Museum for Communication
24 January, 2020

A bit of nice type found at Berlin’s Museum for Communication.

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Vintage Wine, Beer, & Spirits Label Exhibition in SF
5 May, 2017

Like some sorta typographic-acid flashback, the last few days have brought many random flashbacks of my awesome time in San Francisco last January. I been remembering a lot of my visit to Kadam, Tânia, and Frank, and finally getting to see the Bay Area. Most of the time was spent buried in books or cocktails – both at Frank & Tânia’s library & kitchen, or many of the cities book shops and bars. Books and drinking, that was pretty much the theme of the visit.

So over the next few posts I’ll be sharing photos of misc SF finds.

First up was a great exhibition at the California Historical Society on Vintage Wine Beer & Spirit Labels. Sadly I’m posting this after the closing date (it ran December 8th 2016 – April 16th, 2017), so hopefully you caught it while it was up if you are nearby. The collection of labels was produced by the Lehmann Printing and Lithographic Company of San Francisco. The exhibition stated:

Designed during the terrible privation and unrest of the Great Depression, Lehmann’s labels graced hundreds of thousands of bottles of mass manufactured, highly alcoholic wines and liquors, invoking deliciously unrealistic fantasies of peace, plenty, and the high-class life. Marrying design with consumer ideology, the Lehmann oeuvre represents a forgotten high point of American commercial art.

Founded in 1911 by Adolph Lehmann with an initial investment of $190, the firm expanded into a major industrial printing operation valued at $600,000 by 1935. A dazzled correspondent for the Inland Printer dubbed Lehmann “the printer who hasn’t heard about the depression.” The company employed one hundred people, including a permanent staff of anonymous artists who designed each custom label with skillful care. To meet an ever-increasing demand for labels, Lehmann also pioneered a stock label service in the mid-1930s, creating catalogs of generic labels with stock vignettes that could be applied to a wide variety of products.

From a typographic standpoint I of course enjoyed many of the labels on display. There were numerous great examples, only a few of which are shown here. My only complaint would be that the lighting made photography extremely difficult. The exhibition was very both well organized and beautiful with its differently colored thematic rooms and archival photos, stories, and other ephemera along side the labels to put things in context and explain the lithographic process and business side of things in more detail.

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Kohei Sugiura: Graphic Design Methodology and Philosophy
9 September, 2015

Last night I had the fortune to attend the opening of a wonderful exhibition for the Japanese typographer Kohei Sugiura. The show was organized by Kimya’s former professor and mentor Kirti Trivedi – a friend and former student of Sugiura’s. The show is up for less than a week September 9-13th, so if you are in Mumbai, you really should hurry and pay it a visit.

During the opening, Kirti gave a touching presentation covering Suigura’s biography (and the opening was on his birthday!), portfolio highlights, and some of his fascinating philosophical ideas. His concepts and methodologies are inspiring in special ways – many are radically different from our conventional Western views. I believe there is much that we can learn from him and his thinking. Personally, I’m very excited to read more about him and his work, and he is making me want to visit Japan even more now!

I quite like the quote:

“Human beings stand on the ground and walk with two legs. One leg steps forward. To continuously move forward, to grow and develop, is what we all hope for. That is the role of the front leg.

However, we have two legs. There is the back leg as well. If the back leg is not planted firmly on the ground it won’t provide the strength the front leg needs to move forward. It is only when both legs move alternately, in a joint effort, that we are able to advance.

What is the back leg? What does it mean to step firmly on the ground? The ground, of course, is our heritage of history and civilization. By planting one leg on this vast accumulation of wisdom and knowledge, we enable our other leg to move forward.

Our two legs and their movement – the front leg advancing civilization, the back leg standing on history and tradition – teach us how to live in the present.

When we take another step, the front leg representing the advance of civilization switches roles and becomes the back leg, while the back leg representing history and tradition advances and becomes the front leg. The two legs take turns, and we walk. “Two legs, one movement”: again, we are reminded of the philosophy of “one in two, two in one”.

