LACK, typographic logo

Miklos Kiss is a great designer from Budapest, Hungary with a great taste for typography. He designed the logo, visual identity, cover and lay out for LACK magazine. I stumbled upon these logo’s on the Behance network. I think every single one of these is great. Trying to visualize the name in a typographic way with an actual lack of form without affecting the readability and becoming too artsy fartsy is really well done in these specific examples.

The final logo is a great example of how to combine simplicity and elegance in a typographic logo. I’m sure this stands out and is specifically suitable for a magazine.

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All I wanted for christmas…

… was my new iPad! My dad won an iPad at work. Not for being the greatest dad ever (which he actually is) but for a good logistic plan he wrote. He decided to give it to me as a christmas present. I really love it and a whole new world of apps and inspiration is opening up for me.

I especially love the app flipboard. They call themselves a personalized social magazine but it feels like so much more than that. It offers me my daily content based on my social media (facebook, twitter enz.) contacts, interests and activities.

It knows what you care about because it knows who your friends are. I was a bit skeptical at first since very view of my facebook friends are good friends in real life and i’m not assuming we have a lot of interests in common. But flipboard is the first app that really amazes me. It offers me the greatest and most inspirational articles on design and typography. I think this app will really help me step up my blog game.

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Interview: Michiel van der Born

Michiel van der Born (1975) is a typographic artist living and working in Amsterdam. He graduated cum laude from the Academy of Art in The Hague. He is a proud member of the Dstruct Collective.

Michiel, have you always been interested in typography or was it something that grew on you?
When I was fourteen graffiti was really big in my hometown Leiden. I never was a hardcore graffiti artist myself but I was always drawing letters and fonts.  I thought a spraycan was quitte a clumsy and rough tool that didn’t enable me to get my letters on the wall properly and detailed enough. I probably didn’t invest enough time and practice to master it properly and back then they didn’t make spray cans especially for graffiti like they make them nowadays. Before I got accepted at the academy I didn’t even know designing letters and fonts was an actual craft. At the academy we started drawing font with a flat brush, after that a flat pen and finally a pointed pen. I loved these lessons. When we ended up sketching and digitalizing I was sold.

Which artists inspire you?
I have a lot of sources for inspiration, here are the first that come to mind:
Typographic:
Seb Lester, Jessica Hische, Alex Trochut, de Speedball lettering guides, Rob Roy Kelly’s book, Underware, House Industries and ofcourse Erik van Blokland.
Paintingwise:
Jeff Soto, Mars1, Jeremy Fish, Chris Mars, Mark Ryden, Femke Hiemstra, Josh Keyes.And ofcourse many tattoo artists (Domme Joris!) and graffiti artists.

How would you describe your work and your style?
It’s always difficult to describe your own style. I try to combine painting and typography as much as possible. This for the very simple reason that I really digg both disciplines. I think the craftsmanship of painting and drawing letters appeals to me, The monks work, keep screwing around with curves and painting in endless amounts of layers. I truly enjoy that.

What is your favorite font?
‘Palatino’ from Hermann Zapf is my old time favorite. Not because of the shapes of the separate characters but how the characters behave in a text. I love the grayscale of a page filled with text set in ‘Palatino’. It reads well and radiates a certain nostalgia and craftsmanship in a subtle way. I also like some of the newer fonts. One of my new favorites is ‘Eames’ from House Industries. I’m also very into fonts from Underware. Untill the butcher down the street starts using it, then I can’t use them no more without thinking of pork chops. Damn those fonts are always a hit! Respect! Before I forget, how about that one from Laura Meseguer, the ‘Rumba’. That’s a cool font! I could continue this for quitte a while…

Last year you finished your alphabet series. Are you already thinking of new big projects or are you gonna take it painting by painting?
Usually I work with a theme. Something that strikes me in society or somethink I find interesting. The goal of my alphabet series was to give all of the 26 characters a unique personality. Really make them into ‘creatures’, in the way people talk about letters. Letters can be strict, kind, formal etc. Some letters have a belly (b), others have legs (m). I just finished a series on ‘green email signatures’. Right now I’m working on a series of paintings on watching television and the amount of time you lose doing that. In between series I keep working on individual paintings and lettering.

Do you think dutch academies focus enough on typography?
That’s a difficult question. There are always students that are really into typography and students that don’t think it’s interesting. For me personally typography was one of my most important classes. By studying typography I also learned a lot about lay-outs, balance, and shapes, basically the core of graphic design. By drawing letters is definitely perfected my skills in other disciplines like illustration and painting. Luckily some of my teachers are still prepared to answer questions about letters and fonts. In short: typography can never be teached too much.

You’re also part of the Dstruct Collective.
Can you explain what this is, who is part of it and what type of work you do?

