Archives for category: Design Heroes

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Link to the bibliography (images and information used)


Brian Donnelly, born in 1974, professionally known as KAWS, is a New York-based artist and designer of limited edition toys and clothing. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration in 1996. After graduation, KAWS briefly worked for Disney as a freelance animator painting backgrounds, and contributed to animated series’ such as 101 Dalmatians. He began his career as a graffiti artist as he grew up in New Jersey. As he moved to New York City in the 90s, KAWS started subverting imagery on billboards, bus shelters and phone booth advertisements. These reworked advertisements were at first left alone, lasting for several months, but as KAWS’ popularity skyrocketed, the ads became increasingly sought after. In addition to New York, KAWS has done work in Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo.

In the late 90s, KAWS began to design and produce limited edition vinyl toys, which were an instant hit with the global art toy-collecting community, especially in Japan, where this genre is well respected and widespread. KAWS has participated in commercial collaborations with Nigo for A Bathing Ape, Original Fake, sneakers with Nike and Vans & many more.

Below are a few of my favourite toys, images and designs by KAWS:


Posters KAWS did with the streetwear brand Supreme featuring Kermit the Frog, photographed by Terry Richardson. This was made into a toy by Supreme, aswell as being an advertising range for Supreme’s basic box logo tee.


This was a piece KAWS did for the Stussy (another streetwear, graffiti brand) store in LA. As you can see, the design goes over doors and door frames, and leaves the handles clear. I really do love this design, and I do have a better picture that my friend had took, but neither of us could find the High Res file.


This is the Original (Original Fake) toy KAWS designed. this model/design was the first toy produces, and has been adapted into new colour ways, developed shapes and style, and then onto new toys for other brands and collaborations.

KAWS toys all look very good photographed – and this is how I know of KAWS’ work, as I’ve never seen one of his toys in person. I really like how KAWS has created and adapted his style – you can easily notice a piece of work by KAWS compared to many other artists. The range of work he has produced he made him very well known, working with brands such as Bathing Ape and Musicians such as Kanye West – which are both very well publicised. KAWS has created his very well known style, and this is something which I am to so within my graphic design and illustration.

Alfred Ambrose Chew Leete was a British graphic artist who was born in 1882 and died at the age of 51 in 1933. His career as a professional paid artist started when the Daily Graphic accepted one of his drawings at the age of 16. He later contributed regularly to a number of magazines including Punch magazine, the Strand magazine & Tatler. As a commercial artist, Leete designed numerous posters and advertisements, especially in the 1910s and 1920s, for brands such as Rowntrees, Guinness and Bovril. His series of advertisements for the “Underground Electric Railway Company” (the London Underground as we know it) were very well known, and extremely under wraps as the only was to view the work is to visit the London Underground Museum  His work as a wartime propagandist includes the poster for which he is the most known; The “Lord Kitchener” Poster Design, which first appeared on the cover of the weekly magazine London Opinion on 5 September 1914.


The above image is the first ‘edition’ of the Lord Kitchener Ad, featured as the cover for the London Opinion. This cover was the very first edition to be seen by the world. The below image, was edited by the printers, and they added the background/paper colour and made the fonts bolder.


This design was printed over 54 million times in all forms of sizes and on all types of media and adverts. The design was ‘aimed’ to bringing in 100,000 new volunteers, as the UK was the only country in Europe at the time to use recruitment and not conscription, meaning the UK required volunteers and couldn’t pick people to join the army. In fact, the design prompted an extra 500,000 English volunteers for the First World War. It’s no wonder that Campaign Magazine voted the Lord Kitchener Poster Design the second best Ad of all time.

Over the years, there have been many imitations of this design – including other counties such as America, Germany & Russia. My favourite of the bunch is the Uncle Sam imitation (from the USA). If anything, I think the Uncle Sam design (image below) is more famous than the original – I know it was pictured in my History Room at High School, and when I thought of the I want you campaign (for this lecture), I thought of the Uncle Sam edition.


