Zines, quarantine maps and rave suits: design inspiration from lockdown

Put the world’s designers in lockdown and this is what they come up with.

Lockdown Brain, by Ananya Khaitan

Since lockdown was established in New Delhi, Indian graphic designer Ananya Khaitan has been using his free time to fuse his practice with another lifelong love: poetry. Sharing the outcomes mainly on his Instagram, Lockdown Brain is an ode to the “inexplicable things” that the coronavirus pandemic has us doing while confined to our homes.

Khaitan’s daily “poem-images” cover a range of topics, from food scarcity and design projects, to no longer fitting into jeans and are depicted in a variety of mediums, including clothing labels, receipts and his iPhone calendar.

Micrashell, by Production Club


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When things will return to normality is a pressing question on the minds of many – and for a significant number of people, normality will include a return to nightlife. Effectively balancing health concerns with socialisation will be a key part of the new nightlife experience, and Los Angeles-based creative studio Production Club has ventured a solution to this in the form of its pandemic-proof “rave suit”.

The Micrashell has supposedly been designed to fit the needs of nightlife, featuring wireless communication and camera, speakers and vape and beverage capabilities, while also boasting considerable PPE, like an air supply system, helmet and gloves.

It is, unfortunately, still only a concept for now – but Production Club have reportedly filed for a patent for the Micrashell.

Quarantine Loops, by Clim

Lockdown for many is necessarily repetitive. Wanting to add some levity to the situation, Barcelona-based design has created Quarantine Loops, a series of nine animations which tackle the surrealism and uncertainty of everyday life during a global pandemic.

The colourful scenes include peculiar gardening practices and odd exercise routines – with the ultimate aim to recognise the strange situation the world is currently experiencing. “Because perhaps we all can learn something positive about this,” explains the studio.

Stay Safe, Stay Sane, by Graphic Matters

Back at the beginning of the month, the Dutch city of Breda had recorded the most cases of coronavirus in the country.

Wanting to keep spirits high as fear understandably set in, the graphic design group Graphic Matters decided to give the city a makeover, with a campaign of 275 posters reminding people to “Stay safe, take care of each other, keep your distance, and call your grandparents”.

In all, 12 designs were chosen from studios across the world were chosen to feature in Breda, but the initiative also put out a call to the rest of the world’s creatives to design their own posters. So far, more than one thousand submissions have been received from 73 countries.

The Quarantine Maps, by FULLER

What happens when a map designer goes into lockdown? When artistic cartographer Gareth J Fuller found himself in self-isolation in his base in Beijing, the experience made him feel “worried and helpless”. With these feelings as a prompt, Fuller set about creating something that could “tackle hard truths with consideration and humour”.

The “Survival Map” that Fuller ended up producing is reminiscent of traditional Where’s Wally? designs. The busy scene features all aspects of life in the age of coronavirus, including key workers, a socially distanced park and existentially dreadful to-do lists.

Quarantzine, by Lunes

Around the world, people are living out their lives in lockdown, and many have no idea when this might end. With this in mind, east London creative studio Lunes set about trying to tell some of these stories.

Created remotely, with interviews conducted by email, phone and through social media, the first issue of Quarantzine includes tales from a teacher in New York City; a photographer in Kuwait and a couple living in lockdown in their campervan in Argentinian woodland.

And those familiar with sailing might recognise the inspiration behind the cover: the yellow and black design takes its design cues from the International Maritime Signal Flag “Lima”, which is flown from ships at sea which have been placed in quarantine.

Self-Isolation Colouring Book, by P&Co.

Staying creative outside of a normal working environment is a struggle many have had to contend with already. Wanting to try and ease this burden on the designers and artists of the world, clothing label P&Co launched a colouring book which collated the brand’s “artwork graphics”.

Volume One can be accessed through the P&Co website already, but as the brand looks to a second volume it is calling on creatives to submit their designs. Those wanting to get involved can submit designs via email, with details on how to do so on the P&Co website. And for those just interested in colouring in, the brand encourages finished pages to be shared online, in a bid to further bring the community together.

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