Pretty Ugly, Gestalten Verlag

 

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There are moments, when leafing through the pages of Gestalten’s latest opus Pretty Ugly, that you’ll feel a little perplexed. Not by the stretched and layered type that practitioners of the New Ugly graphics movement use to obscure the messages contained in their work, nor by the fact that brands and organizations are trying to sell themselves with these deliberately obtuse images. What you’ll find so confusing, rather, is just how beautiful most of the projects appear, despite their creators’ best attempts at visual rebellion — a fact acknowledged by the book’s editors, Lupi Asensio and Martin Lorenz of the Barcelona-based firm twopoints.net, in its oxymoronic title. There are two reasons for this, Lorenz revealed when Sight Unseen sat down to interview him about the project: The first and most obvious is that we’re closer to the end of the New Ugly movement than the beginning, which is precisely what made the couple feel the time was ripe for a retrospective. Steven Heller has written about it, Urban Outfitters has embraced it, and we’ve gotten increasingly used to it — and desensitized to its shock value — ever since Mike Meiré used it to redesign 032c magazine in 2007. The second reason, and the one your editors found particularly compelling, is that somewhere along the line the New Ugly actually became less about rule-breaking and more about documenting process, with designers creating works that aim to expose the mechanics behind their boundary-pushing techniques. Read a full interview with Martin Lorenz about the Pretty Ugly here.

Current Micro Trends in Graphic Design

Franklin Till talks to Computer Arts about seven graphic movements that aren’t just a seasonal fleeting trend but a longer-lasting impulse.

 

1. The art of reduction

Stack Architects, corporate identity and naming by The Consult

 

Exercise One by Josep Roman

2. Hand-drawn

Topshop make-up range, designed by Sarah Thorne

 

3. Bauhaus inspired

Stanford poster by Network Osaka

 

Autofokus Das Lokal by Peak21, photography by Marie Staggat

 

4. True authentic

Another Shirt Please branding by Planet creative

 

Balvenie Portwood stamp by Here Design

 

5. Refined grace

Sight Unseen website by Thomas Porostocky

 

Gemma by Ruiz and Company

 

6. Retro chaos

Flyer by Travis Stearns

 

7. Monochrome clarity

Caravan Drinks by Inhousedesign

 

Artiva business cards, by Artiva