TypograFriday: Eames

As faithful chroniclers of the slab serif revolution (see our picks here and our take on H&FJ’s fantastic options here), we’d be remiss if we didn’t cover House’s new take on the form, Eames Century Modern. This lovely and super complete family makes me think five things in this order:

1. Back in the days of sorting the metal types at CCSF’s type shop, I would sometimes run into some mid-century advertising typefaces and think, “why does no one make things in that proportion anymore?”


2. Dang, I kind of wish we hadn’t gotten Clarendon Text because dang this sort of superfamily is like as useful as that and a bag of chips.


3. Who knew you could make stencils sassy?


4. What does this typeface have to do with the Eames again?


OK,  valid argument/dodge. But, I’m going to use it as an excuse to put Powers of Ten here because if you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it recently, you reaaaaally should.

powers of ten :: charles and ray eames from bacteriasleep on Vimeo.

5. Wait a minute, there’s something familiar. Erik Van Blokland, is that you?


As a matter of a fact, it is Van Blokland who developed the type family (along with the usual suspects at House). He is the typographer/programmer behind Letterror, who brought us the premiere self-randomizing face Beowolf, the most richly alterating typewriter face Trixie, and our favorite extended slab Zapata – in recent years I’d wondered what he’d been up to and now I know.

The dead giveaway to me was the tails on the italics lowercase, which almost make it feel like a clean typeface made out of his fantastic handdrawn face Salmiak. Ever since seeing the Eames specimen I have been hypothesizing a project where we’d use the two together somehow.

TypograFriday: Friends of Type

I am really enjoying Friends of Type. It’s sort of a communal sketchbook more than anything. The four titular friends (Aaron Carámbula, Jason Wong, Erik Marinovich and Dennis Payongayong) who each live/work in different places, are pushing themselves/each other and coming up with great typographic treats day to day and week to week. The work is awesome and getting better and better. They even invite guest editors/contributors like Ed Nacional — with the very best questionnaire designs I have ever seen.






All these and like zillions more, and much bigger, at FoT.

In case you were thinking oh snap I should totally buy that… there are still sets of their edition-of-100 4-print letterpress print set available and it’s pretty great.



TypograFriday: Logotypes in Hebrew

The designers among our readership are probably familiar with Brand New, the blog that features, analyzes and critiques rebrands and logo redesigns. But you might not have seen (because it’s, ahem, brand new) Brand New Classroom, which takes on the even more niche-y topic of student identity redesign projects and invites its readership to constructive critique. Makes me a bit jealous of folks doing design school in the internet age.

Yesterday Brand New Classroom featured Israeli type maestro Oded Ezer‘s students taking on the interesting assignment of making Hebrew versions of logotypes (whilst preserving their character), to pretty fantastic results. Well, as far as I can tell without being able to read the Hebrew. Here’s three of my favorites:

Hallmark by Orly Dekel.

IBM by Rotem Dayan.


Carmel by Stav Axenfeld.


Ezer has some great pieces of typographic experimentation himself, with Latin and Hebrew letters, and a monograph, The Typographer’s Guide to the Galaxy. I particularly like his excellent homage to Glaser.


Etsy Schmetsy: Whiskers

Moustaches (and to a lesser extent beards) have become a crafty-indie motif that’s become nearly as popular as chandeliers, unicorns or deer. As the only Experts editor capable of sprouting whiskers (beyond capable: full disclosure, I’ve been clean shaven under ten times ever) I have been tasked with trying to get to the bottom of the trend.
whiskers_0001_ taraduffwhiskers_0009_yummypocketwhiskers_0003_scodioli

Row 1: Keep warm and look fashionably mountain man-y at once with this bearded beanie by taraduff. There’s lots of moustache pins to be found on Etsy but I really like the classy colors of these vinyl Fancy Moustache Pins by yummypocket best; I couldn’t explore the moustache trend without including a bearded madame: I like all sorts of things about this Geek Scrub vegan soap by scodioli but especially its mashup of contemporary geekery and the old-fashioned chicken-decapitating-with-teeth kind.

