designers - Parachute® on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Lifelounge started as a website presenting news about x-sports, music and fashion but later developed into a multi-discipline creative firm offering design, marketing and advertising to companies that wanted to communicate with the same target group that were already talking to. Lifelounge is now offered in print form as well. Each edition is based on a different theme which generally works backwards from the typography or the type treatment of the name Lifelounge, including subtle hidden details or elements of humor on the cover.
Thirty-two year old typographic illustrator Luke Lucas, who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia, is the co-founder and executive director at Lifelounge. Mainly influenced from his early years of skateboarding, Luke creates unique inspiring typographic design with a ton of character and humor in his work. We had a chat with Luke Lucas about Lifelounge magazine and his typographic illustrations, so here it goes.

Can you give us the concept/philosophy behind Lifelounge magazine?
To be honest, Lifelounge Magazine in it’s printed form was originally created in part, for the selfish reason that, although there were a lot of good magazines out there, we felt that none of them really represented what we at Lifelounge were about. Aside from that, we aimed for it to be a source of inspiration and entertainment for like minded folks and to represent the things that we care about in an honest way, free from pretension and bullshit.
Each edition has a separate theme, which dictates the articles covered, the design and aesthetics and layout and typefaces chosen. As a designer, this is fantastic as it’s as if you can constantly reinvent yourself. I try to hide as many hidden details in each edition as I can so that the reader can have a multiple of experiences.

What are your main influences and their origin? ( fashion movement of a decade, a certain culture, designers etc.)

Influences come from all over the place and what I’m interested in is shaped by so many factors that it’s hard to put my finger on any specifics. Over the years my sources of inspiration have changed and evolved. Through the late 80s to the mid 90s I was heavily influenced by skate culture and the graphics, ads and publications within that world. There used to be so much amazing inspiration there. As I’ve gotten a little older my inspirations have shifted away from that scene and could come from from everything from street art to vintage film posters and advertising to type masters like Herb Lubalin and Edward Benguiat. I could name names forever. The truth is I’m inspired by all that’s around me.

Lately we see alot of typographic illustrations, Is this a trend? What type of typographic illustrations do you think we will see more often in the future (structures, craft, digital, other) ?
Yeah that’s an interesting observation. I can’t help but think that for a period there, computers acted as a hindrance for progressive type design. Type design seemed be a little lazy and typographically there seemed to be a lot of similar and repetitive work around. I think what we’ve been seeing over the last few years has been a reaction against that maybe. Maybe what we’re all trying to do is bringing back the attention to detail that was once observed by masters of the past.

Is typographic Illustration a matter of choice based on aesthetics or just because it is easier to get the message across, than using a different type of illustration?
It’s quite a subjective thing to comment on and I’m sure if you were to ask a handful of designers they would all come back with very different answers to this. For me Illustration is a powerful means for conveying a message as is typographic illustration. There’s a place for each and there’s a place for none. Sometimes what you choose to omit can be more powerful in conveying a message than placing something obvious and literal. It’s really judgment made on a case by case basis.

How do you work through a brief? What steps do you follow till the finished illustration?It really depends on the brief. Sometimes I’ll go straight from a concept to the computer, sometimes I can spend hours sketching and sometimes I build 3D prototypes with glue, paper, clay or whatever I can get my hands on. It varies.

Do you use a commercial typeface as a base for an illustration or you prefer to design one from scratch? What is more convenient?
This generally varies too. For the most part, the majority of type treatments and illustrations I work up are based on typefaces and fonts that I’ve created. Sometimes this can be easier and sometimes this can be a pain in the ass. At times there maybe particular elements that I’ll use as inspiration from a commercial typeface, like a line weight variation that I like, or a loop or tail or whatever, it really varies from case to case.

Which motto describes best yourself and your work?
I don’t know about an actual motto, but I really enjoy what I do and the people I work with and try to have as much fun with my work as I can.

