Homage to William Morris
This was obviously a labour of love. An ornamental poster by hungarian designer, Boglárka Nádi. The type used has been customised from Black Swan by John Bomparte to be connected into the pattern-work.
Did you spot the birds and rabbits between the floral motifs?
I had to reblog this gorgeous hand-paint lettering. Acrylic ink on plywood by New York based, Lucas Sharp.
Great colours and unlike the endless scourge of ‘dumb’ quote posters (a random quote in some nice lettering), here the design enhances the sentiment.
I like the style of this illustrated type, by student, Tim Paza May, in Brazil. Although the theme is Paris, I’m picking up some Arts and Crafts influences in the style (the pinwheels, patterns and colours).
Created as part of a vector illustration course where students were asked to pick a word and work around its theme. Quite appropriate colours as Europe moves into September and summer begins to end.
Vector Paris by Tim Paza May
Psst…calligraphy class notes
To prepare for a move from London to Sydney, I’m going through my plan chest and book shelves, full typographic and lettering ephemera, and decide what stays and what comes with me (mostly with me it seems!). So you might an eclectic mix of photos over the coming days.
For those of you that were interested in Seb Lester’s recent guest post on calligraphy, I thought these might be useful. I was given these worksheets during the Calligraphy workshop with Andreas Frohloff, during Type London (Places 2011). I posted a couple of photos at the time of his class and wonderful antique pen collection, here & here.
The sheet is quite handy for referring to how the shapes of latin letters are constructed. They are of course in German, so if anyone fancies translating in the comments, go for it!
Global Circus Lettering
The above shots are from Eine’s latest graffiti lettering, dubbed “Tenderloin”, painted in London, Berlin and Denver, CO.
See more of Ben Eine’s work on Type Worship, here, here & here.
Photos: Ben Fuchs, BirdMan, EineSigns
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
Embrace the wobble
In this, the second of our guest posts, Ged Palmer, designer, letterer and burgeoning sign painter, reminds us of how wide the pool of inspirational lettering is…
Good typography is all about clean lines, smooth curves and harmony, right? Well, for the most part I subscribe to that philosophy whole-heartedly. I mean you only have to see Herman Zapf drawing curves to agree with that! Then again, these days I find myself more and more attracted to the weird and wonderful world of vernacular typography and lettering. I’m talking about the type of design that’s not made by designers: wonky signs, yard sale posters, janky tags and sketchy handwriting. Things that are made by hand are imperfect and that human quality is what gives it life, as Margaret Kilgallen once eloquently put.
So whilst we strive to make our work as beautiful and well polished as we can, let’s take a moment to embrace the wobbles, the drips, the busted-up, the forgotten and the downtrodden.