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  • Make a Garamond wish with Nicole Em's The Printer's Tarot

    Do you wanna play a game? The Printer's Tarot, conceived and created by Nicole Em, beginning in November 2017 ensures you will. 

    “In a true moment of flow, she designed almost the entire Major Arcana in one sitting. As a student of letterpress printing, Em has a deep love of letterforms and a belief that typography is simply full of magic” notes the site of this beautifully designed 78-card black and white tarot deck made of entirely using Garamond's forms to create images -a typeface which hails from the same era and locale as some of the first tarot decks.    

    The Printer's Tarot is a typographic infused take of the tarot which was first introduced in the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini, French tarot, and Austrian Königrufen, of which many are still played today.

    In the late 18th century, some tarot packs began to be used as a trend for divination via tarot card reading and cartomancy leading to custom packs developed for such occult purposes.

    Garamond is a group of many old-style serif typefaces, named for sixteenth-century Parisian engraver Claude Garamond (generally spelled as Garamont in his lifetime).

    Garamond worked as an engraver of punches. His designs followed the model of an influential design cut for Venetian printer Aldus Manutius by his punchcutter Francesco Griffo in 1495, and helped to establish what is now called the old-style of serif letter design, letters with a relatively organic structure resembling handwriting with a pen, but with a slightly more structured and upright design.

    'Petit texte' type intended for body text, created by Garamond. Image via Wiki

    Some distinctive characteristics in Garamond's letterforms are an 'e' with a small eye and the bowl of the 'a' which has a sharp hook upwards at top left. Other general features are limited but clear stroke contrast and capital letters on the model of Roman square capitals. The 'M' is slightly splayed with outward-facing serifs at the top (sometimes only on the left) and the leg of the 'R' extends outwards from the letter. The x-height (height of lower-case letters) is low, especially at larger sizes, making the capitals large relative to the lower case, while the top serifs on the ascenders of letters like 'd' have a downward slope and ride above the cap-height. The axis of letters like the ‘o’ is diagonal and the bottom right of the italic 'h' bends inwards.

    Inspired by a long history of movement artists & activist printmakers, Nicole Em, a letterpress printer & graphic designer living in Portland, Maine has developed a deep appreciation for the power of words. Em, currently a member of Pickwick Independent Press and a junior designer & copyeditor at the Portland Design Co didn't distort the letterforms to make the images; they were merely manipulated in space and layered. 

    The face cards depart from the traditional and are instead made up of novices, apprentices, journeymen, and master printers. It seemed only right to celebrate the skill, trade, and craft of letterpress printing as part of a deck that is so wildly enamored with typography.

    To purchase your own deck of cards click here.

    All images via Emprints, portrait photo by Elle Darcy

  • Roger Excoffon: type & graphic designer, painter, philosopher (video)

    At last Bruce Kennett's ode to type designer, painter & philosopher Roger Excoffon is available online for all to learn more about this genius of design.

    Excoffon’s work is a central part of the personality of post-WWII France — the three decades that the French call les trente glorieuses. Perhaps best known for his display types, such as Mistral and Banco, Excoffon spent many years as art director of Marseille’s Fonderie Olive. In the 1950s and ’60s, his work rapidly found its way into the very fabric of everyday life, visible in the tiniest villages of rural France on the awnings of beauty parlors and exterior signs of garages. 

    Beyond his printing types, Excoffon also expressed the fundamental spirit of the times through his posters for Air France, his work in advertising, and his graphic design program for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. He was a prime mover in les Rencontres de Lure, France's equivalent of the Aspen Design Conference. Bruce Kennett, author of W. A Dwiggins: A Life in Design and a previous Lubalin lecturer, returns to take us on a tour of Excoffon's joyful and passionate work.

    The talk took place in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union on October 16, 2019, as part of Type@Cooper's Lubalin Lecture Series. This and all recordings of the Lecture series are made possible through the generosity of Hoefler & Co.

  • Red Dot Award: Beetroot X Thessaloniki International Film Festival win big

    “What a great day for Beetroot!” notes the creative studio of its recent Red Dot Award victories.

