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Acid Denim | A Project by Naomi Mulder Inspired by Psychedelics and 80s Rebellion

Acid denim


Neon colours, big hair, psychedelic drugs and VHS are all influences on Naomi Mulder‘s recent design project we can’t help but love. The work is part of her student portfolio created during her time studying graphic design at Stellenbosch Academy. Given the brief of creating a new denim campaign lookbook for a retailer of her choice, Naomi decided to focus on acid denim and its origins, resulting in branding that oozes everything cool about 80s youth culture.


Her chosen brand was Urban Outfitters, for whom she designed a striking inkblot-like logo. The acid branding began with the creation of a memorable, graphic icon: the big “A” rendered in psychedelic colours and type. From there, she drew inspiration from 80s memorabilia, fashion and trends to design posters, labels and tags for the jeans. The actual lookbook was presented in a VHS cover, a #flashbackfriday if there ever was one. Naomi told us she reveled in her research, delving into every aspect of the era – the music, the food, the cars, the colors, the hairstyles, the fashion, the list goes on.


This being said, the young designer doesn’t just echo another era of style; she adds a contemporary twist. The aim was to show the buyer a new look for acid denim, not only in the clothing, but the campaign as a whole. Her images place you in a surreal world of melting lines and colours, over which black or white text is superimposed. As seen in some of her posters, she enjoys “using letters or numbers mashed up with graphic lines and shapes – in a manner that looks like a 5 year old kid was shuffling it around on a page.”


Naomi describes her style as very graphic – big and bold type with strong visual elements. She likes using solid primary colours and making up elements of her work with different shapes or parts of topography. The interplay of old and new intrigues her: she loves the typography of Erik Spiekermann whose style continues to influence contemporary German graphic design.


Naomi enjoys reading online about new, innovative projects and also likes seeing the way design can positively impact society. She cites a project by Stephan Sagmeister, who created visual graphics of happiness and put them in public spaces, creating interactive work. Naomi wants to be able to do these kinds of self-funded projects in the future. Sadly, she’s had little time to design cool stuff for herself since she started her new job, but in her words, “this feature has actually given me a push to stop taking long naps and watching hours of series in bed after work.” Hopefully, we’ll be the first to hear about her next design gem.


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