Just the other day I found myself thinking charcoal packaging would be a pretty cool design opportunity…
I was looking at the small selection of charcoal brands in our local store just the other day thinking charcoal packaging would be a pretty cool design opportunity since it’s a product without pretence. What I mean is you can probably go as bold and colourful as you want without the risk of sacrificing preconceived ideas of style or elegance – it is what it is!
I love the idea of billboards doubling up as seats, shelters and ramps. The classic (maybe even retro?) colour and typeface combinations are minimal and striking. Nice work by Ogilvy & Mather France, I’m sure Paul Rand would have approved.
Russell Johnston and Megan Jones have been collecting vintage Travel and Ski posters since 1979. The collection was started by Russell’s father Robert W Johnston, a Royal Air Force navigator after the Second World War…
Russell Johnston, a lawyer from Essex, and his partner Megan Jones have been collecting vintage Travel and Ski posters since 1979. The collection was started by Russell’s father Robert W Johnston, a Royal Air Force navigator after the Second World War. Russell and Megan are now building an online catalog of these posters by photographing each to museum-reference digital standard. Some of these are being revealed for the first time in over 50 years and as you can imagine, many of them have become a rather valuable investment as collector’s items. Here are a few examples:
“My oldest memory of a drawing was a scuba diver when I was 4. It looked good until I had to draw the water which meant scribbling all over it in blue.” Typedeck finds out a little more about a designer from Cape Town called Darnyill…
Typedeck: Hey man, so how many years have you been designing?
Darnyill: Well it’s difficult to put a label on ‘designing’, since I’ve always had an obsession for general visuals and well-designed things, but ‘officially’ I started doing layout for my high school magazine when I was 15.
T: What was the first thing you ever drew?
D: I wish I had the exact answer to that, but my oldest memory of a drawing was a scuba diver when I was 4. It looked good until I had to draw the water which meant scribbling all over it in blue.
T: How did you get into designing?
D: Well I’ve always loved drawing as a child. It was my thing. I was the ‘best drawer’ in my class when I was 6. I fucking owned that shit so heavy, I burnt anyone’s ass in a draw off.
By the age of 6 I was bartering drawings for sweets and stationery. But like I said, for my school magazine. My first intent wasn’t to do design, I just liked the committee and when I suggested I could help out with visuals I was given the full layout-artist title and thrown in the deep-end. Which was fun? As I learnt more I got more obsessed.
T: What are your plans for this Year?
D: Right now I’m taking it easy and just going to work on University. Maybe these holidays I might get involved with some zines – I’m actually busy with an illustration for Jungle Jim Magazine (www.junglejim.org)
T: Who inspires you?
D: In terms of the work I do; Siggi Eggertsson, Jordan Metcalf, Daniel Ting Chong, Alex Trochut, ill-studio, Tom Sachs to name but a few.
Otherwise just the small things around me.
T: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
D: Behind a 30” designing for Nike.
T: What do you do when you’re not designing?
D: Spend too much time drooling over blogs. Cook here and there. Caffeine & Music, always. Wander around. Look at clothes. Whistle. Beat box. I try to do some free ride mountain-biking if I can manage.
A very cool ampersand print with an interesting story…
Look at this cool ampersand:
It has an interesting story too: Jaqui Sharples of Lancashire, England, found this 24 line woodcut letter on eBay where it was being advertised as a “3”. An avid letterpress enthusiast she immediately recognised it as an ampersand, bought it for only £3 and made the beautiful print pictured above.
Sharp eyed Flickr member alan.98 then identified the typeface as “Poynder” from Delittle of York’s 1938 specimen book:
The essence of passion and transformation is reflected in this font designed specially for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games…
The spirit of “Harmonious Diversity” is captured in this font designed by the Brazilian Dalton Maag team for the for Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The strong contrast between thick and thin strokes was explored during the design process by putting brush to paper and writing by hand. The variety of the curves in the different letters has a unique informality, inspired by the joyfulness of the Brazilian people.
These typographic T-shirt designs by Mats Ottdal may just change my mind about Nike…
I have never owned a single item of Nike clothing, I guess the brand image just doesn’t really appeal to me. However, these typographic T-shirt designs by Mats Ottdal may just change my mind about that!
