Typeface Tuesday: Functional type

Hi. Wishing you a rad Tuesday. What’s not to love? The weather’s nice and mild, and we only have 3 more days until a 3-day weekend.

So, as some of you may know I got a bike–a white and orange hybrid-style Marin. The color find is totally random but perfect because I look pretty darn good in white modes of transportation…take exhibit A (Miami circa 2004) below.

Anyways, the point of my story is that I’ve gotten really into biking as of late and finally got a new one after what feels like forever BUT is really since I was about 12 years old. At that point I’m sure I had some glittery pink-purple thing and unfortunately it got stolen hence why I am soooo protective of my new wheels.

Enough about me. Let’s talk type. Type that comes in an interesting form and does relate to my anecdote above, I promise. It’s type as a bikerack…or maybe a bikerack as type? Either way, I think this is way amusing and great how the type is functional while also being perfectly readable. What’s extra cool is that it’s located here in DC over by the Dupont Circle Metro stop…so ladies and gents, make sure to lock up your bike on this fancy rack all in the name of typography and non-bike-theft!

See you in the bike lane.

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Typeface Tuesdays: Type Connection

Oh do I have a treat for you on this rainy Tuesday!

It’s only two words but a whole lot of type fun — Type Connection.

Basically, this site is a typographic dating game, which means you match typefaces much like you would match two people looking for love. This site is really clever, well constructed site which is clearly founded on a lot of thorough research and typographic expertise. Aura Seltzer, the MICA MFA graphic design graduate who is the brainchild behind this project, knows how to add a dose of humor to make type matching easy and fun. Case in point: Adobe Garamond Pro describes himself as “A modern-day, high renaissance man.”

Hmmm, he might be my type.

Ok, take a peak at the game below… as you can see when you scroll over a type character it changes to green and presents a description. Double click on the character and it takes you another screen where you can choose its match.

Once you’re sick of type matching, or if you just want to get the low down on the best typeface matches from the getgo (aka “you’re tired of being played”), check out the Meet the Matches tab…

Happy playing and remember to keep an open mind when it comes to matching.

And take some time to check out more of Aura’s awesome work, and follow Type Connection at @typeconnection.

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Typeface Tuesdays: Sculptural Type

Haaaaaapppppy Tuesday. Bummed I missed you guys last week but last Tuesday I was completely overcome by events. The good news, however, is I’m baaaaaack because I couldn’t stay away too long. Okay, fine, I’ll stop with the exaggerated A’s.

So I was doing some research and stumbled upon this great looking poster designed by Labour in NYC. What I love about it is how they handcrafted the type and turned it into a sculpture, a true piece of artwork in and of itself. In fact, I think it would make for a beautiful mobile, and reminds me a little of Joan Miro’s work…which for you DC peeps, he is currently showing at the National Gallery. Check it out.

I’ve only spent a mere 15 minutes checking out Labour’s work and I already love them. Stop everything you’re doing right now to check out their site or give them some love on Twitter (@LabourNY).

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Typeface Tuesdays: Typographic Maps

Hello. Is it summer yet? This weather is freaking killing me. 57 degrees? Grrrr

Let’s brighten our day and get our type talk on. Oh yeah.

Over the weekend, I was introduced to a wonderful, type-based take on the DC map. I hadn’t seen anything quite like it before. But you better like Helvetica (or at least not detest it) because it’s more than a healthy dose of this acclaimed typeface.

When I did some further research on typographic maps I discovered there are actually a slew of variations, and among them I reallyyy love this one….

Oh, and until next time…enjoy this blingin’ URL (yes, I’m easily amused)http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/tmagazine/images/NYT-Confetti2.gif

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Typeface Tuesdays: Mad Men Era Type

Okay, I know I know I’m a little late on this one…

I’m feeling the Mad Men vibe these days. Among the intriguing storyline I can’t get enough of that hottie pottie, Don Draper. Break me off a piece of that.

So in honor of the series, I am going to take you back to the advertising age of the 1960s and walk through, at a super high level mind you, how type was used back than compared to today. Taking a look at print ads only, there are some interesting distinctions. My overall take is that there were a lot less design rules back then when it came to type. (Also note: there are obviously a lot of other differences with these ads, particularly the tone of the message itself)

  • There was a tendency to incorporate much more copy I guess because the notion was the product required more of description to sell it
  • There weren’t as many rules around how many and what kind of typefaces could be combined (take a peak at the Maybelline ad below)
  • The justification and leading does not appear to have as much consistency or flow, and in general the spacing feels tighter around graphics and there is less of an appreciation for white space

VOLKSWAGEN

MAYBELLINE

CIGARETTES

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Cindy Sherman: The Ultimate Chameleon

It’s safe to say I am obsessed with the work of Cindy Sherman. She is truly talented and I really respect the career she has built over the past 35 years. Her creativity and imagination astounds me. I saw her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) this weekend and although it was a little sparser than I expected, I enjoyed the MOMA’s display of her work. According to a New York Times article, the MOMA rightly described her work as “the unchallenged cornerstone of postmodern photography.”

