It’s Eurovision season and this year’s host broadcaster, RTP in Portugal has today revealed the slogan and theme artwork for 2018. Portugal as a country has always connected Europe to the rest of the world through the ocean, and 500 years ago Lisbon was the centre of many of the world’s most important sea routes. Today, Lisbon is using the ocean’s connectivity as inspiration with the slogan – All Aboard! inviting the international community to come together for this year’s competition.
Tomorrow, the largest format article I’ve ever had my design work printed on to will be hung outside one of my city’s loveliest buildings. Lubaina Himid’s Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money exhibition is on now at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery until 18 March 2018 and my hard to miss hangings inside and outside will welcome people into the building.
Last week, the Tales from the city exhibition opened at the Museum of Liverpool. I first became aware of this exhibition about 18 months ago through working on other installations at this wonderful location. The curation team there were keen to gather stories, artefacts and the personal possessions of LGBT folk from across the city to tell stories rarely told.
Back in June this year, the International Eurovision Song Contest fan club – Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l’Eurovision put out a call to graphic designers across the world. Quite rightly they had identified that their ageing logo was no longer fit for purpose and something more dynamic and flexible was required.
For the last few years now I’ve been delivering an annual lecture, just like The Queen. Mine are a bit more down to earth though and I don’t get as many people eager to hear my pronouncements. Nevertheless, it has become something of an annual routine and in my previous post I outlined a little of what I’ve been up to at Edinburgh University recently lecturing about design there.
This time three weeks ago, I was in Edinburgh speaking at a symposium devoted to critically exploring the influence, impact and legacy of Grace Jones as actor, model, musician, entertainer and icon. It was hosted by Edinburgh University’s College of Art and was the second in an ongoing international series devoted to exploring the topic of ‘the iconic’, Grace Jones followed last year’s acclaimed Pet Shop Boys symposium where once again, academics and enthusiasts from across the world gathered for a series of keynote talks and films that examined different facets of Jones’ life and work.
Can graphic design save your life?
Last week I was in London for a few days and made a special trip to see the latest exhibition of The Wellcome Collection entitled Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? I’d read about the exhibition and because of the nature of what I do, it was an obvious draw. My answer to the question is an emphatic Yes! Graphic design can save lives. The exhibition goes on to show many of the creative and ingenious ways that design has been used over the years to distil complex information into a public friendly package.
Red Frame/White Light
One of the wonderful things about the experimental electronic music of the late 1970s and early 1980s was just how wonderfully absurd some of subject matter was. In a bid to discard with the past and all its rock and pop clichés, virtually anything made for an acceptable lyrical theme. In many ways this made perfect sense; if one was using the cutting edge equipment of the day to beckon an impending digital future, it would be inappropriate to marry a tune to anything as mundane as another boy meets girl narrative.
History in the making
Liverpool has always been a great place for history – there’s quite a story to tell and the many museums we have, do it with aplomb. For a relatively small city, we’ve got more than our fair share of these great places. I vividly remember visiting Liverpool Museum as a kid and being amazed by it. As an art student, I remember regularly visiting the Walker Art Gallery and spending hours staring at those massive oil paintings and the contemporary works that would always enthral as the John Moores Painting Prize made its regular splash every couple of years. Then we got our very own Tate Gallery in 1988 and I knew I’d never have to move to London! I became a Tate member very early on and even met a ‘blind date’ in the café there, it was a disaster in case you were wondering (the date, not the early days of Tate Liverpool, they were fantastic).
Still infected after all these years
I went to London last week to see a rare screening of Matt Johnson’s 1986 video epic – ‘Infected’. I haven’t been to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) since the early 1990s, so it was good to be back. We arrived just in time, after getting a bit lost, and my memories of this film didn’t disappoint.