I prefer this design because it is much more patriotic – the colours (or should i say colors) really relate to America with the red, white and blue and the use of the stars. The font also works a lot better on this one – its much bolder and looks more digital than the original, although it was only done three years later in 1917. The colours are much bolder and richer, and the outlining of the letters really brings them out of the white space. The image is a lot sterner also – giving it more of an impact on the eye.

I’ve heard today that this type of propaganda imagery may/will be at the Exhibition in Coventry we will be visiting next week, so I expect this research and my opinion to give me more of an in depth experience.

Today, March 14th, our ITAP lecture was combined with the Animation course for a lecture from our guest Tim Allen. Tim has been a professional animator for thirteen years, and has worked on many Feature films, Commercials and TV series such as Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride, Fantastic Mr Fox, Peter & the Wolf, Shaun the Sheep, Fireman Sam, Creature Comforts & many more. He focuses in Stop Motion animation – something which I am quite interested in, and probably my favourite area/type of animation, as I find it quite do-able without too much equipment/props.

The lecture was very good – Tim was very informative in his methods and his journey from college to work to where he is now. Tim spent 18 months doing part time work for the council, and then had un-paid work experience with a number of names before he got his first professionally paid job. It was great to see some of Tim’s work from when he was at Uni – I know that wasn’t was important to me as it was for the Animation students in the lecture, but it was great to see the level clients require, compared to in education.

Another aspect I found amazing were the auditions Tim had to do for jobs he had applied for. He would received documents showing the style and personality of the character – such as its mouth when talking, their walk or their posture when standing still. Tim would then make a short animation using the puppet, and the client would asses him on that. He would often have to add his own opinion on to how the puppet would move, talk or finish – and sometimes the client wouldn’t like these touches, but would give him the job knowing that he was capable of doing it right in the future.

The final element I was amazed at (before I talk about some of Tim’s work), was how critical the clients/directors/producers were. Tim shown us footage at a frame by frame rate, and would explain were the client has picked out his bad points – such as a leg moving too fast in frames 1-5 and then slow in 6-10 when it should be a fluent movement. But with the strict time frame animators are on, Tim couldn’t just go back and re-do the areas that were wrong – they would just have to run with it, and see what could be edited out frame by frame.

Images below are some of my personal favourite pieces of work by Tim, including Creature comforts, Fireman Sam and many more.






Imagery from


Riccardo Tisci is a 38 year old Italian Fashion Designer. In 1999, Tisci graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins Academy with a Degree in Art & Design, and in 2005 was named Creative Director for Givenchy Womenswear, and in May 2008 he was also named as menswear and accessories designer of the Givenchy men’s division. Tisci has an apparent fascination with Gothic touches and space-age minimalism, which have both drawn new attention to the Givenchy brand.

The first range, and my favourite by Tisci for Givenchy is ‘Rottweiler’ Series first featured in the Fall/Winter 2011 range. This range featured sweaters and t-shirts, all featuring the Rottweiler print, my favourite two are pictured below:


Givenchy then went on to use the Rottweiler print on a button up shirt as a second winter release in 2011, and returned in the Spring/Summer of 2012 with 15 Graphic Print T-Shirts, including one with a mixture of the Rottweiler print and a flower print, pictured below:


After the huge success of the Rottweiler print within the High Fashion and Streetwear cultures, Givenchy created a series of phone/tablet cases, wallets/purses, bags and accessories with the Rottweiler print on, and then created a Pre-Autumn Graphic Print T-Shirt range, and due to the Rottweiler dog print had being a massive success, they continued with the animal theme.

I am forever scouring eBay for ANY of the Rottweiler print T-Shirts or Sweatshirts, but with the demand being so high, whenever I can bid on an authentic item, someone in the world is always willing to outbid me. This is my favourite Givenchy range by far because it doesn’t follow the same ‘guidelines’ as many other High Fashion brands. These ranges fit in with an average outfit so easily – they are more ‘urban’ than anything Givenchy had produced before. The quality of the items is outstanding, and anyone would be very lucky to own one piece from this collection.

