Builds Blog

Work at Play, Chicago—

A few images from the Work at Play exhibition at the Chicago Design Museum in June 2013, featuring a selection of Michael's prints for Build. Thank you to David Szef for asking us to take part!

Not For Commercial Use: Statement, 2008.

Chicago Design Museum space, August 2013.

Chicago Design Museum space, August 2013.

Scale Series - Mars, 2012.

Scale Series - Sun, 2012.

Modern Life is Rubbish - Mangle, 2008.

Mono exhibition poster, 2006.

Dick, 2012.

Nice right? You can get your own Build prints from our very own shop—

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Happy Yorkshire Day!

Happy Yorkshire Day one and all!

While its status may not afford a bank holiday or a Google Doodle, we at Build cannot pass 1 August without officially celebrating God's Own County.
So for one day only, we are offering 20% off the following (by)Build Shop products, as selected by proud Yorkshire-man Michael C. Place—

The Sun - Scale Series
The Sun - Scale Series.
'Because the Sun always shines on Yorkshire! And us Yorkshire folk are renowned for having a sunny outlook on life!'

Modern Life Is Rubbish - Mangle
Modern Life Is Rubbish - Train
Modern Life Is Rubbish Series.
'Because by 'eck it used to be all fields round here (to be fair it still is!), and we can be a contradictory bunch (see above)'

'Because we are a positive bunch, but also we can be a little black and white about things'.

Mono exhibition poster.
'Like my mum's Yorkshire puddings, it will always be number one in my book!'

Walt, Dick & Harvey.
'Always smiling (even when getting a round in), and especially when talking about Yorkshire'.

Fellowship is Life.
'Because we always stick together!'

***This offer has now ended— Here's to Yorkshire Day 2014!***

Simply add the discount code YORKSHIRE at the checkout for 20% off any of the items above. The discount will be valid until tomorrow (Friday 2nd August). Happy shopping everyone!

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Build ClockSaver— it lives!

We are happy to announce that the Build clock screensaver is reborn!
The original screensaver was designed by Michael in 2005, and was based on the grid-based clock by Sleep At Work, and developed by Geoffroy Delobel at Central.

The 2013 version is now in HTML, rebuilt from the original Flash file, and is available to download from (by)Build Shop. All you will need to do is subscribe to the Shop newsletter and the ClockSaver is yours. You can see a sneak peak of it in action here.

Instructions for use— once downloaded, unzip the file and double click the .saver file. This will open your System Preferences and the ClockSaver will be one of your 'Other' screensaver options. We're sorry— the ClockSaver is currently only available to Mac users.

If you've already subscribed to the Shop newsletter please email Sophie for the download link.

*Special thank you to (our intern and recent graduate) Sebastian Brown for all his hard work in rebuilding the screensaver!

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Cars, girls, typography too?—

