Sunday, October 31, 2010

Students Making Books

Do a quick read about my student, Joe Brokken and the production of his book project for this quarter's class assignment. The book he has chosen to reformat and design is Letters on an Elk Hunt, a 1917 memoir of the woman homesteader, Elinore Pruitt Stewart. Joe recently made a trip to Special Collections at the Seattle Public Library to do some research on books of that era with the intention of styling his own book project with a similar pastiche. You go Joe!

The Inland Printer

The Inland Printer, an influential magazine devoted to the printing arts of the era, began publication in 1883, primarily as a journal to the trade. Incidently, the IP is noted as the first American magazine to change its' cover with every new issue. American designer, illustrator and typographer, Will Bradley who found inspiration in the works of British artists, Aubrey Beardsley and William Morris, convinced the editors to produce new cover artwork for each monthly issue. Some of Will Bradley's early covers for The Inland Printer marked the beginnings of the art nouveau movement in graphic design. The magazine's interior was produced with an equal amount of care. See a large collection of The Inland Printer covers here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Limited e{dition}Books

I am so heartened this morning after stumbling upon the work of Bespoke Editions, a one-off edition press. The bookbinders behind Bespoke Editions, Mike and Kate Hyde, produce beautiful custom-made classic books hand made to order. They just launched their business this Fall and are taking orders for Christmas by invitation only at this point. Their work has received tremendous validation already when designer Richard Weston, of AceJet170, signed on to provide his design services for them. He claims we are at a tipping point now and the physical book is clearly, no longer the most appropriate medium for the delivery of everyday texts. But for important, classic and treasured texts, it is highly likely that the physical book will grow in popularity as a prized and precious artefact. The evidence is all around us. He went on to say this about the work of Bespoke Editions:

Personally, I think it's a great and timely idea. It's spot on; imagine being able to buy someone their favourite, classic novel, made to your unique specification. The idea totally works for me. Which is why I'm working for them.

It's been a while since I did any book work but over the last few weeks I've been helping Kate and Mike develop the layout and style sheets for the internal pages. Drawing on Hochuli's seminal book on book design and Tschichold's timeless book work, I've really enjoyed the understated discipline of book design again.

The editions will be in a Demy format and the page layouts will be based on the Van de Graaf Canon. After a set of tests, we've settled on the beautiful Hoefler Text for the typesetting and each title page will feature a carefully chosen typographic ornament that has some relevance to the particular book.

I have nothing personal against eBooks, as I honestly believe there are a lot of printed books which are a waste of resources. It does however make me smile to hold a beautifully-made fine e{dition}Book. Love the selection of the Hoefler Text too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Type Americana Conference

Some of the nation's best type designers, historians and educators of typography will be assembled at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle for the two day type conference, Type Americana on November 12th/13th. The conference focuses on American Type Design and celebrates the work of Morris Fuller Benton, W.C. Dwiggins, Frederic Goudy and Beatrice Warde. In addition, Thomas Phinney will discuss The Rise & Fall of American Type Founders, which for decades was the largest and greatest supplier of type in the US. Saturday provides the opportunity to get ink on your hands and print with some wood blocks from the Hamilton Wood Type collection in SVCs wonderful print studio. Or hand draw and digitize some letters under the guidance of one of the greats of type design, Sumner Stone. Bookend the conference at a showing of the documentary film about the making of the first simultaneous production of a metal and digital font – Stern Pro. Learn, have fun, and immerse yourself in all things type at Type Americana. More information and registration can be found here. To learn more about the film, Making Faces, and to watch a preview, see my previous post here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Worth A Trip

Just a few more weeks left to head off to Minnesota to catch what may be the last retrospective show of Aaron Horkey's work. This guy woke up in the wrong century, but glad he did. Worth the trip just to pick up this flyer. Simply stunning! Via OMG Posters.

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Green Marker. No need for watering, mowing or weeding.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Marian Bantjes is a modern day illustrator of the illuminated manuscript and she has just published her new book, I Wonder which features some dazzling and ecclectic new work. I've been a big fan of Marian's for quite a while, but her pasta illuminations have raised the bar to a whole new level. Read more about Marian's work and the making of her cover design over at Design Observer.

How Do You Raed?

Winner of the 2004 D&AD Writing For Design Award, this poster from Lippa Pearce Design (now part of Pentagram partners) explains how our barin sees wrods rehatr tahn ivinidaul leertts when we raed. Maybe this explains why I am such a slow raedre.

Does Letter Gothic Make My Book Look Fat?