Another of my favourite ranges/additions from Riccardo Tisci was the Givenchy Watch The Throne Tour T-Shirts. Worn on stage by Kanye West and Jay-Z on The Throne Tour (which I was lucky enough to see), these t-shirts pictured the ‘branding’ behind Watch The Throne perfectly. As Tisci had designed the videos, the Album Cover aswell as the covers for the released singles, it fitted perfectly that he designed the clothing for the tour too. Kanye West himself was a big wearer of the Givenchy Rottweiler print, and the two ranges I have featured have many similiarities.



I am probably very biased being a huge fan of this Album and the tour, I did really like the apparel created for this tour. I don’t usually buy merchandise from concerts and tours I attend, but I would have brought T-Shirts from this tour hands down. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance, because I had a Maths Exam the following morning, as soon as the concert ended, we left very quickly and ran to the train station, so we didn’t have time to go to the stands, and being positioned in the standing stalls didn’t help. Pictured below is the T-Shirt I would brought if I had the chance at the tour (circles in red). As you can see, it is a simpler model than the tee’s worn by the artists themselves, but extremely similar and have the same style.


Harold “Hype” Williams, born 1970, previously known as HYPE, is an American music video and film director. Williams first displayed his work by tagging local billboards, storefronts, and playgrounds using HYPE as his graffiti tag. I first saw work from Hype Williams in a video he for Kanye West “Golddigger” (screenshots below). Ever since then, I have seen Williams’ name so many times in relation to my favourite music videos. Since 1991, Hype Williams has created hundreds of music videos for some of the biggest names in the urban music industry, such as Wu Tang Clan, Mary J. Blige, The Notorious B.I.G, Tupac Shakur, R. Kelly, Jay-Z and many many more. The full list can be found here:



From Williams history in Graffiti around areas of New York, it is easy to see his roots have given his a very strong influence and inspiration for his current video work, as many include numerous numbers of vernacular typefaces, and this suits music genre perfectly.

“That’s probably what stimulated my interests in color;  I wanted to be Basquiat or Keith Haring of the streets.”

Another of my favourite videos Hype Williams produced is again for Kanye West, this time on his most recent solo album – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (which the covers have been used in my CD research), on a song called “All of the Lights”. This music video is extremely typographic, and caused controversy as it was removed from MTV as it has a risk of Photographic Epilepsy.

This is a more current music video, released just over two years ago in 2011, and is absoluetely stunning. I thought to include Hype Williams as a hero from the recent ITAP talk from David, where we saw work by SO-ME (for Justice) and many other artists, which reminded me of Hype’s work. Below are images from the All of the Lights Video:




I took inspiration from Hype Williams on our magazine IDENT before Christmas. We had footage recorded, and a song from a featured artist, and we needed a more informative type/logo based clip to include at the end. I went through my video archive, and found several videos from Williams and took elements such as the flashing of imagery and intertwining the song rhythm with these effect, to create something (which I think) works really effectively, and suits the rest of the video and the general content of the magazine. Here is the link to our IDENT:

Info on Hype Williams from

On Friday 8th, David Osbaldestin gave us 10 of his Design Heroes in a lecture titled “The Art of Sound – from Post Punk to Pop”. The first artist he formally talked about was a Parisian graphic designer and animator called Bertrand Lagros de Langeron, also known as SO-ME. I had seen pieces of work by SO-ME before, but I had never heard of his name. SO-ME is the art director for Ed Banger Records, a French electronic music record label run by Pedro Winter, founded by Busy P in 2003. He has created videos for Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Justice, DJ Mehdi and MGMT. In 2005, he won the MTV European award for the Justice Video “We Are Your Friends”. He is also the main designer for the clothing company CoolCats. In 2010, SO-ME directed Duck Sauce’s music video for “Barbra Streisand”, making a cameo appearance in the process. I first saw work of SO-ME in 2009, with the release of his video for Kanye West “Good Life”. After Kanye West crashed in stage at the 2007 VMA’s after loosing to Justice from one of SO-ME’s video and stating how his (Kanye’s) video cost $1,000,000 and he had “Pam Anderson and people jumping over canyons and sh!t”, SO-ME created a spoof cover from the single Justice won with (spoof featured below).