Picture the scene, big hip hop star rolls into his crib, new album in hand, excitedly shows his homies his new album sleeve. Check out the typeface and negative space on this! Rappers historically brag about cars, girls & money, NOT negative space and typography.
It was a massive surprise (and a pleasant one I must admit) to see the sleeve for Jay-Z's latest album 'Magna Carter Holy Grail' do the rounds on the internet. With a title like that you'd expect a picture of Jay-Z head down, cup in hand with rays of light emanating out from the cup and him. No. The sleeve is a minimalists delight, simple's more 'Joy Division - Closer' than Ice T's 'Power'. Not a girl, car, or Benjamin in sight. Wow. Is hip hop finally growing up?
• Magna Carter Holy Grail sleeve.
Is this a one-off? Is hip hop going all Peter Saville? Is typography and minimalism the Lex or Benz? Nope. And along comes Kanye West with 'Yeezus', and no we won't be seeing a picture of Mr West nailed to a cross, a pained expression across his face as blood drips down from a crown of thorns... Yeezus comes in an ultra minimal sleeve, in a clear jewel case, with no album artwork, the packaging consisting of little more than a piece of red tape and a sticker affixed to the back. The only nod to hip hop history is the obligatory Parental Advisory label, in of itself a badge of honour (if it ain't got one of those then it ain't worth s**t). For Yeezus it looks like Kanye has been checking out none other than Peter Saville (albeit in a more 'street' fashion).
• Yeezus sleeve.
To put this into some context we will have to go back about 30 years, the golden age of hip hop. When hip hop walked the walk, and the sleeves talked the talk. The time when LL Walked With A Panther, Run DMC were the Kings of Rock and Eric B & Rakim were definitely getting Paid in Full.
LL Cool J - Walking like a Panther - Front
• LL Cool J - Walk with a Panther.
• Run DMC - King of Rock.
Eric B & Rakim - Paid In Full.
My love and introduction to hip hop was by way of the 1984 movie Breakdance: The Movie (I was 15 at the time) and was massively into BMX (freestyle). My parents (after much whining on my part) bought me a SHARP GF-575 boombox (I used to call it a ghettoblaster) which I used to take with me (along with a bag full of batteries) to the Bedale tennis courts where we would listen to the Breakdance soundtrack whilst doing framestands and bar-hops.
Breakdance: The Movie.
Breakdance turned into hip hop (I never used to breakdance btw, popping out the old lino in front of Coeburns the butcher on the high street I think would have been a step too far!). Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo turned into Yo! Bum Rush the Show and my beloved BMX was swapped for Rotring Pens. But my love of hip hop has endured, it's been pretty much a constant in my life.
As a white working class boy growing up in Yorkshire in the 70's, 80's and 90's you would think that you couldn't get much further away from the (predominantly) Black youth who were living the life that they recorded onto wax. My life in a small village in Yorkshire was their Crenshaw, my Market Street, their Linden Boulevard. Of course the worst trouble I got into was walking over the top of some cars in Masham and being done for criminal damage (sorry mum) and not being involved in gangs, and gang culture. The trials and tribulations of my life in rural Yorkshire are literally a thousand miles away than those of the heroes of my musical youth.
Maybe a big part of it was teenage rebellion, but for some reason the format of (to quote Guru) 'Two turntables, two records and a microphone' just struck a chord. The combination of beats and rhymes is timeless.
So, back to the sleeves. I never used to look at the sleeves in a critical way, that was the vernacular of the hip hop world. It was Kangol, not Prada, it was Adidas, not Vans. It was Gold rope chains, it was all about boasting, it was about who was bigger (and deffer), and the album sleeve was a reflection of just that. And that was fine by me. I loved it. It was of it's time. Hip Hop is constantly evolving, and so it would seem are it's sleeves. Finally. I left the small Yorkshire village behind and went to college, my musical taste changed, for a while the sound of The Meteors screaming get off my cloud lived alongside PE's Public Enemy No. 1, and to be honest both sleeves were as bad as each other, but I really didn't care. It was exciting music, it was dangerous music, everything that music should be. I moved from York College and got into The Smiths, Newcastle College and it was Tackhead and The Happy Mondays...but always accompanied by hip hop.
As my taste, and lust for design evolved I found my love for the traditional hip hop sleeve wane, hip hop was evolving too though, NWA's Straight Outta Compton was replaced by Me, Myself & I. Suddenly the world of hip hop changed from Public Enemy's punk of rap to the new wave of hip hop, the D.A.I.S.Y Age (da inner sound y'all). Just like the album itself, the sleeve art was highly original, designed by Toby Mott's art collective 'The Grey Organisation'. As Mott says himself of the cover "The intent of the design of De La Soul's, 3 Feet High and Rising LP cover is to be new and bright, with the overlaying of the fluorescent flowers and text reflecting a synthetic pop cartoon look. This is a move away from the prevailing macho hip hop visual codes which dominate to this day."
• Run DMC.
• Public Enemy.
• NWA - Straight Outta Compton.
• De la Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising sleeve.
So where next? The nineties, a very fruitful era in hip hop. ATCQ dropped 'People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm' (1990), and 'The Low End Theory' in '91, both amazing albums. 1992 saw Dr Dre and 'The Chronic', 1993 Cypress Hill went 'Insane In The Brain' on Black Sunday (a sleeve I still like to this day). On a similar-ish visual tip the brilliant 1994 album '6 Feet Deep' by horror core supergroup The Gravediggaz. released on Gee Street/Island with in my opinion one of the best album & single campaigns in recent history. Also released in 1994 the super iconic album from out of nowhere, Illmatic by Nas which I remember buying from HMV in Sheffield on the day of release and putting it on the tDR stereo and being completely blown away, again average sleeve, extraordinary album. 1995 and along comes Labcabincalifornia by The Pharcyde (not forgetting the brilliant 'A Bizarre Ride To The Pharcyde' album of course). 1996 now and with Mo Wax in full flow, with a great sleeve, the massive album 'Endtroducing' by DJ Shadow. 1997, Wu-Tang Forever, 1998, Moment of Truth by Gang Starr, and finally in 1999, Mos Def and the brilliant Black on Both Sides.
In terms of music some pretty mind blowing music, in terms of design? Not so great, apart from the standout sleeves of The Gravediggaz and DJ Shadow the same old imagery, the same cliches...
• A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.
• A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory.
Dr Dre - The Chronic.
• Cypress Hill - Black Sunday.
• Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep.
• Nas - Illmatic.
• The Pharcyde - Labcabincalifornia.
• DJ Shadow - Endtroducing.
• Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang Forever.
• Gang Starr - Moment of Truth.
• Mos Def - Black on Both Sides.
The noughties saw my love of the genre wane, electronic music had pretty much taken all of my attention. I find myself nowadays listening to the likes of 3rd Bass (The Cactus album being one of my all time top 10 albums), Public Enemy, Digital Underground, Gang Starr, Nas, The Pharcyde, alongside A$AP Rocky, Lee Bannon and Tyler, The Creator.
I think that the above (well for me anyway) demonstrates that hip hop is definitely an ever evolving art form, and with it like anything else the visual associated with it will change too. Do I prefer the minimal sleeve of Jay-Z's 'Magna Carter Holy Grail' over A Tribe Called Quests 'Midnight Marauders'? No, both are a part of a moment in time, a product of their time...I know which album I prefer though...Tribe for life!

