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  • Make the world a better place with Sharp Type’s Earth Day type release

    Inspired by Spanish and English models from the 15th and 16th centuries Respira is a contemporary blackletter typeface designed by Sharp Type for good reason. “From its release on Earth Day, 2017, ALL proceeds from the sale of this typeface will be donated to the NRDC” says the graphic design studio of Respira which wants to make our world a better, blacklettered place.

    “Respira is inspired by a particular style of Spanish blackletter often found in illuminated manuscripts of Andalusia. We first came across this unique style in the breathtaking Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación in Granada, Spain. For designer Lucas Sharp, it was love at first sight” writes Sharp Type, the renowned digital type foundry based in New York City and Granada, Spain.

    “While blackletter was originally used for text settings, from the 11th century through much of the 16th and 17th, it’s modern use is almost exclusively for display, leading the current models to be much more decorative than their original text versions. This miniscule was like nothing we had ever seen – the more complex letters were strikingly beautiful, constructed ingeniously and inventively with skillful calligraphic strokes, but the foundational vertical strokes were simple and plain. While other blackletter in use today commonly employs a complex system of serifs and flourishes with varied hairlines and endstrokes, this miniscule contained none of that noise.”

    “Its vertical stems were simple and austere, containing only a modest implication of serifs. This tension between simplicity and complexity present in the word shape is magnified by the tight spacing afforded by the subtlety of the serifs.”

    “The design of Respira is also influenced by the physical deterioration of the ancient manuscripts. Due to poor lighting conditions behind the alter of the Catedral de la Encarnación, we were unaware that some of the more stylized forms like the “a” and the “k” were not actually “stenciled”, but were so high contrast and old that the hairlines had gradually faded from view. We discovered the existence of the hairlines when we came across the style in the 16th century Spanish master Juan de Ycíar’s Arte Subtilissima (1553, Zaragoza) - and later noticed a super fine and faded hairline when we were lucky enough to come across an original manuscript page for our own library while antiquing in Sevilla”.

    “The uppercase of Respira is not based on the Spanish model at all. The design is original, but bears a closer resemblance to English Textura than to the capitals of the Spanish style. We suspect that many Spanish monks had a similar preference for the miniscule over the majiscule, as we found that quite often illustrated uncials are used in place of the standard capitals” they add.

    Respira’s proceeds will be donated to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit organization that fights for environmental preservation and policy change to help save the planet and everything living on it. To promote its release Sharp Type  worked with two guest designers on a 'Respira' poster series about climate change. Eric Carter’s ‘Oilmen’ and Justin Sloane’s graphic visualization of NASA's regional climate-change report, these posters remind us of the importance of climate change and the world we live in.

  • For Tadas Karpavicius everything is type and (operatic) art

    Between self-initiated projects and commissions, Tadas Karpavicius works with a variety of clients from different fields, maintaining a strong focus on the cultural sphere and collaborating with visual artists, designers, curators, galleries, institutions, commerce, businesses and individuals.

    Across the design spectrum, Karpavicius practice includes visual identity, editorial design, set design, books and publications as well as web design.

    In one of his latest projects Lithuanian art director and graphic designer Tadas Karpavicius took an unusual approach to layout Charles Gounod’s Faust production for the Vilnius City Opera.

    With a distinctive “Matisse-like vibe” his work is inspiring and full of shapes and colors that bring the elements of type in full bloom. Needless to say that his Instagram profile demands your attention.

    Check his impressive portfolio of work here 

  • Anna Haas is the multi-awarded graphic designer to remember

    Having awarded the Grand Prix of the 27th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno in 2016 is not the only highlight in the career of Anna Haas, a graphic designer who settled down in the country where graphic design rules, Switzerland to explore more adventures made of type.

    Anna Haas has been dealing with letterforms and graphic design having already spent some time in Germany and The Netherlands. The Zürich based creative has an impressive portfolio which ranges from editorial design to visual identities, digital applications, illustrations and poster design in the fields of art, culture and commerce.

    Between 2011 and 2014 she was occasionally collaborating with Krispin Heé under the name of Heé Haas and in 2014 Haas co-founded and since presides the association Illustratoren Schweiz.

    Since 2014 she teaches at Lucerne University of Applied Science and Arts (HSLU), department of visual communication. 

