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  • Thunberg does type: Greta Grotesk is activism in typography

    Greta Thunberg is not just an activist for the climate change. The teenager from Sweden which took the world by storm through her climate strike actions every single Friday has her own downloadable font. 

    Inspired by Thunberg's protest signs the handwritten typeface, aptly named Greta Grotesk is an all-caps font designed by former creative director and SVA instructor Tal Shub, along with a team of collaborators from his climate-focused design company Uno. 

    Per Fast Company the creatives are inspired by Thunberg's activism which they want to celebrate it in the form of a typeface.

    “From the very first moment of seeing her sign, I was really impressed by the bold design and clarity of the message,” says Shub. “It seemed only right to make the letters from the powerful words that initiated this movement to be available to everyone.”

    The letterforms are extracted from Thunberg's protest images and converted into vector format.

    “A pretty common approach to drawing a new typeface is first defining the lowercase n, i and o characters because they provide the straight, round and dot shapes that can then be extrapolated into other letterforms,” the designer says. “So much of what we did was just that—finding common forms and borrowing parts from the limited characters Greta had drawn. We repurposed elements from letters that had multiple options—for example, there was a total of six uppercase K letters and six uppercase T letters.” 

    Greta Grotesk is available online as a free download here.

  • Game on! Arcade Game Typography is our favorite book of the day

    Monotype's UK typeface designer Toshi Omagari wants us to appreciate a different kind of type. His first book “Arcade Game Typography”, published by Thames & Hudson, is an open invitation to explore the fascinating new world of typography aka the pixel typeface. 

    “Video game designers of the 70s, 80s and 90s faced colour and resolution limitations that stimulated incredible creativity: with letters having to exist in an 8x8 square grid, artists found ways to create expressive and elegant character sets within a tiny canvas” writes T&H. 

    Featuring pixel typefaces carefully selected from the first decades of arcade video games, Arcade Game Typography presents a previously undocumented ‘outsider typography’ movement, accompanied by insightful commentary from author Toshi Omagari and screenshots of the type in use.

    “Exhaustively researched, this book gathers an eclectic typography from hit games such as Super Sprint, Pac-Man, After Burner, Marble Madness, Shinobi, as well as countless lesser-known gems. The book presents its typefaces on a dynamic and decorative grid, taking reference from high-end type specimens while adding a suitably playful twist. Unlike print typefaces, pixel type often has bold color ‘baked in’ to the characters, so Arcade Game Typography looks unlike any other typography book, fizzing with life and color.”

    Grab your own copy here. Game over.

    All images via Toshi Omagari's twitter account.

  • Watch Marta Bernstein defending those ugly typefaces we love

    “The types cut between 1810 and 1850 represent the worst that has ever been” or maybe not.

    Marta Bernstein, one of the founders of CAST digital type foundry and a partner at TM, an architecture and design studio based in Seattle was one of this year's Typographics conference speaker and now her talk which took place in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union on June 15, 2019 is live on Vimeo for all to explore. 

    Through her research on Italian Nineteenth Century type, Marta Bernstein builds a case in defense of loud, quirky, overly-decorated and extremely lively typefaces and the century that generated them.

    “Marta’s talk was one of my favorites at Typographics this year. The content and its presentation are great, and her love for weird typefaces is infectious. I also like her advice to break away from modernism more and embrace design solutions that aren’t necessarily timeless” notes typographer, typeface designer, web designer, typographic consultant, and Fonts In Use cofounder Nick Sherman of her insightful talk streaming online.

    Marta Bernstein's true passions are type and typography and they act as common threads of all her projects. Bernstein has a soft spot for 19th Century type, a topic she has been researching for more than ten years.

    She collaborates with international companies, several start-ups and public institutions and she has a decade long experience in developing identities across various media, and designing wayfinding and signage systems.

    A teacher as well Bernstein is an adjunct professor in Typography at Milan’s Polytechnic, visiting professor in Architecture and Design at University of Navarra and regular lecturer for the Interior Design master at Tongji University, Shanghai. Bernstein has completed her B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Graphic Design at Milan’s Polytechnic and her M.Des in type design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

    The live streaming and video recording of Marta Bernstein's “Ugly Fonts” talk were made possible by a generous sponsorship from Google.

  • Bernie for the win! 1,250 voters pick the best & worst campaign logos of 2020

    “If you aren’t familiar with the 2020 presidential candidateslogos and slogans yet, don’t worry: You will be soon enough. The two dozen hopefuls looking to replace President Trump have been raising money and hiring strategists to help them stand out in the crowded race. A good chunk of that money is set aside for branding and marketing” notes Crestline of its survey on the branding of next year’s US Elections.

