Friday, August 31, 2012

Literary Table Napkins

Enjoy the company of four of the world's greatest writers at your dining table. This set of four cotton napkins featuring the typewritten letters of Jack London, Emily Dickinson, D.H. Lawrence, and Mark Twain will enliven any meal. Never mind that Emily Dickinson's loveletter to Susie was written about ten years prior to the invention of the typewriter—it  will melt your heart. Mark Twain's note to a young child named Joy will make you rethink every letter you have ever written. "The idea of your house going to the wanton expense of a flower garden!—aren't you enough? And what do you want to go and discourage the other flowers for? Is that the right spirit? is it considerate? is it kind? How do you suppose they feel when you come around—looking the way you look? And you so pink and sweet and dainty and lovely and supernatural? Why, it makes them feel embarrassed and artificial, of course; and in my opinion it is just as pathetic as it can be."
      However clever and irresistable, this set of four literary letters are only available from Anthropologie for a ridiculous sum, and the cotton cloth is much too thin. It seems far too high a price to pay for keeping good company, but then again, good friends are indeed priceless.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Linotype Machine Invention: Animated

Another teaser clip from the documentary Linotype: The Film, about the machine that changed the world in the 19th century, was recently released in advance of the much anticipated mid-October DVD release. I had an opportunity to attend a screening of the entire film last Spring and found it fun and fascinating. For those of you in the Seattle area, you can purchase tickets for another showing of the film to be screened on Sunday, September 23, at 2:30 as part of the Seattle Design Festival. Meanwhile, sit back and watch all of the other released film clips while you wait.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For The Love of Type

View this entire Doyald Young, Logotype Designer course and more in the Online Training Library®.
     Doyald Young (1926-2011) left school in the 10th grade and began lettering show cards for W.T. Grant Five-and-Dime store in Los Angeles. He studied at the Frank Wiggins Trade School and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (formerly Art Center School), where he went on to teach hand lettering and logo design for 30 years. He authored several great books on lettering and logo design and released a number of commercial fonts over the course of his long career. Young was always a lover of language and words, and of course letters, which he designed with exquisite detail and craft.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

11th Annual SVC Steamroller Smackdown

This past Saturday marked the 11th annual Steamroller Smackdown at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. It was a grand three ring circus with a heavy metal marketplace of used type and materials, printer's and book artist vendors, food & live music by the twin Canote Brothers, keepsake poster printing in the letterpress studio, and a benefit auction. At center stage was a 2-ton steamroller for some parking lot printmaking fun. Creative teams assembled from all parts of the Northwest to design and print their oversized linoleum artworks. The grand prize trophy was awarded to Keegan Wenkman of Keegan Meegan for his Printing is Easy giant 2-color linocut poster.
::Above photos by Alex DeSpain. All other photos are my own except where noted.  

Sales of new & used type and printing equipment carry on under the big tent.

The pit crew at The Evolution Press reviews their 1st impression of the original Heidel-Rod.
::Photo by Jungstudio 

One of several rooms full of printing and book arts vendors. Below are a number of posters for sale from Keegan Meegan.
::Both of these pho by Alex DeSpain

David Black's robot prints. Black's Bots!

Jr. letterpress printer vendor, Aiden Wilkson proudly displays his 3 color print, X Press. Just behind his print I found a discreetly hidden stash of candy wrappers. Not sayin' who they belonged to.

Justin LaRosa of Physical Fiction takes the cake for his innovative Lego endeavors. (If it were me, I would have awarded him an honorary Hostess cupcake from the original old bakery next door to SVC). He's been doing this for some time actually, and gaining recognition as a Lego print meister. Justin made a type-high base to accommodate his little Lego parts and designs images with the patience of a hand typesetter. The multi-colored posters are printed on a large showcard press giving his illustrations the appearance of enlarged pixelated icons when completed.

Mare Blocker, of the M Kimberly Press displayed a handcut linoleum text.

Stumptown Printers of Portland, Oregon must have some really big presses to handle this wooden type. No wonder there are so many clearcuts in the Northwest!
     Much gratitudeness goes out to the good folks at SVC who have done so much to foster interest in the printing arts by continually organizing this festive event over the years! Making it safe to take printing to the streets! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Born to Letter

The Born and Raised album cover created for John Mayer, by British lettering artist David Smith. Mayer, who has some experience in graphic design, asked Smith to include coins watches, flowers and ribbons in his illustration. The pencil artwork, vectoring and Photoshop work took roughly one month to complete, according to Smith, and he claims it has been one of the most enjoyable projects he has worked on to date due to Mayer's involvement.
     Smith is a long-time lettering artist and self-described traditional ornamental glass artist. Based upon his lettering skills and style, you would think he is 120 years old. He began his career as a signpainter in 1984 at age 16, but later sold that business at the peak of his career, in order to concentrate more fully on his passion for creating elaborate lettering on glass and mirrors. He loves his work and wishes to share his knowledge and processes of Victorian cut glass and gilding work with other craftsmen who appreciate this nearly lost art. Much of his work is very well documented on his website where you can also purchase some of Smiths' font designs and vector scrolls and catch some nice videos of him working. Truly inspiring!

::Thanks to Design Work Life for this great entry.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Portrayal of The Count of Monte Cristo

The three Count of Monte Cristo book cover designs above, and their dust jackets all below, were designed by Czech artist, Adolf Born in 1963. Born still lives and works in Prague and has been a prolific designer, cartoonist, animator and illustrator of books throughout his career. His three book set with silkscreened bookcloth covers and dust jackets are especially appealing. The hand lettering and Born's charming scratchboard-style illustrations immediately caught my eye after finding them on Oliver Tomas' great Flickrstream. The significance of the 1, 2 & 3 featured on the covers relates to Alexander Dumas' classic story of revenge of the Counts' three jealous friends. As a group, I love the minimalist purple covers, but have to wonder whose decision it was to pair them with the 3 primary-colored dust jackets. Harsh! Yet it doesn't detract from Born's great work.

Now, for another completely different take on The Count of Monte Cristo from a 1942 Classic Comics edition. It comes with an added bonus of "clear readable type"—just what you want in a book.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The LunchBook

Snack on this: An international recipe book with "paper plate" pages to eat on. LunchBook is  designed by Italian design team Sebastiano Ercoli and Alessandro Garlandini for the Expo Milano 2015 world exposition dedicated to food, sustainability and nutrition. This culinary world book contains international recipes encouraging the visitor to use its pages as plates and taste the many dishes from Expo Milano food stands. Once a page is used it can be easily removed. The pages have been coated with a waterproof biopolymer film and are 100% recyclable and compostable. An added feature is having each paper plate's border based upon the traditional designs of the recipe's country of origin. will leave you hungry for more great design.

Further noted, is architectural student Andrea Puppa's dynamic winning design for the Expo 2015 logo competition. Puppa's design was one of two chosen from over 700 student submissions by a panel of judges chaired by Giorgio Armani. His design was then selected by a popular vote on May 22, 2011 after the 2 works were posted on the event's official website. 
:: Via Taxi and cross-posted today over at Book Patrol.

Monday, August 20, 2012

John Clark's Alphabets

Spied over on an Antiques Atlas site some time ago, was this 1921 booklet of alphabets from Wayside Mews Collectibles. Sorry, it is sold—so you can look, but not touch. John M. Clark's Series of Alphabets Etc. for Sign Writers, Decorative Designers and Draughtsmen. Published in London by the Trade Papers Publishing Co., Ltd. 22 pages of type treats.