Category Archives: Design

SIGN OF THE TIMES: LAIDBACK SURFER HAND GESTURE GETS A SPICY UPDATE

“Shaka” or “Shaka, brah!” Maybe you’ve heard this expression. Maybe you’ve uttered those words in earnest salutation or ironically. Maybe you’re a core surfer living on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, and these words are your go-to, standard form of salutation. You use all time without even really thinking about it. (For example, when you stride into Ono’s in Haleiwa for a pork sandwich you offer a shaka to staff at the counter.)

In any case, the word “shaka” and it’s utterance are but only part of the communications protocol here. Those words are said with an accompanying hand gesture that might be more familiar to many readers than the words. 

The shaka hand gesture, at one time graphically and symbolically associated with the retro clothing brand Hang Loose, is similar to the “devil horns” gesture associated with heavy metal music.

But with the shaka, the pinky finger and thumb are extended outward from the palm while the index, middle and ring fingers are bent down into the palm.

With fingers configuration as such, the hand is then, like a wave  raised or extended and often given a little back and forth wiggle or shake, a motion functioning like a wave of the hand to emphasize and visibly highlight the message to its intended audience.

The gesture is one of positivity. Both loved and loathed by surfers, it is undeniably part of surf culture and has its cultural origins in the birthplace of modern surfing: Hawaii.

But culture and its symbols evolve and change. The shaka in the pic above is part of a two-page graphical spread in the zine Can’t Steal Our Vibe that show the gesture altered as a mash-up with the standard “f*ck you!” middle finger gesture. The extended pinky of the shaka is pulled in, and the middle finger is extended. On first try, it’s not an easy gesture to make fluidly, compared to the shaka. But no matter. Its what the gesture means that’s important here. What does it mean? That’s the beauty of it: For now it’s subject to intepretation. And if the creators have a denotation for it, its esoteric.

We love  that the “F-You-Shaka” hybrid brings together the insouciance, anger and insult of the middle finger with the friendly, laidback “everyone’s a bro” vibe of the trad shaka. These are opposing sentiments and may confuse. The mashiup, we think, is more ironic and capture even more the contemporary core of surf culture: Its rebel semiotics and its knowing cues and tribal codes.

Can’t Steal Our Vibe is a zine published by Lone Wolkfs (sic), a surf brand and shop in Venice, Los Angeles, that uses the new “F-You-Shaka” as a kind of logo on stickers. The title of the zine is taken from a graffiit-like, spray-painted message written on a panel that covered a door that had been shattered in an attempted burglary at Lone Wolfs in 2016.

RADICAL: COCA-COLA CHANGES ITS TYPEFACE, BILLIONS AFFECTED

This shit for real, y’all. Coca-Cola, the global mega-brand and carbonated soft drink, is getting a slightly new look. It’s changing the typeface used in all its branding and design to a new, bespoke font. It’s big news, so sit down and take moment, if you need one, savvy reader. 

It’s the first time in Coke’s 130-year history that the brand has created its own font. The new typeface is called TCCC Unity (see examples of it above and below). Continue reading

LOST & FOUND: TOY FIGURES OF ANGRY EDM DJs

During our annual Mew Year’s House-cleaning ritual we uncovered these two toy mini-figures of DJs. We love (and are slightly disconcerted by) how angry one of them looks. The headphones and eyeglasses are a nice touch. The look reminds us of early 2000s and the late “electronic” era. We bought these years ago at Toy Tokyo, a specialty toy and model shops in the East Village of New York.

GRAPHIC DESIGN X MATCHES — LIT AF!!!

Our annual New Year’s ritual of doing some house cleaning and organizing, throwing things out and making room for all the stuff we got as Xmas gifts, yielded this small trove of matchbooks and matchboxes. We must have picked up these from various restaurants and shops because the designs struck us in some way at the moment we saw them. Each design is distinct and an exercise in branding. These matches are from the New York City outpost of the restaurant Mission Chinese; James Beach, a restaurant in Venice Beach; Esquelito, a jewelry store in Echo Park, Los Angeles and the Spanish word for “skeleton”; the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, New York; and Love Adorned, another jewelry shop with branches in NYC and LA.

DESIGN LUST: SURFBOARD SHOP THINLY DISGUISES ITSELF AS ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN FIRM

It’s no secret that we here at Global Graphica are fond practitioners of surfing, the so-called Hawaiian “sport of kings.” After contemporary art and good espresso, surfing is our other true obsession.

So on our recent road trips up and down the SoCal coast in search of waves, we stopped in the seaside city of San Clemente, the self-proclaimed “Spanish village by the sea” and a hotbed of surfing and surf culture in south Orange County. There we popped into the Album surfboards shop for the first time to see for ourselves the brand’s famously beautiful and well-designed boards. 

We didn’t expect that the shop itself would be as beautiful as those boards. In fact, as we approached the entrance to the minimalist storefront, we were in the hottest of a hot secs stopped in our tracks. 

We stood, slacked-jawed and wondered, “Are we in the wrong place? This must be the office of an architecture firm, surely? Or perhaps a day spa designed for the publishers of Wallpaper magazine?”

It was none of those things, savvy reader! It was a surf shop. It was the Album surfboards shop.

We had found surfing’s Holy Grail: An aesthetically-pleasing retail experience ensconced in sophisticated, minimalist architectural design. Our hearts fluttered.

Most surf shops, ya see, they … well, they suck, aesthetically speaking. Most surfboard shapers and brands suck, aesthetically speaking. (As people, they’re awesome; They don’t suck.) But most of them have no taste.

And this bothers us, savvy reader. It tears at our souls. Album, however, has restored our faith.

DEAD PRINT MEDIA: THE NEW ISSUE OF APARTAMENTO MAGAZINE ARRIVES AND WE’RE GIDDY

There are few things in life that make us positively giddy with excitement. These few things are …

  • Good waves and the promise of good surfing;
  • A quad-shot espresso in a cup filled to the top with ice first thing on a hot, humid morning, preferably near a beach with good waves and the promise of good surfing;
  • Experiencing a bold, massive-scaled and amazing art installation, preferably after quad-shot espresso, good waves, good surfing, etc.;
  • Boarding a plane bound for a foreign country, especially after seeing amazing artwork, quad-shot espresso, good waves, surfing blah blah blah;
  • And … seeing a new, freshly printed issue of Apartamento magazine sitting neatly on the table at HQ.

The smell of the magazine’s thick, expensive paper stock can practically be sensed from a few meters away, which is like foreplay to thumbing through its pages.

Print media dead? Dying maybe, but not dead. In some cases, print media is positively thriving. For a few years now we’ve been in a new golden age of  excellent independent print magazines. For for some magazines, the content is such that it is best experienced in print.

. . . . .

最近は楽しいものがいくつかあります。私たちがApartamento誌の新版を見ると、とても幸せになれます。この雑誌はインテリアインテリア、アート、デザインに関するもので、美しいものです。内容は英語ですが、スペインとイタリアの編集者やデザイナーが作成しています。

New Issue of International Hipster Design-Porn Mag “Apartamento” Arrives!

We love Apartamento magazine. And so should you. The new issue of this mag devoted to “everyday interiors” and design/designers just arrived at our local purveyor of printed matter and it looks gooooooooood!