From this cover (after probably after watching the video and seeing SO-ME’s talent), Kanye West flew him over and they worked on Kanye West (featuing T-Pain) “Good Life”. This is one my favourite songs of all time, and one of my favourite videos. Screenshots featured below.



Good Life

Another of my favourite pieces of work by SO-ME were his serious of Portraits for the Studio Gallery in Toronto. As I may have said before, I am a huge fan of pieces of artwork in a series, and these are no objection, and the mix of humor and the graphic outcome is breathe taking. Pictured below are a two of my favourites.



You can view (and even buy) more here, and the sources for the photos:

Finally moving back to SO-ME’s work for Ed Banger Records, here is a cover/sleeve he produced as a teaser for a volume release.


I know these are all pieces David shown us on the presentation, but I have valid reason to include them all. This cover is absolutely incredible. The use of thin, bold, hand-rendered, vernacular type is brilliant  the eye is gently guided around the image – nothing is too harsh on the eye, creating a very ‘weak’ visual hierarchy, but so weak that we can just engage so very much with the design, allowing us to actually read the type, understand it, learn from it and most importantly, be excited from it. I wish I had a copy of this 12″, I think to be able to accurately distinguish the detail would make this design even more impressive.

Peter Chung is a 51 year old Korean-American Animator. He is best known for his unique style of animation, as the creator and director of Aeon Flux, which ran as shorts on MTV’s Liquid Television before launching as its own half-hour television series. He has also been the artist for many films and programs such as The Transformers (the 1984 TV series and 1986 Film), the 1987 TV series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rugrats (the 1991 TV series and the 1998 film) and the 1994 TV series Phantom 2040. Chung’s animation, particularly Aeon Flux, tends to feel more artistic and experimental, and is therefore an early example of “progressive animation”, and it is clear to see that Peter Chung’s main influences are and were a mix of European expressionism and Japanese animation. Without Chung, programs such as South Park and The Simpsons wouldn’t exist, as his style set what we now know of Animation and Cartoons.

Quotes from Peter Chung, taken from the lecture and the Wikipedia page (

“For me, a degree of ambiguity, or mystery, is the key ingredient of any artistic statement.”

“I often remind myself that animation is the creation of the illusion of spontaneity. Because nothing is in fact less spontaneous than the process of animating.”

“The task of the animator, to breathe life into his characters, requires concentration akin to that of an actor whose performance has been entirely scripted down.”

These quotes really show how Peter Chung made the image (or animation, the characters, the design) the participatory. All artist should invite the viewer to participate and involve themselves in the design, and Peter Chung did this perfectly. His animations wouldn’t always start from the beginning. Many clips we saw, the action started immediately  there were no build ups; we had no clue what was going on, or the real story behind the animation. This makes us make our own story – and makes us get more involved in the story we are seeing to find any background information, clues or hints to what has happened. He uses the animation and pure drawing to tell the story – in many series of Aeon Flux there was no speech; only background music and action sounds. Only until the final episodes did he involve a voice for characters and then, there wasn’t much dialogue; it was more meaningful statements and ‘one liners’.

Pictured below are some of Peter Chung’s drawings, ready for Animation. I think this is the best way I can show you what Chung did without showing Video footage.




Chip Kidd, born 1964, is an American author, editor, and Graphic Designer, who is best known for his book covers. Kidd is currently the associate art director at Knopf, and has done covers for The Rolling Stone and books by Michael Crichton such as Jurassic Park and The Lost World. Chip Kidd is a great user of Blank space and many of his designs are very simple, effective and extremely attractive on the eye. I first heard of Chip Kidd when I saw a design he did for Vladimir Nabokov for the book Ada or, Adore. The Design, (pictured below) is a 2D cover which looks extremely Three Dimensional. I love the general effect of this piece, but one thing I find fascinating is the gradient in the text – going through the gradients of grey to black, and then through to red in the distance.


