Calligraffiti - The Graphic Art of Niels “SHOE” Meulman’ is an impressive publication that presents a large selection of typographic works by Niels Shoe Meulman arranged in a uniquely simplistic manner; every spread presents two interacting visuals on its opposing pages. This repeating duality makes this book much more than just a collection of the artist’s best work; it unveils the basis of all graphic art.
The print finish on Calligraffiti’s cover is particularly eye-catching. A strong white masthead made with custom lettering by Niels Meulman is pressed into thick, black stock. The white type is then finished with a cello glaze to maximise its shine and contrast. There’s no paragraph on the back cover explaining who Meulman is or what the book might include. Instead, you will find 12 of Meulman’s most interesting logotypes. This decision is somewhat unconventional, as it leaves the content of the book fairly unknown to the average reader. However, it lets the work do the talking and invites those who are curious to open the book for more.
Get it here:
Showing 126 posts tagged design
Carpark signage 2
Anyone familiar with the city of Melbourne will be aware of the strong creative flair that infuses the city. Maybe because it hasn’t been gifted with the golden beaches and spectacular harbour that Sydney boasts, this more industrial city has had to work much harder with what it’s got, conjuring captivating solutions from seemingly unappealing raw materials (you only need to visit some of the city’s inventive bars to see examples of vibrant venues spun from shipping containers and packing creates or from the concrete rooftop of an unappealing office block).
Here, proving the point once again, is the second dreary underground car park I’ve seen transformed with colourful signage. The first attracted much attention, here.
Underground car park designers… READ THIS!
I don’t know about you, but I find underground car parks to be horrible grey soulless places. So it cheered me up no end to see that QV Melbourne in Australia had actually made the effort to brighten theirs up with a little colourful typography. Actually, when I say little, I mean large given that each of these signs are as big as the their host walls!
I love the large overlapping letters and how they turn a cold concrete environment into a welcome friendly experience, whilst providing important wayfinding information.
The designers behind this wayfinding system are the Melbourne based Latitude Group, who hand painted each sign individually on site. Tapping into early modernist graphic design, they employed large overlapping geometric letterforms, painting letters over one another to create a subtractive colour effect.
Check out Latitude’s work at latitudegroup.com.au.
E Is The Magic Number
Regular readers might guess that I’m a fan of Eine’s graffiti lettering and artwork. I spoke to him a few times trying to persuade him to paint a wall in my old design studio a few years ago, but he was flying all over the world painting the streets and becoming quite famous (partly attributed to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, presenting one of his works to President Obama as a gift on his first official state visit).
Today sees the launch of his latest extension from walls to art; a limited edition of 50, hand cast 3D resin sculptures. Based on his signature Circus lettering, each of the 8” high sculptures has a unique colour way and comes in a fancy presentation box.
Made in conjunction with mysterious creative collective, Fluorescent Smogg, by Bristol based model makers albanstudios.com there were an additional five glitter versions (as pictured) but these appear to have sold out already.
Black Swan Film Poster Reimagined
This stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. So simple and effective. I’m sure the film company would never go for it, as it doesn’t feature Natalie Portman’s face or ballerinas (though you’d think Bodoni’s elegant curves would be enough). I wonder what Yves Peters over on the Fontfeed’s ScreenFonts would make of it?
Typographic movie poster
by Oscar Martinsson
For the Love of Letterpress
The Counter Press describes itself as “a little letterpress studio producing small scale, limited edition typographic prints and printed matter.” Behind this modest description however, you’ll find an extremely passionate pair of designers who have built an impressive, analogue only, print studio with a growing portfolio of typographic work, in a little over two years—all in their spare time.
I visited the studio this weekend to meet with David Marshall and Elizabeth Ellis. The duo design and print around their busy freelance schedules working for prestigious branding agencies. Founded in 2011 to fulfil a creative yearning, David said that the Counter Press was “a hobby that got totally out of control”. “We started for the love of it. At first we were curious to see how others were doing it. The letterpress world is like a bubble—a real niche. Now we’re part of that world, and have become petty well known. It’s much harder to achieve this in other areas of design where the communities are much larger and fragmented”
Based in a bright former warehouse, run by Bow Arts Trust, the ground floor room is a perfect size to contain the impressive set-up. Plan chests and type drawers run along the walls, either side of a solid composing table with the presses at one end: A pair of tabletop Platens, an A3 size proofing press and a large Vandercook Cylinder press.
