Findings

 
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MEDMEN x SPIKE JONZE

MedMen has taken a pause from dominating LA’s billboard scene (perhaps not, actually) and is now tickling everyones brains with potent advertising, projected through their screens. Spike Jonze collaborated with the brand and directed a video short for them, highlighting America’s complex and controversial relationship with Cannabis.

Taking us from George Washington’s early hemp discoveries, to the harsh sentences (25 years in prison, harsh) that cannabis has caused families to this very day, MedMen does it again with an Ad that captivates your attention and advocates for the legalization of marijuana. Welcome to the New Normal.

Watch it here.

–Gaelan Simpson, Managing Editor

 
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No Way A Football Zine Would Win A Top Design Award, Right?

How one designer with no formal education created one of the greatest matchday programs of all time. 

How is it something can change for the better when you didn’t even realize it needed changing in the first place? This is the question West Bromwich Albion F.C. fans were scratching their heads about while thumbing through the Albion News at the start of the 1969 season. For as long as memory served, the Albion News was like every other football (soccer, I know, and I don’t care) match day program across England: meh. Straight to the point, served up basic stats and was, well, boring. Created with little attention and equally treated as such by readers. 

But then the 1969-1970 season came about. And with it, the club’s off-season hiring of designer John Elvin. John’s previous work designing posters of footballers out of his home in London caught West Brom’s attention. Specifically, his unique eye for imagery and typography. The club figured their program couldn’t get much worse than it already was. So, hiring a passionate football-head without much agency experience didn’t seem like a serious gamble. And it wasn’t. In fact, it absolutely worked in their favor. 

Before John’s takeover, Albion News came near the bottom in the annual program poll conducted by Soccer Star magazine. The 1969-1970 season after his hiring? Right on top. Pop-art patterns. Massive photo portraits. Mental typography. John swooned readers with unique design features he previously only been drawing up in his home office for giggles. 

Just a year after, John moved over to Coventry City F.C., who paid him a hefty sum to do up their program, Sky Blue. John transformed Sky Blue entirely. And it was his typography that really hit its stride there. Something futuristic and the stats page. Fluffy lettering around Christmas time. Big, fück-yoü German block lettering when Coventry played an international against Bayern Munich. All things that are second-nature with these sorts of publications now but were unheard of then.And it wasn’t appreciated by just fans in the stadium. In 1972, John was gifted a D&AD Award. One of the most prestigious design award around. Not the worst look for a lad with no formal education in design (forget to mention that bit before, didn't I?) making a football zine. 

Much of John’s work inspired loads of design you see today. In magazines, online, or otherwise. Mundial Magazine just had a fascinating write-up about him, too. Put five minutes aside to read it all: here.

–James Royce, Office Manager at Matte Black

Contents

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ARTIST FEATURE

SHPLINTON

This month’s issue is a little different, as we’re featuring, no, not a photographer, but an artist who sketches, paints, and creates with his hands. Say hi to Shplinton. Quentin Thomas, if we’re being formal. I first met Quentin years ago at a small Aussie-owned shop in Venice. He was dropping off a jacket that he’d custom-made for one of the owners. Its back was covered in paint, fabric, and heart-felt soul. Shplinton’s unique expression of artwork is eye-catching. It awakens your senses and when you see a piece in person, you can literally feel his passion under each brush stroke or ink mark. Born in South Central LA, he’s gone from shy kid who doodled in the Bibles at church, to a professional artisté whose now collaborating with TOMS, restaurants, live painting events at the Ace Hotel, eventually a bike ride across the country to sponsor inner city kids who love art… All while being one of the most humble people you’ll ever meet. Welcome to Shplinton’s world, read our (in person!) interview today.

— Gaelan Simpson, Managing Editor SSR

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FEATURES

A QUICK LESSON ON AZIONE PR

FabFitFun, Away, Ritual, Equinox, Moon Juice, Medmen, Sakara Life, Sweetgreen, Simplehuman, Girlboss, Stance, J.Crew, Cole Haan… These are just a few of the buzzy brands that AZIONE has helped megaphone out to the masses. Leland Drummond co-founded the top PR company with partner Michele Thomas and since inception, the company has worked to extend the brand reach of some the trendiest companies around. In this article, we have a run down on what AZIONE does uniquely in the PR space, as well as a quick pow-wow interview with this unstoppable duo.

— Leland Drummond, Founding Partner AZIONE / The League

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FEATURES

A CENTURY UNDER THE INFLUENCE:

HOW LEVI’S HAS REMAINED COOL FOR ONE HUNDRED YEARS.

Trends evolve, tastes change, fads die, this a constant of life.  Watching Ringo Starr perform in 2018 or reading the recent Rolling Stone profile of a sad and lonely 55 year old Johnny Depp is all one needs to see to know that even being among the coolest people on Earth at one point in time does not guarantee you a life time seat at the cool kids table…The one exception to the unofficial rule of cool that I have seen in my lifetime is the Levi Strauss Co. Consider this…

— Drew Ligget, Founder of Indian Summer Agency

 
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FEATURES

A FASHION OUTSIDER’S DIVE INTO THE WORLD OF DIET PRADA

When it comes to the subject of fashion, I know enough to know that I’m no expert. This was doubly confirmed when I was asked to write about the Instagram sensation Diet Prada. Until I googled it, I had no idea what that was.

After I got the story straight, I started to dig in to the Diet Prada archives, where I was educated in everything from references to film in fashion, the narrow vision of Hedi Slimane, vintage Balenciaga, 1950’s couture, and what I guess can be described as Stefano Gabbana’s terrible personality.

— Erna Adelson

 

FINDINGS

Medmen x spike jonze

Spike Jonze collaborated with the brand and directed a video short for them, highlighting America’s complex and controversial relationship with Cannabis.

NO WAY A FOOTBALL ZINE WOULD WIN A TOP DESIGN AWARD, RIGHT?

How one designer with no formal education created one of the greatest matchday programs of all time. How is it something can change for the better when you didn’t even realize it needed changing in the first place? This is the question West Bromwich Albion F.C. fans were scratching their heads about while thumbing through the Albion News at the start of the 1969 season.

 

PODCAST

037 - GETTING THE GRAM TOGETHER WITH BRANDY PHAM OF PLANOLY

This episode is all about the gram. We sit down with Brandy Pham, Founder of everyone's favorite Instagram planning tool - Planoly. Listen in as Brandy chats through the beginnings of Planoly, and the five ways a brand (or person) should consider using social to establish a story + setting for themselves.

SESSIONS by Matte Black