What began as a routine graphic design exercise turned into metaphysical book cover designs that reflect on prevalent social issues. The six-person team at CINCO, a multidisciplinary design group in Buenos Aires, spent five months creating an abstract, thought-provoking multimedia project focusing on today’s social environment — including violence, domination, patriarchy and the role of women.
The studio’s motivation for this creative thinking exercise stems from their desire to experiment with the different techniques and materials that keep CINCO’s work fresh and nurture design thinking.
“Our project came as a graphic exercise where we mix all the visual tools that we like,”said CINCO’s founder, Mariano Sigal. “As a studio we believe that each project must involve a strong research of concepts. We are also interested in an experimental phase of materials and media, that is the most playful part of the process. We believe that a project is strong, when the elements are visually interesting and powerful semantically.”
Using a variety of media and techniques, the design team constructed three noteworthy book covers, each one based on an issue we face in contemporary society.
“Our premise for this [project] emerged when we imagine an illustrated encyclopedia—a volume to exhibit certain human knowledge in different items,” Sigal said. “Creating a fictitious publisher called Popova, we designed three covers for each chapter to the issues that we wanted to disarm conceptually, and then rebuilt them visually. The combination of technical and visual resources (illustration, painting, photography, 3D) were our supports to combine the different stories we had in mind, and we wanted to expose differently. We developed different themes such as gender violence, domination, childhood, masculinity, patriarchy and social role of women. These three covers are the beginning of this project. We really enjoyed doing it. It was a process where we could play graphically, and where we could also ridicule topics that are imposed on us socially in each of our roles as individuals.”
And this isn’t the only time they have completed an experimental exercise—the studio conducts routine creative thinking exercises in addition to their client assignments to sharpen their team’s design thinking skills. As Sigal notes, “This is part of our studio policy. we aim for a balance between the commercial works and the experimental ones.”
D30: Exercises for Designers is a workout book. In addition to dozens of readily applicable tips, tricks and informational tidbits, D30 contains thirty exercises designed to develop and strengthen the creative powers of graphic designers, artists and photographers in a variety of intriguing and fun ways. What will you need to begin? Not much. Most of the book’s step-by-step projects call for setting aside and hour or two, rolling up your sleeves and grabbing art supplies that are probably already stashed somewhere in your home or studio—things like pens, drawing and watercolor paper, India ink, paints, scissors and glue.