domenica 8 marzo 2009

Augmenting the magazine

ego[n] is presenting at Colophon 2009 the call of entry for the new collection, which will be based on the themes of creative collaboration and generative design.
Creative collaboration and generative design where some of the basic ideas behind the first collection, which had among its authors the likes of Jonathan Barnbrook, Ed Fella, KesselsKramer, Karlssonwilker, and the late Alan Fletcher.
Using Flash software and translating the results to the page in page layout programs was a way to extend our research in magazine design. The new issue will delve deeper in the subject, approaching design in the playful, process-based way that the french Oulipo had reserved to literature, and inviting designers to collaborate freely on our proposed themes.
In the footsteps of what Raymond Queneau did with his Exercises in Style by telling the same story in 99 different literary styles, ego[n] will propose ten different magazine makers to explore style variation by working on the same article - at the same time presenting their work ethic and method.
Another experiment will be open to illustrators, proposing generative and combinatory approaches to the many forms of the "cute" designer character, in search of "the nature of the avatar".
Finally, typographers will be invited to submit their work for our "fonts as process" section.
Also included should be italian recipes, infographics, snowdomes and even more fonts.

martedì 24 giugno 2008

Italian Art Directors Club award for ego[n] magazine

Ego[n] Magazine has been awarded an ADCI award, Italy's most sought after official creativity prize. Ego[n] has been awarded a Silver Prize, the only one given this year in Editorial Art Direction category.

This year the Awards have been announced at the Bonobo Party ADCI awards, which has been held in Milan at Corbis Italia on june the 13th, 2008. The heavy rain has not been able to ruin a glamourous award ceremony held in the Corbis courtyard that had been transformed in a tropical jungle. The prize-awarded projects have been exhibited in the offices of corbis for the eyes of all the guests of the ceremony.

ego[n] magazine unveiled on Vimeo.

For studio Kmzero, this prize is an important, rewarding acknowledgment for the long (over two years in the making) editorial work that, to quote Andrea Rauch, has managed “to create that feeling of a 'ordered and wonderful chaos' that constitutes one of the strongest points of contemporary graphic design".

lunedì 7 gennaio 2008

First feedback on ego[n] magazine

Last months have been very busy for ego[n] magazine. We presented the mag at Attraversamenti graphic design festival, at NullAosta graphic design convention and at al Festival della Creatività in Florence. We produced a limited edition of the mag including a tee-shirt (handsUpForEgo[n]) with streetwear brand Gold.

We earned some nice reviews online (Segnaletica, Fridge, BallaDora). Expecially pleasing for us was the flattering review we got from SocialDesignZine, Italy's leading graphic design blog, done by well known designer and illustrator Andrea Rauch. We reproduce it here, translated in english for our non-italian speaking readers:

Kmzero studio is in downtown Florence, in via Calzaiuoli at number 9. By looking out from the studio windows you can enjoy the show of touristic nomadic transhumance: tourists that follow their leader's little umbrella towards the city cathedral while other move in the opposite direction towards Palazzo Vecchio. Japanese and Korean people dressed in gray move South, while American ladies with transparent raincoats and crazy haircuts move North. An extraordinary show for someone who's not used to it. For the people who are accustomed it's probably a good impulse for their self esteem and helps to develop a strong, invulnerable ego.

It's probably due to this daily experience of life and work that the designers at Kmzero (Francesco Canovaro, Debora Manetti, Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini) have named the first number of their magazine/book/whatever (it's quite difficult to define it!) ego[n]. Meaning: "ego" at the n-th power, a fortified, powerful, ready for everything ego.

But, naturally, we could read their work in the opposite way. This huge mass of graphic material, images, signs and unfinished issues could also be interpreted as a way for them to merge with a visual world that is ample and full of chances to explore in search of a new idea or visual experience. Developing an awareness that borders with humility (a gigantic superego and humility, what a wonderful oxymoron!) the authors are able to tie together in this box such different issues as the roots of graphic design in Florence, a comic book on the WTC attack, stickers and notebooks, truetype fonts, travel logbooks, guest contributors (from Stefan Sagmeister to Ed Fella), and elegant visual explorations on the dot porn business.

And there's even more in this eclectic mix of juvenile curiosity and professional know how. Add to this an extreme control of the various printing techniques (from uv coating to die cutting, to unusual folding) that manages to create that feeling of a "ordered and wonderful chaos" that constitutes one of the strong points of contemporary graphic design.

The pages of ego[n] challenge us as readers, but after the initial drawback they capture us in a intense reading experience - somehow unexpected due to our rational and often lazy approach to the printed page.

