Opinion by Richard Baird
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.
Selected by Richard Baird.
September’s highlights included Folch’s packaging for DOIY’s new range Honom, OK-RM’s work on Mies in London and Foreign Policy’s new magazine Critical Mass. There were, however, five projects that stood out and have made it into BP&O’s Best Of Series. Between them these typically balance a strong singular concept or an appropriate confluence of ideas with a compelling visual character and clear communicative intention that appropriately play with form, colour, type and layout, as well as material, texture, image and print finish.
BP&O, in this end of month review, tries to recognise both the smart use of small budgets—those that channel spending into the most appropriate assets—and those projects with a broad and holistic quality, establishing a continuity (conceptual and/or visual) across multiple touch points. Many of the projects share a concise aesthetic expression, yet there is nuance and strategic weight to these, so do click through and read more about each of these.
Throughout the month BP&O also continued to expand on its collections series as another way to jump through to older posts on the site. This included a collection of projects that feature fluorescent inks or papers.