15 Minutes of Focus

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Sometimes you run across a brilliant design that just stops you in your tracks. Such is the case with Hunter Langston, a graphic designer, musician, artist, writer and all around 21st century renaissance man to boot out of Detroit. The “15 Minutes of Focus” is he says, how he describes his personality. I guess it does take at least 15 minutes of focus to get the 15 minutes of fame and he’s got plenty of both.

I mention Detroit because he references it all through his work and may be what describes part of his personality and work. It makes sense, the starkness of Detroit, devoid of glamour could be the driving force behind his minimalist approach.

Apparently every year he takes it upon himself to design or really re-design minimalist posters for the Oscars. The concepts are truly brilliant and probably make the movie honchos ask their promotional staff, “Why didn’t you get him to do our stuff?”

The posters are attention-grabbing in their simplicity and stand out among the graphic heavy images that are the standard fare for Hollywood blockbusters. Unfortunately, they’re probably better than the films they represent. I finally saw “The Help” after all the hype and I definitely would rather have the poster on my wall than the DVD in my movie collection.

The movie poster for The Help is my personal favorite. Minimal it is, but so powerful. With just an icon and a few suggestive additions, he tells an entire story about the divide between rich vs. poor, white vs. black. The fact that the icon is a universal symbol for restroom doors is all the more provocative pointing to the Jim Crow laws in the ’50s and ’60s.

Steve Jobs once said, “Good design is invisible.” Langston’s concept is so simple, it does seem like a no-brainer. But there is nothing simple about Langston’s work. They are deceptively simple, which makes them all the more compelling.

You can see all of Langston’s work here http://huntrlangstn.tumblr.com/.

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