TypograFriday: Fraktur, part 2

Last typografriday I shared with you my obsession for blackletter type; this week I promised I’d give you some context. Not that long ago, I was someone, much like most of you, who associated blackletter’s heavy strokes and barbed finials with Nazis, gangs, metal bands, rap and newspaper mastheads. How did I get from from there to here? I’ll share some of my path. But after the jump.

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Continue reading TypograFriday: Fraktur, part 2

My Tree and Me

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I have been weirdly into genealogy ever since I had to make a family tree in the sixth grade. And, as you may have noticed, we are pretty into information design. Give that, it is no surprise that I am really into Jen O’neill’s custom family trees from My Tree and Me. There are a number of custom designs available and a few DIY write-in versions as well. These would make a great present for new parents, or for yourself.
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via design*sponge

TypograFriday: Fraktur, Part One

So, I’ve been obsessed with blackletter type for years, and putting off blogging about it for who knows how many TypograFridays. Before I start in on, “what exactly is fraktur/blackletter”— that’ll be part two! — I thought I’d show you a few of the projects I have used it on recently as a means of showing how obsessed I’ve become (click here if you can’t wait until next week to find out a little more history).

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It started when, for a book arts class in 2007, I made a short book about blackletter, sort of a rambling discursive monologue about its contemporary use and non-use: blaming the Third Reich for why Gutenberg’s beautiful type has now been reduced to being used only for certificates and death metal, setting some of On the Road in it, analyzing its form (“arrows pointing heavenward and to the ground at once. Its dark strokes are heavy but because of its stilletto heels it still manages to float,” &c.), discussing contemporary attempts at revival, recounting my nervousness that I’ll land on an FBI watchlist when I looked for the verboten Nazi fraktur/roman hybrid ‘jackbook grotesques’ online, and so forth.

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This year, I’ve hand-drawn blackletter for three projects: it’s apparently my new favorite thing. Most recently, our newest Christmas card uses hand-drawn blackletter that fuses heavy metal pointiness and spurs with classic fraktur shapes and interweaves it with a black scroll studded with lettering for something which leans slightly more toward dangerous than traditional. It may be my favorite card yet; we’re really happy with this one.

Continue reading TypograFriday: Fraktur, Part One

TypograFriday: Meet Mr. Eaves

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We’re pretty excited about Emigre’s latest font release, Mr. Eaves — designed by Zuzana Licko to be the sans serif companion to her super popular Mrs. Eaves. It comes in a “sans” and a “modern” — the former like a warmer, quirkier Gill Sans and the latter geometricizing out some of the humanism (double-storey “a” and “g,” tailed “l”) and approaching Avenir or Neutra Text. They both have delicious italics, small caps and a heavy weight which has no correspondence in Mrs. Eaves (and which one hopes will help displace the frankly hideous Gill Sans Ultra Bold).

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Continue reading TypograFriday: Meet Mr. Eaves

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

It seems hard to believe, but the holidays are quickly approaching. Owen and I have been printing and designing like madmen and should have the shop filled with new holiday designs soon.

Joy card

While we do our best to photograph the cards accurately, they actually look much better in person than they do online. If you are in the Bay Area, we will be selling our cards at:

  • Indie Mart at Thee Parkside on Sunday, November 8th
  • RISD Alumni Sale at Ft. Mason on Sunday, December 6th

Hope to see some of you there!

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TypograFriday: Appetite Engineers

I used to pine over images of self-promotional pieces in design annuals, wondering how one gets one of those. As of this week, I now possess a fantastic one by one of my favorite contemporary designers, Martin Venezky — my first letterpress print that calls out Facebook.

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He’s designed two books recently that are of great interest. One is Mission Muralismo, a celebration of San Francisco murals. There’s a reception around this book Friday November 6 at 6:00 at the deYoung (with many of the artists in attendance.) The other is Finding Frida Kahlo, Barbara Levine’s book of newly unearthed Kahlo work which as it turns out might be forgeries.

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I am totally excited about both books; I know neither is particularly typographic but, Venezky can work the hell out of a two-page spread.

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I first became aware of Venezky’s work from his masterful art direction of the ahead-of-its time Speak Magazine, (which I eulogized when Speak Up closed down) and later took a class on experimental letterpress from him at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Appetite Engineers moved from San Francisco to New York a few years back, and now they’ve moved back. I can’t wait to see his incredible (and still fresh) type collages on MUNI bus shelters again: welcome back Appetite Engineers!

Here’s his previous promotion, which I only wish I had (click for gigantic).
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And here is some more of Appetite Engineer’s fabulous work:
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Negative Space

We’re firm believers that a logo needs to work equally well in black-and-white as it does in color. Logo Design Love has compiled an awesome selection of logos that work fantastically in one color and put their negative space to great use.guild-food-writers-logoogden-plumbing-logo
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And while we’re on the topic of negative space, have you seen Noma Bar‘s work? He has a new book, so his illustrations have been floating around on a lot of blogs in the past few weeks, but for good reason. His work is just awesome.Noma-1
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Logo Credits:
TOP: Ogden Plumbing logo by Astuteo (left); Guild of Food Writers logo by 300million (right)
BOTTOM: Martin Newcombe Property Maintenance logo by buddy (left); WWF
By Sir Peter Scott, modified by Landor (right)

TypograFriday: Si Scott

Si Scott is an illustrator/designer who has a distinctive (and widely imitated) explosive organic growth line style. Since exploding on the scene a few years back, he’s been all over the place. Here’s a few somewhat lesser-seen examples of his type work. If his work is new to you, please do yourself a favor and look at the rest.

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Most of his typographic work uses bold sans serif type interspersed with fluid growth. All of it is done by hand with pen and ink!

Five more after the jump.

Continue reading TypograFriday: Si Scott

TypograFriday: We need restraint

We have a problem with prints. Too many, not enough walls, and we keep seeing and buying more that we like. We have tried being more discerning: saying “no” to handlettering genius Ray Fenwick at Tiny Showcase this week was tough for instance.

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Then Johno, typeblogger extraordinaire, comissioned a reasonably-priced limited edition letterpress “Typography” print set in Restraint by Marian Bantjes. I mean seriously how many words in that sentence aren’t fantastic? “In” and “a?” The print is gorgeous, the best use of Restraint we’ve seen yet (its interesting usage agreement keeps you from seeing it just anywhere). And over at the site of the printer, Typoretum, you can see pictures of the magnesum printing plate (so much prettier than photopolymer).

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Here’s the Ray Fenwick print that we “showed restraint” and didn’t buy this week. Love the text.

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And here’s the print I covet most of all, by Studio on Fire for the College of Visual Arts. Houston, we have a problem.

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Good Design

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We’ve posted some of Frank Chimero’s work in the past, but, his work is consistently pretty great and this print made me smile.

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