How about this ambigram! (turn the design upside down and it remains the same)
Bold and minimal with a retro aesthetic. Logo monograms for your viewing pleasure.
I came across this Flickr collection called Retro Logo Goodness. I think, as the name suggests, the collector features logos with a retro aesthetic, not necessarily old logos. In fact, I’m not even sure that all of them are logos for real companies…
Anyway, I’m a bit of a sucker for the bold and minimal, like those vintage Scandinavian logos I posted a while back, so the ones that really stood out to me are the monograms where letters are represented as a unified symbol:
The muted palette, the mix of wiry lettering and ornaments and of course the quirky ducks make this a fun and stylish wedding invitation.
I really enjoy this wedding invitation design by Adam Hill, aka Velcrosuit, from Cape Town. The muted palette, the mix of wiry lettering and ornaments and of course the quirky ducks! Apparently over 100 of these guys roam the wedding venue, Babylonstoren estate in the Cape Winelands. They obviously made quite an impression on the couple.
There’s a lot more great design work in Velcrosuit’s portfolio, so be sure to take a gander. No pun intended since these are ducks, not geese! 😉
Two calligraphy blogs to inspire your hand lettering and the strange phenomenon of the upside down N…
If you’re into hand lettering and particularly calligraphy, there’s a new Tumblr you might like. It’s called calligraphi.ca. Go and take a look, in most cases the materials used are documented below the picture which makes it quite useful.
In the same vein, another blog of interest is Calligraffiti.nl documenting the work of Amsterdam based Niels Shoe Meulman.
3. Upside down N
And lastly something quirky: Meulman (mentioned above) has been documenting the incorrect use of serif Ns in signage around the world. In his own words:
From an early age on, I’ve noticed signs where an N with serif is placed upside down. This awareness is the first thing that triggered me to become a graphic artist.
To spot upside down N’s you must travel. Upside down serif N’s are everywhere. And nowhere.
For more examples of this phenomenon, check out upsidedownn.com, you are even invited to submit your own finds.
Glitches are described as “sudden, usually temporary malfunctions or irregularities of equipment” and have been embraced and turned into art, both musically and visually, for at least the last two decades or so. What is it that lends such an aesthetically pleasing quality to electronic error?
There have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code, that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul. – Quote from I, Robot (2004)
Glitches are described as “sudden, usually temporary malfunctions or irregularities of equipment” and have been embraced and turned into art, both musically and visually, for at least the last two decades or so. What is it that lends such an aesthetically pleasing quality to electronic error? Maybe it’s the notion that computers are meant to run on pure logic, so when they produce something random or unexpected, our inborn curiosity is awoken. Or maybe we momentarily recognise our own flawed human nature, and it freaks us out just a little. Who knows!
Jennifer Daniel, designer for Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that their Docucolor 240 conked out whist printing proofs for the magazine. The resulting artworks were posted on Flickr. I remember spending hours as a student, trying to emulate this exact look for my projects!
Ed manages to find that golden midway: minimalist yet richly detailed, subtle yet bold, monochrome and colourful.
I have long been an admirer of Ed Nacional’s work. A freelance designer form Brooklyn NYC, Ed manages to find that golden midway: minimalist yet richly detailed, subtle yet bold, monochrome and colourful.
The New York Times recently launched a Tumblr to share old pictures from their newsroom archive. More exciting than the photos themselves, is the history recorded on the back of each picture.
The New York Times recently launched The Lively Morgue; a Tumblr to share old pictures from their newsroom archive (nicknamed “The Morgue”).
The photos are intriguing enough and certainly provide excellent fodder for reblogging and pinning enthusiasts, but what really makes this project worth a closer look is that each photo can be “flipped over” to inspect the back. What could possibly be of interest on the back of a photo you ask? Well, you would be surprised!
Layer upon layer of stamps, scribbled annotations and clippings offer a haphazard roadmap to the photo’s history. Things to look out for include subject codes, what the photographer was paid, details of when and how many times the photo was published and of course the accompanying captions.
Call me strange, but I find these way more exciting than the photos themselves:
What could be more exciting than receiving a mystery package from overseas? Well, I was lucky enough to find one in my mailbox this week, all the way from Florence, Italy…
What could be more exciting than receiving a mystery package from overseas? Well, I was lucky enough to find one in my mailbox this week, all the way from Florence, Italy.
