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A world of typography in Brum

Categories: Our work, Useful/interesting

Last week, a website we designed and built for The Typographic Hub - a new BCU initiative which works to promote the history, theory and practice of typographic design - went live.

Caroline Archer who runs The Typographic Hub tweeted about the website launch (as did @supercooldesign) and, with no promotion other than online 'word of mouth', news of the launch spread fast. And far.

On day one, the site had 1,181 unique visitors from 57 countries; there were news stories about it not only in English but also French and German; US-based typographic and design deities Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Gary Hustwit publicised it and asked others to show their support; countless people retweeted and tweeted about it … all that within the website's first few hours of life. Wow!

Typography's a passion of ours so we were delighted to be involved with this project right from the off – and to then get such positive feedback about the site's design from graphic designers all around the world? An amazing bonus.

Best of all though, we know how much hard work went into getting the Hub up-and-running, so it's heartening to now see it finding so much love and attention across the world; it's already proven itself as an important, valued and growing global resource.

I reckon that's great for typography – and great for (typographic) Birmingham.

A bit of a bind

Categories: Extra-curricular, Learning things, Useful/interesting

 

I love handmade design stuff (and dreadful puns). You may know this from some of my previous posts.

In my pursuit of a balance between computery and non-computery creations, last weekend I booked (ha!) myself onto a 2-day beginner's bookbinding course run by Simon Goode, over at Birmingham Printmakers in Digbeth.

I'm not going to drone on about it in detail but suffice to say it was great fun and means I'm now able to make good use of the various odds and ends of paper I've collected over the years but not known what to do with, yet been loath to throw away.

With my bookbinding tools and newly acquired knowledge of pamphlet stitching, case binding and Japanese stab binding, come Sunday afternoon I left the Printmakers with a huge sense of achievement … and six (six!) handmade books. Not bad.

I recorded the most complex and time-consuming binding technique we learnt, case binding, in a little photostory:

As you can see, case binding's quite a convoluted process but the end result is well worth the toil and vague "Will it work?!" trauma. It's a proper hardback book!

So, I'd heartily recommend a bit of bookbinding – it's definitely good for the soul.

Oh, and for future reference I am now the go-to person if your pub quiz ever has a bookbinding round. (Codex, foredge and bone folder; I'm totally down with all the bookbinding lingo.)

Simon's running another bookbinding workshop – No Glue Needed – in December. There're details on his website, incase you're interested.

Looking back

Categories: Inspiration, Nice stuff, Useful/interesting

I seem to be on a bit of a typographic history binge at the moment; starting in the 60s with Mad Men typography the other week, I've now jumped into the early 70s.

Why? Because that's when the very first volume of U&lc – Upper and lower-case – came out and it's just been made available to download (for free) thanks to the kind folks at Fonts.com.

The scanned pdfs are pretty hefty but worth the download time as they're full of amazing typographical treats; including these creatures which reminded me of what I did with some Type Faces a while back.

(Though these chaps are much cleverer and more refined than my little project – I especially love the snail.) 

Want your own a piece of typographic design history? Download U&lc Volume 1 from over on the Fonts.com website.

Good old fashioned detail*

Categories: Useful/interesting

Mad Men. What a show.

There aren't many (any?) other TV programmes this good and, I think, what I find especially exceptional about it is the incredible attention to detail that's been put into making everything appear authentic and absolutely of its time. The very first episode kicks off in 1960 and everything looks, sounds and feels like 1960. It is 1960.

Or is it …

Recently, Kris pointed me in the direction of a piece written by designer Mark Simonson about the (mainly anachronistic) use of typography in the show; it's a great read if you're into Mad Men and type design.

I put together this graphic using some of the typefaces mentioned in the piece, showing the dates each were actually designed.

Oh; whoops!

So, perhaps there's not quite as much scrutiny about every single designed detail as I'd first thought – but it's certainly not going to ruin my enjoyment of the show and really, who's going to notice, eh?

*aka 'Designers are an observant bunch'.