Monday, January 31, 2011

A Trip to Tinkertown

Ok, this is a little off topic, but there are so many great robots out there yet to enjoy. I have to share just one more family of mechanical robots with you which are truly adorable. They are created by Dan Jones of Tinkerbots. Dan uses beautiful old tins (with great type and packaging design!) and an assortment of found metal parts to bring his bots magically to life. They each have a distinct personality and other-worldly charm. It's space age meets the machine age. See more on his flickr site and be sure to check out all his rayguns there too. They are out of this world!

Robot Love

Susumu Eguchi poster for a children's science exhibition in the Tobu department store. From 1969/70 Graphis Annual. 
Wonderful typographic robot illustration from Leanda Xavian
:: Via One Little Bird

Ubu Roi: Drame en Cinq Actes. 1982 binding by Georges Leroux, one of the most important French binders of the 20th century. One of 150 copies. The binding is of full vermillion calf featuring relief figures on both panels—the front cover depicting Father Ubu, whose eyes appear to be spinning in his head, the back cover showing Mother Ubu. Both figures have been modeled after 1950-style Japanese robots, and here Leroux has incorporated a series of real gears and clock wheels in the chest cavities of both figures, as well as multi-colored wires, metal widgets, sheet plastic, and marbles. Accompanied by a reproduction tin toy robot very similar in appearance to the ones on which the binding design is based. The Chief Robotman toy is battery powered and in perfect working condition in its original box, which bears a 1950s-style illustration with laser beams shooting out of the robot's eyes. Available from Bromer Booksellers. $50,000. No kidding.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Welcome Mat

Beautiful tiled floor in the entrance hall of an abandoned factory in Prague from the late 19th century. SALVE means hail or (in this case) welcome in latin. It would be a welcome sight to see these tiles permanently preserved.
:: Another great image from photographer/designer Goran Patlejch.


Book origami by Isaac Salazar. See more of his books at his Flickr photostream and Etsy.

Geography is Everywhere

It's amazing what lurks beneath our feet, over our head and under our nose. There is a word for this: cartocacoethes, or seeing maps in non-cartographic patterns. Accidental cartography from Big Think.
Photo credits:
:: A crown of tree leaves framing a street view with a remarkably accurate representation of the South American continent. Photo taken on a South American street and submitted by Juan M.
:: World map and good advertisement to promote climate change solutions. Submitted by Matt Kreger.
:: World map on dog's nose. From Mililani Smythe. (Dog's name is not credited).
Thanks for sharing Tom Lenon!


Really great logo on an Echo Stereo 1112A, a combination radio record player. Made by Tesla, Czechoslovakia in the early 60s. As seen in an exhibit at the Technical Museum in Brno, Czech Republic by photographer|designer, Goran Patlejch from Prague. He claims it was more prominent than the manufacturer's own signature.

There Must Be a Pony

Illustration by Alan Aldridge, 1964 for Penguin Books.
:: Via Eleftheria Alexandri's photostream

How to Print

1884 printing handbook for a self-inking press.
:: From Jens Jørgen Hansen's photostream

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kafka ReCovered

The big buzz in the book business this week is Peter Mendelsund's new cover designs for a series of eight paperback editions of Kafka's books for the Knopf imprint Schocken. They are spare, colorful and when combined with the simple handlettering font, Mister K (designed by Julia Sysmäläine and based upon Kafka's own handwriting), they echo back to some of the works of Paul Rand and Alvin Lustig. Mendelsund is a smart book designer and I love this reinterpretation which is a whiplash from any other Kafka covers I have seen. I find it very refreshing. He claims that Kafka's work is often mistakenly associated with constructivism and facism, and designed with a dark and somber feel. His intention was to let the sunlight back into it and I think his covers reflect this well. The paperbacks should be released this Summer and he hopes to package the series as a boxed set. Read more about Mendelsund's Kafka project from his own words on his great book blog, Jacket Mechanical.

Typograhy Treasures

Hand illustrated type and flourishes from the treasures of the University of Reading's Centre of Ephemera Studies. Curated by Michael Twyman.
:: From Michael Hochleitner's photostream.

El Alfabeto

The alphabet as illustrated by 4th and 5th graders from Pittsfield Elementary School in Ann Arbor Michigan.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Type Inside Shapes

First image above: Cover design for 1954 British Arts Council publication.
Second image: Romanian matchbox label, undated, but would guess late '50s.
:: Via Jane McDevitt's photostream.

:: Matchbook cover for Huddle Restaurant from Jericl Cat's photostream.

Langston Hughs' First Book of Jazz from 1955. This is actually the third book in a series of five books that Langston Hughes (1902-1967) wrote for the Franklin Watts First Books series. This was designed by Cliff Roberts (1929-1999) who was a cartoonist and animator. His cartoons appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker and Playboy. He worked as an animator on Sesame Street, and wrote and drew the short-lived Sesame Street newspaper comic strip. Ariel Winter has lots more to say about Langston's book series on his wonderful blogsite We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie. And read more about the brilliant artwork of Cliff Roberts there too.
:: From Ariel Winter's photostream.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is There Anything Ferrer Cannot Do?

Cover design for the new paperback edition of Pinocchio by Isidro Ferrer. This guy is nothing short of brilliant. Well let me add versatile and prolific to that too. I'm a big fan. Photos below are from his book Titulo (Titles). Also check out the short clip below of some opening credits for Fuera de Carta (Letter Not). All of this is just a small glance at his portfolio of work.

FUERA DE CARTA from isidro ferrer on Vimeo.

Historic Bookbindery

Photos taken of Massachusettes bookbindery around 1910.
::From Exile Bibliophile.

Brit Lit

The New York Times reported in the most recent Sunday travel section on the literary town of Norwich England—a Getaway for Book Lovers. Included was an image and brief mention of the abandoned electrical plant which had been painted with the text of Sir Thomas More's 16th C Utopia. A further search directed me to British artist Rory Macbeth who painted the entire building's facade word for word. These are not short line lengths mind you. Each line of text appears to continually wrap around the entire building so the reader would have to circle round and round just to read it all. I'm sure he wasn't concerned with readability or optimal line lengths, but I have to wonder how many times he had to move his ladder while he painted the dang building. Note to self: visit Norwich someday.

Another interesting work of Macbeth's is his reinterpretation of the Bible. Using proprietary software he rearranges the Bible's text into alphabetical order and then printed it in an edition of 300. According to Michael over at Book Patrol, there are 313 exclamation marks, 56 uses of the word slaughters and 86 instances of the word ass. Who knew? This is also a great piece of data visualization that creates some nice text patterns.

::The above photo of Macbeth painting the building is by Sarah Morley.
::Other photos of Macbeth's Norwich is work from Daniel Weir's photostream.