    Her work was awarded with the Swiss Design Award and the Grand Prix of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno and her publications where selected by Photo-Eye—Best Photobook and the Most Beautiful Swiss Books.

    A lover of paper -“I mostly do everything on paper, so if I do a layout I print out everything to get a sense of the materials. I really have to be able to put it on the table or the wall, and if I do illustrations I cut everything out of colored paper. Working with my hands is super important for me—I’m very tactile. That’s why I work a lot with book design, as it’s creating something you can hold in your hands” she says to AIGA- Anna Haas is a name to remember and a master of type to admire.

    Check her work here 

  • Studio Firth’s WeTransfer experiment visualizes creativity with type

    Frith Kerr is an award winning graphic designer and founder of Studio Frith partnered with Visual Editions on a curated project that bring forward WeTransfer’s creative hub.

    The studio which has produced acclaimed work for some of the world’s leading cultural institutions, brands and artists (Frieze Art Fairs, Guggenheim New York, Ilse Crawford, Roksanda, Philippe Parreno, Michael Clark and Company, Hotel Il Pellicano, Skye Gyngell and Spring to name a few) has built a practice renowned for its visionary creativity and research led approach.

    This is the case for the new set of three books titled Doubt, Magic and Time that delve into the creative processes of some of the world’s leading designers, photographers, illustrators, cultural makers and writers.

    Damian Bradfield, WeTransfer’s CMO, reached out to us to help them make a book that captures their mission to enable creative flow for WeTransfer friends, old and new,” explain Visual Editions’ Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen to Grafik.

    “We kind of assumed they came to us on the back of the digital books we’ve been making with Google Creative Lab, but they were very clear from the outset they wanted to make physical books, that were desirable to keep and also easy to give away.”

    “The project came about as we were exploring ways to make WeTransfer more tactile,” explains WeTransfer president Damian Bradfield, “and to highlight the efforts we make to support new, traditional, contemporary and classic creatives”. A fan of Visual Editions (in particular Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer and Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes) WeTransfer’s brief to “produce a book or books, that would be small enough, light enough, and interesting enough to engage the recipient with a glimpse of what WeTransfer has to offer above and beyond the stereotypical brand book”. The books, designed by Studio Firth feature “a playful bespoke typeface used on the covers, endpapers and titles, and high-gloss covers in candy colours with a tactile foil deboss”.

    “The bespoke typeface we created for Doubt, Magic and Time provides a stage-like structure on which the curated cast of contributors can perform. From the glossy hyper-real covers to the introduction of each act, its geometric forms expand, stretch and animate, connecting the flow of creativity throughout the books” Studio Frith explains.

    Check more here

  • “Cooperation not confrontation”. Protect the EU, download now.

    Inspired by Inspired by Wolfgang Tillmans’ anti-Brexit campaign, Jop van Bennekom and Gert Jonkers, the founders of Fantastic Man, have adapted his posters for the latest’ anti-Brexit campaign, Jop van Bennekom and Gert Jonkers, the founders of Fantastic Man, have adapted his posters for the latest Dutch elections. With the support of partner organizations including Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, De Balie and Cookies, the campaign's focus is the protection of the EU against the current wildfire of political negativity.

    “With this campaign we want to tackle the illusions which the enemies of the EU promote and propagate. Cooperation amongst the citizens of all EU member states is the key to our future peace and prosperity. We believe in the common ground between our countries” they say.

    “This is the time for action. Vote for whatever party, but don’t vote down the EU. Now is the time to raise awareness and to protect what has protected us, and our values, for so long. The campaign is a call to work together, to adapt the posters, to spread them and to talk with people of opposite beliefs. The EU is not a faceless machine but the representation of 508 million people. While surely there are still many things to be improved, the core belief in this institution has secured the longest period of inter-European peace and cooperation in history. A democratic conversation between 28 member states is tedious – but it ensures a steady dialog, a constant weighing of the many different demands involved in making each single decision. These processes foster safety and stability, and allow us to call a whole continent something which would otherwise be much smaller: home.

    With an increasing anti-European sentiment it becomes ever so more important to speak out and reinstate the position we believe in. Enraged nationalism is slowly becoming normalised in today’s political discourse by far-right politicians. It spews hate and anxiety”.

    Spread the word and download the posters here.