Designer and illustrator Simone Massoni sent me a copy of his latest project – this very cool A-frame 2012 calendar entitled Chicks & Types.
I know, it’s already March, but let’s just say our postal service isn’t exactly renowned for its efficiency… Anyway!
Each month is represented by a well respected typeface, accompanied by a whimsical pin-up girl. This quirky match perfectly captures the dilemma we type-lovers face: how do you choose! They each have their own unique personality and their own sexy curves, it’s easy to end up falling in love with a different one every week… I’m talking about the typefaces of course.
A few of my go-to faces are featured, such as DIN, Avant Garde, Rockwell, Helvetica and Bickham.
See more of this calendar and the rest of Simone’s great work on Behance, as well as on his site SketchThisOut.
No, you didn’t misread the title, it is as weird as it sounds. Nicholas Hanna built a tricycle that “prints” Chinese characters on the sidewalk as he rides along…
No, you didn’t misread the title, it is as weird as it sounds. Nicholas Hanna built a tricycle that “prints” Chinese characters on the sidewalk as he rides along. I wouldn’t call it calligraphy as such, but the idea stems from the tradition of older Chinese men painting characters on the ground of parks with long brushes and water.
The video from Jonah Kessel is dated September 2011, but I only discovered it now. Take a look:
In September 2011 Fast Company introduced three new typefaces to their print publication. Kaiser, Zizou Sans and Zizou Slab were all commissioned as part of a design overhaul.
In September 2011 Fast Company introduced three new typefaces to their print publication.
Kaiser, Zizou Sans and Zizou Slab were all commissioned from Commercial Type by Fast Company’s creative director Florian Bachleda as part of a design overhaul. Co. Design, one of the magazine’s online counterparts launched their redesign four months later, using specially hinted versions of Kaiser and Zizou Slab to great effect.
Conceptualised by Christian Schwartz and Florian Bachleda as a hybrid of a condensed sans they discovered in an old German specimen book and Paul Renner’s Plak, it was expanded into a full range of widths by Vincent Chan.
Christian Schwartz gives us a glimpse into his Zizou Sans design process:
It originally began as my attempt to draw Antique Olive from memory, but ended up with its own distinct personality. I surprised myself with what I remembered correctly (i.e. the swing to the top of the bottom bowl in the lowercase a, and the distinctive top of the lowercase t), but was impressed by just how wrong I was able to get certain things. So much for my photographic memory for type!
Schwartz on the design of the slab serif version:
I decided to start from the simplest place I could – snapping rectangular slabs onto the sans with a minimum of contrast – to see what that would yield before I tried to be any more clever with the design.
Almost too easy!
I always find it fascinating how a font looks exponentially more interesting and lively seen in use compared to a plain specimen, don’t you think?
Ok, this is about as random as it gets, but here are a few examples of vintage Polish packaging in the following categories: chocolate and soap…
Ok, this is about as random as it gets, but here are a few examples of vintage Polish packaging in the following categories: chocolate and soap. Just for the sake of typographic curiosity and colour palette inspiration you know…
Sure, you can find out all you need to know about fonts on a web page by inspecting the code with Firebug or the likes, but the WhatFont bookmarklet makes font snooping super easy.
WhatFont is a clever little script by Chengyin Liu, a Computer Science student at University of Illinois. You add the bookmarklet to your web browser and once activated it tells you what fonts are used on a web page by hovering over the text in question.
But wait, there’s more!
When you click, a little window opens up with information about the font stack, size, line-height, colour and even the web font service provider. Sure, you can find out all you need to know about fonts on a web page by inspecting the code with Firebug or the likes, but the WhatFont bookmarklet makes font snooping super easy. And hey, if you want to tweet about the font discoveries you make, there’s a button for that too…
Whether you are old enough to have used a Grapho-Scope, or whether your first introduction to design was Adobe CS5, check out the online Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies curated by Lou Brooks…
American designer and illustrator Lou Brooks (born 1944 in Pennsylvania) has been in the game longer than most. You know the little Monopoly guy in the top hat? Lou drew that. He witnessed the entire digital revolution and as such, remembers using tools and materials most of us spring chickens have never even heard of.
