Today, I bring you an incredibly talented individual, Benjamin JeanJean. I am very envious of not only his work, but his surroundings and life in general. An excerpt from his own biography reads:
“Deeply rooted in the surf and skateboard culture, Benjamin JJ follows life at his own pace on the French Atlantic coast: he drives a 1965 404 Peugeot; lives in an old house he renovated himself, packed with vintage furniture and art pieces; surfs on an old school longboard and takes pictures with a medium format analog camera. Time seems timeless for him. ”
Sounds like the life, if you ask me. Benjamin is well-versed in design, surfing (both shaping and riding), and photography. In todays world, everyone uses their computer or their digital cameras (or phones) to create art, but I find it refreshing to see someone who doesn’t mind getting dirty and taking the time to really put a bit of himself into the things he creates. From pencil and paper, to a surfboard. I love the idea of creating something beautiful that you can also use and enjoy beyond just looking at it.
He has inspired me to pick up a pencil and paper, start working with my hands more, and live my life the way I want to live it.
Stunning images from various Google data centers around the world. I’m always amazed when I see how intricate and complex all this network routing can get, but the images I’m most drawn to in these galleries are the photos that show the routing of something else: water.
The cooing tech seems just as complex as the rest of it all, and they make great use of color to help identify different water types and their functions. For example, in Hamina Finland, one color designates highly pressurized clean and filtered water for use in the event of a fire, while another designates seawater pulled from the Gulf of Finland, used solely for cooling purposes.
Lorn fans: if you haven’t already, you need to go and download his latest free offering in the Lorn & Dolor beat-tape series. If you’ve been following these then you only need to download part IV – otherwise hit the PARTS I-IV link for the whole thing zipped up.
The series is compilation of unreleased material and sketches all with Lorn’s usual HEAVY hitting dark yet ethereal and beautiful sound. It might not flow like a ‘mix’ (it clearly wasn’t intended to), but it’s surprisingly cohesive, given the jumpy/cut nature of some of the transitions.
I’m not sure who this ‘mysterious’ Dolor fellow is – but judging from the severe lack of info on him online and the similarity in sound, I’m thinking it’s just an alias of Lorn himself. Then again, in 1996 when I first heard Feed Me Weird Things I was absolutely convinced Squarepusher was Richard D. James.
Oh, I also though Burial was Four yet. So there’s that.
Image Blender is my go to app for blending and masking but I was getting frustrated using the brush tool to mask a straight line, then it dawned on me that I could use a solid black or white image to “knock out” the part I wanted to be transparent (or in this case to be opaque). Once I blended down the solid black or white I could bring the image back in and use the blending modes to get the transparency.
The screenshots above show this process. The original photo was the edge of a window frame. I overlaid a blank white image at four different angles. I then flipped it and blended it over the mountain photo. Tip: Swipe to the right to move and rotate the image and then from the main screen tap and hold to flatten down, switch images or copy. I did the final color adjustments in picfx, another go to app for me. If you have any other Blender tricks post them below!
We’ve discussed Vitsoe around here before, primarily focusing on what they are most known for: Dieter Rams’ furniture designs, including the 606 Universal Shelving System and the 620 Chair Programme. Founded in 1959, they have worked with arguably some of the most influential mid century graphic designers in Germany, and their attention to detail in the company graphic identity and literature has always been just as impressive as the furniture itself. Now, Vitsoe has started to release some of it’s amazing archival material via it’s newly created Tumblr page, and it’s worth a visit.
I find myself most drawn to the posters and graphic identity that Wolfgang Schmidt created for Vitsoe early on. Being a record collector, I’m obviously obsessed with this 7″ that they pressed in the 1971 for one of the various live performance events in the showrooms.
The poster he designed in 1972 for the 620 Chair Programme is genius – it really captures the idea of ‘furniture as a system’ that both the 606 and 620 embody. Each unfolding of the poster reveals a new layout, ultimately culminating in a whimsical layout featuring the Vitsoe employees as the models.
Schmidt’s book of invitations for the Frankfurt fair in 1971 delivers humor via his iconography combinations.
Finally, Günther Kieser, most famous for his jazz and rock posters, art directed various photo shoots for Vitsoe. This is a postcard featuring one from 1968.
I just recently finished a five day intensive Typography course called Crafting Type. My head is still spinning a little from being so immersed into the realm of type design and fonts. I was surprised at after learning a few techniques for sketching and drawing how quick it was to get some decent ideas down on paper. I highly recommend the course if you ever get the chance to take it.
The course was led by Dave Crossland with Eben Sorkin and Octavio Pardo. Dave is a firm believer in “Libre Software” (free software) and is now creating Libre fonts. He is currently working as ‘Font Consultant’ to the Google Web Fonts project and has contributed many fonts to it. He also is a large contributor to FontForge and set each of us up with his own customized version to design our fonts.
The interesting part (that I didn’t realize) about Libre fonts is you are free to edit them and improve or make variations of them, providing you contribute them back into the Libre community. This is completely opposite of the current commercial type model (philosophically and financially). It was an eyeopener for me into the possibilities of this movement.
As web designer having fonts that I can use freely in my designs (on the web) is huge. Thinking back even a couple years, it was almost an impossibility due to Licensing. Some might argue that with the free fonts there is less “quality control” and a model more like Typekit is a better solution (both for users and font designers). Either way with a player as big as google building its free font library its exciting for me to see the flood gates on type and type creation opening up, even just a little bit.
3. Cropped and mirrored and layered in Image Blender
1. Initial Photo of some shadows in a corner (taken with Stilla)
2. Cropped and mirrored
3. Final Image layered in Image Blender
1. Initial photo of some stairs
2. Mirrored (you may notice a habit here)
3. Final image layered in Image Blender
The first photos I started using in my designs were simple textures. (we’ve all seen the explosion of texture sites out there) but lately I’ve been using photos to get shapes that typically I would have drawn before. This has been largely driven by having a decent camera in my pocket at all times, allowing me to capture random staircases or light hitting the corner of an architectural feature just right. I find the natural light and texture in photographs have so much more depth in the final product then what I can come up with in photoshop …and its much easier to get to the end result.