Friday, March 28, 2008

Type Club of Toronto Review: Part 1

Okay, I am adding a little section that isn't found type related but I really wanted to comment on the great work that is presented by the Type Club of Toronto (and it's my blog and I'll do what I want). If you are lucky enough to be in Toronto and love anything to do with type and lettering, the Type Club is a must. If you live outside of Toronto, you can visit their website and read my ongoing reviews (I'll try and post the work as well or provide links)

I have attended three events (I unfortunately missed Karl Thomson). Here are my little reviews of the speakers thus far:

Peter Zak & Barry Lavender of Tweek
Barry and Peter create unique custom type and branding that stands out amongst the masses of digitally produced, "out-of-the-box" wordmarks and logos. They took us through case studies and revealed their processes of hand-rendering to digital-rending (and sometimes back to hand rendering). The most famous piece is probably the Indiana Jones movie lettering that Barry did earlier in his career and how that style of lettering was copied and interpreted over time. I really liked hearing Barry's stories in particular and was fascinated with his insane attention to detail. He will work on the smallest minutia of a letterform and the final product will look so spontaneous and natural. That is the beauty of his work.

(revealing process, image from

(I don't think this is the original poster or even the original lettering but it gives you the idea)


Michael Clark:
The hand lettering genius. He has done a wide range of projects from hallmark cards to identities. He is also known for typefaces like pooper black (one of the most ripped-off typefaces known) No screen does his work justice, you really need to see it in person. Some of my favourite stuff was done with thick broad strokes and stacked letters that almost looked abstracted beyond legibility. He talked about leaving his job to work in an art related career and started as a typesetter in an agency then secretly working on the creative at night and proving his talent. (I loved this story because I had a similar experience falling into a typesetting job at a young age and then becoming a designer). I am so jealous of this guys skills. The day after his talk I went to the art store and bought pen nibs, inks and paper and tried my hand at lettering, it was a mess... but I will keep trying.


Doublenaut: Andrew & Matt McCraken
So far, this has been my favourite event. These two brothers focus primarily on music graphics and posters. The level of craft in their work is amazing and inspiring. I think there's a sort of push pin aesthetic to their work but it's like push pin thrashed by a skateboard run through the mud, then photocopied, scanned and then contrasted with clean modern elements. It all has a nice contrast and push and pull between quiet and loud, clean and grungy. Once again it was refreshing to see work that didn't totally rely on digital rendering but used it instead as a layer of design in their work. They talked about the importance of custom, original work as opposed to using imagery or typefaces available to everybody. I was impressed by how they scan old type specimens, customize them and work them into their wordmarks... even if the typeface is available digitally, this process gives them a completely unique look. Afterwards there was a raffle and I won the Indie Fonts 3 book and the typeface Artefact by Nick Shinn and I bought the XIU XIU poster from Matt (thank you!)

(posters from the Doublenaut site)


Okay, that's it. Next speaker is Ian Brignell on April 16th and a review will follow.


Russell said...

Small world. I went to see Michael Clark & Doublenaut too. I missed Tweek, but saw Karl Thompson.

Nice reviews. Great idea.

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