Vintage travel posters

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:

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Found via: Telegraph Travel.

See many more vintage posters on Megan’s blog Quad Royal.

The flipside of old New York Times photos

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:

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Read more about this project on the NYT Lens blog.

Vintage punk rock flyers get swissted

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.

Here are but a few examples:

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

Swissted

The quest for an average font

The fascinating explorations in finding an average of all existing fonts has lead different people down different roads, here are some examples…

In September 2011 Viennese designer Moritz Resl published a typographic experiment called Average Font on his website. The project received widespread attention on the internet, drawing both criticism and praise. The idea is to show what a font would look like if it were made up of all the Typefaces on his system at the time. Resl achieved this by layering over 900 different fonts each with a low opacity, one on top of the other. The result is a blurry, yet recognisable rendition of each character:

Average Font by Moritz Resl

As Stephen Coles of Typographica points out, the quest to find an average font is not unexplored territory. In 2006 visualisation expert W. Bradford Paley from New York put together an exploration of Face Variations, layering the outlines of 166 fonts in different combinations. Paley notes that this stems from his fascination with finding the “perceptual boundaries” around objects such as letters:

Face Variations by W. Bradford Paley

Another approach comes in the form of The neutral typeface – the result of a 2005 graduation project by Dutch designer Kai Bernau entitled Neutrality. The measurements for the design of the typeface are derived from averages reached by comparing popular existing sans serif typefaces:

The neutral typeface by Kai Bernau

The latest arrival at the average font party is Avería, a font released in October 2011 by Dan Sayers combining 725 existing fonts. Sayers explored different methods, eventually opting for a programmatic approach to the task by splitting each letter perimeter into hundreds of equally-spaced points, then finding the average between the corresponding positions of each:

Avería by Dan Sayers

Avería by Dan Sayers

Also take a look at Font Path Viewer, a web app Sayers built in order to view the outlines and control points of fonts during his process.

Fonts come in an endless array of personalities and proportions, weights and styles. Maybe it is the sheer overwhelming variety, or maybe our inborn desire to simplify and reorganise, but whatever the reason may be, people seem to be captivated by the idea of finding a neutral average. The search continues.

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

Hand drawn skate deck lettering

Looks like we’ll be sticking to the themes of “New York” and “hand lettering” today! The coffee-loving Simon Ålander has been at it again, this time putting pen to skateboard deck…

Looks like we’ll be sticking to the themes of New York and hand lettering today! The coffee-loving Simon Ålander has been at it again, this time putting pen to skateboard deck:

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

See the full story on coffeemademedoit.com.

Hand painted wooden wedding signs

These nice wedding signs were hand painted on rugged wooden planks by Brooklyn based agency Mélangerie Inc.

These nice wedding signs were hand painted on rugged wooden planks by Brooklyn based agency Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

See more of their work Mélangerie Inc.’s Flickr. Found via Art of the Menu.

Sex, prison and lost ligatures: The story of Avant Garde

I needed to clear this up for myself, the truth behind this great and mysterious typeface we know as Avant Garde. So for the benefit of those interested, here is the story…

I needed to clear this up for myself, the truth behind this great and mysterious typeface we know as Avant Garde. So for the benefit of those interested, here is the story:

Herb Lubalin (1918 – 1981) was a prominent American graphic designer. In 1962 he teamed up with a journalist called Ralph Ginzburg (1929 – 2006) and together they published a controversial erotic magazine called Eros. By the fourth issue the magazine got shut down for violating federal obscenity laws in the USA. They followed with a magazine called Fact, but this one also came to a premature end due to legal troubles.

Avant Garde

Six months later Lubalin and Ginzberg released the first issue of Avant Garde, an attractive hard-bound periodical which would run for 14 issues between January 1968 and July 1971. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Avant Garde pushed the boundaries of censorship and ceased when Ginzberg went to prison for featuring nude models depicting the alphabet!