Osianama & Tao Art Gallery present
Kohei Sugiura:Graphic Design Methodology and Philosophy
An Exhibition on the work of the Master Designer from Japan
Books, Magazines, Posters, Calendars on Letterforms, Videos and Motion Graphics
9th–14th September 2015
11am to 7pm (daily)

Inauguration, 6:30 pm, Tuesday, 8 September 2015
Guided Tours of the Exhibition by Prof. Kirti Trivedi
9–13 September 2015, 4:00 – 6:00pm

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Museum of the Moving Image
6 May, 2015

Found in Queens, the Museum of the Moving Image is absolutely worth a visit. Shown here are ‘merely’ some of the typographic highlights, but there are countless other treasures from the large and small screens. The exhibitions are well designed, entertaining, interactive, and full of actual iconic pieces of cinema history. And of course, there is a lot of great type and lettering from the last hundred years.

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Signature Type Exhibition
2 August, 2014

The Brno Biennial is hosting an exhibition of Rostislav Vaněk’s work. He created a variety of icons of Czech designs (including great systems like the signage the Prague metro). This gallery shows one small room specifically dedicated to his typeface designs. More can be seen at Signature Type Foundry.

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TypoPolo Exhibition
22 June, 2014

“TypoPolo” is a notion which describes an aesthetic phenomenon, namely, the amateur designs of advertisements, signboards or informative inscriptions made for small businesses and crafts, which came into being in the Polish public sphere of the 1990s.

TypoPolo @ the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

I first heard of this special exhibition at Typo Berlin last month from the Hakabo talk. Not yet having been to Poland, it was the perfect excuse to finally go because of it’s concrete (and time-sensitive) typographic theme. The exhibition is still up for another week (I saw it on what was to be the last day, but then it was extended two weeks)(April 29 – June 29, 2014), so maybe you can hurry to Warsaw to catch it!

A few days later, I happened to meet a man in Brno, Czech while we were in a line to get a beer… I mentioned that I was just in Warsaw, and that I mainly went just to see this show (and the Neon Museum)… and that I really enjoyed it. He then introduced himself as Rene Wawrzkiewicz, the curator of TypoPolo! He was super excited to hear someone went all the way there just for the show :) He also apologized that there weren’t English translations of the text (due to the budget of course). But then shared the great news that TypoPolo will travel to Wrocław later this year, and they are planning a bi-lingual book to also be published. I’m very much looking forward to that!

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Lettering vs Calligraphy Berlin Sequel
24 May, 2014

ON THE WALL is a new exhibition by the lovely duo of  Martina Flor and Giuseppe SalernoLettering VS Calligraphy. Opening  during the last evening of Typo Berlin, these photos give a glimpse of the opening party and exhibition. It’s on display at the Buchstabenmuseum until July 6th, 2014.

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Typographic Thali
10 March, 2014

Not exactly breaking news, but I’ve never gotten around to posting them here.

Typographic Thali was the final exhibition at the Mota Italic gallery Aug+Sept 2013. It was comprised of items from my personal collection of type-related finds from India. On display were hundreds of items including: Bollywood posters, newspapers, books, toys, metal signs, metal type, type specimens, money, new and vintage hand-painted objects, and hundreds of photos. It was one of the most popular exhibitions that we held in that space… Everyone was inspired and interested to learn more about Indian and it’s diverse writing systems.

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Buchstabenmuseum Grand Re-Opening
26 January, 2014

Berlin’s Buchstabenmuseum moved to their new location (down the street from their old location at Alexanderplatz, just next to Jannowitzbrücke now), and they finally had a huge re-opening party in December. (more…)

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Piece by Dominic McGill @ Gestalten Space
18 December, 2013

Currently on display till January 12th at the Gestalten Space in Berlin is The Age of Collage exhibition. In this group show, there is one particualry outstanding peace by Dominic McGill that you type geeks will appreciate. These are a few snapshots of his creative penciled lettering.

