Friday, October 31, 2008

Signage from C&G Partners

This week I attended DesignThinkers and walked away with a lot of inspiration and reference. I will be posting more findings that came out of this conference in the days to come. I thought I would start with work from C&G Partners. Steff Geissbuhler (Partner of the firm) talked about the design process of his firm. I checked out their site and found some interesting signage projects, here are few of my favourites (all images and work from C&G site):

Monday, October 27, 2008

Are you there Fonts? It's me, The Mayor

Hello, friends of the Villatype family; I hope you had a salty, chocolatey week since I last spoke to you. I know I did, but that's because I ate chocolate-covered pretzels for lunch. I know, I know - if you wanted to talk about fatty snacks, you'd watch Paula Deen.

So what have I decided to blabber on about this week? Well, in honour of Halloween, I have decided to talk about my favourite spooky and creepy fonts! Now might be a good time to mention that I tried so hard to make a Type-and-Halloween related joke, but the best I could come up with was Trick-or-Type. Terrible, I know. Let's get onto the fonts before I embarrass myself even more.

I tried very hard to find which font this is, but I have no idea. Let's face it; I wasn't hired for my typeface knowledge. Regardless, I love the sort-of acroterium on the ends of the A, F, and Y. It's more of a typeface for a fairy tale than a haunted family. Ooh, did I just discover the biting satire behind the film? I know, it wasn't exactly hidden.

This is where we divide the readers; you are either an Addams Family fan or a Munsters fan. Personally, I love The Munsters; the sexual innuendo of The Addams Family was a little lost on a 7-year-old Mayor. I would like to think that The Munsters typeface is one of the first of its kind, but the sad fact is it had been used more than a decade earlier by Kustom Kulture. Damn you, Ed Roth!!

I could easily talk about The Misfits (the band with dudes, not the one from Jem) here. But I won't, because it is a tired, tired font. Instead, may I present you with a simple, yet very scary use of type instead? Cast your peepers on this album cover by A.R.E Weapons? Oooh, creepy!! This album was released in 2003 and I haven't seen a spookier album cover since. Wait - is it the use of Pazuzu's face that does it? Bah, I guess. Can you just give me this one?

Don't you wish you could go back to the glory days of The Nightmare Before Christmas? Back when it was a mid-90s movie for children instead of the uniform for overweight pre-teen goth girls? Such a shame. Anyways, do you think this typeface would be as effective if it were applied to Fluffy Kitty and the Epic Journey to Snuggle Island? The answer is no, because that is not a real movie, you goof. But do you know what I love the most about this? That someone actually created a typeface that works for both Halloween and Christmas (sorry Hanukkah. You'll always have Caslon Titling).

OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE SCARIEST ONE OF ALL!! Sweet Christ, bring back the image of Pazuzu!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Robert Indiana - Hard Edge

I checked out Robert Indiana's show at Paul Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea today. Some really nice numbers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are you there Fonts? It's me, The Mayor

Hello friends! Welcome to Villatype’s first installment of Are you there Fonts? It's Me, The Mayor. Each week I’ll invite you to pull up a crunchy graham-cracker chair and join me by the fire for some marshmallow-y font facts and creamy typography trivia. Now might be a good time to mention that I am obviously getting paid in s’mores. Moving on! Let’s celebrate my Inauguration to the Villatype family with some Fun Facts, shall we?

Fact! The first slugs were not made of lead, but of candy, and were used as currency by Gypsies.

Most people have been misinformed that Goudy Old Style was created by Frederic W Goudy. Not true! The credit should be given to four-time US Open winner John McEnroe.

Comic Sans is a cure for nausea. That’s what we call a Catch-22!

I hear Eric Gill is dating his dog again. The two were seen canoodling at Chris Eisel's Halloween party. They've been inseparable ever since.

Did you know Johannes Gutenberg developed the printing press solely to reproduce pictures of kittens?

The Umlaut is the Poodle of the typographic world.

Fact! Every time Angelina Jolie gives birth to a child, a new font is created in her honour.

Most typographers are Dyslexic and/or Communist sympathizers.

The original name for Baskerville was Bacon Cheddar Curly Fries. Absolutely true!

That’s it for this week! I don’t want you getting too smart and stealing my thunder at the next party the two of us attend together, so you’ll have to wait till next week for more amazing verbal garbage from yours truly.
Now where’s my s’mores?

Friday, October 17, 2008

News + Updates

• Starting on Tuesday, we will have a regular column starting called "Are you there fonts? It's me The Mayor". I can't wait for the first installment.

• I put a new little blogger tool at the bottom of the right column called "followers", click on the box to add yourself as a follower (pretty please)

Jenn Lawrence is now a contributing editor on the blog (yay! thanks Jenn!), she recently interviewed Joe Shouldice for Villatype, if you haven't read it yet, read here.