They are committed to practicing traditional methods, only printing with the wood and metal type they have acquired—no plates or computers. Despite this, the work they produce is very modern in both composition and content. With only evenings, weekends and the occasional holidays, they have to be certain that their time is focussed on the work that suits them. “It takes so long, the ideas we print need to be worth it, so a lot of thought goes into our prints. Letterpress is slow, complicated and often painful, but because this is spaced over weekends and evenings, the ideas are allowed to percolate and little details are added along the way.”
With this in mind, they’ve enjoyed developing processes to suit their way of working. To avoid opening cans of ink and the lengthy clean-up, early stages of their work are printed “dry”, using carbon paper to take an impression of small sections. In this way the larger design can be composed from these ‘printed’ slips in the way pre-computer layouts were made.
David and Elizabeth make it quite clear that they are not interested in making a living as commercial letterpress printers. “The whole point was to have the creative freedom to indulge ourselves and print what we liked. We’re interested in developing ways to keep doing what we’re doing while slowly expanding. As designers first and printers second, we get excited about problem solving and finding solutions using letterpress, so we would like to explore ways of collaborating with more designers on projects.”
So far they’ve made good traction selling their prints. It’s inspirational to see such creative energy, and investment put into self-fulfilling work. The Counter Press is a great example how much can be accomplished in your spare time and what passion can achieve.
To achieve the 3D effect, the lettering was cut out of wood with a CNC router, with shaper details laser cut.
The letters were given a white undercoat before spray painting. They were then assembled onto a backboard.
Awesome wooden type installations created by Zender for a bar/restaurant in Amsterdam.
Typographic time capsule
Here is a sneak-peek of a typographic print I’ve been working on. It’s a snapshot of Exmouth Market, a vibrant commercial street, full of independent shops, restaurants and cafés, close to me in Central London. The aim is to capture its colourful history and present day character for posterity.
Historical research was conducted over a couple of months, to uncover the location’s 400-year-old story that includes; vineyards, duck hunting, a Victorian tea garden and an atrocious graveyard now buried under the adjacent park. The print also lists over 40 of the street’s venues, in an ‘establishments of note’ section, that includes the weekly market stalls that set-up along the street.
To evoke the feel of the market, each of the illuminated capitals, spelling ‘Exmouth’, has been inspired by the rich assortment of lettering found on the street, or its story. The typography has been arranged to create a formal structure that includes the use of ornaments, pilcrows and other interesting characters.
A limited edition is being letterpressed next week in silver, turquoise and black on 300gsm Crane’s Lettra paper. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
Shady Characters: The secret life of punctuation.
I just read a very complimentary review of Keith Houston’s new book, Shady Characters, by Yves Peters over on Fontfeed. I’d also read somewhere it was like a typographic follow-up to Lynne Truss’ Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, which I really enjoyed (though hopelessly fail to adhere to with this blog).
It would make a great Christmas present. The European version of the cover (above) by Matthew young is gorgeous.
Each of these letters has been created by carefully arranging objects, or by creating a landscape, so that the character is only revealed from a single vantage point.
Using chairs, scissors and even rock, these wonderful installations have been created by Dan Tobin Smith, who started the project in 2005/6 when Creative Review commissioned a Letter ‘A’ for their Annual.
This distorted projection, or anamorphosis, is a technique dating back to the Renaissance and seems to gaining popularity again, especially in signage and interior design. Of the 13 letters so created so far, all use Helvetica as the base typeface. Most are landscape and some were conceived primarily for film (such as this Letter ‘T’).
I had the opportunity to ask Dan a little about the project’s future:
“I am hoping to complete the whole alphabet! They are individually quite time consuming as each one is a totally separate concept and some take a lot of work. I dip in and out when I have the time and inclination—it’s not something you can rush.
Next in line is a letter ‘O’ which is being fabricated at the moment. It’s based around an architectural model inspired by Antonio Basoli’s ‘Alfabeto Pittorico’ [Wow!] from the 19th century.”
Numbers in the City
These are just fantastic. Huge aluminium numerals, brightly painted, and each on its own plinth, all on display in the centre of London.
Numbers 1-0 is a piece by Robert Indiana, originally created in the early ’80s. This version is on display as part of Sculpture in the City 2013 where 10 installations are on view around the City of London (you know, the city within London), including Indiana’s more well-known piece, LOVE.
I took these pictures this morning on Lime street, a side road between the famous Lloyds building and other modern, steels and glass structures. Each number is really vibrant setting the usually grey street alight with colour.
Tracy Kendall, bespoke wallpaper maker was exhibiting at the Clerkenwell Design Week earlier this year and I was reminded of her work when I spotted one of the above pictures.
The top images show lettering stitched into the wall covering and features passages from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The news print design is a bespoke wallpaper from reproduced newspaper cuttings (I love the way they curl out), and the bottom images shows their newspaper type on a silver background.