Comic Sans For Cancer
Earlier this week I went along to the opening of the Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition inspired by the 20th anniversary of type designer, Vincent Connare’s clownish typeface.
Around 200 designs from 34 countries were invited to illustrate what the typeface means to them. Posters, featuring the typeface ‘everybody loves to hate’, were are being sold to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Due to the character of the typeface combined with of the subject matter, the excellent collection of designs lean toward the quirky and amusing. London based, Vincent Connare was at the event and giving it his full support, signing books and copies of the poster that that he’d submitted (featuring his normally placid cat, above).
Comic Sans for Cancer. Until 24th August 2014, The Proud Archivist London
Laid-back Lettering, revisited
A year ago this week I interviewed Mary Kate McDevitt, a letterer living in Brooklyn. Following-up, I noticed plenty of new work over on her site.
You can clearly see her relaxed, informal style has really solidified in these examples together with a vintage colour palette, which I really like.
If you missed the interview take a look here.
It’s surprising and a little exciting when you flick through Tumblr and see something you’ve designed. This recent musical ‘G’ was inspired by the Pouchée types. It needs a little more work and is part of a bigger design which I’m hoping to finish and then letterpress later this month. More to follow.
Musical ‘G’ by Jamie Clarke
Here in our fourth celebratory guest post, Brand and lettering designer Andrei Robu reveals his philosophy for high quality work.
I’ve realised I’ve been searching for a new place to call home.
I’ve just realised that we’ve been in and out of South East Asia for the past two years. Together with my girlfriend, we’ve spent three months in Indonesia, two in the Philippines, eight months in Bangkok. I’m writing this from Berlin and next week I’ll be in Vienna. All of this while freelancing, and all because we were searching for something.
It all started out as an excuse to relax. I needed some time off after getting out of a partnership in a design studio - managing people is damn exhausting. Time away made me realise how important the simple things are, having your coffee at your favourite coffee shop in the morning, enjoying the sun at lunch, meeting friends in the park in the afternoon, living in a big apartment in a nice and safe city… they are all priceless and wouldn’t be possible without my work. I get to draw for a living.
I stare at the strokes, move the beziers, redraw until it feels right, and I get at peace while doing it.
I drew letters all my life but while travelling I first discovered the pleasure of drawing a typeface. Type design for me is balance. I do it without pursuing perfection in any of its forms. I just do it because I love it. It’s a bit like meditation: I stare at the strokes, move the beziers, redraw until it feels right, and I get at peace while doing it. I know many like-minded people who love the sound of the pencil touching the paper; discovering a nice ligature by accident. It’s pure pleasure; it’s passion, and you feel there’s this certain elegance of the craft.
After working for so many years I’ve realised that I need plenty of time and space to be able to create the best work for my clients. Going to an office can be fun but not being able to choose the projects you take on is bad for you and your client.
My next step is to find the place where I get to choose my opportunities. I want to do the best work I can and I need balance in my life to do it. That means having time and freedom for thinking and perfecting my craft.
How to get started in Calligraphy
In this our third guest post, typographer, letterer and calligrapher Seb Lester gives us an insight into his practices and offers tips to anyone wishing to develop their calligraphy skills. Full videos of above animations here: Destiny and Heart & Soul
Calligraphy is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment. I first noticed at the beginning of 2013 when mainstream publications like Salon started taking an interest in my calligraphy work. Momentum has gathered since then to the point that one of my calligraphy clips has now had over one million views and, due to the interest Instagram have recently taken in calligraphy, I now have 156,000 people following me there. So something is clearly in the air and I find that very exciting. I think a lot of the resurgence of interest is a reaction to the ubiquity of pixels in our lives and indicative of a more general growth of interest in traditional craftsmanship.
Many hundreds of people have been asking me questions about how to get started so this seems a perfect opportunity to help promote the practice and appreciation of this beautiful, ancient art form. Calligraphy is a broad term encompassing a wide variety of letterforms. These alphabets have been created with a wide variety of tools over the past 2,000 years or so in the West. One of the attractions for me is that in calligraphy we find the foundations from which typefaces and typography have been built.
The key to producing beautiful calligraphy is perseverance. You will only persevere if you enjoy what you’re doing.
In terms of broad edge calligraphy tools, necessary for Gothic and Italic styles, ‘Manuscript’ brand calligraphy fountain pens are widely available and practical beginners tools. Pilot Parallel Pens are also great fun and easy to use. As you advance you will probably want to start using traditional metal calligraphy nibs made by established manufacturers like Brause and Mitchell. They can be a bit more difficult to handle but can help achieve finer results.
