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Hands On: MacGuffin Magazine. No.6

Opinion by Richard Baird

Hands On: MacGuffin Magazine. No.6 by Sandra Kassenaar

MacGuffin is a biannual design, art and crafts magazine that commissions stories on, around or jumping off from ordinary things, uncovering personal and curious relationships with the objects that surround us. Issues 1 to 5 explored The Bed, The Window, The Robe, The Sink and The Cabinet. The Ball, MacGuffin Magazine No.6 Autumn/Winter 2018, the one BP&O has its hands-on, takes a look those related to the spherical; from the ballpoint pen to the disco ball, Harvey Ball (the designer of the smiley face), to the Biosphere and the sphere as the building block in which to shape a Japanese future.

The magazine mixes writing styles and lengths with documentary and cinematic stills, still life and artworks, the diagrammatic, illustrative and iconographic. Featured writers include Danish artist Nicolai Howalt, graphic designer Paul Gangloff and Real Review’s Jack Self who reflects on Bisosphere 2, an eco-futurist experiment.

MacGuffin, in its content, manages to draw beauty from the banal, the hidden and the utilitarian, elevating the every using a plethora of interesting and revealing philosophical, historical and socio-cultural insights. These moves from the micro, macro and abstract, viewed through an architectural or art and design lens. There is, occasionally, a form of meta-criticism at play which is a nice observation on the spherical type element of the Selectric Typewriter, nicknamed the golf ball, doing the hitting, rather than being hit. However, the publication largely leans towards the simple joy of revealing the idiosyncrasies and legacies of the commonplace or the overlooked. The spirit of this is expressed graphically, typographically and materially by editors Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven working with Dutch Designer Sandra Kassenaar. MacGuffin Magazine No.6 is 210 x 218mm, 232 pages and features five Pantone inks. It is supported by adverts, these come in the form of a fold-out cover, back page and the first five pages. It costs 14GBP / 16EUR / 20USD, and is also available as a yearly subscription.

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Arco by Raw Color, the Netherlands

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Brand identity and print for furniture manufacturer Arco by Raw Color, The Netherlands

Arco is a family run contemporary furniture design and manufacturing company that currently rests in the hands of fourth generation family members, and has a respectable 110 year history. Arco has tables and chairs at the heart of its collection and specialises in woodwork, a reflection of its location in Winterswijk, an area of dense natural woodland in East Netherlands.

Eindhoven-based graphic design studio Raw Color worked with Arco Creative Director Jorre van Ast to revise the company’s brand identity, with a focus on its unique location and local production. This is expressed through the documentation of the surrounding area, the factory and its craftsmen. While the logotype remains the same, Raw Color delivered a compelling visual identity that juxtaposes solid colour and seasonal image, and uses contemporary type to deliver a collective tone of voice. This extends across and links a variety of print communication that includes business cards, leaflets, brochures, catalogues and postcards.

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STRP Biennial 2015 by Raw Color, The Netherlands

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Branding by Raw Color for Dutch art, technology and experimental pop culture festival STRP 2015.

STRP brings together art, technology and experimental pop culture, and connects these to a broad audience, and through its light art, interactive art and robotic performances, lectures, workshops, music and film events, offers a glimpse into the future. This culminates with the STRP Biennial, an indoor art and technology festival that provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the extent to which new technology reaches into popular culture, the arts, and their everyday lives. This year’s biennial took place in Eindhoven, hosted over 29,00 guests, and featured a visual identity created by graphic design studio Raw Color which covered a variety of print communication including brochures, posters and business cards.

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