    As noted by Crestline there are some features that stand out in next year’s US elections political branding.

    - The field is one of the most crowded and most diverse ever, putting more pressure on candidates to differentiate themselves through branding.

    - More candidates are abandoning familiar patriotic color schemes and flag-inspired imagery.

    - Digital communication is more important than ever.

    - Candidates are reaching out to voters via an enormous array of platforms and devices. Nearly half the hopefuls have put themselves on a first-name basis with the American public.

    - The costs are staggering. This election will likely shatter spending records.

    To find out how the Class of 2020’s branding resonates with the public, Crestline partnered with an independent research firm to survey 1,250 registered voters across the country and score the campaign materials. In every question and set of instructions, respondents were urged to focus on the graphic design or slogan, not the candidate.

    In the survey voters were asked to score each logo on a scale of 1 to 10, setting aside their personal feelings about the candidates and judging solely on the effectiveness of their logos. 

    Sanders’ clever “glasses logo” topped the list of voter favorites, and his more conservative “swoosh” logo landed in third place. Biden’s logos traded off the other top spots at second and fourth place. They shared the top five with a surprise showing from Tulsi Gabbard’s unusual “sunrise gradient” logo, which beat out the Donald Trump solo logo, in sixth place.

    The best-received logo overall made creative use of Bernie Sanders’ uncool attributes — a silhouette of his unkempt hair, and glasses adorned by the stars and stripes. Survey takers voted Bernie’s logo Most Likely to Succeed with an overall score of 7.16 out of 10. It also ranked first for qualities like “memorable,” “dynamic,” and “clever.” Sanders and Biden shared the top five spots with Tulsi Gabbard, who ranked high in “modern” and “dynamic” categories and finished just above Trump’s solo logo. (The president did not win for Best Hair, alas.)

    The top rankings for positive qualities were dominated by logos for front-runners Biden, Sanders, and Trump, exhibiting “memorable,” “polished,” “confident,” and “powerful” qualities (also highly associated with the traditional red-white-and-blue color palette they all used). But a few wild cards sneaked into top spots for other categories, such as Yang, who ranked high for “dynamic,” “clever,” and “sporty” qualities, and Castro, whose logo was in the top 3 for “polished” and “modern” qualities. Williamson’s pink logo ranked among the most “friendly,” and O’Rourke’s stark black-and-white logo placed third in the “powerful” category.

    Sanders’ “swoosh” logo, which rated an overall score of 6.84 out of 10, ranks third behind only Biden and Sanders’ own “glasses” logo. The font used for both is Jubilat, styled by Revolution Messaging. Respondents gave descriptions from “crisp,” “clean,” and “sharp” to “average,” “generic,” and “traditional,” the consensus being that it has everything a classic campaign logo needs. 

    Explore many more insights on US Elections 2020 political branding through Crestline Custom Promotional Products here.

  • Eye 99: check the video, buy the print

    Eye has always been both a cultural journal and a business-to-business magazine. Though we value work that is both beautiful and effective, the ecology of graphic design rests on a transactional network – from client, to studio, to final output – that is underpinned by friendly relationships with ‘suppliers’ such as photographers, illustrators, printers, developers, repro houses, paper companies and type foundries” writes John L. Walters in his editorial for Eye's latest issue, Eye 99.

    “Though it is a cliché to say that the client-designer relationship is what distinguishes design from art, we know that the art world, which benefits immensely from studios such as Apfel and Mues Design, can be driven by financial wizardry and whims as mysterious as the business of fashion. In ‘Normcore inferno’, Elizabeth Glickfeld investigates what she calls the strange ‘double speak’ of the new wave of logo design for luxury brands.”

    “Gottschalk+Ash’s Sascha Lötscher believes that for business to take design seriously, designers should do their best work for commerce, not culture. But he decries the confrontational format of ‘the pitch’, in which a potential client says: ‘impress me.’ Happily, much of the work in this issue, cultural or commercial, stems from friendly partnerships – with clients and consumers – that develop slowly over time. John Ridpath’s article about ethics in the digital age is a timely reminder that designers have responsibilities that go far beyond what we regard as effective or ‘good’ design.”

    Also in this issue, Jason Grant, of Brisbane’s Inkahoots, explains why he brought his New Anthems project to Berlin.

    Check the issue in the video below and support one of the industry's true originals, Eye Magazine, here.