For pointed pen calligraphy, characterised by graceful curves and strong contrasts in line width, I would recommend trying Nikko G nibs. You can use these in either a traditional or an oblique pen holder, it is a matter of personal preference. Iron Gall ink is best for this type of calligraphy. McCaffrey’s and Walker’s Copperplate Ink get great results for me.
Paper is always an important consideration. The paper I often use with Pilot Parallel Pens is Daler Rowney Smooth Cartridge Paper, but any smooth cartridge paper should be fine. When I’m working on roughs for any type of calligraphy I often use Goldline Layout paper and Goldline Marker pads. In terms of sketchbooks a lot of calligraphers like the Rhodia brand as the paper doesn’t bleed easily. As with everything the key is to experiment, paper with more texture can produce interesting results too.
In terms of books for inspiration I can recommend ‘Scribe: Artist of the Written Word’ by John Stevens, a true modern master. For instruction I would also suggest ‘Foundations of Calligraphy’ by the brilliant Sheila Waters. ‘Calligraphy’ by Gaye Godfrey-Nicholls was published this year, a very good book for beginners. Any of ‘The Speedball Textbook’ series are also inexpensive sources of information and inspiration.
The key to producing beautiful calligraphy is perseverance. Progress comes through focused and sustained study and practice. You will only persevere if you enjoy what you’re doing. For this reason I’d personally suggest starting with a calligraphy style you particularly like the look of. When you have a reasonable grasp of that style you will notice many of the skills are transferable to other styles.
I feel so lucky to have found what Hermann Zapf described as “this peaceful and noble art”. My working process as a designer and artist has evolved into a hybrid style blending my knowledge of both traditional and digital tools. I think this is a great way to work and as a result I feel I am becoming a better designer and artist every day, which makes me very happy. So if you want to try calligraphy just have fun. Don’t be discouraged by early failures, there will be many of those. However, I can say with some authority that success is built on failure.
Above image: Some recommended tools: From top to bottom: Nikko G nib with oblique pen holder, Copic Wide Extra Broad, Automatic Pen, Kuretake Brush Pen, Pilot Parallel Pen, Manuscript Italic Fountain Pen, Tombow ABT Brush Pen, Ruling Pen.
See more of Seb’s fantastic work on: Tumblr and Seblester.co.uk
A for Art
A logo for the Philadelphia Museum of Art has has been designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher.
Aiming to put ‘art’ front and centre, it features a flexible initial A that can customised to show off the museum’s collection of 227,000 items. The Museum’s typeface Avenir is customized for the new configuration.
The identity overhaul coincides with the unveiling of plans for a renewal and expansion of the Museum by architect Frank Gehry.
Something Wonderful in the post
Martina Flor, based in Berlin, is embarking on a charming side project to design and send around 100 lettered postcards to people she likes, loves, knows or wants to get in touch with around the world. Each will be entirely made, written and sent by her over a period of time.
Her dedicated blog, Letter Collections, documents the postcard design and receiver. I’ve picked a few of my favourites above. I’ll keep you posted if I’m lucky enough to receive one!
You maybe remember Martina’s work as part of last year’s Lettering vs. Calligraphy project and exhibition. You can see more of Martina’s work on her Tumblr.
Lace Lettering Magazine Cover
You may have seen a few past posts about the lettering stitchwork of the twin designers Maricor & Maricar. Here is one of their recent projects. I can’t think of a more perfect evolution of the textile twins’ work.
We embroidered lettering for the cover of French magazine Paulette and their Romantique issue. The mood board we were given was lace, white and Virgin Suicides. It was tricky knowing the type would appear against a very light airy image and the first time we’ve had to composite our embroidery onto a photographic image but it turned out well I think.
Covered in characters
Above are a few of the typographically led book cover designs from the David Pearson exhibition, currently on in London.
I love the ‘redacted’ George Orwell, 1984, cover with it’s debossed title under black ink. I was also quite taken with the chilling cover for Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
There’s a week left to go, so if you find yourself in Shoreditch, London before the 28th June, drop in.
David Pearson is an acclaimed British designer, famed for his beautiful series of Penguin book cover designs.
David studied at Central St Martins in London (1999–2002) before taking a job at Penguin Books as text designer and later, cover designer. He left to establish his own studio – Type as Image – in 2007.
David played a key role in the recent re-emergence of Penguin Books through projects such as the multi-million selling Great Ideas series, Penguin by Design and thePopular Classics series. He has won numerous awards for book design, has been listed as one of Britain’s Top 50 Designers by the Guardian and nominated for the Design Museum’s Designer of the Year Award.