• 4.10.18 Craig Ward's Nike World Cup Kit for England Started with a Surprise

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    The World Cup, the biggest quad-annual football event (second in all sports only to the Olympics), is right around the corner with all eyes poised to turn towards Russia to watch the games. It’s the pinnacle of play for many of the athletes involved, but even as a few dozen players will be called to play for each team, many fewer designers have ever put their market on the kits. For this World Cup, Nike invited Craig Ward to create a bespoke typeface for the England uniforms, an honor rarely offered. “It’s a pretty wild thing because I’m only like the third designer in history to touch the England kit. It was me, Neville Brody, and before him, it was Peter Saville,” says Craig. “Traditionally whoever is doing the kit just chooses a regular font for it. So, it was no small beans on a personal level.” The request came from an unexpected place: a message on LinkedIn that Craig caught just an hour before the pitch meeting. But the request also came very early: Craig’s been working on his final design for years. “I started it literally spring 2016, and it was like 19 rounds of work over the next 18 months,” Craig says. “Sometimes it would go weeks and weeks between feedback coming in so it felt a little long just because of the nature of the process but it was pretty wild to see it go out a couple weeks ago in the Friendlies.” Putting a typeface on the backs of England’s players is no small feat. Not only do the designs have to look good, but they also have to meet the legibility standards of a handful of unions, ensuring that the jerseys provide the information needed by coaches, players, referees, and many more.  But Craig is known for his inventive typography, so there was a balance to be struck. “The brief was what you’d expect – Dynamic, Contemporary, Sporty, and British. They really wanted it to feel very English,” explains Craig. “I started by doing a little research on the classic British fonts like Gill Sans, Johnston, Flaxman which is the New Scotland Yard typeface. They’re all geometric and clean.” Not only that, but Nike also asked that Craig somehow incorporate the St. George’s Cross, the contemporary flag of England and the central red cross in the flag of Great Britain.  Craig used the cross as the base for a lot of two-dimensional designs but then started looking at the problem from another angle. He brought the exploration into a new dimension. “We hit on this idea of using the cross as a sweep around a curve and modeling it in 3D,” Craig explains. That’s where the intruding lines come from: they show the movement and shape of that cross moving its way through space. England has played two games in The International Friendlies with the new kits so far, and you won’t be surprised to hear that they’re playing well. “Undefeated! One win and one draw so far,” says Craig. And obviously, we know what to credit the success of the team to: Craig’s amazing typeface. “It’s all about those dynamic, geometric typefaces, of course it is,” he says with a laugh. “First thing they see when they get into the changing room is their names, their numeral – and that kerning is sick.”
  • 4.9.18 Revealing the Real Jon Hamm with Marc Hom for Esquire

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    Before Mad Men, Jon Hamm had been kicking around Hollywood for the better part of a decade but it wasn’t until he landed the lead role in the AMC runaway hit that he became a critical darling. Mad Men ran for seven seasons over eight years, launching Hamm into the spotlight. It was amazing for Hamm’s career, but any time an actor becomes well known off one character it can often turn into a liability. Now that the show is over, it’s time to leave that character behind and that’s exactly what Marc Hom was tasked with for the cover of Esquires Big Black Book with Hamm. “My biggest challenge for the cover was to take him out of the Mad Men 50s era,” Marc explains. “And just trying to make him look a little bit more rugged, a little bit more real. We created the whole setting in this garage in Canada and just brought in the different kind of elements to create almost like an artists’ studio with some elements of steel and making him a little bit more hardcore and not so refined.” Removing that familiar context meant getting closer to who Hamm is which is exciting for Hamm. His upcoming projects are deep and rich: his current film ‘Beirut’ looks at the Lebanese city in the 80s, he’s taking a turn as the Archangel Gabriel in an upcoming TV series, and his voice acting for animated comedies seems to be endless. He’s doing a lot that has nothing to do with his previous characters, and it couldn’t be better. “He seems to be very excited about getting out of this shadow of his past,” says Marc. “I think he just felt good and was a really an organic shoot. He was just into it. The styling isn’t overly fashion oriented, so it’s more as you would think he would be in real life.” Instead of that tired trope of Hamm as Mad Men’s Don Draper, we’re seeing Hamm as Hamm. To see more of Marc Hom’s work, check out his portfolio.
  • 4.12.18 Vault49 Creates Pepsi's Entire Identity for the UEFA Champions League Final

