Doug Pray's "The Defiant Ones"
Every now and then you see something that changes the way you think about something you might do a lot of, and therefore take for granted. In this case, editor Doug Pray blew apart the “talking head” standard (and my mind) in this documentary, using b-roll from between takes, from the cutting room floor, to add a sense of emotion and personality to the conversation. Brilliant.
This quote is pulled from Mau's "Incomplete Manifesto for Growth," which has been a North Star in the design world for more than 20 years. (Read the whole thing - you'll be happy you did.) When we launched Citizen, these words came echoing back from across the decades, reminding us to stick with our core purpose to find the spark that makes each project unique. It's how we can get to solutions that are genuine and better for the community. It's how we feed our curiosity to get beyond good, to arrive at something even better. So that's our motto: don't do good, do better. And always, stay curious!
Josh is rethinking food equity from both the supply and demand side. While home in Alabama, he went shopping for pancake mix with his dad at Walmart, saw that there were no options outside of the standard highly-processed fleet of usual suspects, and started thinking of ways to move away from heavily subsidized corn and soy bi-products to work with natively grown crops in the American Midwest and West Africa, and then to create formulas to make those crops marketable and competitive in the world’s largest grocery store: Walmart. No small ideas here! He started with Just Mayo (not mayonnaise), then the egg substitutes and finally pancake mix came along. No problem is too big to tackle, one bite at a time (ouch).
Attribution: Artist Website
Gisela is a local Detroit artist whose work is both artistically amazing and deeply personal. As a survivor of sexual violence, her main objective is to create a safe space for other survivors to tell their story and reclaim their bodies.
Attribution: Art of the Title
Art Of The Title
I can still feel the excitement in my bones from the roar of the lion as my grandparents television transported me to the Wild West. Three silhouetted men on horseback appear in sequence to the iconic sound of Ennio Morricone. It was here that a seed was planted deep in my brain that started my love and fascination for film titles.
From the graphic psychedelic journey the 007 titles to the brilliantly simple type animation of Alien.
Title sequences carry a heavy importance. Through the use of film technique, tone and aesthetics they act as the “book cover” for the film. The craft is always top notch and there is always something to learn and takeaway from what you have experienced
Attribution: Madlib / Interview with Jeff Jank
Where to start…
Madlib is an LA based producer / emcee. He is one of the most prolific makers and tastemakers in hip hop as well as a major creator and advocate for jazz / blue-note / funk / soul / reggae / world music.
Between his releases on Stones Throw and his own imprint Rappcats, he has an extremely diverse and amazing visual pallet. Thanks to Jeff Jank, a close collaborator and art director, he’s able to create characters and personas that are fully realized visually, making music that’s good for the soul and the eyes.
It's no secret that this company creates some of the most impressively immersive film and television events. They conduct special screenings at initially undisclosed venues in London (dress code required). When fans arrive, they are immersed in beautifully detailed, rich experiences of which dreams are made.
Attribution: Milk Made
At its launch, the Milk Made brand stood out amongst the fashion world by pushing boundaries. Its edgy, raw and ever changing approach to collaboration, content, and even its own brand identity cut through all of the cookie cutter tropes of what fashion could be and paved the way for new creative voices in the industry. It’s at once solid and nurturing to emerging talent, yet anti-establishment and future-forward.
Attribution: Atsushi Nishijima / Netflix
She’s brilliant, her stories break through flimsy notions of cultural awareness (or total lack of awareness) when it comes to an idea of identity, particularly when the identity is that of the “other”. She builds audience empathy for her characters by appealing to our shared values and emotions, building a sense of community - of commonality - where there was none. The results are groundshifting, politically and culturally. And she didn’t pick up a camera until she was in her 30s.
We Are The Champions
A beautifully shot Docu-Series that explores the communities and “athletes” (kind of) that surround an array of unique competitions, each inspiring tales of determination and nostalgia. We'll always enjoy rooting for the underdog. (And the cheese rolling episode is so great!)
Attribution: Artist Website
Faye Smith spent about 18 years doing wardrobe for films. In that time, she saw the custom shoemakers she worked with in film slowly passing on with no one inheriting their knowledge. Over a long stay in Barcelona, she stumbled into a shoe maker's shop and the owner agreed to teach her the craft. She took that traditional knowledge home and immediately got to work writing up the business plan for her company while challenging herself to make 50 shoes in 50 days. But that’s not all! She also re-assembled a supply chain for handcrafted shoes from a number of vendors scattered across the USA, and in the process has helped to bring back the “carriage trade” of handcrafted footwear.
There is some amazing magic that comes to life in playscapes, especially when they flip convention on its head. Well designed playscapes are imaginative gathering spaces that promote exploration and imagination in children, but they also remind adults that it's okay to tap into your inner child. The sculptor Isamu Noguchi distilled the serious art of play as a rule for designing playscapes. His philosophy: “I think of playgrounds as a primer of shapes and functions; simple, mysterious, and evocative; thus educational.”
Attribution: Isamu Noguchi via Herman Miller
Let's experiment. We can create new rules, or no rules! The lesson here is that we're all just figuring it out, one day at a time. And we love that.
Attribution: Style Is Substance / Every Saul Bass Poster
A masterful visual storyteller and iconic image maker, Saul Bass finds a way to take something complex and break it down to the most simplistic, perfect visual, acknowledging the value of positive and negative spaces equally. If you’re working on film posters and title credits for names like Kubrick and Scorsese, you must be doing something right.
Attribution: Before I Die / Confessions
Candy is an Asian American artist with a background in architecture and design. Her work examines often unacknowledged or uncomfortable dynamics in society, through the activation of public spaces around the world. We’re left to see the world, or just a moment in our day, with a fresh glimpse of the bigger picture and, in return, we just might have a little reawakening of our priorities. This is experiential art as a conversation!
Attribution: The Happy Show / AIGA Detroit Poster / Levis 501 shred to pieces
There aren’t many graphic designers or typographers who come to mind as shocking these days. Sagmeister stands apart through intriguing and provocative approaches that are constantly evolving. Often dissecting materials to interrogate or challenge norms, his approach has always pushed the limits of what is expected.