Avant Garde magazine’s most notable legacy is arguably its instantly recognisable logo designed by Lubalin:

Avant Garde

Lubalin expanded the logo design into an extensive range of characters and ligatures intended solely for use in the identity and headlines of the magazine.

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

Demand from the design community for an Avant Garde typeface became such that Lubalin employed the help of his partner Tom Carnase and together they transformed the Avant Garde lettering into a full-fledged typeface. ITC Avant Garde was first released in 1970 by the International Typeface Corporation, a company formed by Lubalin that same year.

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

The original release comprised five weights, including one version for headlines and one for body copy. Sadly the modern digitized releases did not include the vast amount of ligatures and alternate characters. For a while they were considered lost, but fortunately the advent of OpenType technology has allowed ITC to release a complete digital version of Avant Garde Gothic offering all the original alternate characters and ligatures.

Avant Garde

Despite its pure geometric shapes, the typeface is a deceptively tricky one to use well and many designers lacked the necessary understanding of Lubalin’s letterforms. After being released commercially, the font quickly became overused and is commonly found in poor design solutions. Avant Garde remains extremely popular to this day and the most successful examples of use are where restraint is exercised such as this identity for Music Balloon by Golden:

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

Sources:

* Note: A ligature in typography is a special character consisting of two or more joined letters.

Jason Santa Maria rethinks his website

Who would launch the tenth anniversary redesign of their website on a Friday afternoon? Well, probably only Jason Santa Maria. His twitter bio sums up his unfortunate predicament: “Designer by day, designer by night.”

Who would launch the tenth anniversary redesign of their website on a Friday afternoon? Well, probably only Jason Santa Maria. His twitter bio sums up his unfortunate predicament: “Designer by day, designer by night.”

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Jason has positioned himself as the godfather of modern typographic resources – here are a few of the offices he currently holds:

  • Co-founder of Typedia, which as the name suggests is an online encyclopedia of typefaces
  • Creative director for Typekit, a subscription-based service offering hosted web fonts
  • Lecturer for the Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC
  • Creative director for the online web magazine A List Apart
  • Co-founder/designer of ALA’s publishing wing A Book Apart

The other projects and events he is involved in are innumerable, so instead of trying to figure out whether Jason has a clone army or just never sleeps, go over and take a look at the latest incarnation of jasonsantamaria.com.

The previous version of his website/blog introduced the concept of a custom design for each article as opposed to having entries conform to a rigid template, but this posed an unforeseen problem:

In order to post something, I felt it couldn’t be short or just a quip on a topic, it had to be substantial. I fell into a design trap I unknowingly set for myself. – Jason Santa Maria

Here’s a screenshot of the new home page design which allows posts of various lengths to co-exist in one stream. It features one of my favourite fonts Chaparral for most of the text:

Jason Santa Maria website redesign

Personally I don’t think he is breaking new ground with this less-is-more offering, but when Jason Santa Maria redesigns it is always worth sitting up, taking a good hard look and perhaps even a leaf or two from his book…

It’s official: Typefaces are modern art

MOMA (The Museum of Moden Art in New York) recently acquired 23 digital typefaces for their collection. Although MOMA includes many works featuring typography, the only typeface previously in their collection was 36-point Helvetica Bold lead type.

MOMA (The Museum of Moden Art in New York) recently acquired 23 digital typefaces for their collection. Although MOMA includes many works featuring typography, the only typeface previously in their collection was 36-point Helvetica Bold lead type designed by Max Miedinger in 1956. The oldest of their new acquisitions is OCR-A (1966) and the newest is Gotham (2000).

This first selection of 23 typefaces represent a new branch in our collection tree. They are all digital or designed with a foresight of the scope of the digital revolution, and they all significantly respond to the technological advancements occurring in the second half of the twentieth century. Each is a milestone in the history of typography. – MOMA

OCR-A

Big Caslon

FF DIN

Gotham

See how many of the 23 faces you recognise with @issue’s quiz.

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