Luke Lucas
behance.net/Luke_Lucas
LifeLounge
lifelounge.com/blog

History - Parachute® on Friday, January 16th, 2009

Did you ever wonder what happens to all these signs we see around our cities, after they are taken down? Well, there you have it! The Buchstabenmuseum (German for Museum of Letters) started rescuing typographic icons of our time since May 2005 and created a collection of interesting typographic objects and letters from all over Berlin and beyond. If it happens to be in Berlin pay a visit to the museum (by appointment only).

News - Parachute® on Friday, January 09th, 2009

Calligraphy is the art of writing. On the other hand, Graffiti is the art of writing your name (basically nickname) on an urban environment. It is the combination of these two, by its main representative Niels Shoe Meulman, that gives life to this particular artform, Calligraffiti. Ever since his teens, he has been combining traditional handstyles with a metropolitan attitude. //View Niels in action

Niels Meulman’s initial recognition came as ‘Shoe’ within local and international graffiti culture. He ran his own design company Caulfield & Tensing, before joining BBDO as senior art director. In recent years he has been working under the name Unruly, a flexible creative outfit that specializes in typographic design. Ηis art work appears around the world in such places such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the San Francisco MOMA.

Niels ‘Shoe’ Neulman
Different Strokes, Meulman’s third exhibition of Calligraffiti‐works, opened in December 19th at the Rush Hour record store in Amsterdam until 18 January 2009.

News - Parachute® on Monday, January 05th, 2009

Looking back at 2008, there are several things worth mentioning about Parachute®.
To begin with, a new and improved version of Champion Script Pro was released in January. This was followed by the launch of the Upscale Typography blog in February. Visits hit the roof when The making of Champion Script Pro was first published. Simultaneously, Champion Script Pro was featured in popular independent blogs and forums such as Ministry of type, Fontlover, Slanted, Typographie.info, while it became top story in several sites such as Digg.com.
Parachute’s Flickr group was also launched in late February and now counts close to 400 members. A gathering of international creative minds sharing typographic explorations, ideas and tips.
The new issue of the award-winning German magazine Slanted was received early in 2008, which included a feature on contemporary serif typefaces by 8 international designers and foundries including Parachute® (Centro Serif Pro in full coverage), Emigre, Fontfont, FontBureau and others.
An exciting new typeface was released in April. Ornamental Treasures is a contemporary set of ornaments, banners and frames based on the byzantine art forms. What is so special about this series is that it consists of 9 fonts that behave as layers which in turn enable the user to create with an unlimited combination of colors in any program, without converting glyphs to outlines.

May was a month to remember as another award was added to Parachute’s collection. The Centro Pro series was picked as Europe’s best for 2008 at the prestigious European Design Awards and Panos Vassiliou -the designer of Centro Pro- received his award in a celebrated ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.
Earlier, in the same month, The making of Centro Pro was posted and this article became top story in several popular blogs.
A different Bodoni was released in September. Bodoni Script Pro is based on Bodoni’s distinct swash capitals and was designed with connected lowercase characters and capitals with extra calligraphic elements.
In October Parachute’s blog was moved to a new independent location under a different platform. At the same time a new series of articles was initiated which offer typographic tips to those who actually use type.

In November, Panos Vassiliou the founder of Parachute®, was invited as a guest speaker at the Adobe D-Day 2008 conference. By popular demand, part of his Apocalypto Type speech will appear as a series of articles in 2009.
Also in November, Parachute® appeared in another international publication the Typodarium 2009. This is a very cool tear-off calendar -published by Verlag Hermann Schmidt Mainz in Germany- showcasing 365 different fonts by 50 well-known international foundries and designers.
Later in December Ornamental Treasures was featured in the new issue of Slanted magazine which focuses on signs, symbols and ornaments.
In 2008 Parachute® also appeared in several other design magazines such as the German Novum, the Polish 2+3D and the Czech Typo.
Meanwhile Parachute’s ongoing participation and support for the design community was realized by last year’s official sponsoring of the established Design Panorama 2008 conference.
Finally, what a great way to end the year when you know that your work has made the top list as one of the 10 best typeface designs of 2008. This becomes even more important since the list was compiled by independent sources.
There are some new and exciting things coming up from the folks at Parachute® in 2009. Stay tuned!

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