Row 2: I drink espresso every morning from a set of stacking espresso cups like these by UptownAvenue –though without the awesome moustache varietals on them. If you’ve grown a moustache on a dare, shaved a beard leaving just a moustache, or you’re a girl who’s gone out partying wearing a false moustache, perhaps you deserve a moustache merit badge like this one from  imadeyouabeard? The monocle cat-erpillar by cordialkitten had me at “monocle” then went ahead and went for five legs, so good.

Row 3: I really like the campy-masculinity of this coffee-and-pipe-tobacco-scented moustache wax by mansfacestuff, the flowing sweetness of this gocco print, “Two” by laurageorge,  and the terrific and original fabric print on the the birds and the beards dress by meandoli

Conclusions: I think it sprung from a combination of a sort of cheeky take on manliness (chucknorrisfacts, those Old Spice commercials) and an offshoot of several other niche motifs (pirates, victoriana, yetis). Devendra Banhart and Daniel Day-Lewis might also shoulder some responsibility?

As a moustache-wearer I am not the target audience for the hundreds of moustaches-on-sticks or -on-chains (or merit badges or dresses) out there: most of these products are aimed at women. Erin from imadeyouabeard notes that in Portland, that mecca of indiecraftiness, there are two kinds of people, “hipsters with beards, and lumberjacks with beards. I was born without the ability to grow a beard, and now I make beards to help people like me blend in with their bearded compatriots.” Bravo Erin. Ladies, help me figure this out, is this what it’s about?

TypograFriday: Ruzicka Revisited


Alright typophiles, are you familiar with Rudolph Ruzicka? His handlettered folio Studies in Type Design? No? Not yet?

Jesse Ragan, Type Designer and friend of the Experts (Samantha and I went to RISD with him), is here to change all that. He’s reviving some of Ruzicka’s type studies (with the blessing of his estate) that have never been made into type at all: not metal, photoset or digital. While I was not familar with Ruzicka in the same way I am with Zapf, Gill, Berthold or dozens of other letterer/typographers, his letters are pretty stunning; I am excited at Jesse’s undertaking.

Even if you’re not a fan of the calligraphically-derived serif as we are, you should check this out: he’s keeping a blog about his process, which is thoughtful and gets delightfully deep into the work. The most recent post for instance, which he wrote for a column for Grafik magazine, is a longish piece largely about reconciling a single character, an elegant double-storey lowercase “g.” It’s a great mix of openness about the challenges of the process and meditatively ressurecting and conversing with the absent Ruzicka through the close interpretation of his letters.


For those of us who think ilt‘s pedagogical essays are too few and far between, who miss not just typographi.ca but linesandsplines, or who have ever looked for Spiekermann’s other book, there’s something new for your rss feed.

The temptation to clothe the twenty-six leaden soldiers in new array is irresistible. This is the only apology offered for suggesting still further additions to the seemingly infinite variety of existent typefaces.

-R.R. Studies in Type Design

All images courtesy Ruzicka Revisited.

Etsy Shmetsy: sneer

Want to come across a bit edgier? Let Etsy help you cultivate a punk sneer!


Step 1: Make scornful fun of your own music taste and that of others using exquisite and hilaré  letterpress cards. “5 Things I have learned from the in-depth reading of Ice Ice Baby: The Extraordinary Vanilla Ice Story, an Unauthorized Biography” card from rookery, or this incredible the Smiths card from kseniya.


Step 2: accessorize a little ooky. You know, slightly Addam’s Family, slightly Ghost World. I recommend these old hi-fi pins from potatopotato with their beautiful vintage type. And/or this skeleton hands sweater clip from ItsASwindle — which of course necessitate wearing the right sort of sweater.


Step 3: reference the cult canon. For instance, VenusFlytrapJewelsBanksy cufflinks (a pirate edition of renegade art. Be sure to point out the irony). Or FableAndFury‘s Clockwork Orange prisoner number necklace, a reference so awesomely obscure it might as well be a tally of the cool points you garner by wearing it.


