Pop Culture

| Carol Liao

For the past two weeks I’ve had my head buried in all things pop culture, and not because of Game of Thrones withdrawals. After wrapping up a minimal monochromatic icon set for to [icon], I decided to challenge myself by venturing to the opposite side of the icon spectrum with a illustrative set inspired by pop culture. (Funny, because those who know me well would tell you I’m the least likely person to voluntarily design something pop culture related.)

Wikipedia defines pop culture as “the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society.”

In order to encompass “the entirety” of these ideas, I’ve had to do a bit of research and asking around to fill in the many gaps in my pop culture knowledge. Along the way, I’ve stumbled upon some inspiring work and interesting finds to share this week.

Geek Pride Day

Leo Natsume created four illustrations that do a nice job of defining and depicting different types of “geek” to celebrate Geek Pride Day–a holiday reserved on May 25th to celebrate the culture, complete with an official geek manifesto. Natsume’s unique and vibrant illustrations represent each distinct genre. Which geek are you?

Movie Character Cameos

Is it still a pop culture reference if you’re referring to your own work? Disney is known for including easter eggs in their films featuring characters from their previous movies. Pixar does the same but with more subtle references that live mostly in products and names. Admit it, it was the highlight of your day when you found these as a kid. See Disney’s hidden characters or browse Pixar’s subtle references.

Minimal Movie Representations

We’ve all seen the countless movie poster redesigns–every design student has had that assignment at somepoint. But Spanish design firm Atipo designed a set of 13 minimal movie representations with a different level of sophistication. Rather than working with illustration or typography to represent the film, they’ve used scraps of paper and card stock to see how they could physically manipulate the medium to represent a much more complex story. Can you depict them all?


A collection of papercraft templates that lets you download, print, cut, and fold your own Cubeecraft for free. Along with the dozens of original pieces by founder and illustrator Christopher Beaumont, Cubeecraft features iconic characters and items from pop culture. The easy to use templates are rated by difficulty and made with interlocking tabs that eliminate the need for glue. Be warned, it’s quite addicting.

Icon Prints

DKNG Studios designed a set of 50 incredibly detailed illustrations subtly referencing movies. These four coloured screen prints are all cleverly titled and illustrated in DKNG’s signature geometric style. See the collection.

Leef lang en voorspoedig! (Live long and prosper!)