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  • Font Sunday & the art of scribbling for the record

    Yesterday the Design Museum received over 1.3K posts from participants all around the world taking part in a scribble themed #fontsunday and creativity gone wild. 

    To scribble means either to write or draw carelessly and in a hurry or to doodle according to the dictionary but scribbling has long been regarded as a form of art and one of the most important creativity boosters one can experience.

    As noted by many therapists “bottled creative expression can compound into feeling increased stress, sadness, anger, and more, therefore, finding ways to exercise our thoughts and ideas keeps one's perspective fresh and our minds “open to wonder, optimism, and possibility.”

    So before you play the Soul Scribble 5-minute creativity exercise with a piece of paper, ideally an 8.5" x 11" unlined paper, and your thought unbound be inspired by the art of the scribble as performed by creative geniuses of the past and the present. 

    Paul Rand scribbles & sketches from newly released book Inspiration & Process Design via @kikocasa844

    Paula Scher, Poster for the Public Theater, 2003 via @michaelbierut

    Saul Bass' signature scribble Bread and Honey via @usingourloaf

    Cover of 'Typography Today', first published as a special edition of Idea magazine in 1980 and republished as a book in 1981, designed & edited by Helmut Schmid via @MHD_Studio

    “Venus“ (1975) by Cy Twombly via @ArmandoRoqueCcs

    The scribbled Echo And The Bunnymen logo & text from their first single “The Pictures on my Wall” via @isetta_windsor

    Jean Cocteau via @DesignMuseum

    Pablo Picasso via @DesignMuseum

    150 Speedy drawings by Dieter Roth via @kikocasa844

    'Beat Bop' (1983) album cover (front and back) created by Jean-Michel Basquiat via @MHD_Studio

    Helvetica, March 1958 / Eduard Hoffman’s Journal via @lorenamassacane

    Arman, Arman Accumulations Renault,1969 via @kikocasa844

    From the “Escritas“ series (1965) by Brazilian artist Mira Schendel via @ArmandoRoqueCcs

    Adbusters Design Anarchy issue, designed by @barnbrook via @krfg

    Milton Glazer's I Heart New York doodle via @Gardmuir

    Sketches by Ed Fella via @blacktea_design

    Explore more here

  • Harry Potter approves: Pentagram rebrands Warner Bros

    Officially unveiled in a ceremony on Wednesday by a tuxedo-clad Bugs Bunny Warner Bros. aka one of the world’s leading entertainment studios, producing films, television, interactive entertainment and consumer products that include the DC and Harry Potter franchises, blockbuster movies like “Joker,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “It,” and hit TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” “Friends” and “Ellen” unveiled its brand new visual idenity designed by Pentagram’s Emily Oberman.

    Oberman’s team collaborated with Warner Bros. for a new brand identity and brand strategy “that draws on the company’s incredible heritage to position it for the future” looking ahead to the studio’s centennial in 2023.

    The project updates the iconic “WB” shield and makes it the foundation of a comprehensive identity system, including a custom typeface inspired by the logo.

    Originally founded in 1923 by brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner, Warner Bros. has long been recognized as an industry pioneer, introducing innovations like the first synchronized dialogue in movies, or “talking pictures,” in 1927, and some of the first color films. This “legacy of innovation was key to developing a new brand strategy and positioning for Warner Bros.” notes Pentagram and the clean lines of the redrawn logo is one of the basic elements of this brand new idenity.

    “The Warner Bros. shield is one of the most iconic logos in the world, visual shorthand for entertainment recognized around the globe. The symbol has been used going back to the company’s roots and periodically updated over the decades (and occasionally replaced by something else, only to be resurrected in subsequent versions). Warner Bros. wanted to build on this legacy and make the shield more functional and effective. The previous iteration, introduced in 1993, was highly detailed and hard to use at a small scale and in digital contexts, which are increasingly important.”

    “The update streamlines the logo to its key elements, returning the shield and monogram to prominence and losing the sash. The redesign refines the shield with a form based on the classical proportions of the golden ratio. The designers looked at the construction of the letterforms of the 'WB' monogram, preserving their quirkiness but making them more modern. The letters of the monogram align as though made in one continuous gesture, emphasizing unity and connection. The logo has been optimized to perform across various platforms and scales, from the small spaces of the digital world to giant installations like the iconic water tower on the Warner Bros. studio lot. It also works well with a wide range of content. The logo appears in the signature Warner Bros. blue, which has been brightened to a more contemporary hue, with the wordmark set off in a slightly darker shade to create a complementary contrast.”

    Pentagram expanded the distinctive monogram into a custom typeface aka Warner Bros. Condensed Bold, used for the wordmarks of the various divisions and other display typography.

    Designed by Pentagram and expanded into a full family of fonts by Jeremy Mickel, the typeface has a look and feel that is uniquely Warner Bros., with condensed letterforms that relate to the elongated “WB” in the shield. Details in the logo’s letterforms are echoed in the font explains Pentagram. 

    Earlier this year Pentagram rebranded Warner Bros Records.

    Explore more here.

  • Type is an illusion: download Jonathan Hoefler's revealing typographic secrets

    “In my very first meeting with director Brian Oakes, we agreed that our episode of the Netflix documentary Abstract: The Art of Design should be more than a profile of a working typeface designer: it should also offer viewers some practical insights into the mechanics of the craft itself” explains typographer and founder of Hoefler&CoJonathan Hoefler who is ready to reveal his secrets in his latest blog post for all typophiles to know and share.

    Hoefler compelling way of demonstrating typographic principles are available as a free download, as a PDF that can be printed on transparencies.

    “Whether you’re teaching typography, studying it, or just giving letters a closer look for the first time, I hope you’ll find these useful” adds Hoefler. 

    “Type design is a battle with optical illusions, which we only win through a complete surrender. We convince the eye to see things clearly not by creating rational drawings, but through irrational ones, by introducing strange distortions that outwit the eye: to shape not what we see, but what we think we see” writes Hoefler.

    Explore more here

  • 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.