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Communication Design

Have you ever heard of Concrete Poetry - a poetic movement that emerged in the early 1950s and sought to create a universal form of poetry that could be described as a mixture of poetry, art and graphic design? The basic principle of the movement is the idea that words are material. The Concrete Poets used words not primarily for their semantic qualities, but as constitutive elements. Through the relationship between the written text and its spatial arrangement on the page, they gave their poems another level of meaning. Their works led to a new kind of verse that abandoned the linear structure of poetry and resulted in a new form of poetry that could be read and looked at.⁠ ⁠ Bolivian-born Swiss poet, writer and publisher Eugen Gomringer is often described as the father of concrete poetry. From 1953 onwards, together with Dieter Roth and Marcel Wyss, Gomringer co-published the artist’s magazine spirale, that formed the starting point for his form of poetry. From an early stage, Gomringer wanted to blur the boundaries of poetry and the language of advertising. This publication combines original images and selected works from Gomringer’s long-standing collaborations as art director and copy-writer for various companies. It also contains the theoretical essay “vom vers zur konstellation” (from verse to constellation), Gomringer’s original manifesto published in 1954.   German Buy English Buy...

We have noticed your calendar is about to run out of months! Chantal Rens can help you out with an animal themed pictorial, consisting of 13 iconic flat-backed beasts. This 2022’s calendar does make us look forward to the new year and will for sure help us braving up to any new wave of restriction. Things to be thankful for: the great outdoors, our pets and hard stuff. Tilburg based artist and publisher Chantal Rens has an other thing coming in 2022: look out for Pantofle press’ breathtaking follow-up of „You run around town like a fool and you think that it’s groovy“, which first volume was reviewed as „perhaps the most unnecessary but absolutely the most funny book of 2016“. Until then, get your kicks from this very fresh, all-analog, tongue-in-cheek, mother of all calendars for 2022! ⁠   Buy...

Composed of pictures of animals clipped from magazines and newspapers, stamps and photos from advertising pamphlets, Lous Martens' new book is a symbol of family devotion before anything else. “Seventeen years ago our grandson Jaap was born. That was the start of an animal book for Jaap. I used a dummy for the OASE journal of architecture and loosely pasted in pictures of animals that I had clipped from newspapers and magazines about art, literature and science. Plus stamps and photos from advertising brochures. Then Zeno was born and the same thing happened: an animal book for Zeno. Now I was working on two books at once. Then came Anna. Julian. Luca. At this point, there were five books-in-the-making on the table. And none of those five are finished yet. The children, as well as myself, enjoy seeing the small, ever-evolving changes. The additions. These books were never intended for the outside world where I had found all the pictures. Never intended to be published. Now they lie here, grouped into one big book, because others have convinced me it’s what they deserve.”⁠ ⁠   Buy...

In 2021 Martijn in't Veld made a series of illustrations for The New Yorker about books and vegetables. Nothing ever happened to them. He doesn't know why. In any case these images ended up expiring in a digital vegetable drawer somewhere in a fridge-shaped Manhattan skyscraper. This made Martijn in't Veld a bit sad. And because he doesn't like to throw away food he simply decided to cook up a New Yorker without The New Yorker!⁠ ⁠ Bon appetit!⁠ ⁠   Buy...

This is a story entirely written in burnt matches. The longer the word, the longer the match. It is a story about big and small fires, love, death, intrigue and plenty of blisters.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The odd typeface in which it was encoded was developed by Martijn in't Veld and Johannes Lang through OpenType code whose ligature feature looks for the length of the typed word and replaces it with one of up to ten matches of the respective word length. Besides dozens of burnt matches—long, short, scorched or badly burnt—the character set includes two lighters and some extra long safety matches. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Happy reading. Don’t burn your fingers.⁠⁠ ⁠   Buy...

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...