Spotlight: Czech designers

As part of my current project at university, the Extended Major Project (EMP), I am looking into Czech art and design to get a feel of the visual styles and trends used. A bit of a reconnecting with my roots if you like. Here are various Czech designers I’ve come across. It is a mix of ones relevant to my project and others which piqued my curiosity, all collected here so that nothing is lost.

"Udel Nadani" – Czech Documentary Opportunity

The story goes that in February of 2010, my mother discovered an ad running on Czech Television and immediately contacted me about it. The ad was about an audition/competition for a series of five documentaries about young, talented Czech people between the age of 18 – 30. Talent here is used in a very broad sense, not necessarily just within my field of art and design, but also in music, science, literature, anything! Thinking that I had nothing to lose I sent examples of my work to her and just today I got a response!

In her email she explained the details of the documentary and outlined a written ‘confession’ as she called it which she would like me to write so that she can get a sense of who I am and what my life has been like. The documentary is titled ‘Udel Nadani’ which roughly (though awkwardly) translates to ‘Fate of the Talented’ or ‘Fated Gifts’. In the five documentaries she plans to show the ups and downs which talent brings to its bearers, that it’s not a walk in the park, nor does it somehow makes life magically easier or better. What is the place of these talented youths with their ‘gifts from nature’  within their families, friends circles, schools, careers and society at large? Do we do more harm then good by them?

Based on the work that I sent her, she said it intrigued her along with my back story and that she would like to know more. Her genuine interest is something I didn’t really anticipate at all. I thought I should make the effort to apply never actually thinking that I would get through. At this point I haven’t technically been ‘chosen’ yet, I have simply progressed to the next elimination round which consists of my written ‘confession’. This is supposed to be quite personal and purely between me and her, not something that will be published or used in the documentary.  And then the next stage of course is to meet in person, which she stressed in her email as being very important to her. For her to further judge my character face to face, understand who I am as a person, and my suitability for the documentary.

She leaves the shape of the written piece up to me, as long as it’s personal and not an essay, but started me off with some suggestions… How has your life and travels unravelled so far? What influenced and influences you? What do you seek in life? What are you dreams and aspirations? How and why did you start to do what you do (art & design)? How did you adapt to foreign places? What have you studied?

The audition/competition “Udel Nadani” is something she is creating on her own (with the help of a few crew members) as a comission for Czech Television (http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/). She did a similar series in the past which was well received so this builds upon those foundations.

Please refer to ECP&E folder work for more documentation of all this.

EMP Search for Printing Services

As part of the EMP (Extended Major Project) we are required to design and print a book documenting the project from start to finish. The book should be of high quality, well thought through and an all-round good piece of design and is meant to act as a portfolio piece to show off at interviews. So I have begun the search for a print company to use when the time comes to get the book printed and here are the ones I have found so far…

1. Blurb

One of my tutors suggested Blurb as a good company to use for book printing and I must say that from what I have seen on their website I agree. Their website is friendly, and easy to use and you quickly get the information you need rather then needing to hunt around for the seemingly well-hidden prices. They even have a free application available to use for putting your book together! The only downside is the delivery time since it seems to be based in the US, which may prove to be a problem for me on this project and I might need to find a UK based company instead.

http://www.blurb.com

http://www.blurb.com/create/book/pricing

Above is their price list with all details you need…I think for this project I’d probably be looking at either the Portrait book or one of the Landscape ones.

I really like the look of the matte hardcover imagewrap and I think this is something I will try to look out for in the UK-based companies I hope to find.

2. ImageXL

This is literally the most conveniently located print company because it is at the Enterprise Pavilion within the AUCB campus.

{ http://www.imagexl.co.uk }

sales@imagexl.co.uk – tel 0845 0034 297

Enterprise Pavilion, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5HH

3. The Print Agency

This is a company a lot of people on the course seem to use and have quite good experience with, aaand a bonus is that it’s actually located in Bournemouth!

http://www.theprintagency.com

The Print Agency
Top Floor
Canford Chambers
22 St Peter’s Road
Bournemouth
Dorset
BH1 2LE

t | 01202 312 310
f | 01202 312 311
m | 07866 418 588 or 07976 122205
e | print@theprintagency.com
w | http://www.theprintagency.com

Our offices are located in the heart of the Bournemouth’s busy town centre – opposite Bliss and Toko on St. Peters Road.

On Foot:
If you walk through the town centre and turn into the Burlington Arcade (with Boots The Chemist on the corner), come through the arcade and on to St Peters Road, turn left and we are on the top floor of the first building on your left – (sign says The Print Agency)

4. DPI (design print internet)

Another print company in Bournemouth with high quality examples of their work on their site, and they seem to do just about everything. I was searching through many Bournemouth print company websites and so far this one has stuck out of the crowd as being the most impressive and professional-looking. This looks very promising. I’ll definitely be getting some quotes from them along with the Print Agency.

http://www.d-p-i.co.uk

DPI Limited
The Warehouse
Rear Of 25
Southcote Road
Bournemouth
BH1 3SH

Print Enquiries
Telephone 01202 552 555
Facsimile 01202 552 444
Email enquiries@d-p-i.co.uk

Design Enquiries
Email design@d-p-i.co.uk

Computer Arts Tutorial (Build type with flair by Tom Lane)

One of my lovely housemates showed me this tutorial he found in Computer Arts since he thought it might be relevant to my project. The moment I saw what he was holding I pounced on it because I love the work of Tom Lane (who I discovered last year) and have been secretly hoping he would make some tutorials.