Whether you are old enough to have used a Grapho-Scope, Shading Film, Non-Repro Blue Pencils and Letraset, or whether your first introduction to design was Adobe CS5, check out the online Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies curated by Lou himself. It will either fill you with nostalgia or puzzlement!
Two interesting type-related snippets came across my desk this week, both from India: hand drawn movie posters from Bangalore and digital fonts created from the lettering of street painters in Delhi…
Two interesting typographic snippets came across my desk this week, both from India:
The initiative of Delhi based designer Hanif Kureshi, HandpaintedType is a collaborative project aimed at capturing the rapidly-disappearing lettering styles of street painters across India.
The idea is to document the particular typographic style of individual sign painters. Each artist pruduces a character set on canvas, which is redrawn digitally and eventually released as a commercially available font. Apparently 50% of the proceeds from every font sale goes to the painter and the other half is invested in the continuation of the project.
Here’s an example of an original character set, hand painted in Old Delhi by an artist called Kafeel:
Due to the multicoloured nature of the Indian street typography, once digitised, each font consists of different layers; a base shape with shadows and highlights. These can then be used in different colour combinations to create the full effect:
“Dean Pickles” of Asia Obscura came across a factory north of Bangalore, where a man called Ramachandraiah prints movie posters for a living, using a lithographic press from 1901.
His [posters] are five-color, hand-drawn, and measure just 20 inches by 30 inches. They’re printed on thin paper, and illegally slapped up on building sites and highway overpasses late at night. They cost pennies to print. And they’re absolutely gorgeous.
The artist, Raju, speedily draws these posters at a small desk on the sidewalk – about one artwork every three hours!
These are the result:
Amazing, aren’t they? For more on the subject, see part one and part two of the story on Asia Obscura.
Having trouble finding the best Google web fonts for your next website design? Chad Mazzola wants to help you out…
Google web fonts is a great initiative providing a simple and free way of adding real fonts to your web design projects. I have been using their service for a while and the only complaint I have is that finding the right font among the 400+ typefaces can be challenging. Apparently Chad Mazzola of Cambridge, Massachusetts (not England) has encountered the same problem, so he has kindly taken it upon himself to help us out.
There are currently over 400 typefaces in the Google web fonts directory. Many of them are awful. But there are also high-quality typefaces that deserve a closer look.
Beautiful web type is a growing showcase of the Google web fonts Chad finds most deserving. You can click each specimen to find the font in Google’s directory.
Last night I saw an awesome movie called Super 8 which inspired me to find this old film and camera packaging.
Last night I rented an awesome 2011 movie called Super 8. I’m not sure how I completely missed it on the circuit, but I had never heard of it. I guess my brain switched off every time I heard someone mention “super something-or-other”, assuming it was yet another superhero movie…
Turns out I was just uneducated. The title refers to a motion picture film format introduced by Kodak Eastman in 1965. Following it’s 8mm predecessor, this bad boy featured smaller perforations allowing for a larger exposure area, hence the superness.
History lesson aside, during the movie (set in 1979) I noticed the unmistakeable yellow Kodak film packs and it inspired me to look for some more film and camera packaging examples from that period. Fortunately I came across a nice little collection at The Medium Control’s inspiration blog, have a look:
Is that some Eurostile I spy on “INSTANT CARTRIDGE LOAD MOVIE CAMERA”? Also note the little SUPER 8 to the right of the camera.
I love the condensed fonts used on this instamatic camera packaging combined with the extended font used for the model number. Any idea what they are? Those slanted terminals on the S and C of INSTAMATIC are quite distinctive…
These beautifully ornate calligraphic letterforms form part of an album entitled “Kalligraphische Schriftvorlagen” (calligraphic writing styles) produced by Johann Hering of Bavaria, Germany in the 1620s. Were they intended for educational use or simply practice sheets from Hering’s personal collection?
According to BiblyOdyssey, there is not much information available online about Johann Hering or his work as scribe, but what we do know is the majority of this writing is in German (with occasional Latin) and many of the pages contain texts from The Bible.
