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  • Zak Group makes history for the Chicago Architecture Biennial

    The second edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) is the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America, showcasing the transformative global impact of creativity and innovation in these fields. To celebrate the event Zak Group provided the art direction for this second edition of the biennial titled “Make New History”.

    “In addition to designing the catalogue, we designed the visual identity, campaign, signage and wayfinding system” says Zak Group who collaborated with with artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee.

    “The design of the jacket draws upon the visual language of contrasting colors and repetition that we developed for the biennial’s identity. The color pallet references Faber Birren’s industrial color code for DuPont while the typographic treatment draws upon the transformation of language into images by Chicago émigrés designers. Make New History, published by Lars Müller Publishers, is organised around four historical themes, signified by coral pink spreads, and two collective projects, denoted by cobalt blue spreads with contrasting typography” notes the studio on the accompanied publication which brings together an eminent collection of writers including Sarah Herda, Robert Somol, Philip Ursprung, Sarah Whiting and the biennial’s contributing architects and artists.

    This year’s Biennial features over 141 practitioners from more than 20 countries addressing the 2017 theme “Make New History.” Artistic Directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee have selected architects and artists whose eye-opening creations will invite the public to explore how the latest architecture can and will make new history in places around the world.

    The main exhibition is free and open to the public from September 16, 2017 through January 7, 2018 and it extends to off-site locations and is amplified through six community anchor exhibitions in the neighborhoods and two special project sites – plus installations, performances, talks, films, and more hosted by over 100 local and global cultural partners.

    The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism through the production of exhibitions and public programs.

  • Cheers to modern Japanese design for a modern Japanese beer

    Thirst Craft, the specialist drinks packaging design agency that builds “creatively rare, commercially right, brands that excite and delight the senses” is having a Japanese moment.

    Thirst Craft’s talented team of designers and strategists have joined forces once again with Yeastie Boys for a very contemporary and sleek take on their latest creation, Inari Bīru.

    “In case you’re not fluent, that’s Japanese for ‘Rice Beer’” comments Thirst Craft. 

    Made using high grade Koshihikari rice, this extra pale golden ale was designed to compliment Japanese food and needed a strong design to match this strong proposition.

    Inspired by minimalist Japanese design and a classic red, white and black colour palette, Thirst Craft created a strikingly simple pack.

    To add balance and energy, paintbrushes were picked up in a hasty homage to shodō, traditional Japanese calligraphy. A lot of experimenting with very viscous ink led to loose, textured characters disrupting the pristine lay out with their vertical placement.

    Cheers to a different taste here

  • OMSETYPE’s first sans-serif type family is infused with modernity

    “Modern Era is a sans-serif type family consisting of 12 styles ranging from Light to Heavy with corresponding italics” writes OMSETYPE on it’s latest monospaced type family consisting of 4 styles.

    To promote their typographic vision James Kape and Briton Smith from London-based design studio OMSE have recently launched their own type foundry aptly named OMSETYPE. Modern Era with its large x-height, low stroke contrast, pronounced arcs, beveled stroke joints and its contrast of wider circular characters with narrower characters is OMSETYPE’s first family.

    “These features give what was initially conceived as a functional typeface an idiosyncratic, friendly character making it equally suited for body copy and display type” writes the type foundry that was born from OMSE’s need to create typefaces which will play an important role in brand identity.

    “The character set includes over 520 glyphs providing support for over 60 languages. The release also incorporates enhanced OpenType typographic and layout features including a number of stylistic alternatives”.

    The two companies work in tandem with each retail typeface fulfilling a need identified in an OMSE project. Each typeface is then developed and tested extensively in OMSE projects before their retail release under OMSETYPE.
    OMSE originally comes from the Swedish word ömsesidig, meaning mutual or like-minded. “We’ve simplified our brand name however the umlaut (ö) lives on as our brand character” they add.

    Explore more here.

  • So Mr. Spencer, what is a Speculative type designer all about?

    As the top of the homepage of his website suggests, Barry Spencer is a “legibilitator, speculator, type Designer and doctor”. “While the word Legibilitator is obviously a made up title, the others bring attention to what I would actually label myself, a Speculative Type Designer” he adds.
    “What this means, and what I tell people, is that I often make letters that may or may not look like letters” Spencer concludes.

    Melbourne-based Spencer is a university lecturer and freelance designer who has “researched, explored and played with the Latin letterforms” throughout his career as a designer. “By undertaking this research and exploration it has allowed me to reach a point where I have now fundamentally altered the way that I create, perceive and understand the shapes of the alphabet” says the type designer.
    Barry Spencer latest project Speculatype is a book focused on his unique experimentations and speculations with the Latin letterforms.

    Spencer has self-published his doctoral research as a hardcover book that focuses on his unique exploration with Latin letterforms between 2005 and 2013.
    Containing over 230 illustrations showcased throughout each chapter and including nine in-depth case studies of typefaces that were instrumental to Barry’s creative journey and transformation, this book is a visual and theoretical treat for those interested in the boundaries of letterforms and typeface creation.

    “It is not commonplace to engage in a line of questioning that provokes a creative response that departs from the foundations of the Latin letterforms and their history. However, it’s by taking something as implicitly known as the Latin letterforms and applying a completely new interpretation to their creation, perception and understanding that I contribute new knowledge to the field of typographic research.”

    By exploring the Latin letterforms outside of the traditional approach, Barry has created typefaces that have allowed him to experiment and speculate with shapes that would otherwise have been dismissed. However, it is exactly this kind of investigation that has led to the creation of this book and the vast array of unique outcomes that are contained within its 256 pages.

    “This is a thesis that explores the letterforms of our alphabet, not as a problem-solving project, but instead as like a scientific lab experiment or an artistic body of work and from a position that enables creativity through open thought and investigation with the potential to extend into innovation and unknown possibilities.”

    Speculatype: A Tranformative Approach to the Perception, Understanding and Creation of Latin Letterforms is now available for purchase from Barry Spencer Design, Books at Manic (international orders and retail distribution), online retailers and in good bookstores.

    Barry continues to explore the potential of letterforms while also writing and lecturing on graphic design, typography and type design.

    Explore Barry’s work by visiting: or on Instagram @speculatype

  • Typism is typography’s latest conference for the lovers of the letter

    "I wanted to find a way to inspire and motivate my graphic design students” says Dr Dominique Falla of her brainchild Typism. “Many of them showed an interest in typography and lettering but didn't believe it was possible to make a living from it” adds the typographer, graphic designer and lecturer at the Griffith University.

    The Typism Conference—now in its third year—is devoted entirely to the beauty of the written word and for the event some of the world's best calligraphers, sign painters and typographers will descend on the Gold Coast in September for a creative conference that focuses on the craft of typography.
    Typism is the first conference of its kind in Australia and is gaining recognition around the world, with more than 70,000 followers on social media.

    “We are all familiar with fonts—most of us have hundreds on our computer—but who designs them?  The logos for Coca-Cola, Disney, Kleenex, Kellogg's, and Virgin were all hand drawn by lettering artists, and every hipster coffee shop has a hand-painted sign these days. Beautiful type and lettering are invisible to the average person, but surround us every day. The Typism Conference is dedicated to the creative people who make it (or want to learn how)” she adds.
    By bringing together the world's most successful lettering artists, Dominique showcases the craft and the profession to the next generation, with many of her students going on to become successful typographers and lettering artists in their own right.

    Held this year at the Arts Centre Gold Coast on Saturday 30th of September, Typism brings together lettering artists from Australia and the US to share their work, creative process and insights into building a business from your passion.

    For more information on speakers and workshops click here.