Porto Design Summer School (A Good Use of Two Weeks in Portugal)

30.05.18

Okay, it’s tough to have a BAD two weeks in Portugal, but Porto Design Summer School is a good way to get it right.

Photo: Porto Design Summer School

Student work. Photo: Porto Design Summer School

O Street’s Josh P took part in the course’s first run in 2013. Walking the streets of this majestic, brilliantly grungy and deathly hot city, he learned more about design and his physical capacity to sweat in two weeks than he had in years at university. It certainly didn’t hurt that the tutors were some of the best living graphic designers, including Jonathan Barnbrook and Jessica Helfand.

A quote by tutor Andrew Howard, illustrated by Josh P

The focus of the course was typographic. The students become completely immersed in the local visual vernacular; Oporto is an endlessly fascinating city chock full design inspiration.

The final project is to take a work of literature and interpret it through the lens of the city with a print publication. It‘s a crash-course in type, layout, and contextual design.

Student work. Photo: Porto Design Summer School

 

Photo: Porto Design Summer School

Photo: Porto Design Summer School

For this summer’s course, the programme has a shiny new responsive website and a suite of amazing new tutors, with Ronnie Fueglister and Sonya Dyakova joining staples Andrew Howard and Hamish Muir. Their work is amazing.

If you feeling a calling to do so, sign up here to enjoy design, exploring and mingling in Porto.

— Josh P
(This post was not paid or requested by the school.)

Cool things brewing in London — women in the beer trade

19.03.18

Last week we raised a glass to the women of the world, and it gave us a thought: what’s the state of women in brewing?

Having designed the What’s On Guide for Walthamstow Forest Council and their community arts project Making Places, we’ve had a sneak peak at cultural events popping up around London. That’s how we discovered Wild Women Week, a beer-soaked musical celebration for women that raises money for Girls Rock London.

Heading up some of the activity around this is Walthamstow’s own Wild Card Brewery, featuring super cool head brewer Jaega Wise. They play a central part in International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, a celebration for female brewers worldwide, founded by Sophia de Ronde of Burnt Mill Brewery. (Can we get a ‘YASSSS.’)

Photo: Wild Card Brewery

As big fans of both beer and female empowerment in general, we thought this was all great and wonderful. Unsurprisingly, however, the topic of women in the male-dominated world of brewing is also an on-point political topic.

Sorry, fellas…women were there first.

Photo: Wellcome Images, operated by Wellcome Trust

The original brewing profession was women’s work—they brewed most of the ale in England. Regarded as a domestic chore, women planted and grew herbs, ground grains and boiled ingredients in a large black cauldron over a sweltering fires, all whilst running a home. This eventually led to an accessible (and often lucrative) side hustle for many women, leading to ale-houses and a few women gaining independence through their trade.

Back in those days it was vogue to wear large conical black hats, a fashion supposedly adopted by brewers as a way of being identified in a crowded market. A geographical identifier for thirsty customers was a broomstick hung over the front door. As mentioned, the ale was brewed in a big black cauldron…one can imagine where this is going.

In short, growing male-led urban guilds and the Church turned against these women. The trademark alewife identifiers became associated with fire, hell, brimstone and all other terribly bad things. At first the talk of witchcraft was seen as merely insulting, but as guild communities grew, and urban life increased, screaming “witch” at the sight of a woman brewing became easier and easier, thus turning a once profitable, accessible career into a form of devil-magic.

With the rising tide of witch-hunts and persecution by death, we can see why brewing beer became a less appealing craft for women.

Photo: Wiper and True Brewery

Thankfully, we’re now in an age where people have (mostly) ceased walking around shouting “witch” at women in the street, and there is a resurgence of women being interested in the craft. The good work of making good beer for all to enjoy can continue. Black hat or not.

We’ll drink to that.
> Tessa

( Psst. My current go-to: the limited edition alewife-tribute beer XX from Wiper & True Brewery. That beautiful windmill illustration above is from the packaging.)

Inspiration and images for this post borrowed from these awesome sites…
wildcardbrewery.co.uk
wiperandtrue.com
ancient-origins.net
medievalists.net

Iceland, accidental design mecca

07.03.18

Since branching out to America, a certain island has become an obvious stopping point for Oventurers: Iceland. Yes, we too fall prey to travel blog fever, not to mention the extended layovers offered by airlines at no extra cost.

Iceland is no stranger to quality design, but we find inspiration in the low-brow, everyday graphics taking centre stage amidst stunning landscapes. Here’s a few of our favourites.

Hotdog Sauce Packaging

If you’re traveling in Iceland on a budget, there’s precisely one thing you can afford to eat out: hotdogs. They’re not glamorous, but they sure are tasty. Fortunately, they’re smothered in this amazing sauce, which comes in an even more amazing bottle. You’ll be clearing space in your carry-on for this smiling dog.

