An interview with Darnyill

“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…

Name: Darnyill
Home: Cape Town
Age: 20
Occupation: Student (BA in Art History)
Email: darnyill@live.co.za
Facebook: Facebook.com/Darnyill
Tumblr: Jesusaintdead.tumblr.com

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.

T: Any Last words and thanks?

D: Hmm, nothing is all that bad. Ever. And thanks to people reblogging my posts on designersof.com and liking my page on FB. Please do so now: Facebook.com/Darnyill

Thanks!

Click on the Links bellow for Hi res.

Friday find: Gig flyer

Gig flyers have always been a playground for design experimentation, but they are usually not very representative of great typography. I think this one is a step up and I’ll tell you why…

I found this flyer for the Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival at a coffee shop on my way to work this morning:

The Cape Town Folk 'n Acoustic Music Festival flyer

Gig flyers have always been a playground for design experimentation, but due to their low-fi tradition and the fact that they are probably often created by musicians rather than designers, they are usually not very representative of great typography.

I think this one is a step up and I’ll tell you why:

  1. The informal and somewhat zany geometric display type used for Folk ‘n Acoustic is anchored nicely by the graphic elements (banners, shapes, icons) around it.
  2. The visual hierarchy of information is presented well by the size and weight of the type; first what, then when and where, followed by who, and lastly the sponsors.
  3. The list of artists’ names vary in size and colour, yet the typographic colour (overall density) has been well preserved.
  4. The strong horisontal structure remains unbroken throughout.
  5. Sticking to just two colours (black and red) was a good choice, especially since the background is textured.
  6. Although it is quite text-heavy, there is enough white space for the design to breathe.

Looking at it a little more critically:

  1. I like the fact that designers are breaking free of the old use-no-more-than-two-fonts-per-design mantra, because it does work in many cases, but I have to question whether using five different fonts on the front of the flyer (plus two more on the back!) is necessary? Perhaps exploring a few different weights of a single typeface instead of using different font families would offer a more consistent result.
  2. I’m probably being pedantic here, but the misregistered effect used on music festival is redundent in context of the treatment across the rest of the layout.

MoMA’s in-house design studio

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has a very productive in-house design team with a bulging portfolio of exhibition designs, advertising campaigns and other printed materials…

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City (MoMA) has an in-house design department very practically named The Department of Advertising and
Graphic Design
.

They are responsible for exhibition designs, advertising campaigns and any printed materials needed by the museum’s numerous departments including curatorial, education and visitor services.

If we learned anything from the career of Wim Crouwel it is that working for a museum provides fertile ground for typographic exploration. The MoMA team’s impressive portfolio suggests that this is indeed the case:

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

MoMA Department of Advertising and Graphic Design

Industrious coffee and condensed type at Yourstruly

Yourstruly, located on Long Street in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre, is one of my favourite lunch time spots. One thing I enjoy about it is the DIY ethic…

Yourstruly, located on Long Street in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre, is one of my favourite lunch time spots.

One thing I enjoy about it is the DIY ethic: on any given day you can find owner Daniel Holland enthusiastically serving coffee and sandwiches through the hatch, but that’s not all – he also took care of all the graphic design himself, and his dad did the carpentry!

The graphic identity of Yourstruly is quite appropriately anchored by Trade Gothic, which Jason Santa Maria describes as an honest, dependable and industrious typeface with little flourish or fuss.

Next time you’re in Cape Town and find yourself in need of some good coffee and a strong dose of typography, you know where to go.

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Find out a little more about Yourstruly and Daniel on Ilovecoffee.co.za.

Friday find: Architecture in Helsinki poster

Great gig poster designed by Curtis Lynn Jinkins from Austin, Texas. What I enjoy most about it is the interesting balance…

Great gig poster designed by Curtis Lynn Jinkins from Austin, Texas. What I enjoy most about it is the interesting balance: even though the abstract graphic dominates the majority of the space, the composition would be nothing without the carefully considered typography.