A good boxed edition and a great demonstration of style, that deserves a try. More more information can be found on the Red Publishing web site.

mercoledì 5 settembre 2007

ego[n]'s website and the barber paradox

Designing a website about one's own work is a difficult thing.
It implies asking ourselves fundamental questions about our work and goals. A slightly philosophical thing: "what do we do exactly? and why?".
Doing a personal website is an easy thing when one's in design school, but it becomes a nasty task for a professional studio or agency. It has maybe to do with Bertrand Russell and his barber paradox: "who shaves the barber, if he shaves all and only those men who do not shave themselves?" (or, in other words: "who does websites for the people who do websites for those who aren't able to do them by themselves?")...
All this to say that realizing ego[n] website has not been an easy task. We tried many solutions, before being hit by the possibilities of a new Flash rendering engine: Papervision3d. It's an amazing piece of software, and allowed us to show exactly how the various format issues of ego[n] relate to the packaging. Although many visualizations done with Papervision 3d are more photorealistic in effect, we liked it instead for its abstract possibilities. Although we needed a complete website to promote the magazine, we still consider this as a work in progress and we plan to add more features and flash experiments in the future.
The challenge was to mix that with a more traditional html/css based structure. Visual candy had to live side by side (actually under, thanks to inline frames) the html data, and we went in for some integration through javascript.

why dotporn?

Everybody seems to be linking a youtube a video realized by the folks at Good Magazine, showing internet porn usage data in very sexy way.
It's nice to discover other people who share the infopornographic passion that lead to the design of ego[n] 2:dotporn. But we surely are not the first designers to be seduced by the images of desire and trasgression: from The Designers Republic with their Murray + Vern catalogue, to Kalimera with the Who's your Daddy video for Benny Benassi, ending with Steven Heller [probably the most famous graphic design critic] that not only wrote a book on it, but revealed a sordid past that saw him, still a minor, art director for two porno magazines, sharing a night in jail with prostitutes...
Passion or perversion?
Intellectual curiosity or low instincts?
Maybe all of this: to use Laura Kipnis's words, pornography 'should interest us, because it's intensely and relentlessly about us'.
It's this kind of inspiration that lead Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini to create ego[n] 2:dotporn, a fake annual report showing data and quotations found on the web. The booklet is presented as an annotated proof, complete with handwritten last-minute notes and corrections. Clp worked with Alberto Pagliaro's pencil drawings and Carlos Batts' photographs to produce a catalogue of trends, complete with prototype packaging for the new sex chindogu (a.k.a. useless objects).
Will this book manage to make everybody know that internet is for porn?!

mercoledì 22 agosto 2007

what's ego[n]

we made ego[n] because we love books.
beautifully designed books, books crammed with ideas and visual inventions, books that we read and read again, with ever-new pleasure. in this video-infested multimedia-connected cellphone-ruled age, we still love the tactile qualities of paper, the unexpected results of crazy printing techniques, the pleasute to explore concept-driven publications that are playful gardens for our deranged minds.
ego[n] magazine is neither a book nor a magazine: it's a pet monster, kept in our cellar with a pop culture diet and a never satiated hunger for the wonderful. like all monsters it's incomplete and redundant at the same time: some pages are left blank, other are printed in eight colours and filled with images. there are cutouts, stickers, even a playful gadget, a dripping marker holding enough ink to black out all the 350 pages of ego[n].
Half art book half book of wonders, ego[n] tries to please the weird fetishes of every book lover. its main theme, incompleteness, is physically expressed in the form of the magazine itself, a collection of unpublished issues, fragments from longer, untold stories. Inside, twelve fragments, different points of view on contemporary graphic design and on the global themes that influenced it. From the relationship between business and creativity to visual reflections on the 9/11 attacks, from a compilation of designers’ sketchbooks to a fake annual report on the www porn business; from the history of the Ascii set to an inquiry into Florence’s graphic design scene...
The idea of creative collaboration is central in the production process of the magazine: in ego[n] it is possible to find young designers next to masters like Jonathan Barnbrook, Ed Fella, KesselsKramer, Karlssonwilker, and the late Alan Fletcher. Moreover, every issue of ego[n] uses original fonts by studioKmzero that are provided in the DVD togheter with a user license.
Printed on the quality papers supplied by Polyedra and including a tag marker sponsored by Graffbay, ego[n] promises to be “yet another overdesigned, completely useless, totally self-indulgent, inventively packaged, gadget-packed and expensively printed graphic design magazine that’s good only for diehard book fetishists and geeky collectors”.