Black Plum

Black Plum is a design shop featuring the work of graphic designer Trent Williams.

All of the products here are based on aspects of heavy machinery at work in the city. Utilitarian motifs,
patterns, symbols put to use as modes of expression.

I am a long time observer of the details of the city. Not just the buildings, but also the sidewalks and street lamps and grates and coverings. In New York, every few blocks there are buildings being built or torn down or roads being pulled up and put back together. When my two boys were littler, they could stand for ages watching the pounding and digging and hauling and scraping of construction work. When our street was repaved, my older son pulled a chair up to the window and watched like it was theater. I began to notice details in the heavy machinery and to wonder about how and what these details communicated. Not only are there big sounds and colors and outsized moving things, there are smaller common motifs that we see without noticing like tread patterns, perforated grilles, lights, rivets, bolts, cotter pins, warning markings. I wanted to take a closer look at these. To me they add a good deal to the story of the work being done. They communicate some of our aspirations and intentions and ethics, things like simplicity, focus and direct functionality.

This is a project embodying strong contrasts and is aimed at anyone who is alive to the oppositions and complications inherent in human activity. Not out of irony, but in pursuit of the nature of why we do what we do.

For graphic design work, please click on the Design Office link in the above nav.