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Car Park Show—

Continuing last week's talent quest, we all headed over to sunny Fulham on Friday for the University of Brighton's Car Park Show. More than just your average degree show, the event took place in an actual car park (set for demolition) with a shop, cafe, installations and a performance space. Plus free beer (we're not obsessed, honest). Here are our picks—

Jamie Rickett.

Georgia Wallace Davies.

Joe Nava.

Thought-provoking work from Samantha Lippett.

Sharif Elsabagh.

Sophie Bryant-Funnell.

Nice typography project by Jamie Eke.

Loved this comic by Nick Edwards— updated every week!

And of course, we couldn't talk about the Car Park Show without mentioning our very talented intern Sebastian Brown, who is himself a Brighton 2013 graduate, and who built the show's website. Well done Seb, and well done everyone at Brighton!
The show continues until Tuesday 9 July.

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New Blood—

Last night saw Michael, Nicky, Joe and Sophie head into trendy Shoreditch for D&AD New Blood, in the search for some lovely new graduate talent. We certainly weren't disappointed, and below are a few students who caught our eye.
Lucy Ann Pendlebury from Bath School of Art & Design.
Daniel Reed from Sheffield Hallam University.
Luke Patton from Arts University Bournemouth.
Jacob Bebbington from Middlesex University.
Alice Bowsher from Bath School of Art & Design.
William Lakin from Middlesex University.
Simon Martin from Middlesex University.
All images courtesy of the students credited above— well done to all graduates finishing this summer. High fives all round.

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