{ http://www.computerarts.co.uk/tutorials/2d__and__photoshop/build_type_with_flair }

Update: I actually forgot about this tutorial for a time until the end of the EMP began creeping up. Clearly though, this tutorial and Tom Lane in general had been sitting in the back of my mind for a long time and only now, when the time was right did they come to the forefront. The perfect timing I speak of is when I was searching for a way of texturizing the logo and creating interesting backgrounds for some of the promotional material for the Prague 2020 Olympics EMP. Though a lot of his work involves applying textures to type (esp. tutorials such as this one) he does the same for images and that is where I am trying to take a leaf of out his book. A love of textures and colours is something that has stayed with me and my ‘style’ if you like throughout my evolution from ‘fine artist to graphic designer and illustrator. Tom Lane is the perfect example for me, of a designer and illustrator who uses textures. Refer to finalization section for more information on how Tom Lane influenced my EMP work.

Orange Label Design

I stumbled across this design agency yesterday while doing some research into Czech design for my Extended Major Project. I came across a post titled “The World Best Designers: Czech Republic” from a blog by Francesco Mugnai and Orange Label was on that list. I was initially under the impression that Orange Label was a Czech design agency but in fact they have offices all around the world (Prague, London, New York, Moscow and Cyprus). This discovery is a bit of a breakthrough for me because I have been searching for these kind of design agencies for a while as part of my looking-at-future-possibilities for where I could see myself working (in agencies which have offices all around the world and potentially in Prague). This is the first company I have found with an office in Prague as well as London, which are two places I have been looking at for future employment (London because I plan to move there next year for an MA and Prague because it is my homecity).

{ http://www.orangelabel.com }

On their homepage (above) you are first and foremost met with this illustration

which can be downloaded as a wallpaper.

Then as you scroll down you see their services, company profile, contact details and prices. What caught my eye right away was the four playful tabs explaining what kind of work they do, accompanied by friendly, colourful, and humorous illustrations; equating the company to a man in white, godlike figure, who at a swoosh of his hand delivers exactly what the client asked for (i.e. rainbows and sparkles) so that the client can relax and sit around between clouds and rainbows surrounded by abducted cows 🙂

What I like about the company is that they come across as very versatile, as you scroll further down the page you see examples of all the different types of work they offer ranging from web design, to visual identities, illustration and cute characters and icon sets.

Car Faces by Kyle Bean

I was watching tv with my housemates when out of the blue one of them randomly found this design and showed it to us on her laptop. Immediately we all huddled around trying to pick out the cutest one, the angriest one, the one with the best moustache etc. so in terms of drawing the viewer in it really scores high. The care faces are easily recognizable as being ‘facial features’ taken from cars, though if you’re really viewing it at a distance it should still draw your attention because of all the great shapes you have working together within the design. The idea is sweet and simple and entertaining and it’s one of those that makes you secretly think ‘why didn’t I come up with it’ since it’s so easily accessible to anyone and readable.

http://www.kylebean.co.uk/projects/carfaces/1.jpg

After discovering the project I went on further to find the designer behind it and see what kind of other work he does. Kyle Bean is the name, and this is his portfolio site:

http://www.kylebean.co.uk/portfolio/

On top of the ‘Car Faces’ piece, I really liked his ‘Mobile Evolution’ piece which plays on the idea of Russian Dolls (which stack up one within the other) but it is a great way of showing how far we have come with mobile phone technology from huge clunky things to thiny sleek things that at times defy imagination.

Another piece I liked was his ‘Autumn’ typography piece using autumn leaves. The colours of all the leaves and the beauty of autumn really come through and it has a bit of an Andy Goldsworthy feel to it. I think that this project could easily be taken further into perhaps leaving messages (a bit of ambient design almost)  using natural surroundings for people as they come and go in their everyday routines. Such unobtrusive typographic pieces could be quite beautiful and bring back a sense of art and value to what we usually take for granted.

The piece also reminds me of Tibetan sand mandalas, which are intricately put together over hours and hours of labour and are swept away after the occassion (they are done for a certain festival or holiday I think). The fleeting, short-lived nature of these works of art makes them twice as beautiful to behold and I think the same would work for the nature typography pieces like ‘Autumn’ which can disappear with a single sigh of the wind.

ISTD Entry?

With everything that’s been pencilled into my calendar since January, it has truly been mayhem from the beginning, starting with arriving a week late thanks to weather, and refer to other posts for updates on the rest. I was really pleased with my ISTD project from last term but now the deadline for registration has come up (well, did come up this Friday 19th February). With everything that’s been going on, especially MA related, I really haven’t been idle. I feel that I am lagging a bit behind on my EMP and I have a bad feeling that if I give into my my ambitious side (like I did to a point with my RCA application which had some consequences for my dissertation) it might end up hurting me more then helping me in the long run. The EMP is worth the most points in terms of the total grade for this year so I really can’t afford to mess it up. With everything considered, I decided not to try entering my ISTD project because of all the extra work and stress it would entail when I already have plenty to deal with. But perhaps it’s something to consider for next year, and I can plan things better with entering ISTD in mind.