Missing Rich Roat
11 December, 2017


(image via: House Industries)

I only had the pleasure to meet Rich Roat a handful of times, yet like many others I’m profoundly saddened by his death. For the last week I’ve been writing and rewriting some sort of thoughts on him… Generally every version has been very bleak. I have yet to make some sort of tribute that leaves you with a of nice nostalgic feeling (check the links below, many other people have done a great job at this). For me I just think it sucks. This news has left me wracked with two conflicting thoughts: I wish I had known him better, but another stupid part of me is thankful that we were not closer friends (as this would be even harder).

House Industries has always been, and probably always will be my favorite type company. I became aware of them somewhere around 2000-2001 while studying graphic design and their remarkable style clicked with me instantly. Thanks to their beautiful printed type specimens (this was almost pre-internet) I became a super fan of their work.

While I was at the University of Reading in 2007, Rich stopped by for a day. He educated and entertained us with House anecdotes of and advice about the type business. The stories and conversations ran well into the evening, so we moved things to the nearest pub to continue in proper British style. For many of us this day was one of the highlights of our year. And personally, I was already envious of Ben Kiel for working at House, but meeting Rich only made me more jealous. (True fact: until I was spontaneously offered a job at Linotype in Germany, I had imagined to move back to the US to apply to House…)

Over the next several years I had a few more chances to hang out with Rich at various type conferences. He was the sort of person that everyone gravitated to and wanted to spend time with. Public events must have really been exhausting for him. Sadly, I never made the pilgrimage to visit House’s Yorklyn studio, and I’m now regretting that even more. I really must still go someday – sooner rather than later.

House Industries celebrated their 25th anniversary by releasing a massive 400 page retrospective book this last May. It’s called The Process is the Inspiration and it is truly excellent; I’d highly recommend it! I promptly pre-ordered my a few hours after it was online, but living in India, I only received the book a few weeks ago (btw, a huge thank you to my parents for lugging so many new books half way around the world). The House book is the first that I’ve dug into from this new haul.

My plan was to read it slowly, savor it, try to make it last a bit. I limited myself to only looking at 100 pages a day (since easily 3/4 of the pages are pictures, it’s really not that much). The first two days were a joy reading the amusing storytelling that House does so well and admiring the beautiful images from their infinite portfolio. The waking up on day 3, I launched Twitter which proceeded to slap me in the face the news of Rich’s passing. It was devastating. All the memories of hanging out with him came back, and the pleasure I had been getting from the House book was lost. I don’t know how much of the text was directly written by Rich, but much of it sounds like him. It became hard to continue reading – but at the same time I wanted to absorb it all… Somehow it felt like one last conversation with him.

When I opened the book on the third morning, this is where I had left off. It seemed like an oddly profound spread.

Surely the situation of currently reading this book has contributed to the enhanced sense of loss… Had I read it a few months ago maybe it would not be as tough now? Regardless, Rich really was special; he was a truly unforgettable person. And he was only 52! He did so much with his life, and I don’t want to imagine how much more he could have done with more time. This sad fact was emphasized when a few pages into day 3’s reading I hit the section on Ed Rondthaler (another legend who also seemed awesome). He lived a ridiculously long 104 years – exactly twice that of Rich. Damn depressing! But I am happy for Ed.

For the whole week I’ve been preoccupied with thoughts of Rich. So when two classes of students came over for studio visits the last couple days, it only seemed appropriate to enlighten them about House Industries. This new generation of designers was thoroughly impressed and inspired. You can’t get printing like this done anywhere in India!

Hopefully more qualified people will continue to share more proper eulogies and memories. My personal account is mostly to emphasize the point that this amazing man profoundly effected on many of us all around the world – even people he barely knew (and certainly there are others who never met him yet also feel similar). I’m still in shock, and frankly, I’m also shocked about being so shocked. I can barely fathom what his colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family must be feeling.

I wish the best for Rich’s wife and two children, I hope they will all be OK. And the same to everyone currently and formerly of House Industries. I really hope that House can continue being awesome and making the rest of us inspired, jealous, and inadequate feeling for many many more years.


(image via: House Industries)

If you want to see a bit more of Rich, he’s still online. I’d recommend his Typo Berlin talk from this year — but read the book first :) Thank you TYPO for making this video available.

Here is a small collection of other people’s thoughts about Rich – most of which are more upbeat than mine. They just go to show that he was beloved by pretty much everyone he met.

Ben Kiel

Tal Leming

Sonja Knecht

Delaware Online

Velocipede Salon

Bicycling Magazine

Design Within Reach

Heath Ceramics


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A big shipment just arrived!
22 November, 2017

We are excited to be adding 26 new books to our collection! Thank you to my parents and sister for lugging the extra 25Kgs from the US to India.


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36 Days of Type 2017
17 May, 2017

Earlier this year I participated in the 36 Days of Type and used it as an excuse to show off a new typeface I’m calling “Collection”. It also seemed like the perfect time to launch a new Instagram account, something that I’d been planning since I began working on this new design. But there is still a lot of work to go on the font before it can be released, this 36 Days of Type just pushed everything a bit forward.