The Swimming Guy Sign

Whether in natural hot springs or a public pool, the hearty folk of Iceland enjoy a soak. So much so there’s signs about indicating where you might find some hospitable water. Pools are marked by this simple icon, which one could also decide to read as a man wrapped in giant bacon strips. Delicious.

Mountain Signage

If you’re in Iceland, you’re headed to the mountains. If you’re headed to the mountains, you’re relying on these signs to help you get around. They’ve developed their own amazing visual vernacular over the years, with primary colours, interesting icon illustrations, and local graffiti, er, input.

Brennivín

No matter the occasion, if the Icelanders are drinking (they are), it’s this. This potent schnapps will knock your socks off. In an effort to make it less appealing, the government forced the spirit to use black, boring packaging. Predictably, the brutalist design helped sales boom.

Boring old road signs

Signage in the UK is the stuff of design legend, but sometimes the snow is whiter on the other side. The utter simplicity of Iceland’s signs had us wondering if we could smuggle one or two back through customs.

Our Wee Peeing Man

An O Street list wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from our most-plagiarised work: the ‘desperate’ toilet signs we designed for Jamie Oliver restaurants way back when. This time, they’ve appeared at a public toilet at the base of a stunning waterfall some 100km outside of Reykjavik. When you gotta go

True to Life

07.07.17

Are you in Edinburgh this weekend? Pop down to Modern Two for True to Life, a look at British Realism in the 1920s and 30s. The show gathers some 70 paintings by a hugely talented yet overlooked generation of artists.

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O Street designed the exhibition identity and marketing. True to Life focuses on a particular style of “hard edge” painting. We play on this theme by setting typography along a hard edge.

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We also selected a colour palette pulled straight from the paintings; a literal approach for literal art.

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It’s a riveting exhibition, so don’t miss it. True to Life is on at Modern Two until 29 October.

Things to do in Denver when you’re a designer

29.06.17

We’re looking for a new USA-based home for O Street. With a booming craft beer industry, burgeoning tech scene and tons of sun, Denver Colorado is a good bet. Here’s a few designerly things we got up to in the mile high city amid hangovers and altitude sickness.

Type safari

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You can’t beat grungy old type. Graphic leftovers from the industrial age are always a designer’s highlight in American cities, and Denver’s got them.

Play ball

O Street supports the Tigers and Cubs, but we couldn’t argue with watching the sunset over the mountains from Coors Field. With rooftop tickets going for $15—and the Rockies doing great this year—it’s a steal.

Imbibe some craft

Craft beer is gaining traction in the UK, but Colorado has been the beating heart of the movement in the US for decades. The range of beers available are great research (that’s our excuse for all the taproom receipts) and it tastes good, too. We were treated to tours at New Belgium and Odell, learning a lot about craft production and packaging.

Skate

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This was the scene from our window on a Wednesday. Sadly, we’d left the longboard in Glasgow.

Hit the Road

It’s a must with the mountains nearby—rent a car and head for the hills. Just take it easy on the 90’s movie quotes or you may bring the driver to tears.

Get colourful

RiNo #denver #summer #streetart #graffiti

A post shared by Josh Rooster (@drawjosh) on

 

Denver, especially the RiNo neighbourhood, is a treasure trove of street art and graffiti. Grab a kombucha for the road and soak in the colour.

Be happy

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The creative scene in Denver is a social one. We hustled over to a happy hour generously organised by RJ Owen of CreativeMornings Denver. There were beers, ax-throwers, and one of the voices behind the fantastic Sprint Podcast. Treat your ears and give it a listen!

Sign hunting

Well, we wouldn’t be good graphic designers if we didn’t take photos of random signs. Digesting visual vernacular is second only to local eats when it comes to getting to know a new place.

Our take? Colorado is up to its ears in beer and culture—we’re in.

NTS all engines go

17.03.17

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credit: Hoskins Architects

O Street was invited down to the new digs of one of our favourite collaborators, National Theatre of Scotland . We loved the company (although stiff gin pours and BrewDog beers didn’t hurt). The building, designed by Hoskins Architects, embodies the NTS brand of being a ‘Theatre Without Walls’. It was a thrill to see this new engine of Scottish theatre at work.

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credit: Hoskins Architects

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We started in the bar, er, playroom, for some banter, and quickly moved on to explore the building.

The new NTS rehearsal room is one of the biggest in Scotland, and inspires cartwheels and bellowing vocals upon entry.

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credit: Hoskins Architects

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It was all eyes on the stunning costume department, which no longer operates from a small room and a parking lot.

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It was particularly exciting to get the low-down on how technicians set the mood and ‘paint’ with light.

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The props department was much more exciting than this, but leave it to a graphic designer to only take a photo of old oven dials.

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O Street was reunited with a leftover from our NTS collaboration Granite—always nice to see an old friend.

All told, NTS Rockvilla is a stunning display of creativity and production. Get down and see for yourself.