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    “For the fans, football isn’t a matter of life and death; it’s much more than that,” Vault49 explains, showing why they were the perfect creative partner for Pepsi’s UEFA Champions League Final campaign. More than just ads or cans, Vault49 created everything from the ground up and the process was fully comprehensive. “Vault49 was proud to be invited to develop the sponsorship identity for Pepsi and leverage it across packaging and key visuals to celebrate moments of football passion,” says Vault49. “We sought to turn the focus from the game to the fans themselves and the multitude of moments that stir our passions throughout a game of football. From the tension and banter of the pre-match build-up, through the rollercoaster of the match itself, to the eruption or heartbreak at the final whistle. Our campaign illustrates how these moments of passion are as relevant to a local kick about in a park among friends as they are to the glorious stadiums around the world.” Vault49 didn’t just write the copy for the campaign, they also created the hand-painted typography that appeared on cans, bottles, and posters, ideated and executed the photoshoot for the advertising, and completed the story with gift sets that included t-shirts, tote bags, and posters. All told, it was an amazing opportunity for Vault49 to create such a comprehensive identity for Pepsi, and one that they fully enjoyed. “For Vault49 and our team of football fans, projects don’t come much more exciting than this, and the creative synergy between Vault49 and the Pepsi team made this project a pleasure from start to finish.”
  • 4.13.18 Take a Ride Through History with Emiliano Ponzi's Newest Book

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    It’s hard to get lost in NYC: the city is set up on a grid. Just follow the numbers! The subway system, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. A jumble of tubes skate all over the five boroughs, changing direction and trajectory as they go along. It takes a real expert to navigate the subway by memory. But if you’re not an expert, you’re in luck: Massimo Vignelli oversaw an amazing map of the subway system between 1970 and 1972. Emiliano Ponzi was so charmed by the artist and the story that he created a book that examines the process of creating the map. The book is called ‘The Great New York Subway Map’ and it’s filled with illustrations by Emiliano that take cues from Vignelli’s work. “He has a very clear idea of what was good and what wasn’t good, aesthetically speaking. And he wrote this book that I really love called ‘The Vignelli Canon,’ where he stated all his guidelines he gave himself regarding his graphic designer aesthetic,” Emiliano explains. “So what I like about working on this project is I was able to apply the same principals as Massimo told in his book.” Emiliano’s aesthetic is obviously his own, but when telling the story of Vignelli’s work, he went the extra distance to emulate Vignelli’s style. It wasn’t just the work of aesthetics, but ultimately became about process and seeing differently. “What I tried to do was to design every image at least five or six times so every time I redesigned one illustration I was about to rationally think about if I needed the details, maybe I could take a detail out,” Emiliano says. “So that was like the biggest challenge and also a very hard one… This is a little more minimalist than my usual style.” Vignelli’s subway map took an incredible complex transportation apparatus and turned it into an easy to read map that could fit in your pocket. The only way to do that is distill, distill, distill and Emiliano brought that to each page of his book. MoMA invited Emiliano to help them host an Art Making get together at the Design Store for kids to get creative. For Emiliano, this partnership with MoMA is something of a dream come true. He used to walk the galleries in wonder and now counts the museum as a collaborator. “Looking at the museum three years ago when I used to work on 53rd street, and now I have another feeling because now I have a deeper connection,” he describes. “I’m very excited, I’m also excited because I also feel responsibility to pass a good message to children.” His best message to pass onto the children? It’s okay to be confused, especially when creating art. “Being confused is normal because we can find order out of chaos. So being in a chaotic situation is also sometimes useful to come up with a good idea or a good project.” ‘The Great New York Subway Map’ is available for purchase now.
  • 4.6.18 Marco Grob's 22 Character Posters for Marvel's Latest

