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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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.

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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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TypograFriday: Effin’ copperplate

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We’re happy to announce our second ever birthday card is now available in our Etsy shop. It’s Gocco-printed in bronze and light blue ink on black duplex paper (white on the inside) or chipboard or special limited quantity on pale aqua and reads Happy Effin’ Birthday.

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The message and ornaments are hand-lettered in a Victorian-era style of calligraphy called copperplate. I spent much of the summer learning it, and now know it well enough to make very pretty letters — heck, I’m nearly ready for the marathon challenge of addressing wedding invitations. But, I wrote this about halfway through the class — we wanted it to have of imperfections and downright mistakes so that your birthday recipient won’t squint at it and say, “oh is that Kuenstler Script?”

More information on copperplate, the class I took and some fonts after the jump.
Continue reading TypograFriday: Effin’ copperplate

TypograFriday: Taschen’s Type 1

We’re type geeks for sure. But, then there are the Jonathan Hoeflers and Robert Lees of the world, who collect type sample books from centuries past and trade anecdotes about the quirkiness of the editions. Now, with Taschen’s help, we can aspire to join their elite level of type-geekery.

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Type. A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, Vol. 1 reproduces over a thousand pages from type specimens 1628 – 1900 (volume 2 will cover 20th century specimens). And it comes not with a CD, but with an account code to download high res scans from the originals, not printing-rosette’d reproductions. They are fantastic. Oh and the book is gorgeously hefty, matte-paged, and printed with spot-gold accents.

More pictures and type-talk after the jump.

Continue reading TypograFriday: Taschen’s Type 1

TypograFriday: five font games

Like type, but have have some free time on your hands? Long ago we introduced you to the great diversion, the Deep font game. Here’s five more.

The Rather Difficult Font Game. Hosted by iLT, lovely design and no time limit unlike the Deep game, this one is font-snobbery’s teatime test. There’s also an app store version.

Is it Ariel or Helvetica. Font ID test with only two fonts; shames you into learning the differences.

Ariel vs Helvetica When you tire of identifying the distinction, it’s time to move on to the streetfighter-style brawling game between the rival sans.

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Cheese or Font. Sort of a one-note joke but I was surprised by how many I’d never heard of and guessed wrong on.fontgame_cheese

KERN for iPhone/iPod touch. Like Tetris meets The Eyeballing Game with letters. I know a few experts who’d love this… if it weren’t so close to what they’ve spent a zillion hours getting paid to do.

TypograFriday: Tania Alvarez

Tania Alvarez is from Mexico City but studied in Montreal. She put together these astonishingly delicate, organic vector art alphabet systems. The first sample is from “Fabric” which wraps its vector tatters about a bodoni-esque hairline frame. The second is from “Overseas,” where the tatters themselves make the letterforms.

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One more of each after the jump. Lots more through the links.

Continue reading TypograFriday: Tania Alvarez

Typografimonday: Canadatype sale!

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Attention loyal readers; one of the most prolific foundries around is having a spectacular half off everything sale for one day only this Monday. Get em while the US dollar’s worth somethin! Ten of our favorites after the jump.

Continue reading Typografimonday: Canadatype sale!

TypograFriday: No Futura

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Paul Renner’s Futura is an amazing typeface, equally adept at playing 60s modernism as timelessly contemporary cool. Some have made iconic use of it: A. Volkswagen (an Erik Spiekermann variant), B. fave-director Wes Anderson (not just for titles but in-film signage), C. Barbara Kruger (bold italic), D. Draplin Design Co./Field Notes and E. Ikea… whoops, until now.

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Yes that’s right. Ikea just switched from their bold, iconic use of Futura to Verdana, and their stated reasoning reflects a very poor thought process. They want to use the same type for all countries, including Asian ones, and Verdana has Asian character sets. And yet: there’s tons of modern monoweight Asian character sets that would match Futura perfectly well. They want to match the web to print. Yes, that does get a bit tricky, but other companies have found workarounds, and besides haven’t these people read “Harrison Bergeron“? Handicapping your display signage by putting it in a web text face just so that everything can match, for shame! So Futura doesn’t have Asian characters: Verdana doesn’t have effin display weights, it’s made for onscreen legibility! Use it large (as Ikea is bound to do) and it looks plain goofy instead of awesome like big Futura. Will every piece of furniture be available only in websafe colors?

There’s a lot of outcry and discussion on this (see designer discussion on typophile, mostly nondesigner discussion on metafilter, a good visual post on idsgn, the online petition, sets on flickr, etc.) and our hope is they quickly reverse their decision. The CIO claims that their identity is not wrapped up in Futura, but we disagree. See this 1965 catalog for what we mean.

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Typografriday: playplayplayplay

It’s not new but people who aren’t type geeks may never have seen it. Quietly, unassumingly, and for years on and off, thirsttype founder Rick Valicenti, along with young designers Robb Irrgang and Satoru Nihei have been curating The Playground.canada goose mens jacket

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Mike Essl

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Andrea Tinnes

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Guang Yu

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Rick Valicenti

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Marian Bantjes

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Paula Scher

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Ed Fella

The interface/navigation is one of my favorites ever, and the concept simple. Each project’s designer makes an alphabet of 26 characters (or sometimes more; Paula Scher did like a dozen alphabets). The letters, some details about the alphabet and its designer, and in many cases a few designs using the type, are available to explore. Recent designs are available for download, though this is disabled after time. Type lovers: take some time to play.

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