[Ed note: Print will be featuring one New Visual Artist per day while the issue is on newsstands. Keep checking back every weekday for new profiles on printmag.com. You can view the entire list of winners here.]
Illustration for Monocle, Issue 25, 2009. Art director: Ken Leung.
Always With Honor (Tyler Lang, Elsa Chaves)
From: Sarasota, FL (Chaves), St. Albans, VT (Lang)
Live in: Portland, OR
Ages: 26 (Chaves), 25 (Lang)
Forget Brooklyn. Tyler Lang and Elsa Chaves, co-owners of the two-person studio Always With Honor, followed their love of the outdoors to Portland, Oregon, last year—a move that sheds some light on the duo’s aesthetics. Lang had previously worked for Seed, the science magazine, creating illustrations and infographics about science and nature; a typical illustration the pair creates for Wired, Money, or Monocle is more likely to involve animals or trees than anything else.
As regular infographers for Good magazine’s “Transparencies” feature, Lang and Chaves often use the outdoors as inspiration for colorful charts of, for instance, a sports-mascot family tree, or a map of the Obamas’ vegetable garden. “What makes them and their pieces so great is an excellent blending of design sensibility with an almost childlike playfulness,” says Morgan Clendaniel, Good’s deputy editor. “And while they’re coming up with brilliant solutions to convey information, you also get an adorable illustration of a carrot.”
Lang and Chaves first met in Florida at Ringling College of Art and Design, where they started dating. Lang’s highly stylized illustrations of animals—a vocabulary influenced by his childhood in Vermont—meshes easily with Chaves’s icons and craft sensibility. The self-professed science nerds mix a healthy interest in astronomy into their work as well. “We both love outer space,” says Chaves. “We’ve branded ourselves that way purposely.”
Even their moniker has cosmological connotations: “We liked the epicness of ‘Always With Honor,’ the playful ambiguity of it,” Lang explains. “We wanted to wake up and feel like, I should be wearing a space suit today!” As information design evolves, AWH is making the scientific and informational fun again. Chaves elaborates, saying, “We want to make things that are honorable, do things that are good for something.”
About the author:
Colin Berry is a contributing editor at Print and the co-author of On Tender Hooks: The Art of Isabel Samaras (Chronicle Books). He is a regular contributor to I.D., Artweek, and KQED Public Media; he recently moved to Los Angeles.
View the entire list of this year’s winners here.