Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Red Nose Studio

Peek behind the curtain and watch how Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio creates his charming figures and dioramas for his newly released book, Here Comes the Garbage Barge written by Jonah Winter. The book is based on a true story of the barge loaded with Long Island garbage which was rejected from every port along the Atlantic coast in 1987. Sickels has a wonderful blog link on his website which is chock full of more behind-the-scenes-sausage-making of his work. If that isn't enough, watch this one below which Terry Border of the wonderful Bent Objects blog recently created. Sickels is a magician when it comes to giving each of his characters a personality.

The Salaryman

I fell in love when I saw this book cover of Salaryman. I have no idea who designed it, but it is so inspired. I found it on this Japanese book dealer's site. The paperback book is a collection of humorous quotations for businessmen from 1955. I don't know the significance of the crow, but my guess is it is a metaphor for the salaryman. Hence the wonderful part face, part crow illustration. Since I cannot read Japanese, I had a translation provided to me by my former student Hiroko. She tells me the title translates in English to Salaryman, meaning businessman in Japanese. The author is Teiichi Sadao, but he's best known for his pen name Ryōtarō Shiba and he is super famous in Japan. (Sounds just like a Tom Waits song). Thanks Hiroko!

The Wood Engraved Alphabet

Second and third: Educational devices to teach the alphabet. Illustrated by Alexander Anderson (1775-1870). Courtesy New York Public Library.
Fourth: Uncertain where this came from but it looks very similar to Anderson's work.
The bottom two items are tri-fold primers. 

Notes in the Margin

Sometimes the impulse to draw and scribble in books is just too irresistable. 
Left: A face inside the O on the title page of Rye House Plot Trials, 1683-4. Others below are from 16th and 17th C books all belonging to Aethelgreg

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TypeOcentric Ephemera

The designers of these labels and poster stamps probably each did 100s of them in the course of their careers, but it's sad that most have ended up in the dustbin of obscurity and will never receive due credit for their artwork. At least their designs have a legacy and it makes me happy to share them. I've credited the owners in each case. 
Japanese Matchbox Label
:: From Crackdog's photostream
Czech matchbox label for Hotel Jalta in Prague.
1931 German poster stamp, unknown designer. 
1964 Hungarian Matchbox Label
:: From Shailesh Chavda photostream

The Great Poster Wall of China

When Worlds Collide, and exhibit of large-scale photos by Beijing artist Wang Qingsong, one of China's most highly regarded contemporary artists. Now showing at the International Center of Photography museum in NYC until May 8th. Great work filled with irony. See the online exhibit here

Pinhole Hasselblad

Ok, this is a little off topic, but I am so overjoyed to see this corrugated cardboard pinhole Hasselblad camera over at Retro Thing today. It is created by UK set and prop designer Kelly Angood. And the good news is she has a fully functional downloadable PDF of it available so you can print your own version and it accepts 120 film. Kelly offers a pretty full service site as she also provides a nice little video set of instructions to assemble it. She even set up a Tumbler site to view and post images from your pinhole camera adventures. I love this girl.

To Put A Finer Point On It

Very nice illustration from Andrea Mineo of ortoritorto over at Pencil Talk, the place to go about all things pencils. Since 2005. While you are at it, you might also want to stop in at Joy of Erasers if you are the error-prone kind. Better than white-out, but not is good as command z. 

H A P P Y   P E N C I L  P A T E N T   D A Y

The Pencil Patent

On today's date, in 1858, Hymen Lipman received a patent for the pencil. Lipmen was granted the patent for attaching a rubber eraser at one end. The patent was later revoked however, when the Supreme Court ruled in 1875 that a pencil with an eraser is not a groundbreaking invention. Evidently the Supremes never made any mistakes. So it goes.

No word on when the pencil box was invented.
:: Various drawing pencil boxes from the Letterology Archives. 

360 Degree View of Prague Library

Read a fascinating story from Wired about a 360 degree photograph of Prague's Philosophical Hall, a Baroque reading room in the city's 868-year-old Strahov Monastery Library. And then view the 40 gigapixel photo produced by photographer Jeffrey Martin here. This room is a repository of rare books and is typically off limits to the public. Martin received special permission to spend the five days of shooting it took to make the composite image. The camera took another 111 hours of post-processing in order to stitch together the nearly 3000 images of the final 360 degree photo. You can actually scan the entire room of the finished photograph and zoom in close enough to read some of the titles on the rare books. Quite remarkable.
:: Via Bookshelf Porn

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Miro Magic

Spanish artist Joan Miro (1893-1983) was a painter, sculptor, muralist, textile artist, printmaker...and a prolific book artist. He loved the written word and had many close friendships with writers and poets of the Dada and Surrealist movements. During the course of his career he completed over 250 books with his signature handlettering combined with primitive organic shapes and line work. Miro's work reflects such a strong sense of design to me as he really understood the fundamental relationship of line, balance and color. His books are gems!

:: Images from the Moma Print & Books Collection and here. For more on Miro, see Artsy.

Bar Does DeLillo

All I got is simply beautiful! One of the most difficult concepts in design is to distill something to it's very core or essence and Noma Bar is a master at this. See more of the book covers in this series here. All ten Don DeLillo book covers were art directed by It's Nice That.
:: Via the ever clever Monoscope