Subscribers: The Principle Principle issue is here!

Published:  October 13, 2014
Bonnie Abbott

“It came as a revelation to me, that instead of drawing an apple, I could just have an apple…” — Geoff McFetridge

Subscribers: Your copy of desktop‘s new issue, The Principle Principle, is here!

This bright issue examines the beliefs that are the building blocks of our profession, but looks beyond minimalism or post-modernism, and invites six studios to talk about their deeper motivations behind their work. This is where we turn up the interesting stuff, with shared stories of cultural identity, accidental fame and… bonding over skateboarding.

When turning an idea into an image, or a message into a system, a designer draws influence and knowledge from many places. When we are trained, we are taught the ways it has been done before — the movements that inform the great solutions in design history, and the beliefs that have shaped them. These principles are the foundation of graphic design practice, but they are not everything.

“The Principle Principle” issue cover by Toko (SYD)

The scriptures of modernism, the reduction of minimalism, the irony of post-modernism or the reactionary chaos of deconstrucivism are only theoretical guidelines. Other (often more potent) principles also shape the way we think, and therefore, design. It is when we look at these qualities that we find that our differences begin to sound much more familiar to each other.

We invited these six studios, who all appear opposed in style and approach, to sit down in pairs and talk about their differences – in practice and in aesthetic, to uncover some surprising similarities. Sonnenzimmer (US) and Geoff McFetridge (US) discuss their roots, and how a shift in disciple (from art to design, the other from design to art) didn’t change their work, but certainly changed their lives.

Geoff McFetridge (top) and Sonnenzimmer (bottom) oppose in style, but uncover interesting similarities in their discussion.

Toko (SYD) and All Australian Graphics (MEL) are separated by decades and by stylistic principle, but are connected through a shared immigrant story — although how this story effects their work is to a polar opposite.

All Australian Graphics (top) and Toko (Sydney) are both the studios set up by immigrants, but have been effected by the cultural change in different ways.

Hey Studio (ESP) and Ed Fella (US) are almost polar opposites in style, yet both believe in designing for their time. Through these conversations, perceived differences become superficial, as the deeper influences on the way they work come forward.

Ed Fella (top) epitomised American deconstructivism for some, whereas Hey Studio (bottom) use reductive illustrations in much of their work.

Stephen Banham educates us on the idea of Utypism — universal unity through type — whereas Rachel Elderkin looks at the advent of the chaotic punk aesthetic, with a profile on Jamie Reid.

The issue also features a look into ‘Utypism’ by Stephen Banham, which is starkly contrasted with Rachel Elderkin’s profile on the artist Jamie Reid, who once defined the punk aesthetic.

We also have a peek at some of MoMA’s archive of paper exhibition invites — documents of how ephemera responded to art movements and cultural styles, and take a look at what graduate Eddie Perrote is getting up to, with his considerable illustrative talents.

We take a look at MoMA’s collection of paper exhibition invitations


We talk to Eddie Perrote about his course, graduation and hopes for the future.

The back half of the issue also reveals the final 6 categories of shortlisted entries for the Create Design Awards 2014, ahead of the Awards Night in Melbourne at the end of October (tickets are on sale now!) where this year’s winners will be announced (and take home one of our beautiful, brand new, redesigned trophies!)

This issue, in all, doesn’t seek to unify or differentiate design principle, but clarify that style and approach is often no indicator of belief or intention — this is something better understood through a personal investigation, which, unlike modernism or deconstructionism, can be difficult to clarify, but powerful nonetheless.

Remember desktop is subscription only! To get you hands on this month’s copy, you can subscribe for 12 months (6 issues) for $49. Subscribe here.

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