The Dstruct Collective is a group of friends with similar music taste. Hardcore acid and Tekno wasn’t being played in the regular clubs and so they began organising their own underground parties. Usually illegal in an abandoned building or office space. To announce the parties we hang posters in the streets of Leiden and Rotterdam. These posters had practically no information on them (cause of the illegal nature of the parties), just ‘Dstruct Soundsystem’ and an illustration. Flyers with phonenumbers on them were then distributed by friends and acquaintances. The impact of the posters was huge. You didn’t see much posters with just a slogan and an illustration back then. Street art was a logical next step for us. Street art, graphic design and typography became increasingly important to us. Important enough to make me and Thijs (another member) sign up for art academy. Nowadays both of us still work as artists.

What are your plans for the future?
That’s hard to say. Right now I’m very charmed by tattoos. Maybe learn how to tattoo? I don’t know yet. For sure get better at painting and lettering!

Contact Michiel to order his limited edition portfolio booklet.

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Don’t believe the type!

Two weeks ago (Yes, time really does fly when you’re having fun) I took part in ‘Don’t believe the type’ in The Hague. Trapped in Suburbia organises these workshops, lectures and exhibitions about typography every year. This year they even organised a ‘Don’t believe the type’ edition in Shanghai! They invite the most interesting people from different fields of typography to come teach and speak about their work, inspiration and love for type. This time it was up to Sean Freeman, Jeff Canham and Hort. I signed up for the workshop ‘one big typographic journey’ by Sean Freeman.

Workshop Sean Freeman

The workshop with Sean was really interesting and entertaining. Sean was a little bit nervous and clearly had to get used to being kind of a teacher figure. This wasn’t a bad thing because this way the whole workshop had quitte an open character, the atmosphere was really laidback and Sean was super approachable.

Everybody was seated at large tables and automatically started talking and formed groups with the other people at their table, so we were working in groups. On forehand we were asked to bring all kind of household items and different materials. We were told to lay it all out on the table and play with it for a while. Getting used to the texture and the way it moves we came up with different ways to use this materials in a typographic way. Everybody was working away as Sean went to all the tables to disguss ideas and give some tips and feedback here and there.

After various testing and mainly screwing up materials I came up with the idea to ‘paint’ letters on tin foil with maple syrup. When you hold a lighter underneath it the maple syrup will caramelize and look burned. An obvious link to drugs so I chose to write the word ‘Junkie’. In contrast with the meaning of the word I thought it would be a nice twist to use elegant lettering. This is what I managed to come up with in a few hours time. I definitely plan to work out this concept more detailed and perfect it.

Lectures Sean Freeman, Jeff Canham and Hort

The lectures started at 19:30 and were really interesting and entertaining. Sean explained his method of working and how he loves to work with different materials. Jeff showed us many pictures of his craftmanship. His hand painted signs are beautiful but his art works are even more amazing. The bird houses are just awesome!

Hort’s lecture….. well what can i say? Hort’s lecture was one of a kind, truly original, unconventional and inspiring. He showed us how to be truly creative by doing the exact opposite of what people (or clients) expect from you.

Sean Freeman

Sean is an expert in making 3d typographic installations, he makes them with ordinary items and makes them look great!  He is an illustrator and designer based out of London, whose clients list includes VH1, Nike, The New York Times, and Leo Burnett.  His work is highly process-based, incorporating glitter, dust, paint, wood, and fur.

Jeff Canham

We’re proud to have San Francisco’s finest sign painter in town! Jeff Canham’s colorful, typographic compositions showcase his skills as a fine artist, graphic designer and traditional sign painter. From art directing Surfer Magazine to learning the traditional craft of sign painting at New Bohemia Signs, his juxtaposition of old and new methods have evolved to form the backbone of his work today. Jeff currently resides in San Francisco, California.

Hort

Hort began its inhabitance back in 1994, under the previous stage name of Eike´s Grafischer Hort. But who the hell is Eike? Eike is the creator of HORT. HORT – a direct translation of the studio’s mission. A creative playground and a place where ‘work and play’ can be said in the same sentence. An unconventional working environment. Once a household name in the music industry. Now, a multi-disciplinary creative hub. Not just a studio space, but an institution devoted to making ideas come to life. A place to learn, a place to grow, and a place that is still growing.

Exhibition ‘Ship of fools’ gallery

The lectures slightly delayed the opening of the exhibition. It included works from Alex Trochut, Craig Ward, Jan Rothuyzen, Michiel van der Born, Seb Lester, Si Scott and Nick Deakin.

It was really nice to be able to enjoy the works of these great typographers with a much deserved beer in the hand while mingling with all of the other people there at the end of such a long tiring day of working and listening.

I recommend everybody with a love for typography to sign up for next year and become inspired by other artists.

