Category: Vintage (Page 1 of 3)

The gorgeous production design for the Queen’s Gambit

We just finished watching The Queen’s Gambit in Netflix and I was so impressed by the cinematography, costumes, sets and the overall impeccable production design and styling. The last time a series’ art direction and design made such an impression on me was when I watched Mad Men.

The show is situated in the 1950s and ’60s as the story’s fictional heroine Elizabeth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) — a brilliant yet self-destructive chess prodigy raised in an orphanage — rises to international fame.

The show’s production designer Uli Hanisch is behind the sets, whether it’s the orphanage, or the traditional mid-century-modern home, or the glamorous chess-tournament events hosted in Las Vegas, Paris and Mexico City. Everything is palette-matched and perfect. Special mention will have to go to the full-pattern and colourful wallpapers inside the Wheatley home.

It is interesting that, while the story spans the globe, most of The Queen’s Gambit was shot in Berlin, even the Aztec Hotel chess tournament which is supposedly based in Mexico City.

Designed by Gabriele Binder, costumes for The Queen’s Gambit reflect the growing sophistication and self-assurance of the main character, often incorporating structural lines and black-and-white patterns, taking inspiration by chess colours, while paying homage to Pierre Cardin, Courrèges and the Mod style of the era.

A very interesting (virtual) exhibition of the costumes included in the series is presented in “The Queen and The Crown” by the Brooklyn Museum.

‘Birds of America’ available for free download

Roseate Spoonbill, plate 321

The Birds of America is a book by naturalist and painter John James Audubon, containing illustrations of a wide variety of birds of the United States. It was first published as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838, in Edinburgh and London. The work consists of 435 beautiful, hand-coloured, life-size prints, made from engraved plates, measuring around 99 by 66 cm.

All these 435 illustrations from J. J. Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’ are available now for free download. My favorite is the one with the huge pink flamingo.

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Illustrations with a retro look

Cristiana Couceiro is an illustrator and designer, living in Lisbon, Portugal. I love her retro style that mixes collage using newspaper, mainly vintage photos and pieces of paper, together with strong colors and clean layout. Her work has been published by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and Vanity Fair.

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A book about the story of Letraset

Anyone remember those Letraset font sheets? I have still kept some as a reminder of another era…

This is the book “Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution”, the first comprehensive history of the rubdown lettering system that revolutionised typographic expression.

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A new book from House Industries

Known for its eclectic font collections, House Industries has been around the design world for more than 25 years. Apart from the beautiful mid-century style fonts, they have also designed everything from books, home decor, toys, stationery, t-shirts and apparel for women and men. They are now releasing a new book titled The Process is the Inspiration on May 30.

In their words: “With topics ranging from fonts and fashion to ceramics and space technology, this beautifully-useful volume offers a personal perspective on the origin of ideas for creative people in any field. Presented in the honest, authentic, and often irreverent style that you’ve come to expect from House Industries, The Process is the Inspiration is a collection of helpful lessons, stories and case studies that demonstrate how you can transform obsessive curiosity into personally satisfying and successful work … Most importantly, this book shows that there’s no sense in waiting for inspiration because inspiration is already waiting for you.”

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A selection for the Chinese New Year

On Saturday January 28 it is the Chinese New Year and this year it is the Year of the Rooster. These are just some nice illustrations for greeting cards by Japanese designers.

On a more artistic level, Japanese artist Feebee has created an imaginary beast, a fantastical combination of all 12 zodiac animals. The beast features parts from a  rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig all in one. It was inspired by the piece “A Beast called Kotobuki” that was created as a woodblock print by an ukiyo-e artist from the late Edo period (1848–54).

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Remember those great Volkswagen ads?

A delightful and insightful short documentary about the groundbreaking advertising campaign DDB created for Volkswagen, universally acknowledged to be the greatest and most influential of all time. At the time simplicity was the key, but this is why these ads are still so modern!

This is a film by British filmmaker Joe Marcantonio. His father Alfredo was the advertising manager of VW in the seventies and in 1982, he co-authored the book with the same title.

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