I’ve always had a thing for playing dress up and make believe…and Cindy has made a living killing doing just that and then photographing herself often perfectly capturing the emotion and personality of the subject. You immediately want to know the story behind the subject at hand…what’s behind that fierce grin or those longing eyes? I don’t even know how Cindy comes up with all of the different personas she becomes, but besides that she executes just as impressively…they are so super believable. Something I learned this weekend is that she shoots everything in her studio where she projects different backgrounds (cityscapes, courtyards, office buildings, etc.). It was also cool to learn more about the progression of her work. She first became famous decades ago for doing a series of black and white portraits. Then she got into the heavy-duty costumes in which she has mocked the PR moguls and actress wanna-bes, she has glorified the victimized androgynous types, she has taken the viewer back in time by recounting many historical moments while also poking fun, she has even shown us her perverted side and apparent preoccupation with clowns. I don’t show any of the later two because, well, neither are really my thang.

The MOMA exhibit ends in May, so go see it now!

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Typeface Tuesdays: Combining type

Something that always puts me in a good mood is a cup of tea. Earl Grey. Mint. Green. You name it (except the kind that helps with “cleansing”…I stay away from that!)

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a brand of tea I had never heard of before–Paromi tea. Now this tea doesn’t only taste authenically good, but also looks great. This isn’t your granny’s favorite Twinings (which I’ve been bred to love but have drifted from)…this is a burst of flavor and color, and some healthy antioxidants to boot.

The packaging, right down to the tea bag itself, is unlike anything I’ve seen out there for this kind of product. One element that really stood out to me was the type…the designer did a really nice job of combining multiple fonts across categories. There is a very distinctive script and sans serif in the branding, and then the rest of the packaging showcases a serif and another script-y font. Technically speaking, if we were to follow “the rules” this is really too many fonts, but rules can be boringggg and I must say here it works as it was done thoughtfully and with good craftsmanship. Besides that, I enjoy the color coding that was implemented across the package where each container/flavor has a unique palette. One thing, for the sake of design, is I wish they had the little tea string and label, but from a practically and economical standpoint it’s not really necessary…I like my tea bag to sit in the cup the whole time I drink it anyway, don’t want to waste one bit of flavor!

Bottoms up.

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Digging Daniela Edburg’s creepy humor

So, a funny little factoid is I don’t get creeped out easily. I don’t mind thinking about morbid things, and bugs and blood don’t really gross me out. I do have a limit, however, and could barely handle the scene in Drive where Ryan Gosling crushes the guy’s skull on the elevator…I think it was the sound that really got me.

Anyhoo, I say all of this because I really dig the work of surrealist Mexican artist, Daniela Edburg, and her stuff is definitely creeeeepy but also so clever and often very funny. I was recently introduced to her work and couldn’t get enough. This woman has a serious imagination, a terrific eye, and some majorly BADASS Photoshop skills. I would give anything to work Photoshop like she does! What I’ve gathered is that Daniela’s main motif is taking everyday situation or everyday people (often domestic goddesses) and putting a distributing twist to it. Take for instance an atomic bomb as the backdrop for a nice, friendly family picnic. Check out the atomic symbol on the cake…

The conceptual aspect of her work reminds me of the brilliant…and equally (or more) disturbed…Cindy Sherman, whose retrospective at the MOMA I am looking forward to seeing in the next 2 weeks.

And, last but not least, one of my personal favorites–“Death By Chocolate”–what a way to go

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Typeface Tuesdays: 1,000 Fonts

Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t know which type will fit the mood of your piece? Are you looking to branch out of your regular rotation of typefaces?

Get this book…….

1,000 Fonts: An Illustrated Guide to Finding the Right Typeface

…and I promise you won’t be disappointed. This comprehensive guide is broken down into types of fonts–serif, sans serif, display, script, billboard & poster, monospaced, screen & web, inline & stencil, ornamental, symbols & dingbats, fun, and illustrative. There are pictures and great descriptions about how the font came out and the reasoning behind its shape and style.

Think of it like the book that keeps on giving because you keep being introduced to new fonts. Pretty cool.

With the Hirshhorn’s latest installation, DC is becoming quite the arts town

Recently, on a late night run with my good friend, I stumbled upon the most magical thing.

We were running across the National Mall towards the US Capitol, surrounded by magnificent monuments and museums from all angles (a very DC moment indeed). We caught a murmur of music and a stream of lights, and we ran faster towards it, eager to discover what is was all about. My curiosity kicked into high gear, and as we got closer it started to come alive.

We ended up in front of the Hirshhorn Museum, DC’s modern museum of art and in recent years one of my favorites. What was different about the museum that night was its cylinder structure was draped in a video which incorporated many different takes of the song “I only have eyes from you” by the Flamingos. It felt almost like a series of short music videos from the perspectives of various artists/individuals. We watched it in awe for a while, and then continued on our run, but I couldn’t help but feel this continuous buzz of excitement inside of me. It is truly fascinating to experience an installation of that size where the structure is the canvas. This interactive installation delights multiple senses at once, and it can never be experienced the same way more than once, making it truly dynamic and captivating.

Upon later research, and another visit back, I discovered that this art piece is a short-term installation by Doug Aitken, an American artist based in New York. Called SONG 1, Aitken’s installation at the Hirshhorn is among his many commissions known as “liquid architecture” where he transforms a building into a piece of art that is influenced by its structure and surrounding environment.

Song 1 is only in town for 8-weeks, which is now down to 7…so make sure to check it out stat and preferably at night for the full effect. I get chills just thinking about it.

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