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Oil & Water…

Some initiatives deserve attention not because of the great design but simply because of the great idea and concept behind it. This is one of those initiatives…

Happiness Brussels created a limited edition of 200 posters, designed by Anthony Burrill and screen printed with oil from the deep water horizon spill. All benefits go to CRCL (Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana).

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Type is advertising

The typography in these ads isn’t all that good. I still love to see how using type creates a whole new dimension to these ads.

In todays advertising there is not a lot of focus on typography or telling a story using simply text. They focus on telling as much as possible by using picture. I think this really is a pitty. Typography is the basis of all communication. Whether you use the type or font as images or as simple text. It’s the ideal medium to say what you have to say. And these ads found a creative way to do just that!

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Patience is a virtue

Cameron Moll is a designer, speaker, and author living in Sarasota, Florida (United States). He’s been working on this poster of a typographical Coliseum for over a year. It’s finally finished and the result is simply astonishing.

What began as a 10-year wedding anniversary to Rome concluded a year later as an artistic endeavor to reimagine the Coliseum with type.

In March 2009, Cameron and his wife, Suzanne, spent several days in Rome to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. This was also a chance to observe in detail the Coliseum, which Cameron had already selected as the next subject in his series of letterpress posters.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the artwork was handcrafted character by character, totaling roughly 250 hours of work from start to finish. Characters from the Goudy Trajan and Bembo Pro typefaces form the Coliseum (or Colosseum), also known as today as Colosseo (Italian) and originally known as Amphitheatrum Flavium (Latin).

Additionally, glyphs have been recreated based on the work of master Italian calligrapher M. Giovambattista Palatino, as featured in Libro di M. Giovambattista Palatino Cittadino Romano, published in Rome around 1550 AD.

Each poster is printed on Somerset Velvet Black or Crane Lettra Pearl and letterpressed by Bryce Knudson of Bjørn Press in Provo, Utah, United States.

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Weave Alphabet

This alphabet was beautifully made by Zim and Zou, a graphic design studio in Nancy (France). Zim and Zou consists of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann who are working together after studying graphic design. The studio proposes a contemporary approach of design thanks to a mix of different fields such as paper sculpture, installation, graphic design, illustration, webdesign… Zim&Zou’s strength is to be a complementary and polyvalent duo.

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Yulia’s typographic art

Typography is not art. Just like animation and graphic design in itself is not art. However, people tend to take it to the next level, both visually and conceptually. When done properly it evolves into an art form that stands  on its own. But what is art? And what is it measured by? By uniqueness? By craftsmanship or by the number of hours put into a single piece? Whatever you wanna measure it by, the work of Yulia Brodskaya has all the characteristics of typographic art.

Yulia was born in Moscow. Troughout her life she was interested in diverse creative practices ranging from Textile Painting, Origami and Collage to more traditional Fine Art practices. She moved to the UK in 2004. Following an MA in Graphic Communication she continued to experiment and explore ways of bringing together all the things she likes most: typography, paper, and highly detailed hand-made craft objects. She has swiftly earned an international reputation for her innovative paper illustrations and continues to create beautifully detailed paper designs for clients all around the world.

She’s not the stereotype of a starving artist, she’s worked for big clients like Neiman Marcus, Orange, Libelle, The Guardian, Sunday Times Travel, Wired, Blender Magazine, Lonely Planet and many others.

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Tools

“The Internet is the world’s largest library.  It’s just that all the books are on the floor.” – John Allen Paulos –

The internet changed our lives and continues to change our live on a daily basis. The are a lot of people who love the impact that the internet has made on our daily lives and a lot of people hate it. They think it individualizes and isolates us too much and anti-socializes people. Yet the internet has produced some amazing tools that a lot of people use to makes their live easier, better or simply more fun!

Two tools that has made my professional life easier and better:

WeTransfer

Founder Nalden is probably the king of the butch blogosphere. He was the first who started making money by an original way of selling advertising space on his website. No flashing banners or ugly pop-ups but beautiful customized backgrounds. In 2010 he founded wetransfer, the better, faster and better looking younger brother of yousendit. It works perfect everytime. And the biggest advantage: you don’t have to sign up or download a programme.

Compfight

I absolutely hate stock photography! Why, you ask? Because everybody can see in a split second what’s stock and what’s not. Because all of the pictures are clean, and life just isn’t. Because none of the pictures are creative, no original composition, no sparkling colours, none whatsoever. Compfight is a search engine which searches the huge collection of Flickr photo’s to match your keywords. You always find pictures that match your keyword in a creative way.

Bittbox

Backgrounds, tutorials, photographs, textures, fonts, everything you might ever need is collected here. Besides a great place for inspiration bittbox provides great tips and tricks on designing and graphic art.

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