    Based in Greece and London, Beetroot has created everything, from type tools for InDesign through election campaign posters and brand identities. Now their collaboration with Thessaloniki International Film Festival has been awarded two Red Dots -and that's not all.

    Beetroot received seven Red Dots, with the TIFF's projects rated as the Best of the Best in their respective categories this year.

    “The Thessaloniki International Film Festival has earned a spot among top film festivals of Europe” notes Beetroot of its 59th Thessaloniki International Film Festival visual identity awarded project that is based on a simple thought.

    “The celebration of the small wonder that is the celluloid. Our main focus was to glorify the camera film, to emphasize its use, to show how this humble and unadorned item holds the essence of filmmaking and storytelling” writes the creative studio.

    “ A roll film holds into its frames countless emotions, stories, real and imaginative worlds which through motion come to life. The posters were flooded with dancing film rolls, unveiling hidden images, celebrating cinema-like festive ribbons.”

    Explore more TIFF posters magic here and here

  • Motion graphics occupy Amsterdam with DEMO Festival till midnight

    Design in motion is taking over Amsterdam. DEMO Festival is finally taking over Amsterdam Central Station for 24 hours with a legion of Motion Graphics coming to life.

    The festival “celebrates the finest motion from the finest studio’s, designers, upcoming talents and art academies from all around the world” note the organizers. 

    Showcasing work for 24 hours on all 80 digital screens located in Amsterdam Central train station from 00:00 to 23:59 today the festival is about to get insightful with four lectures by Jurriaan Hos, Xavier Monney, Vera van de Seyp and Guy & Oskar scheduled later this evening. 

    Founded by Studio Dumbar with Exterion Media NL, DEMO brings back the action in type. 

    Follow the action in motion here.


  • FACEBOOK: with all caps, bespoke type & empathy the new FB is born

    “The next step in our effort to be clearer about the products and services from Facebook. The new company branding is designed to help us better represent the diversity of products we build, establish distinction from the Facebook app and communicate our purpose in the world“ note Zach Stubenvoll, Sam Halle, Andrew Stirk and Luke Woods in a blog post on the viral rebranding of the week. 

    FACEBOOK, the company, is different to Facebook, the app in all-caps mode with rounder corners and more empathy distilled in the company's latest visual identity. Per the design team, the rebranding is inspired by how FACEBOOK, the company, builds products.

    With Clarity, Creating Space and Empathy as the brand system's three foundational design behaviors the new brand system uses “custom typography, rounded corners, open tracking and capitalization to create visual distinction between the company and the app.”

    “Choosing an all-caps treatment as a way to create distinction from the app made it more important to craft unique letterforms. We designed the new company wordmark with clarity and openness in mind. It’s built on a stable structure through the use of consistent stroke width, harmonized capital letters and a horizontal emphasis. The generous spacing and open letterforms allow clarity at small sizes, and the subtle softening of corners and diagonals adds a sense of optimism.”

    “The wordmark condenses into a 'FB' monogram in small spaces. This monogram builds on existing equity: FB is already associated with Facebook, is the company’s stock ticker symbol and is used in domains and employee email addresses. To perform in smaller spaces across product and company touch points, the FB monogram has a heavier weight and extended letterforms” writes the design team.

    The responsive to its context and environment branding system “allows the wordmark to take on the color of our individual brands, creating a clearer relationship between the company and the products we build.”

    The new, fully animated, visual identity of the company caused a lot of buzz as FACEBOOK aka the parent company that owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and more is coming of age, 15 years on from its founding, and the authorities are pushing for transparency in actions.  

    “We’re updating our company branding to be clearer about the products that come from Facebook,” Antonio Lucio, the tech titan’s Chief Marketing Officer stated on Monday. Facebook plans to start using the new brand within its products and marketing materials, including a new company website over the coming week.

    “Part of Facebook’s rationale for rebranding might be preparation for looming regulations and antitrust measures. Some analysts believe such actions may pose a real threat to Facebook and other U.S. tech giants. The Department of Justice, FTC and numerous state attorneys-general have recently launched investigations into Facebook and its rivals” notes Media Post.