University of Canterbury graphic design lecturer Luke Wood has won the New Zealand Designers Institute’s editorial and books top award.
His UC project that won the award is a publication called Head Full of Snakes which is a motorcycle fanzine / magazine.
``It goes a bit deeper than most motorcycle magazines and is essentially more about the people who ride, restore and customise the machines that are featured,’’ Wood said today.
``It is also quite text heavy and the articles are often of a more cultural bent, which obviously separates it from most other motorcycle magazines which are largely glossy pictorials.
``I didn't just design the publication, but came up with the idea to do it and then also got the funding from the UC’s School of Fine Arts Harkness Fund. It is formally published through the Ilam Press, which is a small press we've set up here at the art school.’’
Wood said he felt they won the national design award because their publication did not look like a normal motorcycle magazine.
Aesthetically he was looking back to motorcycle magazines of the 1960s, which partly reflected the kinds of motorcycles they were mostly interested in (classic and vintage). For the cover they were looking back to 'gang calling cards' of the 1960s and 70s.
The magazine was printed on a Risograph, which meant it wasn’t going to look like anything else.
``Most magazines are printed by offset lithography, but the Risograph is more like a screenprinter, it prints one colour at a time through a kind of paper stencil. This gives the whole publication a rough edge as colours can't be perfectly registered on controlled. It also makes it look a bit old fashioned which, again, suits the style of bikes, and to some extent the age of many of the people that were interviewed in it.
``We also had a flexidisc inserted into the publication, essentially vinyl records which can be played on a turntable, but which are made on thin acetate and can then be bound into magazines or books. I found a place in San Francisco that still does them.’’
Wood said the award was significant in terms of being the first project to have ever won one of these awards that had been entirely self-motivated and independently produced, that did not have a client or a brief.
He and co-editor Stuart Geddes have begun work on issue #2 of Head Full of Snakes and expect to release it before Christmas.
Wood also edits and designs a journal called The National Grid which focuses on the contemporary and historical practice of graphic design in New Zealand.
He has just released the eighth issue of The National Grid as part of an exhibition at the RAMP Gallery in Hamilton.