Step 4: Don’t forget! First, Prettiness can be punk (courtesy of BeatUpCreations) and, for god’s sake wear the shark shirt (courtesy of darkcycleclothing).

TypograFriday: I Wonder

As we’ve mentioned repeatedly (like here, here and here), we are huge fans of Canadian designer Marian Bantjes and her exquisite work. So, we’re pretty excited about her upcoming book, I Wonder. It’s not a monograph of her work-to-date: all the design in it was created just for the book. And as you can see from the galleys below it’s visually stunning with plenty of spot gold, I can tell you from my days following her on Speak Up, the observational/essay content is bound to be awesome too. We don’t acquire books at the rate we used to but are psyched to have this next to visual/verbal communicators the likes of Sagmeister, Venezky, David Byrne and Paula Scher.

You can read more about the book in her preview, and it is available for pre-order on Amazon for a great price.

Down the Fractal Beanstalk

You know how But Does It Float fades in its wordless content slowly and one at a time, leading to a sort of dreamlike user experience? Well the other day, I was wading through its abstract wonderland and a few scenes from another world caught my eye.



They’re by notable generative artist Tim Hutchinson. Impressed and intrigued, I looked into Hutchinson further. He’s made algorithmically generated art using a variety of software and runs a thoughtful and serious blog about Fractal Art called Orbit Trap.

The ones that most impressed me were made in a program called Fyre. I’m not the right sort of a geek to figure out how to run this on a Mac (command line? DarwinPorts? Unix?); I’d appreciate anyone’s help because, damn do I want to play with that. Please.



Four pieces of iterative art I did today, after the jump.

Continue reading Down the Fractal Beanstalk

TypograFriday: All Your Slab Are Belong to H&FJ

Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, typographic superstars who positioned themselves so strategically in their field that they registered typography.com, have recently announced their third serif in two years.

While many type designers create their faces primarily out of their passions, H&FJ made their decision with market strategy in mind as well. It’s pretty clear by now that the era we’re in (and hopefully not leaving too soon) will be judged by history to be an age of slab serif. And like a pool hustler suddenly sinking shot after shot, it’s breathtaking to watch how quickly H&FJ have created three of the strongest, most fully-featured slabs on the market.

, their newest, is their foray into the type of the moment: a square-based slab. But just when I find myself absolutely loving its stylish proportions, it screams out something ultramasculine (I can see it on high priced electronics and sports magazines alike).

, which seems like it just came out, is their Clarendon. It’s explicitly designed (like Canada Type’s Clarendon Text) to work better in text settings than most clarendons, plus it has an unmatched range of weights.

And Archer, their Antique slab with cute as a button ball terminals and a large range of hairline weights, still has us drooling.

Four more of our favorite slabs that aren’t by H&FJ and that we didn’t feature in our last slabs roundup:


PMN Caecila • Before the 21st century slab rennaissance this was my favorite. And I love that most books on the Kindle are set in it, so pleasant.

Museo Slab • if Archer is too expensive, start with the free weight of Museo; the whole set is pretty affordable.

Granite • Alright so this isn’t a text face but I love it so much I’m putting it in here anyway. I’m a big fan of Gareth Hague’s sense of proportion in general; his faces have a noteworthy elegance. This extreme-contrast slab is no exception.

Neutraliser • Actually now that Vitesse is on the market, art directors at men’s magazines everywhere are find/replacing their captions paragraph style from Neutraliser to Vitesse. But in 2004, it was certainly ahead of the curve

BAFTA Posters from Tavis Coburn

Fantastic retro-stylist illustrator Tavis Coburn put together five program covers/posters for the BAFTA awards (British Academy’s version of the Oscars) and they’re amazing, both individually and taken as a set. Click through for full-resolution: the halftones and details are worth it.






Oh and although I saw Avatar twice in theaters, I am thrilled that Kathryn Bigelow beat James Cameron at the BAFTAs – The Hurt Locker was an incredible film.

via Drawn!

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