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The Mastering Type 13 Exhibition:
22 July, 2013

Our Instagram stream has been populated with Mastering Type specimens. Here you can see a bit more of everything from the show. It was a great year for both programs!



Aakriti by Katy Mawhood (MATD) • View in Instagram



Amanita by Krista Radoeva (t]m) • View in Instagram



Aronde by Stéphane Passerat (MATD) • View in Instagram



Binky by Teo Tuominen (t]m) • View in Instagram



Botanica by Tania Alvarez Zaldivar • View in Instagram



Brisbane by Troy Leinster (t]m) • View in Instagram



Caligula by Jonas Niedermann (MATD) • View in Instagram



Chimera by Maria Doreuli (t]m) • View in Instagram



Curtis by Bernd Volmer (t]m) • View in Instagram



Damien by Lukas Schneider (t]m) • View in Instagram



Editura by Diana L. Ovezea (t]m) • View in Instagram



Kingyo by Reiko Hirai (MATD) • View in Instagram



Klabauter by Louisa-Helen Fröhlich (MATD) • View in Instagram



Makeda by Liron Lavi Turkenich (MATD) • View in Instagram



Mala by Barbara Bigosińska (t]m) • View in Instagram



Mello by Lisa Timpe (MATD) • View in Instagram



Natan by William Montrose (MATD) • View in Instagram



Nomad by Florian Runge (MATD) • View in Instagram



Nurraq by Étienne Aubert Bonn (t]m) • View in Instagram



Prakashan by Alessia Mazzarella (MATD) • View in Instagram



Ricochet by Sun Helen Isdahl Kalvenes (t]m) • View in Instagram



Salom by Igor Labudovic (MATD) • View in Instagram



Téras by Sebastian Losch (MATD) • View in Instagram



Westeinde by Adam Katyi (t]m) • View in Instagram

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The Legendary Buchstabenmuseum
15 March, 2013

Berlin’s greatest typographic institution is probably the Buchstabenmuseum (The Letter Museum). Similar to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, this establishment collects, preserves, and educates on the dying art of dimensional typography – mostly in the form of shop signs. Visitors can marvel at the beautiful, decaying letters and get to see up close just how they were made and work.

When I first moved to Berlin some 4 years ago I found the museum in a tiny little space; crammed full of letters, they had extremely limited, sporadic opening hours. Roughly two years ago they moved to their current location inside a mall-like space directly at Alexanderplatz. While here, they expanded the collection and made it even more educational and interactive. The layout and concept of the space is quite wonderful with dramatic lighting and interesting arrangements and groupings of letters.

Until today, I had not yet posted images from the redesigned museum, but now I must – especially because of two important pieces of news. So pay attention:

1— Tomorrow night (March 16th) will be a long night at the museum. The fun starts at 17:00 with Pecha Kucha! It will feature some great names in Berlin’s ecclectic type crowd: Christine Campe // Christine Voshage // Hildrun Dreyer // Julia Sysmäläinen // Lara Schilling // Lucas de Groot // Marcus Hahn // Raban Ruddigkeit // Sascha Grewe // Sonja Keller // Sonja Knecht.

But, if you can’t make it to the talks, you can also stop by later in the evening. Tomorrow is the Lange Nacht der Museen (long night of museums) in Berlin. Most of the city’s museums will stay open late (till 2am), and you can get into all of them with just one ticket. I’d suggest starting with Pecha Kucha, then moving on to some other nice places (the Martin-Gropius-Bau is always great).


2— The museum will be closing at the end of the month! So, you really should get to see it one last time before they are gone! That sounds overly dramatic I hope – don’t fear, they will reopen in a new location nearby soonish. Still, it would be good to see them here before it’s too late.

The Pecha Kucha night would be a good excuse to visit wouldn’t it?

If you don’t go tomorrow night, the museum is normally open Thu–Sat from 1–3pm. You have till March 30th to stop by.

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