Architecture in Helsinki poster

Architecture in Helsinki poster

Keeping an eye on Colin Dunn and friends

You know that feeling of slight annoyance when you come across really nice design work on a bunch of different sites, and each time you check who did it, it ends up being the same person? Well, lately Colin Dunn has been that guy…

You know that feeling of slight annoyance when you come across really nice design work on a bunch of different sites, and each time you check who did it, it turns out to be the same person? Well, lately Colin Dunn has been that guy – and what makes it worse is he hasn’t even graduated college yet!

A student at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, one of his latest projects involved teaming up with classmate James Anderson to brand the MICA graphic design department:

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

A few more examples from Colin’s growing portfolio:

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

The design work of Colin Dunn

Also of interest is the Hand-Painted Signs of Baltimore set on Colin’s Flickr.

The typography of Water for Elephants

A fascinating example of how graphic design plays a vital role in movie production, yet goes virtually unnoticed amidst the drama!

My wife finally dragged me kicking and screaming to sit down and watch Water for Elephants with her on DVD. A tearjerking romantic drama was not at the top of my list of fun ways to spend a Saturday night, but I must admit it wasn’t that bad.

Throughout the film I was impressed by the attention to detail in the set design. It was clear that a lot of work went into the graphic design and the vintage circus typography.

Realising that I am probably not the only one whose attention was caught, I Googled the subject to see what others have said. I instantly hit gold – a write-up from Karen TenEyck, the graphic designer responsible! I recommend reading the article as it contains a lot of fascinating behind-the-scenes insight. Download it here a a PDF:

ADG Perspective Magazine Jun/Jul 2011, pages 34 – 41 (1.6MB).

Working with production designer Jack Fisk, art director David Crank and set decorator Jim Erickson, Karen produced a mammoth collection of posters, banners, signs, branding and packaging used to give the film that convincing 1930s atmosphere.

Another challenge for period films is that fonts made for the computer do not do justice to the hand-crafted look of the time, even if they are based on old styles. They are simply too perfect. Yet with the current trend of less and less prep time, I needed to find ways to shortcut the process and get the same effects. One of the ways I have been able to do this is by creating my own fonts based on the fifty-plus period lettering and advertising books I own. I am able to give these fonts the imperfect look of hand-drawn letters done with a lettering brush. Because they are turned into fonts that I can type with, it speeds up the process considerably down the line as decisions are made closer to filming. – Karen TenEyck

Take a look at some of Karen’s work in action:

Water for Elephants graphic design by Karen TenEyck

Water for Elephants graphic design by Karen TenEyck

Water for Elephants graphic design by Karen TenEyck

Water for Elephants graphic design by Karen TenEyck

Water for Elephants graphic design by Karen TenEyck

Finally, the film also has a very nice end title screen which was not designed by Karen, but by a Los Angeles studio called River Road Creative:

Water for Elephants end title

A peek inside the portfolio of Bruce Mackay

I became aware of Bruce Mackay’s unique illustration style a year ago when I saw a cool drawing he did of a skeleton drinking a beer. Needless to say I was instantly compelled to follow his work online and as it turns out he is a fellow Capetonian…

I became aware of Bruce Mackay’s unique illustration style a year ago when I saw a cool  drawing he did of a skeleton drinking a beer. Needless to say I was instantly compelled to follow his work online and as it turns out he is a fellow Capetonian. Browsing through his portfolio I came across some nice lettering and typographic pieces, take a look:

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

You can see a lot more killer stuff from Bruce on his blog, Flickr and Bēhance.

A heavy metal poster three generations in the making

A striking poster designed by Cincinnati based designer Tom Davie of studiotwentysix2.

A striking poster designed by Cincinnati based designer Tom Davie of studiotwentysix2. The description is quite entertaining too:

This poster is three generations in the making. My grandfather was thrifty and savvy enough to collect hundreds of pieces of discarded metal, my father was wise enough not to throw the rusted metal away, and yours truly, for picking through it, not getting tetanus, and visually arranging it.