What you see above is a demo for an animated typeface called Binary 2.0 created by Dutch studio Calango in collaboration with Maria Jose Torrero Heredia of Mexico:
What the bleep is an animated typeface you ask? I have to be honest, this is the first time I hear of the concept too. Apparently it comes with pre-animated characters of which you can edit the colors, duration, easing and line thickness in Adobe After Effects. This definitely calls for some further investigation…
I really like the way the bright yellow and white smeared lettering creates a perfect visual paradox: clean yet grimy. As the days go by and the relationship of the main characters becomes strained, the build-up of tension is reflected in the lettering – another clever touch by Erik:
Cast Iron Design Company has not forgotten the reason we designers got all excited about the prospect of web fonts in the first place: the ability to use real fonts for typographic design instead of replacing text with images…
I don’t often feature websites on here. I guess the whole web font “revolution” of the last two years has sent designers into a flurry of experimentation and the results are often a little underwhelming.
People like Jason Santa Maria and Trent Walton have been nudging us in the right direction, showing us the power that this culmination of typographic awareness, innovation and browser support holds. As we all know, with great power comes great responsibility, and in exploring this new frontier, best practices have been something of a grey area.
But hey, let’s not forget the reason we designers got all excited about the prospect of web fonts in the first place: the ability to use real fonts for typographic design instead of replacing text with images!
Without analysing the design of Cast Iron Design Company‘s website, I simply want to commend them on taking advantage of this ability. The design duo from Tucson, Arizona has made liberal use of web fonts (via Typekit) and CSS3 techniques throughout.
I was a little disappointed though, to find that the header design (which differs from page to page) makes use of image replacement instead of real fonts. Come on guys, you have taken it this far, now how about those headers?
A blog focusing purely on graphic design in the world of beer? I have to admit, I had no idea how much design gets consumed by beer until now!
When I first came across Oh Beautiful Beer, a blog documenting outstanding graphic design in the world of, well, beer, I couldn’t help but wonder how such a limited category would yield enough material to quench the thirst of a blog.
Clearly I had no idea how much design gets consumed by beer!
Created by Harvey Shepard of Livingston, Texas, this beer design blog is over a year old now. Here are a few of the beautiful beers with some nice typographic touches he has featured:
I don’t know about you, but I am now officially thirsty. Check out Oh Beautiful Beer for more.
A striking example of Paul Rand’s packaging design work for IBM from the 1960s.
Javier Garcia of San Francisco found this striking example of Paul Rand’s IBM packaging design tucked away in his dad’s office, still wrapped and unused. Javier points out the nice contrast of the white hand lettering against the bold slab-serifed IBM. I agree, it works super well.
Paul Rand produced work for IBM from the 1950s to the late 1990s. The exact date of this particular design is unknown, but thanks to my eagle-eyed forensic analysis of the expiry date (12/6/71) in following picture, and based on the fact that the IBM Selectric Typewriters were only introduced in 1961, this box dates back to the mid 1960s.
I have always thought of bottle caps as an interesting little canvas and wondered how much attention actually goes into their design, but I had no idea that a passionate community of collectors exists…
I came upon an unusual source of typographic history: bottle caps (aka crowns)! I have always thought of crown caps as an interesting little canvas and wondered how much attention goes into their design, but I had no idea that a passionate community of collectors exists.
Kenny Yohn, “The Bottle Cap Man” is a member of the Crowncap Collectors Society International and boasts over 20,000 beer and soda crowns in his collection. Here are a few (well, to be honest, 160!) good ones I picked from his online gallery for their typographic diversity.
Hey, remember when Jack Black and Mos Def sweded VHS movies in Be Kind Rewind? Well, Swissted is kind of like that, only with punk gig flyers…
Hey, remember when Jack Black and Mos Def sweded VHS movies in Be Kind Rewind (2008)? Well, swissted, an ongoing project by NYC based designer Mike Joyce, is kind of like that…
Only, instead of recreating feature films in a low-fi fashion, he recreates punk rock gig flyers as Swiss style posters. So basically he is taking the punk out of punk, and what could possibly be more punk than that! Odd, but brilliant. (As a loyal supporter of both punk rock and typography, this is right up my alley.)
The number of flyers Mike has swissted is nothing short of astounding – at the time of writing this there are over 200 examples in the gallery! Of course he also has some rules: all posters are 35.5 inches wide by 50 inches high, all set in berthold akzidenz grotesk medium, all lowercase and all the shows actually happened.