Designed in the USSR 1950 1989During a visit to the Mitchell Library in Glasgow (a guided tour actually), my eye was drawn to a new featured volume "Designed in the USSR 1950-1989" published by Phaidon.

This book is a product from the really important work of the Moscow Design Museum, who have sought to preserve vast amounts of innovative design produced in the former Soviet Union. As you would expect, the illustrations are superb, and the text highlights interesting differences in approachs in product design etc. There are sociological and political discussions of interest for today's historians and designers. Evironmental campaigners ponder how today's manufacturers might begin to create robust, long lasting and easily repairable products - characteristics which would benefit our ecologically greatly, and which many of these items had in spades!

I loved the style of this social awareness poster: "1st of September - The Day of Knowledge" by Miron Lukyanov (1986). The vector below is based on part of that triptych, fond on page 107 of the volume.

Using Abode Illustrator, I enjoyed seeing how careful layering with solid blocks of colour can create depth of shadow and light (the original would have been designed for screen printing). The Pencil tool was great for blocking in using the Fill colour rather than Stroke, using a circlular "blob" method which are then expanded, ungrouped and merged (the hair background, the landmasses on the globe, fingers).

I used my own pressure-sensitive Brush presets to create varying line qualitiy and weights, especially in the hair details.

Also I found the swatches feaure for creating colour groups or harmonies, taking the deep shadow red and generating 2 colour harmonies using different rules to get some good value greens, blues etc. (This webpage is useful: https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/illustrator/using/color-groups-harmonies.html)

For details on the fingers (nails, folds etc), I used my brushes to create paths, expand and ungroup them, and create a Compound Shape (Cntrl 8). Using Pathfinder, I think used Subtract Top to cut out the compound shape from the lighter finger shape created with Pencil tool loops set to the Fill colour.

A light Distort Effect was applied to the page edges, and the Blend Tool set to 2 copies to create the middle pages.

education sov cmacaulay

Thumbnail of the original from the Volume here:

Designed in the USSR 1950 1989 triptych