Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just my Type of Book

Just My Type from Pentagram on Vimeo.

Released in the UK last Fall, Just My Type, by Simon Garfield will be released tomorrow, September 1st, in the US. I love this book (cover design; not so much). It is indeed a great read—like a pleasant walk through the long corridor of type history! Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings, just included it in a great post on her list of the 10 Essential Books on Typography. You can also read more about it in my earlier Letterology post here which has some cool links.

Pure Goods Sold Only

A small, seven-color merchandise label designed and printed in 1992 by Chris Stern (1950-2006) of the Grey Spider Press and Stern & Faye Letterpress Printers. I have long admired it and now treasure it. Chris was a towering figure in the letterpress community and an amazing talent, and his passing is a great loss. So much so, he now has a font and even a type foundry named in his honor. Read more about type designer Jim Rimmer's Stern Pro and see the movie trailer about the making of the font here. The C.C. Stern Type Foundry and working museum in Portland, OR is also worth a virtual or live visit.

Sink Your Teeth into This Suspense Novel

Another long lost book I unearthed from my attic recently.
Joyful Hours or Joyful Minutes? I guess this sanguine sweet storybook cover was just not reality-based enough for my taste, but a simple shark fin changed that easily. ; )

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lunch With Mrs. O

Addressed to Hoefler & Frere-Jones who received this invitation in the mail yesterday for their recognition as National Design Award finalists. (I wonder if the lunch menus will be using Gotham). H&FJ were not the only distinguished type design award recipients this year. Matthew Carter received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his profound and long-term contribution to the contemporary practice of design. Prolific design author and editor Steven Heller was also recognized for the Design Mind Award given to a visionary who has effected a paradigm shift in design thinking or practice through writing, research and scholarship. R∙E∙S∙P∙E∙C∙T

Monday, August 29, 2011

Director's Cut of the 10th Annual Wayzgoose

This is just a backstage glance of the 10th annual Wayzgoose and Steamroller Smackdown at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle this past weekend. It was a very festive atmosphere with music by the twin Canote Brothers, colorful costumes, bagpipers, a bicycle-powered juice bar, swap meet, printing and a marketplace of books and ephemera for sale. Far more photos, people and posters can be seen on the Letterpress at SVC Flickrstream, including the winning entry from Modern Dog which you can see here. They got points for technical difficulty with the stencil registration. See the actual awards here.
This year's keepsake was designed by master wood engraver, Carl Montford. Carl and his printers' devils assisted guests with printing their own personal copy on the school's iron hand press.  

Poster entry from my former students at the Seattle Central Creative Academy who have no problem ridiculing freaky fonts. 

SVC poster design by Jenny Wilkson and her printer devils.

Hanging in the print studio was this Characters from the Wood Engraver's Network poster, courtesy of Carl Montford.

Justin LaRosa of Physical Fiction and his very fun LegoPrints.

In the SVC print studio.

Ten-color press sheet for cover of literary magazine Filter Vol. No. 3 designed by Kate Fernendez. Attached is this note: This is the best thing ever. Yes, Yes it is.

Team Turnstyle prepares to make a good first impression.

Any Book in a Storm

Recently seen at WORD bookstore in Brooklyn NY.
::Via ShelfAwareness

Cut & Turn

These delicate, hand-cut paper letters are the work of Japanese paper artist Aoyama Hina, now living in Paris. Hina began doing her lacy paper cuts, as she refers to them, about 11 years ago using only a simple pair of scissors, patience and ingenuity. She also does paper-cut illustration work, but her series of hand-lettering artworks are a knock-out. See more of her intricate paper-cuts on Flickr. I've seen others do some beautiful and intricate paper-cut artworks in the past, but this is the smallest and most detailed I have yet seen. Pretty incredible work. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wayzgoose Printfest

Lovely letterpressed invite designed by my friend Jenny Wilkson
Tomorrow, August 27th is the 10th annual Letterpress and Steamroller Smackdown at the renowned School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. Dozens of small presses will be participating in the marketplace and a giant linocut, team competition will begin at 1pm in the parking lot. Better yet, it will be picture-perfect weather for the Wayzgoose printfest. The press room is open. Come visit if you are local > Map

Cover Curiosities

I've been cleaning out my attic and bookshelves lately and rediscovered some old forgotten books. Some of these gems are silkscreened trade bindings, while most are printed by letterpress which would technically make them cloth stamped bindings. Often they are designed by anonymous artists. My favorite is the book above, which is in lousy shape, sadly. I recall buying it years ago just for the cover design. The title appears to be all hand-lettered, and the copyright page is missing, but the owner boldly signed his name and date of 1917 in blackletter penwork on the endsheets. This was just a few years prior to the the time designer W.A. Dwiggins was credited for coining the term, graphic designer in 1922, which has since displaced the less descriptive label of commercial artist. I'll do my best to post all of these books on Flickr before long, with more information on each. 
Note to self: clean more often.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

iThank You Steve Jobs

Adapted from the interactive visual of Shan Carter at the New York Times.

