Felt Illustrations by Jacopo Rosati

I know I have said it before, and I am sure I’ll say it again, but there’s just something to be said for hand-crafted work. As hard as we try, there is not a way to 100% imitate what can only be done by hand, whether that is cutting out paper, panting, or using felt. Felt, is the medium of choice for Italian illustrator Jacopo Rosati. After working digitally for some years, he became bored and decided it was time to start working with his hands again. I think that this is sentiment all artists feel at some point. Sometimes you have to take a step back from the computer, and try something else for awhile.

Despite the peculiar medium, you can definitely see Rosati’s graphic design background reflected in his work. I remember the days when I would spend hours cutting shapes out of sticky-back felt for school projects. They never turned out this good, that’s for sure. About his switch to working with felt, Rosati said “I’ve spent the whole year of 2012 developing a new style. I was kind of bored about working only with vector illustration, I was seeking for a new unique style, something more warm, something that I can make with bare hands. I chose fuzzy felt because it’s a kind of material which isn’t used too much as a pure graphical media. My goal was to develop flat bi-dimensional collages, paper is already very used in illustration, plus it can’t guarantee the same hardness than Fuzzy Felt does. I’ve started with personal works, an then editors and art directors started to ask me this kind of artworks. These are the results of an year of efforts!”

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Student work seems to be getting better and better. It makes me feel pretty insecure about the crap I produced in college. For example, check out this student project by Winston Scully. His task was to create four variations of the packaging he designed for a product of his choice. The result is a beautifully lettered and designed brand of pencils. If you are reading this Winston, well done.

Imperial Pencil Co.

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There are a lot of bad habits that designers display in their visual communication. The term “infographic” has been a buzz word for a little while now. When hearing the word we tend to immediately think of callouts of percentages, large numbers, and millions of useless icons. Hopefully when designing visual communication we are taking the time to think about what the purpose is. Sometimes we should assume the viewer actually knows something, so we don’t try and explain (and overcomplicate) every little detail. This handy little guide produced by Column Five Media should help you out.

As many of you might already know, I got a job with C5 right out of college. At that point I had only taken a single class on data design, and still didn’t really grasp the importance of it. But the clients and jobs C5 were working on looked fun and I decided I would give it a shot. Pretty quickly I began to understand the ingredients to successful visual communication. We weren’t just making flat infographics for blogs, we were applying this knowledge to video, web, apps, everything! The same principals applied in all cases, it was just a matter of getting past the need to fill the project with pointless elements just to make it seem fuller.  So take a look at the graphic below and learn from one of the best.

10 Tips for Designing Effective Visual Communication

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It’s a cold and stormy morning here in Austin, so we needed something happy to get our minds off of the rolling thunder. What’s happier than chocolate? Tilín Cacao hired Sweety Branding Studio to brand their lines of cacoa nibs. What a match made in heaven, a chocolate company and a branding studio named Sweety. They created the brand to reflect both the cultivation process and the history of the cacao nib, and the present modern product. They did by line drawing the cacao plants and process, and then combining with the contrasting style of bold patterns and bands of color. It makes for a very eye catching product.

Sweety Branding Studio is the work of Brazilian designer, Isabela Rodrigues. She does a variety of branding jobs from packaging, to interior design, to company rebrands.

Tilín Cacao by Sweety Branding Studio

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Gustavsberg Bersa Collection Mugs

Stick Lighters

Simple Leather Backpack 

Worknest modular workplace 

Colored Pencil Wall Organizer 

Military Chalkboard World Map

Friday Likes

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I am always  interested in seeing the many different ways that other artists create their work. There are so many formats and tools to use, it is inspiring to see what others do with those tools. Taiwanese illustrator Inca Pan is no exception. He creates his illustrations using gouache and ink. His illustrations are bold and full of imagery, and they all have such an organic feeling to them. Check out more of his work on Behance.

Inca Pan Illustrations

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I love honest logos. And this Theo Chocolate brand, created by Ashley Flanagan, is just that. Theo boasts “unique flavor offerings”, which the new brand displays quite nicely. The logo mark is simple, organic, and earthy. Pairing that with the beautiful photos or illustrations of fruit on the wrapper, it can effectively advertise a quality and exotic product. 

Theo Chocolate Brand

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Choosing a favorite Ed Mell painting is like asking what your favorite movie is. He has such an amazing breadth of incredible work, it was hard for me to just show you only a small sampling of it. Without feeling surreal Ed is able to take these breathtaking southwestern rock formations and skies and render them in a very angular, yet still subtle, style. And how he gets such rich colors, and bold contrast in his work, is beyond me.

For those of you who have never heard of Ed Mell, he career originally was in illustration and art direction. After working in the world of adverting in New York, he decided that lifestyle wasn’t for him, and that advertising was smothering his creativity. So he moved back to his hometown of Phoenix, AZ and started an illustration business with his brother. The work there was a lot slower than he was used to back on the east coast, so in his spare time he began working with colored pencils which later became paint. Feeling inspired by the southwestern rocky landscapes with endless skies, he found his niche in painting.

Check out more of his work here!

Southwestern Landscapes by Ed Mell

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When I see artwork cut out of paper like this, it makes me realize how impatient I really am. Creating something like this would take a while to create on a computer, let alone cutting out each of those patterns and not getting glue everywhere. But there is more to appreciate than just the process.

This is the official poster for 2014′s SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. The creatives who made this brilliant piece were the creative duo that make up Zim & Zou. Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann teamed up together to form their France-based studio to do everything from paper sculptures, to design, to illustration.

Having now lived in Austin for almost a year, I can appreciate all the fun little details that make this very Austin. The intricate little bat, the Texas State Capitol building, and the miniature taco truck, all make this feel so Austin. Such incredible craftsmanship and an overall fun design.

SXSW Film Festival in Paper

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Gone Buggy Cards – Lydia Nichols

Mattel’s Secret Line of Blasters

Ornament Clock – Heath Ceramics

Ikea Rebrand Concept – Joe Ling

Pyramid Terrarium – Core Deco

Handwarmer/Flashlight/iPhone Charger

 

Friday Likes

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I love seeing how other people use programs like Adobe Illustrator. Karan Singh builds his art out of the negative space of patterns. It makes for some really fun, and sometimes dizzying, compositions.

 

Surreal Vector Still Life

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