Tatzu Nishi

It’s not often that an art installation creates such an impact that leaves you contemplating it for days after. I spent this weekend up in Sydney and paid the art gallery of NSW a visit – not knowing at the time that the 2 statues that stand guard to the entrance (created by English sculpture Gilbert Bayes in 1923), were to be boxed up as though they were being restored – but to then discover that they had been turned into installations by artist Tatzu Nishi as part of the Kaldor art project.

I was overwhelmed by the sight on entry – there in a modern decorated room stood a very imposing statue – out of context but in relation to a modern environment – the coming together of 2 components – each in isolation are unremarkable but in context to each other – very remarkable! – I barely gave these statues a moment of my time before now, I found myself challenged to walk away from them. Very inspiring.



Installation in the making

Other installations by Nishi

1962 Sketchpad

I like to know where things begin – I’m fascinated by the origins of what we do today – everything that appears remarkable today has evolved through countless evolutionary steps involving many different industries and skills and are less likely to be the sole ingenuity of people like Jobs – who are more masters of making existing technologies accessible to the masses.

The drawing tools we use on computers – namely Adobe Illustrator, Freehand (now superseded) and Corel Draw and AutoCAD, evolved through computer experiments from the 60s, starting with Ivan Sutherland, who, in 1963, developed the complex program (for its time) ‘Sketchpad’. This 1987 film discusses the amazing abilities of this first piece of drawing software – we may think it appears simple now, but at the time it was very revolutionary and inspired many to produce what we use today.

And the original film:

From Wikipedia:
Sketchpad was the first program ever to utilize a complete graphical user interface, using an x-y point plotter display and the recently invented light pen. The clever way the program organized its geometric data pioneered the use of “objects” and “instances” in computing and pointed forward to object oriented programming. The main idea was to have master drawings which one could instantiate into many duplicates. If the user changed the master drawing, all the instances would change as well. Another major invention in Sketchpad was that it let the user easily constrain geometric properties in the drawing—for instance, the length of a line or the angle between two lines could be fixed. Sketchpad ran on the Lincoln TX-2 (1958) computer at MIT, which had 64k of 36 bit-words. Of the 36 bits available to store each display spot in the display file, 20 gave the coordinates of that spot for the display system and the remaining 16 gave the address of the n-component element responsible for adding that spot to display.

New Zealand Book Council – Going West

This is a paper stop-frame animation created for NZ Book Council Animated by Andersen M Studio, London. It’s a lovely integration of story telling using the pages of a book as the medium for the animation – high paced scalpel action with a nice bit of typography at the end.

Roman Cieslewicz

As promised, I wanted to present several Polish designers that were adding their unique visual language to the graphic design world in the middle of last century. one outstanding designer, particularly in poster design with his expressive illustrative style was Roman Cieslewicz.

Roman Cieslewicz (1930-1996). 1949-54 studied at Cracow Academy of Fine Arts. Specialized in poster and display designing. Worked as book and magazine designer. Since 1962 lived in France where he worked as art director of “Vogue”, “Elle” and “Mafia” – advertising agency. He was artistic creator of “Opus International” and “Kitsch”. Member of AGI [International Graphic Association].


Building a chocolate brand

An insight into the thinking process behind developing a brand for a product, here, one of my favorites – chocolate. A film about the brand and design development for a San Francisco chocolate company, TCHO, with commentary explaining the design process through to the applications of the brand.

How do you build a chocolate brand? from edenspiekermann_ on Vimeo.

Colour and the mind

TEDS is always worth keeping keeping an eye on – full of very talented people sharing their knowledge. This talk by Beau Lotto caught my eye – it’s an excellent talk with visual examples explaining how the mind works in relation to perception of colour and optical illusions.




We’re all guilty of it and there are so many ways to do it – in fact, I think I’m doing it now! Procrastinating! This expressive and very entertaining graphic animation ventures through all our habits to avoid work – though, one almost get’s the impression that everything we do is procrastinating! Sit back and enjoy your own procrastination and enjoy.

Typography rules, but remove the orphans and take out the widows

To designers type is beauty – we have such passion and high regard for their form and how they live together as a family, flowing from one sibling to another in harmony and respect. Typography should look effortless, easy on the eye, transport the reader from word to word which allows the mind to open and absorb the text as though it’s not there.

This beauty is not easy to achieve – it takes designers a lot of time on projects to fine tune – it requires attention to detail and a passion for perfection.

Publishing software has come a long way in the past 20 years and has helped the type designer carry out their task with far more accuracy and automation – but this software cannot be relied on as I feel it is still in its infancy and a lot more needs to be done.

I’ve had arguments with Adobe about InDesign’s poor mulit-line composing algorithm – it creates well balanced paragraphs but overlooks orphans (those stranded words or short lines at the end of paragraphs). There appears to be confusion about what constitutes good typography and some of the rules seem to be losing their strength.

So it refreshing that a designer from the USA has created a poster that lists many of the type rules – with an explanation of one of my favorite gripes – the orphans and widows. Check out his poster and download it at Evan Stremke’s website


Drawing and thinking with Milton Glaser

If you haven’t go it by now, I really do love the old school attitude for design – the hands on craft, the line making, the cutting of paper, the texture and fluidity of pen and paper and the masters of design present this as they come from a world that predates the computer where the designer had to rely more on the basics.

A short film by C Coy with Milton Glaser talking through his thoughts on drawing – we presume that the hand that is drawing is his!

Milton Glaser draws & lectures from C. Coy on Vimeo.

Sagmeister at TEDS

Stefan Sagmeister has certainly placed himself as one of the most influential designers of our time, and for me, I think the inspiration is in his attitude towards his working life – his view on managing his life to ensure that he has time to investigate and discover his creativity and step away from the restraints that client work can bring – though he rarely appears to struggle with that!

Here Stefan talks of his approach to work and taking, what has now become synonymous with him, a year off every 7 years to explore his creativity – it works for him, obviously, but I think the rest of us have a long way to go to reach this level!