At Aquí, we take our cuppa Joe very seriously. Rest assured, because the same applies when it comes to design. As avid coffee drinkers, we often ask, “How do you like your coffee?” And as a creative boutique, we like to ask, “How do you like your design?” Joe is a blog segment where we - #TeamAquí - share our design inspirations.
You may need a magnifying glass for this one. We kid you not.
Lorraine Loots is a miniaturist from Cape Town, South Africa. Yu Ting first discovered the artist’s watercolor paintings on Instagram when she was in Singapore for a solo exhibition. As attention to detail is something that we can all appreciate, it did not take long for everyone to be captivated by Loot’s hyper realistic artworks. Now, looking at Loot’s stunning paintings was a very different experience from watching her paint.
“When I first saw her paintings and found out about the size of it, I immediately concluded that her level of detail was impossible to achieve,” Yu Ting exclaimed while we were watching Lorraine Loot’s time-lapse video. The display of her mastery does put our definition of “detail” into perspective while reminding us that the sky’s the limit even when it comes to being meticulous.
It says on her website that Loots “never planned to become an artist.” After completing Art School, Loots did not pursue a career in the art field. Little did she know that her side project - 365 Paintings for Ants - and also, of course, her affinity with art would eventually serve as a springboard for her becoming a full-time artist. Sometimes, we really do not know what is coming for us, don’t we?
During this past weekend, Nella picked up her sketchbook to look at some of her old sketches. “I realised I haven’t drawn in a long time,” she told us. She also said that she eventually did some drawing and that she was going to share some of her inspirations. At that point, we were all excited to find out who Nella's art influences were. But instead of typing the name of an artist into the search bar, she pulled up a Youtube video by milkcloud titled “painting studio Ghibli scenes”.
“I watch a lot of Draw With Me videos. Drawing together with someone motivates me to keep going at it. It is similar to Study With Me videos,” Nella explains.
It can be difficult to find motivation to focus on the things we want to do when we have been in the same space for consecutive days/weeks. Don’t even get us started on the number of distractions present at home. For those of you who are not familiar with “Study with Me”, it is a viral video concept where people watch a two-hour long video of someone studying to help them concentrate. It is essentially a simulation of productive study sessions with friends that are said to be a helpful way to avoid distractions. Draw with Me is a similar concept but focused on drawing. For Nella, having one of the videos played in the background sets the mood and creates an ambience that motivates her to draw.
“I have this account on Instagram where I follow a lot of other accounts that have interesting content,” Evelyn explained beforehand. Studio fnt, the Seoul-based design studio was apparently one of the many accounts she follows. Evelyn recently rediscovered them through their new social media content and decided to explore their website for new design inspiration.
We were first brought to the Hyundai Development Company (HDC) and IPARK case study where the studio created their corporate identity and brand identity. In the beginning, there was an animation that provided a comprehensive breakdown of the identity system. “I really liked how they documented their creative process in a simple video. Though the branding for the construction company and apartment looks very simple, it is actually very well thought out,” Evelyn emphasised. We could not agree more as the versatility of the visual identity really sets the brand apart. There aren't any fancy elements to the brand identity per se, but the visual motifs are highly distinguishable and hold meaning to them. It feels very “whole” as Evelyn would put it.
Graphic design has a multitude of unique influences in different cultures and that is something that is what’s most fascinating for Evelyn as she loves exploring various styles that would eventually serve as an inspiration for her designs. “Looking at Studio fnt’s designs makes me want to learn graphic design in Korea,” she confessed.
Speaking of exploring graphic design styles in other parts of the world, Maria had recently (thanks to Mindsparkle Mag) discovered Parametro Studio, a Mexican studio founded by two ladies Cristina and Vanessa. “The website is pretty crazy,” Maria warned us before sharing her screen. Before we knew it, a bold shade of red was plastered all over our screens. Navigating the single page website was a little bit tough at the beginning, but the visual experience made up for it.
Before showing us her favourite work from Parametro Studio, Maria told us that what she really loves about it is the way they captured the branding design through photography instead of applying it on mockups. She quickly directed our attention to the Briochels case study where we saw a “lookbook” of how the designs have been applied. The photos shot by the studio had created a cohesive look for the brand - one that brought out the playfulness in the bright red logo, the elegance in the typeface, and the liveliness of the pastel tones. The flat lay and interior shots made us fall in love with the bistro. “It makes the designs come to life,” Maria expressed as she marveled at the photos. What Parametro did was to capture the design at work, creating an experience that takes you from behind the screens directly to the bistro itself.
On a side note, Maria also mentioned that the goblet used in one of the photos reminded her of her grandma’s place. “These glasses can’t be found anymore,” she says. It was a nice feeling - familiarity. That being said, we are perhaps sentimental beings who are always drawn to the things that we are familiar with or mean the most to us. And maybe that is why design is so special, it is one of the few mediums we can use to replicate an experience or a feeling.
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