Heavy Metal poster by Tom Davie

Fruita Blanch

I really enjoy the look of Catalonian family business Fruita Blanch. The new fresh minimal identity was designed by Barcelona based studio Atipus. They even developed a custom font used across the board. My favourite aspect is how the labels have been designed to reveal as much of the jar content as possible. Sometimes less really is more.

Fruita Blanch identity

Fruita Blanch identity

Fruita Blanch identity

Fruita Blanch identity

Fruita Blanch identity

Fruita Blanch identity

Fruita Blanch identity

Via: Identity Designed

Mr. Coffee

Even though I have never met the man, this very nice poster designed by Simon Ålander reveals three things we share in common…

Even though I have never met the man, I have at least three things in common with Simon Ålander:

  1. we both love typography
  2. we both love Lagwagon
  3. we both love coffee

That probably explains why I like this poster so much:

Coffee poster by Simon Ålander

I always enjoy seeing preparatory sketches, it gives design work such authenticity:

Coffee poster by Simon Ålander

According to his site coffeemademedoit.com, Simon is studying at Hyper Island and is available for internship starting November 2011.

Dyslexie: A font for people with dyslexia

Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer has designed a font to help those who suffer from dyslexia to minimise reading errors. Drawing on his own experience of dyslexia he made custom tweaks to all the letterforms and punctuation of the western alphabet.

Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer has designed a font to help those who suffer from dyslexia to minimise reading errors. Drawing on his own experience of dyslexia he made custom tweaks to all the letterforms and punctuation of the western alphabet.

Dyslexie example 01

Dyslexie example 02

Dyslexie example 02

“Dyslexie” may not be a conventionally beautiful font, but an independent study by the University of Twente in the Netherlands has concluded that it is effective in minimising dyslexic errors. Who can argue with results?

Via Fast Co. Design and Studio Studio.

Jon Contino

The super productive Jon Contino has just relaunched his portfolio stuffed with great typographical works and since I have been planning to post something about him, it is as good a time as ever to do so.

The super productive Jon Contino has just relaunched his portfolio stuffed with great typographical works and since I have been planning to post something about him, it is as good a time as ever to do so.

He calls himself an Alphastructaesthetitologist, but in my mind Contino is simply the king of NYC hand lettering. The raw old-world feel of his work certainly strikes a chord with me, and his impressive client list suggests I am not alone in my sentiments.

I have been trying my best at creating a time machine through lettering. – Jon Contino

If you were wondering where his talent stems from, Jon claims that his mom’s hand is consistently better than his own lettering and she always shows him up when it comes to holiday cards!

It’s hard to select a fair representation from his diverse portfolio, but below are a few examples of Jon Contino’s work. For plenty more check out his website, blog and his brand CXXVI.

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino
I was lucky enough to snag one of these puppies from CXXVI before they sold out.

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

Fonts in use

This post is about three different, yet related things that caught my attention in recently…

This post is about three different, yet related things that caught my attention recently…

1. Live the language commercials

EF (Education First) released “four short films that will make you want to pack your bags” and travel to Paris, Barcelona, Beijing and London. They got Stockholm based Art director & designer Albin Holmqvist to take care of the beautiful typographic treatment in each video.

EF Typography by Albin Holmqvist

EF Typography by Albin Holmqvist

EF Typography by Albin Holmqvist

EF Typography by Albin Holmqvist

I am super excited to be visiting Spain soon, so I decided to post the Barcelona video below, but be sure to take a look at the other three commercials too.

EF – Live The Language – Barcelona

2. Fonts in use

The Fonts in Use project is a great idea and is best explained by editor Stephen Coles:

At Fonts In Use we’ll catalog and examine real-world typography wherever it appears — branding, advertising, signage, packaging, publications, in print and online — with an emphasis on the typefaces used.

Parisian fontMr Dafoe fontNeutraface fontBrothers font

Curious about the fonts used by Holmqvist in the Paris commercial? Look no further, Fonts in Use offers a fantastic analysis.