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    You know it’s coming. It’s been teased and previewed for years. The culmination of dozens of Marvel movies finally hits a crescendo this summer with the release of Marvel’s Infinity War. The massive story that began with Iron Man in 2008 will see a kind of climax with Infinity War, the first part of a two-part story that will be an end for many of the beloved characters we’ve met over the last 10 years. To call the movie Highly Anticipated is an understatement as Marvel fans across the world are looking forward to seeing how their favorite characters get past the world’s biggest threat and Marvel invited Marco Grob to help usher in this next biggest chapter. Like he did with Black Panther earlier this year, Marco teamed up with the comics juggernaut to create character posters for all the major players. 22 posters stretch the entire history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far with Iron Man, T’Challa, Captain America, and everyone in between. When Marco created character posters for Black Panther, now the 10th highest grossing movie of all time, they were designed to give a taste of who each character was. He brought a stillness to those images, a regality. But for Infinity War, the immediacy of the moment is right there in the title and each poster shows the characters engaged in combat. Each image is full of energy and the stakes are high. There’s always an incredible amount of secrecy around every MCU release but this film’s veil has been unprecedented. And fans have never been more ravenous. Check out some of the 22 different posters Marco photographed for the latest installment in the MCU, and get excited for the next chapter of this incredible series.
  • 4.4.18 The Future of Art Book Publishing: Elisa Nadel