Design student, Julian Hansen from the Danish school of Media and Journalism in Copenhagen, arrived at this beautiful typeface flowchart, So You Need a Typeface as a graduation project. What began as a school assignment evolved into a light-hearted, but systematic approach in choosing fonts. His list of typefaces is based loosely on the 100 top fonts from FontShop. Copies of his poster are still available over at Scribble for $22.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Two Brilliant Stephens

Attendees at last Friday nights' National Design Awards ceremony were treated to a delightful taped video appearance of Stephen Colbert presenting designer Stephen Doyle with the prestigious Communication Design Award. Doyle took this top honor for his exemplary design of Colbert's book, I Am America and So Can You. Doyle invited Colbert to present the award in-person, but the presentation conflicted with the taping of his show, The Colbert Report. Despite this, Colbert's wacky introduction was a highlight of the evening and "a welcome surprise" according to Doyle. "You could feel the crowd's pleasure-o-meters zip from zero to one hundred." Doyle–who is credited as Colbert's father–later added to the fun by delivering his acceptance speech all in verse. See some of Doyle's nimble handwork in this short video and Colbert's delightful tribute to his dad, Stephen, the brilliant designer. Next time you see this book cover, take a very close look at Stephens' eyes to see more of Doyle's clever sleight of hand.

Machiavelli: The Discourses construction, 2007, Stephen Doyle

Little Black Books

Moleskine planners continue to evolve in all directions. Here you can customize it as a travel journal on your next world adventure. And submit your own journal artwork for Moleskine's permanent collection. This is not a paid advertisement for Moleskine planners. It's just that they're a brilliantly designed product.

Moleskine papercut art by Toord Boontje via Little Black Books article in Print Magazine.

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Embellished back cover of 1941 book, The Green Book of Birds of America, via Stopping Off Place.

It's 19:84

Time to open the books. It's the Book Clock via Reddit.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Moondoggies Animation

I just love this new music video sent to me by my former student, Amanda Moore. She and her good friend, Drew Christie who did all of the beautiful illustration work in this animation, have been extremely busy. In addition to being a terrific graphic designer, Amanda also has a film school background and has produced a number of very nice animated shorts. Her partner, Drew is a brilliant and prolific illustrator working in a variety of media. Produced as a music video for the band Moondoggies, their video Empress of the North tells the story of love lost in a charming and very heartfelt style. Some of Drew's original hand-painted animation cells and prints will be for sale at the Moondoggies new release party at the Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle this coming Saturday night, October 9th. More of Drew's lovely work is featured on his blogsite, Democracy for the Cartoon. Look for the song, Empress of the North on the Moondoggies forthcoming album, Tidelands, due out on October 13th on Hardly Art. Great stuff!

Making Faces

The film Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century comes to the Northwest Film Forum on November 12th and 13th in conjunction with Type Americana, the type conference celebrating American type design, hosted by the School of Visual Concepts here in Seattle. The documentary features the work of the late Canadian type designer, Jim Rimmer, and the making of the first-ever simultaneous release of a digital and metal font. Rimmer was one of a few skilled type designers who bridged a century of metal font-making and digital type design and he performs both of these skills for the cutting and making of Stern Pro, designed in memory of his good friend, Chris Stern, the famed Northwest typographer and letterpress printer. We are very fortunate that Rimmer and Stern both left us with a tremendous legacy of work, but they are sorely missed here in the Northwest.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Born Modern

How fortunate to have 2 newly released books on designer, Alvin Lustig. The first biography, Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig, is co-authored by Steven Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen and is based on interviews, letters and documents and is the first monograph about this influential designer. Lustig was a pioneer of the modern book jacket and magazine cover design and R.I.T./Cary Graphic Arts Press has just published their 4th chapbook in their Graphic Design Archive Series which looks specifically at his book jacket design work. Purity of Aim: The Book Jacket Designs of Alvin Lustig by Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger, available from R.I.T./Cary Graphic Arts Press. Both of these books should be an inspiration to read. If you need more, take a look at the beautiful website for Lustig designed by the Kind Company which includes an archive of great work from Lustig's extensive and prolific career.

A Good Judge of Character

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Meet Your Type

The good folks over at FontShop are offering up this wonderful little field guide to love and typography. Written in a quirky manner by Erik Spiekermann, he spells out the birds and B's of the ABC's and other case studies of finding your perfect type. You will find other helpful primers on typography on FontShop's Education page too. Available as PDF downloads here or for purchase as print versions.