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Dance, design and a living doll – Part II

Categories: Extra-curricular, Nice stuff, Our work

So, this is my contribution to Pointe Blank; the Birmingham Royal Ballet collaborative project I mentioned t'other week. (Dance, design and a living doll – Part I)

Rather than write a load of waffly prose about the thinking behind the design, which'd not only take me ages to compose but you ages to read too, here instead are my waffly notes and a picture of the individual design elements:

  • It's a comic story so needs to look light-hearted.
  • Layers! There are many layers to the story. Show this.
  • Give it a hand-made quality but produce it by mechanical means.
  • Background pattern = based on an embroidered costume from the ballet.
  • Hearts! There's lots about love and broken hearts, so that needs to come through.
  • It's set in an Eastern European village so the buildings should show that.
  • 'Crest' to include ears of corn - used by Swanilda to test Franz's faithfulness.
  • No suitable font for the title, so hand-drawn lettering used.
  • Wanted to do a bit of copywriting: "Magic, misdirection … and a girl with enamel eyes".
  • Bunting was the last element to be added; frames everything else and hints at the festivities at the show's climax.
  • Colours palette = sympathetic to the production design (both costumes and set).
  • Include a level of mystery, wonder and magical-ness so people associate it with fairytale-type stories.

This was a great fun project to take part in and I have my fingers crossed there'll be more where this came from.

You can have a look at the other 26 submissions on the Pointe Blank website; there're some absolute stunners:


UPDATE: Oops. I neglected to add photos from the launch event which was held on Monday at one of BRB's studios over at Birmingham Hippodrome. Here y'are …

Stop: look and listen #4

Categories: Inspiration, Stop: look and listen

Treme – Season 1 (HBO series / DVD)
Worth watching just to experience John Goodman's slow burning, melancholic performance. Mesmerising. Oh, and the music! Set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, the team behind The Wire manages to transport you to the heart of this fascinating and vibrant place. Inspired casting all the way through.

Genius of Design (BBC series / DVD)
As much a history lesson as a design documentary, this insightful and entertaining BBC production manages to show the literally life-changing impact design has had and continues to have on our everyday lives.

Dial M for Murder – Alfred Hitchcock
Suddenly I found myslef watching a lot of Hitchcock – and I really can't fail to appreciate his precise and clever way of conducting a story. It's simply classy entertainment that has stood the test of time. And there are plenty more of his classics to choose from. Dig in.

Jamie Woon: "Mirrorwriting" (album)
Initially I was put off by some lukewarm reviews and a bit of too much hype surrounding this young gentleman. But then, after not being able to play much else than this record for a couple of weeks I was sold. This is an album, though not short of single potential, that works best listened to from start to finish. It really gets under your skin, with a dense and bass-heavy production. Yes, it is smooth but it's got just enough rough edges and soul to make it much more interesting than most popular music. Play it loud.

Kate Bush: "Directors Cut" (album)
She's back. Not with new material, though. These are re-workings of her own songs from "The Sensual World" and "The Red Shoes". The concept is not unlike what Joni Mitchell did with her "Travalogue" album but there is no orchestra involved here, making this is a much more stripped back affair. The 80's production sheen that defined the originals has been replaced by an intimate, soulful atmosphere.

You can't listen to her new versions of "This Woman's Work" and "Moments of Pleasure" without being moved. Really, really special.

Check out Alex Petridis' well-worded review in The Guardian.


Categories: Useful/interesting

"One route to success will be the ability to merge commerce with culture …"

A quote from the latest design trend report by David Carlson on the perennial topic of passive consumerism vs. meaningful experience. Interesting stuff. (And, I thought, vaguely related to Rui's post t'other day.)

Read the full report: Closed Wallets Closed Minds – Issue 14 / June 2011 (You can either read it online or download a pdf.)

Supercool, design and people

Categories: Superinterns

I always thought design could be a bit selfish sometimes by not filling in the gap between audience and our practice, or at least by not making an extra effort to. This had only one logical outcome: it favoured those who were part of our area and no one else.

If there is something I have learned at Supercool it is that you can create brilliant design work and still get the audience involved. This has shown me how design can be an excellent and creative way to reach the masses by awakening their critical spirit – which should be, anyway, the whole premise of our work.

For these reasons it has restored my faith in design as a social vehicle and for that I am very happy to have been part of the team – even if it was just for a few weeks – so … well done Supercool!


Rui Ribeiro was a Superintern in Spring 2011