No one has been more influential to the design and technology industry than Steve Jobs. A remarkable 313 patents are listed with his name as principle inventor, designer, or collaborator. His patent list includes everything from iPod lanyards, monitors, mice, laptops, keyboards and packaging, to the beautiful glass staircase that graces some of the Apple stores. Miguel Helft reports on these achievements in a New York Times article today and on Job's influence and leadership of Apple since its inception in 1976. Worth viewing, is Shan Carter's interactive feature for the article, which displays many of Jobs' impressive patent holdings. Another great link takes you to an interactive timeline by Danielle Belopotosky and Sam Gorbart featuring Apples' benchmark achievements during Job's tenure.
      Under Steve Job's leadership, Apple has had a profound influence on the design and publishing industry. Perhaps one of his most important contributions has been the elevation of typography into our daily language. Since the inception of the first Mac, everyone has learned the difference between a serif and sans serif, and they all have opinions about their likes and dislikes of fonts. This has not necessarily improved overall typography standards, but it certainly has invited more people into the typebar for conversation.
       Thinking differently has been Job's approach to everything. Foremost, it was about the user's experience—about how we work and play. (This was evident with the introduction of the first Mac in 1984, when it greeted you with a cheerful Hello). He has been one of the most legendary successful chief executives in corporate history (just 2 weeks ago, Apple surpassed Exxon as the stock market's largest company), and his visionary contributions have changed the way we listen to music and communicate with words and images. He has given us the tools to become a nation of storytellers
, but his personal story remains one of the most inspiring. Though he is officially stepping down from his role as CEO, this is not his fade-out departure into the sunset. He intends to remain involved as chairman of Apple's board, which leaves him more time to concentrate on his personal health challenges. I wish him the greatest success in the next chapter to his remarkably different story.  

The Young Apprentice

New York, February 1917. "Horace Lindfors, 14 year-old printer's helper, sizing up leads for the Riverside Press, First Avenue." 5x7 inch glass negative with photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. Another nice find from the Shorpy photo archives. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Business Casual

Three business cards designed and printed at Prensa la Libertad letterpress studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They're turning out some very fine work there. See more of it on Federico Cimatti's flickrstream. 

Reading for Pleasure

Donald Brun poster, 1966

Oliver Jeffers Book, 2004

Don't miss Shelley Davies' recent post on reading as seen through the eyes of designers, artists and illustrators. These 2 selections are just a sneak preview of her entire archive of readers. It is such a pleasure to see them all in one place. Delightful! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alphabet Mignon

Sweet little French embroidery booklet on Etsy. Ten pages measuring 2x3". Kerning pairs not included. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Alfabeti e Monogrammi

1950s Italian cover design of a 28 page booklet on embroidery patterns for monograms. Pattern booklet is available as a high-rez PDF on Etsy, complete with easy-to-follow instructions. 

The Curwen News-Letters

A few choice selections of some rare editions of the Curwen Press News-Letters from various sources listed in captions. First published in 1932 as a twice yearly promotional magazine, and as a showcase for the Curwen's fine printing and illustration capabilities. The News-Letters included covers designs by some of the most accomplished British artists of their day; Eric RaviliousEdward BawdenBarnett FreedmanPaul NashJohn NashGraham Sutherland, and John Piper. You can read a great deal more about the Curwen Press (1863 to 1983) in a recently published book by Brain Webb and Peyton Skipwith as part of their Design series. This book is about Harold Curwen and Oliver Simon, and it charts the golden years when the press was in their capable hands. The book is beautifully illustrated with images from many of the artists mentioned above.
1934 Curwen Press Newsletter 8 with cover design by Edward Bawden. The unicorn was the identifying mark and many variations of it had been designed over the years.
One of the more popular unicorns was designed by Eric Gill.
::Via Mikey Ashworth's Flickrstream

The 1938 Curwen Press News-Letter 15.
::Via Mikey Ashworth's Flickrstream

The 1939 Curwen Press News-Letter 16 with cover design by John Piper. Ian Beck added a wonderful feature on this piece earlier this Spring on his blog which you can find here. Lots more to explore while you are there. 
Copy of the cover design for the Curwen Press News-Letter 6 by Eric Ravilious in 1934.
::Via Mikey Ashworth's Flickrstream

Left: Actual cover design of the 1934 Curwen Press News-Letter 6. Printed in black and hand colored in blue. Right: A selection of Curwen Press borders, including a new one by Edward Bawden. As seen on eBay.

Advertisement in the 1939 Curwen Press News-Letter 16 for J.M. Richards and Eric Ravilious' High Street which was about to be published. Recently, Ian Beck reported in his blog, "A greater part of the printed stock of this wonderful book was lost in the Blitz making it a great rarity". Last November I added a short piece on Ravilious, High Street and the Curwen Press which you can find here. Thanks again go out to Ian Beck for sharing this great work and others.

Composing room at the Curwen Press circa 1900s.
::Via Hidden Histories