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    “The future of publishing is up for grabs. Including art publishing,” Alexander Galan, Director of Books and Exhibitions at Great Bowery, said launching the beginning of a discussion of The Future of Art Book Publishing, presented by B&A, hosted by NeueHouse. What followed was an examination of the history, present, and potential future for the Art Book publishing industry. Galan was joined by Elisa Nadel (‎Artbook/Distributed Art Publishers), Lisa Naftolin (‎Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation), and Paul Chan (artist, Badlands Unlimited) who each offered their distinct points of view on this moving issue. In this piece, we’ll hear from Elisa Nadel whose unique perspective at Distributed Art Publishers has afforded her the perfect point of view to witness how the Art Book Publishing landscape has changed over the last few decades and what that means for the future. DAP was founded in 1990, and for the first five years represented publishers like Walter Keller, Parkett, and Walther König, selling books and journals everywhere: bookstores, museum shops, retails gift stores, and even libraries. This went on for about five years until everything changed. “In 1995 Amazon launched its website and essentially everything changed after that,” Nadel explains. The growth of massive book retailers like Borders and Barnes & Nobel weakened independent stores, and the birth of Amazon even further. While independents were shuttering, a few were taken on by the large retailers, running the stores with the original names and specializations. But as Amazon ate more and more of the market, even those shops began to shutter. “What happened essentially was this reversal taking place because Amazon took a stronghold in the marketplace and Borders bookstore, which was a mega massive chain store, declared bankruptcy in 2011. Then by the time 2016 came, Barnes & Nobel was closing hundreds of stores and we lost some very strong, centralized art bookstores.” But parallel to the old industry starving, a new way of accessing these books emerged. And it began with Art Basel. “It wasn’t until 2002 when the Art Basel Miami Beach fair came about that made the art fair turn into a cultural phenomenon, a cultural event, where everybody really started to attend art fairs,” Nadel explains. “DAP had been invited from the very start to be a bookstore there along with Taschen Books and the nonprofit bookstore, Printed Matter.” Together, they were able to create a presence of Art Books at this Art Fair, and it was groundbreaking in its own way. As masses of creative art loves descended upon each city they DAP, Taschen, and Printed Matter gave the attendees the opportunity to take pieces of the art world home with them and implied the collectability of these publications. It set the scene for something more and inspired the launch of Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair a couple years later. The NY Art Book Fair, that has since expanded to include LA in its 13 years, is now a destination of its own drawing out the wide-ranging community around Art Books from publishers to zine creators. It’s reinspired a new generation of Art Books outside of the traditional industry that took the hit a decade ago and represents a reconstruction of how the community approaches the product. “All of the sudden with the NY Art Book Fair you had artist bookmakers from all over the world that were being brought together to share their passion for the printed book form,” Nadel says. One day at the NY Art Book Fair forces the attendees together to recognize the creativity and expression in the community, beyond just the printed page. The Fair takes the conversation out of the bookstore and out into a museum pavilion with meals of jerk chicken and a veritable rainbow of hair dye. It’s a representation of the human elements that turn the pages of these books that have found a new hungry audience. In a way, Nadel says, art book fairs shouldn’t be as successful as they are. The past few years, the NY Art Book Fair posted at MoMA’s PS1 has drawn upwards of 30,000 attendees. This massive number is a repudiation of the idea that social media has created a generation that’s only interested in consuming through digital portals. Books are the antithesis of digital media, and art book fairs continue to attract growing audiences. “It really was this pushback from what was this digital age that was getting deeper and deeper,” Nadel says. “Everything was so much about the online media, but everybody that was participating in the art book fairs: they were all about printed matter… It inspired so many art book fairs, just like the art fairs were growing the art book fairs were growing. You had so many iterations of the art book fairs from Japan to London and Paris and Los Angeles and San Francisco, it was exploding.  What had shrunk under the shadow of Amazon and the dearth of independent booksellers has found new life in the fairs. Online sales took away the opportunity for shoppers to come in contact with the art books that the smaller publishers were selling, but the fairs have brought that back, reinventing the way the industry interacts with their customer. And the big money has noticed. “There are artists and curators and galleries, the art world coming back and seeing these independent art book publishers who focus on publishing really hard to find books or hard to find books and new writing on art. The galleries were so inspired that they started joining the Art Book Fairs and feeding money,” Nadel says. “Then you even have galleries like David Zwirner books who traditionally were publishing art book catalogs to market their artists and they just launched a series called ‘ekphrasis’ which is all about art book writing by artists and on artists, so you have this passion that was creating this frenzy for the printed material.” At a time when the artbook industry was poised for collapse, publishers and artists came together to find their audience. The audience never went away, but they had to be rediscovered. It was the same audience as it ever was, but the books had to find their way into those familiar hands in new ways and art book fairs have allowed them to do that. Stay tuned for more about the Future of Art Book Publishing with Alexander Galan, Lisa Naftolin, and Paul Chan.
  • 3.29.18 B&A Dives In with Steven Lippman

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    Steven Lippman's west coast lifestyle flows through all his work, bringing a clear-headed lightness and energy to every shot and delivering it to each of his clients. His command of light is immediately recognizable in every image, whether he’s shaping compositions with added light in nightscapes like his iconic and sharp imagery for Showtime’s Ray Donovan, playing with softness and subtlety like his latest inspirational campaign with MGP, or shaping the way sun hits his subjects in the open air or under water. When he first picked up his camera he brought his early surfing mentality with him to the art form. Taking his camera in hand, he went out and photographed everything he could. “There were no rules, nothing that came before that you could follow,” he says. “So at a young age, you were forced to go out and create. You just made whatever street corner, parking lot, or empty swimming pool come to life.” It taught him to make art wherever he went, forming exceptional creations with whatever was placed in front of him. (He’s carried that early love of the ocean on into his role as President of A Walk on Water, which is a non-profit that provides surf therapy for those with special needs.) It taught him to be agile and expressive, qualities his clients rely upon today. Samsung, Sony, Harley Davidson, Vera Bradley, and many others have counted on him to bright a bright, broad, and open atmosphere to their campaigns. Please join us in welcoming Steven Lippman to the roster at Bernstein & Andriulli.
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