fashion Film realizes that, and even they turn into stone, they Don’t blame her. They could look through your eyes and see the it hurts inside her.”
Callin Mackintosh is an independent, London-based Scottish graphic designer specialising in typographically driven editorial and identity design. Callin’s 9 years of industry experience include working at established London studios, as well as leading the design output during his 3 years as design director helping establish a newly founded studio.
He is experienced working with a wide range of clients including art galleries, architects, book publishers, start-ups, breweries, jewellery designers, film festivals, musicians and fashion designers.
Notable projects include creating the identity and brand guidelines for the Sundance Film Festival 2020 in Utah, USA.
Callin’s passion for designing books also lies in collecting them. It was this dedication that led to him starting OOP (Out of Print Books), a small online bookshop selling rare, hard-to-find, art & design books. The aim being to get these important books back into the right hands to inspire and educate a new generation of designers.
Rhiannon Rebecca Salisbury and Arusha Gallery have called upon eighteen selected artists to invoke and create an ancient deity. The chosen deity from each artist as reflected in new artworks (painting, sculpture, sound and installation) are presented in a new group exhibition which seeks to reawaken a host of awe inspiring and mystical entities, bringing them back to the forefront of people’s consciousness.
The exhibition identity created by Callin Mackintosh takes inspiration from researching ancient alphabets and deity symbolism, exploring their simple, geometric forms. The selected display typeface feels both primitive and alien much like the gods themselves. The addition of a crucifix and inverted crucifix in place of the letter ’T’ represents the good and evil of these mythological beings.
The folded concertina invite works both as a poster and functional document with all additional exhibition details on the reverse.
Rebeka Arce is a multidisciplinary designer and art director based in Madrid. Her philosophy based on the translation of concepts into a visual language and her passion for the observation, synthesis and approach of future scenarios has led her to move throughout different disciplines, with special focus on creative direction, identity design, visual strategies and image creation for audiovisual media.
From her studio she works for national and international brands in culture, arts, technology, fashion, entertainment, music and food such as RedBull, Sony Pictures, Vodafone, Schweppes, LondonN1, Sephora, Narciso Rodriguez, Matadero Madrid, Madrid City Council, Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Instituto Cervantes, Cineteca Madrid, Flamenco Festival and GetxoPhoto Festival, among others, building and leading teams of collaborators from different disciplines to develop holistic and innovative projects, taking care of their development from initial planning to final implementation with a deep research and concept development process.
Her work has been awarded in Laus, Vimeo Staff Pick, LA Fashion Film Festival and Selected, and published on platforms and books such as AIGA Eye on Design, Computer Arts, Fubiz, Ètapes, Neo2, Victionary, PAGE Magazine, Creative Boom, Yorokobu and Graffica, among others.
Before creating her own design studio, Rebeka worked at creative agencies in Berlin, Madrid and Bilbao and collaborated with large brand consultants and agencies such as Interbrand, Superunion and MRM McCann.
In addition to directing her own studio, Rebeka teaches in masters at IED Madrid and MrMarcel School, has participated as a speaker at design festivals and events such as ‘Brief Festival’, ‘Ladies, wine & design’ and ‘PlayRestart’ and is the co-founder and art director of a cultural and live music venue in Bilbao.
We were commissioned by Madrid-based electronic artist Bruma, to art direct and design his first studio album ‘Far From Me’. Bruma conceives his music as a means to translate emotions into sounds, and each song on his album reflects a state of mind or emotional process experienced throughout the four years the album creation process lasted. That’s why we used emotions as the main concept to create the artwork, translating Bruma’s harmonious and semi-ambient sound journey through the twists and turns of landscape electronics and warm vocal melodies into a strong visual narrative.