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Communication Design

Since the rise of social media, the heart symbol is everywhere. We click it to communicate that we "like" something, we use it at the end of a comment in place of a thank you, and to spread love across language barriers, especially in these times of conflict and increased attention to social and racial injustice. Afterall the harmless little heart is the universal symbol of love! But there's the problem: who claims love? The seemingly innocent heart symbol hides a much more complex story than its surface suggests.⁠ ⁠ With "hate groups" renaming themselves "organizations of love," heart symbols on AfD posters and other Alt-Right groups in Europe, it is becoming clear that the "love" in the heart symbol can just as easily be seen as "hate" by the opposing political view. And at the same time, we automatically project our own values onto the heart symbol. "Can't be meant badly, after all, it's in the name of love."⁠ With corporations putting heart symbols on their websites and plastic bags, and paying billions for targeted advertising based on our clicks on little heart-shaped buttons, it seems that love is being marketed, mass-produced and sold. The heart has become a button to click, an emoji to send, and a digital currency.⁠ It claims trust and good intentions without defining them.⁠ ⁠ This clever little book takes a hard look at the symbol of love from its origins to its uses to its meaning, and uncovers all the things that are done in the name of ❤️.⁠   Buy...

Humans and horses share an inseparable history. First as a means of transport and labour, they became popular pets with moral status, used for recreation, competition and medical therapy. A less documented part of this history is the horse serving as food. Heleen Peeters explores horse culture around the world, navigating from breeders, competitions and rescue centres to slaughterhouses, factories and butchers. In a visually stunning way, she touches on questions about our relationship with animals and meat consumption.⁠ Buy...

In 2018 Dutch graphic designer Karel Martens received a package from artist-curator Pierre Leguillon that contained filled-in Japanese forms which Leguillon had found at a street market in Tokyo. Martens was intrigued by the collection of thin paper with a rectangular black-blue layer of carbon on the back. He started to print on these back sides, but because the overprinting on the carbon layer caused unwanted damage, he switched to printing them on the front sides, creating a beautiful correlation between his abstract forms and colour combinations and the ones of Japanese bureaucracy.⁠   Buy...

In the Migrations issue of Safar, Mekdes Yilma and Tsigereda Brihanu discuss the realities, challenges, and dangers faced by migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and their work to end an oppressive system, while Miranda July shares three short stories from her collection "No One Belongs Here More than You", Elia Suleiman talks about identification with the globalised Palestine and his latest film "It Must be Heaven", Mazen Kerbaj illustrates his daily attempts to learn German, and Steven Heller discusses how to shift the design history discourse and his experiences with Impostor syndrome. ⁠A very inspiring issue!⁠ Buy...

“We live in sour times, and such sour times require sweet-and-sour methods. With the rise of social media, comedians as politicians, and populism, there has recently been vigorous debate over who constitutes ‘the people.’ For more than a couple millennia, satire has been a particularly contested genre to explore such questions, via varying degrees of serious invective or jocular teasing. Is each joke, as George Orwell maintained, a tiny revolution? Or does laughter and satire deflate the pressures and tension which could otherwise lead to political upheaval?”—Slavs and Tatars⁠ ⁠ Published on the occasion of the 33rd edition of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, CRACK UP – CRACK DOWN considers “the graphic” heritage of the Biennial not as a medium, per se, but rather as an agency and strategy. Purporting to speak truth to power, satire has proven itself to be a petri dish in a world of post-truth bacteria. Edited by Slavs and Tatars, the exhibition’s curators, CRACK UP – CRACK DOWN extends the discursive focus of the Biennial on graphics and satire.⁠ Buy...

The Dictionary of Color Combinations is probably one of the most beautiful books we ever held in our hands. After it has been sold out for a long time, we finally have it back in stock and are mesmerized as before.⁠ The pocket size jewel offers 348 color combinations based on Sanzo Wada's original 6-volume work from the 1930s. Wada was ahead of his time in developing traditional Japanese and Western influenced colour combinations, helping to lay the foundations for contemporary colour research. The compositions of two, three, and four tones could not be more intriguing and with its index registering the CMYK code of every shade used it is an indispensable tool for every designer.⁠ Buy...

Bi-Scriptual celebrates the growing interest in the field of multiscript design. Eight scripts are selected for this purpose based on the number of people who use them around the world and on historical and political factors. The scripts are Arabic, Chinese (Hansi), Cyrillic, Devanagari, Korean (Hangul), Hebrew, Greek and Japanese (Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana). Using hundreds of illustrations and prototypes by numerous designers and studios, and featuring lengthy texts by international experts, Bi-Scriptual reveals the charms of working simultaneously with two writing systems, which we occasionally come across in city posters, signage, lettering and type design. Being particularly sensitive to the the world’s socio-cultural diversities makes this volume one of a kind in the realms of typography. Buy...

Whether it is a representation of a Homeric moment, a snapshot of the hellish ten-year-old troublemaker Bart or a solemn intellectual disposition featuring Lisa, “A Final Companion To Books From The Simpsons” is a new volume about the books which appeared in The Simpsons. Assembled by French graphic designer Olivier Lebrun and published by Yellow Press, this final collection is displayed in faint yellow and shades of grey screenshot photos of book references that exist within the Simpsons universe, whether taken from real life or invented to suit the plot of the episode. From ‘Flander’s Bible” and “Fear of Flying”, to “Crazy Things Old Ladies Say” and “The Big Book of British Smiles”, to “Ein + 1 = 0”, “From Loser to User” to “Things Fall Apart” an anthology of 339 titles which appeared throughout the years in the legendary tv series. Buy...

The fourth issue of Pressing Matters explores the broad reaches of the craft of printing. Visiting a collection of huge presses in Norway, a Czech studio mixing the methodological with the modern and conversing with Iranian printer (and paralympic athlete) Mohammad Barrangi Fashtami, plus presenting the brothers bringing attention to a near extinct animal with prints, these are some of Pressing Matters’ proposed projects taking us to new geographically and technically stretched limits. Meeting up with creative printers who conveniently use whole processes of printing to boost their work and enrich their personal lives. Interestingly, the making of this edition involves interactive field trips by the magazine's creator John Coe in which his two co-founders Jake Kennedy and Jo Hounsome plus twelve members of John’s family have participated. Buy...

What a beautiful magazine! Dazzling with a range of wildly saturated colours, fluorescent inks and oozing visuals, the second issue of Eye on Design presents a variety of designers and their works from different times and cultural backgrounds. A laborious attempt to capture in one title the plurality of experiences and the common associations between graphic design, sensorial and drug-induced, mind-bending experiments. In addition to touching on topics of mental health and substance abuse, Eye on Design speaks about the lesser known stories of the women who contributed to the explosive visual creativity of the post 1960s psychedelia and today’s equivalent to these years of kaleidoscopic posters, maddening patterns and healthy doses of optical illusion. Buy...