San Francisco is not large, but it does contain multitudes. Though many have left their hearts in the seven-by-seven mile spot at the tippy-top of this Pacific Ocean-lined peninsula, each and every loyal local and on-the-road vagabond who’s made his way through the beautiful Bay Area hub forms a highly personal take on the place.
InsideOut is an upcoming exhibition curated by the city's chapter of the AIGA, which has rounded up 100 international creatives to visually express their wide-ranging perspectives. The event boasts an impressive line-up of top-notch names in graphic design, photography, illustration, and typography, spanning the globe from California (obviously) all the way ‘round to Australia and Sweden. Paired with the seemingly endless SF literary landmarks from this interactive map, it's enough to make even the most fickle heart swell with love for this world capital of weird.
Each of the works will be auctioned off at a gala on November 12th to benefit the AIGA’s ongoing education and outreach efforts. For those who can’t make it, we’ve picked some of our faves below; but if you’re going, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
Harvey Milk, Bullhorn by Jeremy Matthews & Brett Wickens, Ammunition (San Francisco)
"Harvey Milk was an iconic and pivotal figure in San Francisco politics. We recreated his famous bullhorn as an evidential artifact representing the voice of progressive change."
Zalophus Californianus by Michael C. Place, Build (United Kingdom)
"I thought it was only us mad English and our dogs that go out in the midday sun? Nope. Count in Zalophus californianus (California Sea Lion to you & I) as well, the sight of them (and smell) remains with me to this day. This piece was designed in their honor."
SF Muni Fast Pass, 1974–2011 by Tom Crabtree, Manual (San Francisco)
"In San Francisco, only 'insiders' (ie. people who live here) would ever have owned a Muni monthly Fast Pass, so I thought this was an appropriate way to communicate something 'insider' about the city. The SF Muni Fast Pass was an absolutely beautiful piece of utilitarian design. Many people (everyday people, not just designers) kept and collected them for years, for no other reason than they were beautiful, eclectic, and colorful — a little like the city itself."
Summer in San Francisco by Rob Duncan, Mucho (San Francisco)
"To me San Francisco is all about the fog, and the way it wraps itself around the landscape, natural and man-made. I wanted to portray one of the city's most iconic landmarks in the simplest way I could think of. A scene that residents and tourists in the summer are very familiar with."
Paula Scher, Pentagram (New York)
"For me San Fran is a mixture of the old hippie-Fillmore-flower-child- peace movement against Gap, Levis and silicon valley and foodies. It's a bizarre mix."
Peter Saville (United Kingdom)
"One of the ways I think of San Francisco is as the 1970s art capital of sex videos. This image is evocative of that era, which made a profound impression on me in my early 20s."
The San Andreas Fault by Stuart Youngs, Paul Felton, Amie Herriot, Hannah Strickland & Cat Cooke, Purpose (United Kingdom)
"Our earliest recollection of San Francisco stems from the geography classroom – exploring earthquakes and the World's fault lines; the most famous being the San Andreas Fault. We experimented with the fragility of a city on a fault line and produced a two leaved poster. The top sheet being torn in half through middle of the typography, to reveal the fault line running through San Fran."
Rebecca Sutherland (United Kingdom)
"I wanted to show the rich tapestry of San Francisco in one image. I came up with compartmentalising the area with pixels, by using paper and glue instead of the computer."
Richard Smith, Sullivan NYC (New York)
"My feelings about San Francisco are best expressed through my choice of typeface. Arial."
16:45 by Thomas Williams, Process Journal, Hunt&Co. (South Yarra, Australia)
"Titled 16:45, the poster represents the travel time and route (by air) from Melbourne to San Francisco. A typographic approach has been taken by re-interpreting the universal airport flip board signage to represent the departing location, the mandatory stopover and destination. The total time spent in the air has then been overprinted in an orange-red inspired by the iconic Golden Gate Bridge."
David Parks & Jordan Stokes, Maud (Redfern, Australia)
Everything Type Company (Brooklyn, NY)
MacFadden & Thorpe (San Francisco)
"In our office we have a poster from Experimental Jetset that depicts a field of bricks and was created for an exhibition on the Amsterdam counterculture movement, Provo. We wanted to respond to this poster with something native to SF — the distinct domed tiles found in some MUNI stations downtown. We went down and measured them and then drew the tiles and grouting at 100% scale."