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  • Paula Scher and her love of the poster explained

    A must-see exhibition of poster designs by celebrated graphic designer, Paula Scher, partner of Pentagram New York for Public Theatre is on through this Saturday, Dec 7, at the Manchester School of Art.

    The exhibition can be regarded as Design Manchester's thank-you note to Scher who was a keynote speaker, talking about her remarkable career as one of the world’s premier graphic designers, at the Design Manchester 2019 Conference on Friday 22 November.

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    “As long as I’ve been practicing design, I have been most obsessed with the connection between the work I create and its public. It began when I was a record cover designer in the 70s, working in an area of pop culture where audiences made a connection between graphic design and music. Later in my career, I was happiest working in the public realm where the work existed in the physical form: on the streets, in public spaces, on packaging, and later, through identity systems for cultural organizations, particularly theaters and art museums” says Scher.

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    “I love the scale of the poster. I love big things outside. I love working on environments and environmental graphics. And I love when other people engage with them” she adds.

    Explore more here.


  • Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters

    “The rampant spread of the HIV/AIDS virus over the past 29 years has created the most significant global public health crisis in modern history. Despite the complexity and scale of the epidemic, there is still a lack of worldwide strategies to lead AIDS education. AIDS education in many countries is still shouldered, to a great extent, by government agencies and grassroots organizations led by community activists who are often motivated local citizens” note Elizabeth Resnick, professor and chair of graphic design at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston and Javier Cortés, partner and creative director at KORN DESIGN aka the curators of Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010. 

    “Ever since the AIDS epidemic struck, the responsibility of educating the world's public has gained dramatically insignificance. In many countries, the poster as a medium of information was unknown before the emergence and identification of the HIV virus. With a disease involving sexuality and sexual behavior, and therefore social and moral issues deeply rooted in culture and tradition, messages to raise awareness and encourage preventative behavior have varied significantly to best serve the intended audience.”

    “The poster has played a special role in promoting AIDS awareness and safe sex education across cultures—different aims, messages, visual metaphors, and strategies have strongly influenced the content and design of AIDS posters. These messages can successfully reach specific targeted groups because the poster as a medium is cheap and easy to produce locally.”

    “Regardless of cultural differences, AIDS posters are meaningful to viewers because they frequently draw on images from popular culture and express the living habits of people, which can vary in approach and style. As such, the messages in these posters can illuminate how public health educators and activists see themselves and their audiences, and how they conceptualize disease and define 'normal' behavior within each given culture.”

    Silence = Death, ACT UP, USA, 1986. The simple graphic emblem, "Silence = Death," printed in white using the Gill Sans typeface underneath a pink triangle on a black ground, has come to signify AIDS activism. The original emblem was designed by six gay men calling themselves the "Silence = Death Project" in 1986 and later used by ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) to produce T-shirts, buttons and stickers as a means of fundraising for the cause. Historically, the inverted pink triangle is a symbol of oppression. It was used as a marker of homosexual men in Nazi concentration camps much in the same manner that Jewish people were forced to wear the yellow Star of David as an identifier. Wearers of the inverted pink triangle were considered at the bottom of the camp social system and subjected to particularly harsh maltreatment and degradation. Thus, the appropriation of the symbol of the pink triangle usually turned upright rather than inverted by Pro-gay activists in the 1970s was a conscious attempt to transform a symbol of humiliation into one of solidarity and resistance. 

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Harry Pearce assisted by Jason Ching, Pentagram UK. The United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime produced a series of posters to highlight the relative merits of drug treatment and rehabilitation around the world. The posters had to be eye-catching, easy to absorb and not reliant on language. The typographic solution creates a simple world map from internationally recognized country abbreviation codes (GB, US, RU etc). Variants were then designed, using color-coding and icons to provide comparative statistics about drug abuse, the incidence of HIV, Methadone and opioid maintenance therapies, and needle and syringe programs.

    True Love, Anon, State of California, AIDS Education Campaign, USA, 1994. This poster is one of the early iconic posters to feature a drawing or photograph of a condom as a substitution for the letter "o" in word message. Here it accentuates the word "love."

    Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?, Andrea Rauch, Rauch Design, Italy, 1991. Translation: "AIDS is not the big bad wolf. It is a serious illness, one that should be prevented with attention, and treated with every means available, but it is nothing more than an illness. Those who suffer from it should be helped in every way possible, not isolated and avoided like convicts. AIDS is fought also with caring and solidarity. Fear, solitude and isolation are the real big bad wolf."

    Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010 draws upon James Lapides' extensive archive of international AIDS Awareness posters along with posters generously donated to Massachusetts College of Art and Design. A cohesive selection of 153 posters presents an insightful overview of diverse visual strategies employed by many different countries working within their own distinctive cultural perspective in response to the subject of AIDS as a public health emergency.”

    A 96-page, full-color catalog is available for purchase through mail order. 

    Explore more here

  • Typenotes 3: after two years in the making the new issue is out with a bang

    Simultaneously dispelling the notion that typography is just for design geeks and catering for font fanatics, TypeNotes is a print magazine love letter to letterforms published by the type foundry Fontsmith in London.

    The first issue explored all things type-based from a passionate and knowledgeable standpoint with voices from around the creative industries worldwide such as Lance Wyman, APFEL, Craig Oldham, Hey Studio and Why Not Associates to name but a few.

    Now the magazine is back with a third issue, two years in the making. Drawing on Fontsmith’s in-house expertise as well as hearing from voices around the creative industries worldwide such as Design Army, Noise 13, Chris Pitney, The Company You Keep, Construct, Adam Higton and Triboro to name but a few.

    Available to order on presale, magazines will be shipped on the 5th December.

    Issue #3 features Erik Brandt’s artivist revolution, a treasure trove of typography at the BFI, the creative opportunities with variable fonts, behind the scenes at St Bride and fonts as art by creatives from Ed Ruscha to Tracey Emin, via Bob and Roberta Smith, and the Guerrilla Girls

    Get your own copy here


  • Make Goods: Make's pop-up store delivers a message

    Make Goods aka the streetwear and accessory label of the Hamburg design studio Make is launching its first pop-up store to spread the message of sustainable fashion.

    As noted by PAGE Make's founders Franz Xaver Daublebsky and Michael Ahl produce their clothing on fair trade organic fabrics and one euro of each purchase will be donated to the cause.

    Make Goods is a clothing and accessory line with a pro-equality agenda.

    The pop-up store is open from Thursday, 28th of November to Saturday, 30th of November in Hamburg. 

    Check more here.

  • Video: watch every single /a/ over at Google fonts

    A video featuring every single /a/ over at Google Fonts was posted on Twitter and we have to repost it because... history. 

    Alpha (uppercase Α, lowercase α; Ancient Greek: ἄλφα, álpha, modern pronunciation álfa) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 1.

    Alpha was derived from the Phoenician and Hebrew letter aleph and the letters which arose from alpha include the Latin A and the Cyrillic letter А.

    In English, the noun "alpha" is used as a synonym for "beginning", or "first" (in a series), reflecting its Greek roots notes Wikipedia.

    The letter alpha represents various concepts in physics and chemistry, including alpha radiation, angular acceleration, alpha particles, alpha carbon and strength of electromagnetic interaction (as Fine-structure constant).

    Alpha also stands for thermal expansion coefficient of a compound in physical chemistry. It is also commonly used in mathematics in algebraic solutions representing quantities such as angles. Furthermore, in mathematics, the letter alpha is used to denote the area underneath a normal curve in statistics to denote significance level when proving null and alternative hypotheses. In zoology, it is used to name the dominant individual in a wolf or dog pack. In aerodynamics, the letter is used as a symbol for the angle of attack of an aircraft and the word "alpha" is used as a synonym for this property.

    Plutarch, in Moralia, presents a discussion on why the letter alpha stands first in the alphabet.

    Ammonius asks Plutarch what he, being a Boeotian, has to say for Cadmus, the Phoenician who reputedly settled in Thebes and introduced the alphabet to Greece, placing alpha first because it is the Phoenician name for ox—which, unlike Hesiod, the Phoenicians considered not the second or third, but the first of all necessities. "Nothing at all," Plutarch replied. He then added that he would rather be assisted by Lamprias, his own grandfather, than by Dionysus' grandfather, i.e. Cadmus. For Lamprias had said that the first articulate sound made is "alpha", because it is very plain and simple—the air coming off the mouth does not require any motion of the tongue—and therefore this is the first sound that children make.

    According to Plutarch's natural order of attribution of the vowels to the planets, alpha was connected with the Moon.

    Alpha, both as a symbol and term, is used to refer to or describe a variety of things, including the first or most significant occurrence of something. The New Testament has God declaring himself to be the "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13, KJV, and see also 1:8). Because of this symbolism, the characters ⍺ and ⍵ denote the left and right arguments in the APL programming language.

    The term "alpha" has been used to denote position in social hierarchy, examples being "alpha males" or pack leaders.