GDF – S2 – 2011

Conduct research / Evaluate the nature of design in a specific industry context

Magazine Cover Design

by khemensley

I will be looking at trends in magazine cover layout/design in my research project.

How current design trends filter into magazine cover design.

The basic structure and importance of magazine cover layout.

Is good cover layout crucial for good sales?

I will provide examples of quality layout and methods used to achieve successful layouts.

I will interviewed the editor of  ‘Transfer’ snowboarding magazine.

I’ll also be delving into the developing of formats, as we see more publications switch or extend  from print publishing to digital publishing.

Providing ideas for creating modern digital publications.

Beer Beautiful

by khemensley

Beer is one of the world’s oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverages. The fact that it is the world’s third most popular drink after water and tea makes it pretty interesting. The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that beer consumption peaked in 1979 at 6.4 litres of beer per person, but has been in a steady decline ever since. In turn beer packaging, and labels are getting more beautiful each day. With boutique beers on the up, we can expect to see more unique packaging design.

People in the advertising industry attach significant importance to package design because of its impact on purchasers, its presence at the crucial moment when the purchase is made and consumers’ high level of involvement when they actively scan packages in their decision making. Standing at the beer fridge in the bottleshop, what do you choose?




The thing i like is the label’s ability to stand alone as a piece of art. It is easy to see these labels printed and sold as posters.


This recent beer made in Scotland contains 55 percent alcohol, and the bottle is served with dead animals. The Scottish makers of this beer called it “The End of History”. It is said to be the strongest, most expensive and most shocking beer in the world, since it has 55 percent alcohol and costs $765 per bottle. 12 bottles of this unique beer were made and has already sold out. The dead animals used in making the bottle were all from roadkills.

In France the Sidel beer bottle breaks with traditional codes. At first glance, this object does not even seem to be a bottle. The 500-ml PET bottle boasts an unusual shape with very sleek lines, and the cap is completely hidden. It is only when you turn it over and remove the protective cap that you see that it is a beer bottle, upside down! Right side up, with the protective cap still on, it looks like a stem glass. More than a bottle, this object is unique and fun. The unique shape and the ergonomics of the bottle are meant to intrigue and attract young consumers who are in for a new beer-drinking experience.

A black boombox graphic on a white beer box, it sure stands out in a delightful way!

Mega-brewer MillerCoors is preparing to launch their latest and greatest packaging innovation, the Miller Lite Vortex Bottle, in the hopes of boosting its sales which have slumped recently. The newly developed bottle design has specially designed grooves in the neck to “help create a vortex as you’re pouring beer”.

Telling stories with data research

by khemensley

Jonathan Harris is creating interactive information design, telling stories by mapping cyber space with his data research. You can navigate through his many websites and get up to date data that is being constantly scrapped from millions of web sites and blogs. Each time you login you can get a new story.

 “Ten by ten” is a visualisation tool which showcases the top 100 words in the news and the 100 photos associated to them. The result is a dynamic dashboard that displays in one screen a mosaic of the key news images for that very hour next to an interactive ordered list of all the most popular words appearing in those news stories.


“We Feel Fine” searches the world’s blog posts for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling,” revealing emotion and humanity behind what would otherwise be plain old text. This defines a profound new kind of information design: whittling down the world’s 70 million Web sites and blogs into a framed image of humanity. And it does it live, continuously, and autonomously… constantly changing artistic responses to a constantly changing world.


He has also built a website and created info-graphics for Princeton University’s “International Networks Archive”. One main goal of the INA is to develop a new system of mapping our world — one that does not rely on geography, but on more meaningful parameters like access to world markets or communications infrastructure. The first map reconfigures 23 world cities based on travel time between the cities instead of distance. You can click on different cities, and the other world cities will slide to reflect their travel time from the chosen hub.

Harris studied computer science at Princeton University. His work has been featured by CNN, BBC and wired among others. His work has also been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), and at MoMA (New York). He calls himself a storyteller. But he’s also equal parts visual artist, computer scientist, anthropologist, data voyeur, photographer, digital anthropologist, interviewer, and designer.

Starbucks and their new unbound siren

by khemensley

This year Starbucks marked its 40th year – and as part of the celebration, they rolled out a new, simplified and publicly disliked logo. The new logo essentially takes the siren out of her ringed frame, changes the background colour and removes all text .

Most of the redesign work was done in house, though Starbucks also brought in design studio Lippincott for “counsel”. Steve Barrett, who heads Starbuck’s 100-strong design team closely studied design-driven renewals by other “visible and trusted” brands like Apple, Pepsi, Target and Nike.

For designers, meanwhile, the point of greatest contention seems to be the elimination of the logo’s green surrounding donut. Unfortunately, this outer circle was hardly a protectable device. Travelers throughout the world had come to identify coffee shops by knock-off circular signs with type wrapping around whatever happens to sit in the center. Maybe stepping away from the outer circle will leave the one-off coffee shops wondering what visual vernacular is left to steal. Of course this isn’t the first makeover the Starbucks siren has received. But the latest change doesn’t just stop with the logo. And when Starbucks rebrands, seventeen thousand stores, in 50 countries, get a facelift. Even logo clad chunky white mugs are being replaced with bone china.


The functional and strategic motives for this change are valid in my mind and i agree with comments on the company’s website, CEO Howard Schultz said “that by removing the word “coffee” in this way, Starbucks will continue to offer the highest-quality coffee, but we will offer other products as well. And while the integrity, quality and consistency of these products must remain true to who we are, our new brand identity will give us the freedom and flexibility to explore innovations and new channels of distribution. Without the word coffee comes potential and Starbucks plans to increase its groceries business, which already sells branded tea and ice-cream in supermarkets.” The chain has also aggressively expanded distribution of its next billion dollar hopeful, the soluble instant coffee brand “Via”.

Starbucks spokeswoman Deb Trevino says “This decision was made for business reasons. It was a strategic decision for us to accommodate our growing business”. If Starbucks is the question, coffee is the answer and that kind of product association can be a blessing and a curse.




ZINES: A place to experiment

by khemensley

Zines have been one of the liveliest forms of self-expression for over 70 years. The earliest examples created by sci-fi fans in the 1930s. Obscure or prescient, subversive or downright weird, zines have an energy and style that shows grassroots social and cultural movements at their most explosively creative moment.


Most people who create zines write from a personal perspective, writing motivated by passion and interest, rather than professional gain or career direction. It’s a DIY labour of love; a creative, fun outlet to express yourself. Their subject matter is as varied as the passions of their creators. Ranging across music, comics, typography, animal rights, politics, alternative lifestyles, clip art, thrift shopping, even beer drinking. Content is limitless, however drawings are always common element.

While the Internet hasn’t dinted the volume of zines being read and produced, the influence of the Internet can’t be entirely discounted, because the diversity of people involved in zines has shifted. Zines used to be the cheapest and easiest way to get information out to particular audiences. Now, the access and ease of online publishing means a lot of music and political audiences that use to get information via zines go online. So the kinds of people involved in the zine community have shrunk. But a vast number of people still have a lot of energy for zines. The thing I like best is that the zine community is a safe and secure environment for discussion of any topic, taboo. Without interference or ramifications.

‘Mixtape’ a Melbourne based zine began in early 2007 and as they continue to publish new issues, it has become successful and quite polished and now sells for 10 bucks an edition online. The mandate of this zine is “about making time for the small things”. The editors claim the zine is, “a collision of craft, eco-cool and pop culture kitsch”,