Innovation is key to human civilization; it’s made the world how it now is and will shape its future as well. Design is not only its own innovation, with new technolgies and styles being discovered, but it also promottes the innovations of others, whether it’s special funds or new teeth.
The LAGO Innovation Fund is a firm that provides venture debt financing for companies that “are engaged in disrupting the status quo in their native industries or creating de novo markets through the offering of innovative products, services or technologies, or by creating novel technology-enabled business models”. Referring to what they do as making an “innovation economy”, they believe that fortune favors the bold, and this applies to how they decorate their corporate headquarters in Chicago.
It’s no surprise LAGO reached out to designer and Graphis Master Michael Pantuso for a commission. Not only does Pantuso frequently takes on projects for charities, not-for-profits, social enterprises, and others groups where he can design with an impact, his style is original with an intriguing, multifaceted perspective. In “Serpentine Swan” (above), he harmonizes contrasting concepts: organic and mechanical, representational and abstract, symmetrical and asymmetrical. The titular bird taking flight is the central focal point of the piece, with geometric or machine-like constructs bursting outward to fill the surrounding area. One of the swan’s feet is reimagined as a rocket booster, and a helmet from a space suit crowns its head, allowing the animal to truly “take flight.” Decorative elements of bright blue and orange stand out among the otherwise high-contrast monochrome artwork, and the detail work is minute, capaturing feather fluff and gear teeth. While originally conceptualized as a pencil sketch, Pantuso expresses his final concept in full digital rendering with plans for a printed version, which the Lago Innovation Fund will hang in their headquarters in May 2022.
Jennifer Barlow, a designer from the Aegis Dental Network, brings dentistry back to nature with her editorial design. This spread, created for Inside Dentistry magazine, spotlights a progressive movement in dentistry to turn away from certain materials and practices that have been popular among patients for biometric dentistry, which looks to natural dentition – strength, durability, and certain aesthetic properties – in the hopes of embracing materials that mimic natural teeth as closely as possible, both physically and visually.
Barlow’s design, “As Mother Nature Intended” (above), centers on a floating rock in the shape of a tooth. The top is crowned by flourishing greenery, including a tall tree haloed by soft light. In the background, vibrant but calming colors project a dawn-like glow. The article’s title is in a flowy, completmentary font that accentuates the imagery, and the article font itself doesn’t detract from the layout yet remains readable. It’s a tranquil scene that makes dental issues, which can make some people nervous, nothing to worry about, and it ties perfectly into the article, setting the stage for the reader to fully appreciate the value of mimicking nature in dentistry through biomimetic materials. According to Barlow, the guest editor for the issue this was featured in, one of the most respected researchers in North American dentistry, sais he felt the cover nicely tied together the entire issue, and that the feedback he has received since its publication from both readers and contributors has been overwhelmingly positive.