Another personal favourite from Chip Kidd is his cover for Rolling Stone. The design concept on this piece is absolutely incredible. There is a definite pattern running through the pieces and designers I select to be my heroes; simplistic design and elements of quirkiness. This cover is brilliant. Each question you ask yourself regarding the placement and reasoning behind the design, the answer will be yes. It’s such a simple idea with a simple, perfect execution. There isn’t too much I can say about this design, apart from me absolutely loving it. The red background emphasizes the text and the normal black shadow detail keeps the feeling/branding behind the magazine.


This image below is another of my favourites. It was really hard to find an image that you (the reader) would understand without ready this text. Creating Illusions in Designs is something else I am really fond of at the moment, and the book is beautiful. The book opens up with varied page sizes (some pages are half the length, including the left side of the cover). It’s similar to Paul Belford – making an Ad, not look like an Ad, and this works in the same way; making a book cover, not look like a book cover. I am intrigued to have a look at this book in my hands and consider the interactions as part of the design.



On March 1st, we were presented our second ITAP lecture of the week by Colette Jeffrey. The presentation featured a number of names, such as Erik Spiekermann (who I have already featured), Infoasaid, Paul Mijksenaar and many more. The two designers I am going to speak about are Otto Neurath & Wim Crouwel, and then I will briefly review the seven principles Colette informed us of.

Otto Neurath was an Austrian philosopher of science, sociologist, political economist and Designer. Neurath is most known for the development of the Isotype System;  a symbolic way of representing quantitative information via easily interpretable icons. Isotypes are basically the language of pictures. They are seen all over the world, on toilet doors, road signs, and basically any sign that features an icon/symbol. The International System of TYpographic Picture Education was first known as the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics, due to its having been developed at the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Wien (Social and economic museum of Vienna) between 1925 and 1934. Otto Neurath was the founding director of this museum, and was the initiator and chief theorist of the Vienna Method. Neurath figured that “To remember simplified pictures is better than to forget accurate figures”. Education was always the prime motive behind Isotype, which was worked out in exhibitions and books designed to inform ordinary citizens (including schoolchildren) about their place in the world. It was never intended to replace verbal language; it was a “helping language” always accompanied by verbal elements. Otto Neurath realized that it could never be a fully developed language, so instead he called it a “language-like technique”.

As a huge fan of symbols (In Graphic Design and in general), I have loved researching about how they were formed and created. Below is a design I did for my Unit 3 A-Level Graphic Design, which stemmed from a design I saw from Audi in Creative Review:


I saw this is printed form first and I fell in love immediately. Below is my design, using symbols to represent what the taxi service offers.


My aim of this design was to create logos that people would be able to recognize and then easily be able to see tha characteristic I was trying to portray. For example, the luggage cart to say we do airport drop off/pick ups and that our cars have big boots, and the currency signs to show you can pay us with whatever left over holiday money you have. I didn’t know about isotypes at the time, but it would have been a good area to reach and document in my sketchbook for assessment.

The second hero, Wim Crouwel, is a Dutch Graphic Designer and Typographer who has created typefaces such as New Alphabet, Gridnik & Fodor. I am a huge fan of Crouwel’s work – even though the first time I heard of him was right at the beginning of this Vis Com course, so I have heard of him for a few months now. My favourite element of Wim Crouwel’s work is his Graphic Design for his Typefaces and his general poster creation. Below are a series of my favourite pieces of work by him.


In this particular piece (above), I really love the typeface used, how the letters all link creating lines for the eye follow to read the word. This contrasts against the type near the top of the page, which is quite hard to read on a poster of this format. Crouwel obviously intended the reader/viewer to be close to the design to read the type, and the title of ‘LEGER’ – which translates into ‘Army’ from Dutch, is used to bring the view in. The colours all compliment each other – with the lime green working subtly with the ‘dirty grey’ with black and white type.



Wim Crouwel has done wonders for the world of type. His Poster Design changed the way people look at and use type; the manor in which he uses colour and shape is brilliant, the way he guides the eye around the piece after catching the viewers attention will subtly designed headers, puts Wim Crouwel on the list of my Design Heroes.