• the film Bomb It by Jon Reiss (hosted by RGD) is showing on October 27th, details here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Type Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009

There have been a few of the Spring/Summer 2009 collections using type on their runways. (click to make images larger, photos from

This one from Emanuel Ungaro (designed by Esteban Cortazar) uses his fathers old love letters to create the pattern on various fabrics.

Here is some lovely embroidery by Daughters by Obedient Sons

A very type heavy, but light dress at Vena Cava

Another beautiful use of embroidery from Rachel Roy

And lastly, something a bit more extreme. A look from the 20th anniversary show of Maison Martin Margiela

Bonita Barcelona

Kavel, one of our contributors, has started a blog about "lost and found type" in Barcelona. I'm happy to see the type-fun spreading. (Photo by Kavel)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A few more from NYC

I also put in a shot from the George Lois exhibit at the MoMA, good exhibit but it's so small. Also, the RADIO CITY lettering reminds me of Gotham... read more about the Origins of Gotham on H&FJ

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Villatype Interview - Joe Shouldice

Please tell us briefly about where you work and what you do.
Sagmeister Inc. Graphic Design.

Could you describe yourself in 5 words.

This euro cents project for Urban Play is quite incredible, could you please give us a brief introduction to it?
Very Brief-A quarter of a million euro cents were sorted by shade and then placed according to a master plan across a 300sqm area to form the sentence "Obsessions make my life worse and my work better"

Do you relate with the statement "Obsessions make my life worse and my work better"?
Ummm... yes!

How did you source that many euro cents?
We had the most amazing team working with us in Amsterdam. Many, many aspects of this project happened only through the organizational skills/leadership and overall goodness of Maaike Gottschal. Who also just happens to live in Amsterdam's greatest tourist attraction, "the smallest house."

How does one go about designing with euro cents/what are the mathematics of doing such a large scale design with so many individual small parts?
The first thing you need to do is make sure your name is Richard The. The design was created using the standard Adobe Suite, and converted into a 4-colour greyscale, with each pixel representing a single coin. After that Richard wrote a program in Processing which analyzed the design. From the Amsterdam team we knew our location had 60cm x 60cm tiles on the ground. The entire design was broken down into squares that would translate to these tiles. In all we had 520 tiles with coins on them. Richard's program took the overall design, and created 520 individual sheets that showed exactly where to place each shade of penny on each tile.

closeup of the master plan, each square = one sheet = one tile. In each square each pixel = 1 coin.

Closeup of the master plan after one day.

Was it difficult to get people to understand the method of how the euro cents were to be placed?
Luckily Richard had it set up so that it was virtually foolproof (although we still did manage to have at least one tile a day done completely upsidedown).

Closeup of one sheet showing the different shades of coins and where they need to be placed n a single tile.

Clipboards ready for volunteers.

Were the euro cents sorted in any way? (colour, age etc)
Yes, the eurocents were all sorted into four different bins based upon their naturally aged shades.

What is with the blue edge on some of the euro cents?
Actually the entire backside of every coin was painted bright blue. This was to give the coins a secondary life as they were spent and spread across Amsterdam and eventually Europe. Also it allowed people to turn them over and create their own artwork/message... this happened quite a bit, even considering the short lifespan in which the piece was 'free'

How was the typeface chosen? Is it based on an existing face or was it created by the shape/usage of the euro cents?
It was custom made.

How many typeface ideas were tossed about?
The design was reworked and improved many, many times.

Were there any complications while making the mural?
We severely underestimated the time that it would take to sort all the coins by shade. This made for some tense moments as we tried to calculate how much of the piece was done and how much time we had until the opening. Luckily every time that things seems to be out of reach we would get an email informing us that a class of 20 people was planning on coming by to do a couple tiles each. Really we couldn't have been luckier with the amount of people that came out to help. On top of that it was a great way to meet lots of cool locals–many of whom came out almost every single day.

Did you have any specific expectations of what the process was going to be like? And did you have any expectations of what it would be like once completed?
Personally I had intentionally tried not to think too much about what might happen... I think I had played out two possible (and obvious) scenarios, aside from that I was truly just excited for ANYTHING to happen.

Would you do something like this ever again?

The interviewee - Joe Shouldice is a Canadian graphic designer currently based out of Brooklyn, New York. He is a regular contributor to Villatype and I am pretty sure he likes pies and the wilderness.

The Interviewer - Jenn Lawrence is a Canadian graphic designer based in Toronto. She is a regular contributor to Villatype and I am fairly certain she likes pies and kites.

Photos courtesy of: Mr. Dennis de Groot of "A rad guy and good photographer." - Joe