europe

A Designer in Europe - Krakow

There are too many interesting and unique stories about Krakow to write such a brief review, so I will let the photos below tell it's story. I left our trip to Auschwitz Birkenau out of this blog post because I felt that experience does not belong in a blog post like this.

It was snowing when we arrived in Krakow and I got the flu. While the box looked more like it was for someone with a migraine, there was no mistaking the connection I had with the pharmacist after a game of charades. Gripex Max worked really well.

There was a large octaganal structure in the middle of the Kazimierz district. It was filled with 20 different stalls all selling the same thing, zapiekanki. While the design of each menu was a certain selling point, the line in front of each stall was a more important indicator of which one to choose.

The logo for the Wawel Royal Castle

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Design challenge: How do you have bathrooms in a building with no plumbing?

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This is an example of castle design maximalism

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When you get to design informational dragon signage, your design career is right on track.

A good brand needs a good story, and Krakow has the best one. The dragon slaying legend is complete with an actual fire breathing gradon statue outside of the dragon's den, which is directly under the castle!

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I have no words.

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After spotting an art opening on our walk home, we stopped in to find that it was part of the Unsound Festival. The theme was 'Suprise' and the graphic designer for the festival was showcasing his work. He created these prints with black and white paint scribbled over the faces of the DJs playing the festival as a marketing tool. People tried to guess who was DJing the festival from these prints and it created buzz. Mystery is a great tool if you can learn to wield it. 

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Were the building designers trying to get laughs when they put faces into the building facades? Or is there something lost to the annals of history?

Type on type on type, from the Cloth Market walls in the main square.

Something very cool about how old fountains and monuments end up becoming seats and meeting points. Is it sacreligious or always the intention?

The most amazing sculpture, Eros Bound, in the main square.

Also in the main square was a dancing beer.

Under the main square cloth market is a cultural history exhibit and excavation viewing. It was recently completed and used technology in fun ways to immerse the attendee. The first thing you do is walk through a video of medieval Krakow displayed on smoke

While you walk in the foundation of the cloth market, there are video screens displayed as if windows up into the cloth market, giving you a great sense of where you were.

The different rulers each had a poster, with information on the dates of their rule. The posters were actually videos, and every little while, the people would come alive and look around. 

I'm not sure a highway wall is the best place to paint the history of Krakow, but since we were walking on a bridge over the highway we had plenty of time to refresh what we have been learning.

'Let reason prevail over force' etched into the door of Jagiellonian University, where my grandmother and Nicolaus Copernicus studied. 

I can't completely figure out what this logo is for, but it was on a poster at a theater. It seems like it represents graceful evolution. 

The day after Auschwitz we take a light rail train over to Nowa Huta. Stalin's answer to Krakow's intellectual issue. It was designed as a workers paradise city built next to large factories.

Nowa Huta, quite a contrast to Krakow's old town. Large boulevards lead away from Reagan (used to be Lenin) Square.

It took me until a month after seeing this for the first time that the logo is about putting a coin in the jar, but now I really like it.

This massive building art work is right in the Krakow Ghetto. The location adds power to the art.

The Kazimierz district was so much fun to hang out in. The pubs make you feel like such an intellectual. 

While the Gripex worked great, the other warrrior in the fight against my flu turned out to be Winter Tea. How do you design the perfect flu remedy? Take every aromatic spice, add it to every citrus fruit juice, mix in honey to coat your throat and you have the basic framework. I will forever have this in my flu war chest. 

A Designer in Europe - Prague

The Beauty of Prague becomes apparent when you get up into the surrounding hills and parks. Not only do you get away from all the tourists, but you get great views of 'The City of 100 Spires.' My highlights have to be the tortured and inspiring art, and experiencing Autumn in the parks surrounding Prague.

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What do you do when you find out your hotel is too far from the city center? Embrace your surroundings and stop at the mall along the way. This vegatarian restaurant was soooo good, and we never would have discovered it if we had stayed too close to the center.

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It's fun to see experimental type in the real world, not just on Behance galleries. It seems to work in Prague, but Im not sure you could get away with that in most of the US.

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Logo for a travel agency. 

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The Dancing House really works at night. It's nice to see architecture trying to be clever. 

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Simple logo for a trendy coffee shop. Prague was full of fun hipster coffee shops.

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Alfons Mucha's great work, The Slavic Epic, is 20 large scale paintings. What an achievement. The fact that we seem to hold the Mona Lisa in higher regard is absurd.

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Understated logo for Bistro 8 on the coffee cups.

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Got to see more work from Egon Schiele who is quickly becoming a real inspiration.

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I forget this artist's name but he was an inspiration to Egon Schiele, which you can instantly see.

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Type inspiration at the National Gallery

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I mimicked this font in my logo for Prague.

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he National Gallery had lots of art nouveau type inspiration

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You can learn how to simplify ideas by looking at cubism. Here is Josef Capek, whose work I liked.

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More Josef Capek

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I think the hawk is meant to deter pigeons, or it's an art installation. Either way the juxtaposition is great.

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I need to learn why all the Czech soccer players have these amazing mustaches. 

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Another example of a style I only see on Behance. I'm not sure this one works. While visually appealing, I couldn't figure out what it was wanting me to do.

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Things with character become instantly awesome and memorable. It could have been just another bench, but no.

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Great art nouveau logo from the Prague Castle Administration

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The St. Vitus Cathedral put on a light show with it's stained glass.

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It woudn't be Prague without naked ladies on all the buildings. 

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Alfons Mucha was commissioned to add stained glass pieces to the Cathedral. It was refreshing to see.

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Great logo for a golf brand.

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Such precise metal bending from an artist in a street stall. 

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Interesting logo for this car brand. I didn't immediately like it, but it grew on me. It looks a bit dated. Not knowing anything about the car brand, I would put it in the same league as a Kia.

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The Metronome in Letna Park might be my favorite outdoor art piece. So poetic and unexpected. It keeps the tempo of the city, slow and deliberate.