3. Logotypes for EF destinations

Following the success of his work on Live the Language, Holmqvist was commissioned by EF to create logotypes for each of their 40 destinations worldwide including my home city, Cape Town. Below are a couple of examples, see more in his portfolio at albinholmqvist.com.

Cape Town logotype by Albin Holmqvist

Toronto logotype by Albin Holmqvist

San Francisco logotype by Albin Holmqvist

Asperger East Anglia identity

The Click is a design consultancy based in Norwich, England. They recently developed a striking, crisp typographic visual identity for Asperger East Anglia.

The Click is a design consultancy based in Norwich, England. They recently developed a new visual identity for Asperger East Anglia, a charity dedicated to offering information and assistance to those who suffer from Asperger syndrome.

The result is a striking, crisp typographic solution.

Central to this is the letter ‘A’, initial of Asperger, from which the frank, literal title of each product extends – A Note, A Letter, A Message.

Asperger East Anglia visual identity

Asperger East Anglia visual identity

Asperger East Anglia visual identity

Asperger East Anglia visual identity

Asperger East Anglia visual identity

Asperger East Anglia visual identity

Via: Identity Designed

Using a baseline grid

There hase been a notable resurgence of the International Typographic Style (aka Swiss Style) in graphic design lately and along with this trend, grids are big right now. Baseline grids in particular have been enjoying a lot of fresh attention, so this post is simply to consolidate some of the learning and resources I have come across.

First things first, what is the baseline?

Diagram explaining typographic baseline

Baseline refers to the line upon which most letters “sit” and below which descenders extend. It is important to note that glyphs with rounded lower extents usually dip very slightly below the baseline to create the optical illusion that they sit on the baseline.

Leading is the distance between baselines. The term originated in the era of manual typesetting, when thin strips of lead were used to space lines of type. The term is still used in print layout software like Adobe InDesign. In CSS the “line-height” property controls the leading.

Right, moving along…

Much has been written about the merits of using a grid in design. The first exposure I had to the principle was probably Khoi Vinh’s 2004 article on his Subtraction.com redesign. Column grids are pretty simple; divide your page into an equal amount of columns, decide on a gutter width (if any) and align the elements on your page to these columns.

Baseline grids are another story altogether. I have been experimenting with baseline grids in my own web and print design work for over a year now and they are a lot more tricky. The idea of a baseline grid is that the bottom of every line of text (the baseline) corresponds with a vertical baseline grid, set in even increments. CSS makes it difficult to apply all elements to a baseline grid since properties like margin, border, padding and line-height can disturb your vertical layout.

There are several good reasons for using a baseline grid, but the two that I find most logical are, vertical rythm and the baseline being a compositional aid – baseline grids add a sense of visual balance to your design and help you decide where to position elements. Leaving the positioning of elements to chance is something of the past for me! Of course grids should be treated only as guidelines in design and not as restrictive rules.

Ok, enough theory, on to the resources

Now go forth and experiment with baseline grids. If you have any tips and tricks of your own, please drop a comment below!

Figural Cameos

Cameo refers to type design in which the characters are reversed out of a black background. In figural cameos, the background typically depicts the product or service being advertised.

Cameo refers to type design in which the characters are reversed out of a dark background. In figural cameos, the background typically depicts the product or service being advertised. Judging by the dates on some of these vintage mail items, this form of branding reached it’s height in the 1800s, although I have seen quite a few contemporary designs referencing this unique artform.

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

I originally came across these images on Miss Moss and traced some more info on The Trade Card Place.

The fantastic work of Richard Arthur Stewart

Richard Arthur Stewart is one of those guys whose work I have admired time and time again, without ever knowing who the designer was… until now.

Richard Arthur Stewart is one of those guys whose work I have admired time and time again, without ever knowing who the designer was… until now. I finally happened upon his online portfolio where you can see plenty more of his work.

Design work of Richard Arthur Stewart

Design work of Richard Arthur Stewart

Design work of Richard Arthur Stewart

Design work of Richard Arthur Stewart

Design work of Richard Arthur Stewart