My plan is to keep posting daily glyphs from this typeface, keep drawing more letters, and sooner rather than later release Collection. Since the end of 36 Days of Type I’ve been sidetracked with other projects, and haven’t posted anything new on Collection’s Instagram account. But I will do more… Have a look there to see these glyphs in more detail and feel free to follow along and share it!

www.instagram.com/collection_typeface


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New Screen Printed Business Cards
18 October, 2016

mota-italic-rob-keller-business-cards-2016-1

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Hot off the screen printer’s table (the same guys that did our wedding invitations) are my funky new business cards! Since I couldn’t pick just one or two typefaces, there are 10. The paper stock is a matte white 350gsm paper and the ink is a sexy matte black. The edges are finished off with a coat of Mota Italic’s signature green color.

mota-italic-rob-keller-business-cards-2016-3

Kimya also got new cards!

mota-italic-kimya-gandhi-business-cards-2016

mota-italic-rob-keller-kimya-gandhi-business-cards-2016-5


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Mota Italic Website Redesign
14 September, 2016

mota-italic-new-website

I’m so excited to finally release the complete redesign of Mota Italic’s website. This longest and most painful project we’ve ever worked on, but it’s at long last ready to share with everyone. If there’s interest, I may post more about the arduous process over the last 2+ years, but for now let’s just be happy and check out the new site!

www.motaitalic.com


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My A is missing something!
29 October, 2014

For the last 5-6 years I’ve been avidly (compulsively) collecting the odd typographic phenomenon of the bar-less Latin capital letter A (like this: Λ). For some reason, many many designers feel comfortable chopping off the horizontal crossbar; they think it transforms the typeface into anything from rustic and runic, to techy and space-aged.

Warning: Once you start noticing barless A’s, you will see them everywhere.

Kinda like this.

My image collection is growing daily (I see/photograph on average 1 new example per day!), and I’ve been meaning to post everything somewhere for years… I’ve just never gotten around to it (and it becomes more difficult to start with every new image I find). But the time has come for a preview of what’s in store. The pictures below are a tiny sampling of the range found in the collection.

Later this year I’ll finally get all my images uploaded, tagged, and sorted for browsing and reference over at The Barless A.

Coming ΛSΛP!

PS– Thanks to Florian Hardwig for the ongoing motivation to actually getting this going!

 


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400 Posts!
14 July, 2014

400posts


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EU Tour – June 2014
22 June, 2014

eu-tour-june-2014

My excursions for June are over, and I’m finally back in Berlin. In the last couple weeks I was fortunate to visit:
Faenza, Italy
Warsaw, Poland
Budapest, Hungary
Prague, Czech Republic
Brno, Czech Republic

I saw some great exhibitions, conferences, cemeteries, and typography from each place. In the next few days/weeks I’ll try to get some of the pictures put up here.

So far you can catch: (will update with new posts as they appear)
House Numbers from Faenza
The TypoPolo Exhibition from Warsaw
Warsaw’s Neon Muzeum
AV Kerning examples from Faenza, Italy
Prague’s Jewish Cemetery
National Cemetery in Budapest
The Kerning Conference
Signs from Warsaw
Letters from Budapest
Faenza Signs
Signature Type Exhibition in Brno
Faenza’s Giant Cemetery
Warsaw’s Jewish Cemetery
Warsaw’s Powązki Cemetery – Part 1
House Numbers From Budapest


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Time After Time
10 March, 2014

titlepage (All images are via the official Time After Time website.)

I’m super excited to share the imminent release of an awesome new book. The dynamic duo Kaisa and Christoffer Leka have just finished their latest project called Time After Time. At the core, it’s a graphic novel exploring the Indian myth of the Dashavatara in a fresh way. But they didn’t simply stop there – the project exploded into something much larger. They’ve produce an LP with intrepretated classical Indian songs, commissioned a whole series of hand-painted signs, and created an entire alphabet of stamps. Not to mention all the photo shoots they conducted, brilliant marketing efforts, and a beautiful website.

From the official site:

What are the limits of imagination? Of language? And of reality?

In their new book Kaisa & Christoffer take upon themselves to explore the world of mythology and how age old myths can still today enrich the lives of those who take the time to study them with care.

But don’t be alarmed – despite the somewhat heady theme the story is told with warmth and humor that has become the signature style of these two authors.

Within the pages of their latest book you will find Kaisa’s and Christoffer’s alter egos, the Duck and the Mouse going off at the deep end of the pool as they dive head first into the pool of one of India’s vast literary heritage. Out of this treasure house of extraordinary tales they have picked perhaps its most loved story – that of ten forms in which Sri Krishna’s descends into this mortal world.

And while the ancient poetry might take a new when viewed through the lens of Kaisa’s art, the sentiments and feeling remains the same. So why not jump in and swim with them in this ocean of unparalleled nectar!

bookcover

time_after_time3

I’m a super fanboy of this project and incredibly honored to be a teeny tiny part of it. I have drawn a few of the stamp letters (F, O, & T) and they have turned them into some fun and colorful stamps (real Finnish stamps!). I couldn’t be more excited to see the final results in real life!

Incase you will be in Helsinki March 18th, there will be a release party.

Otherwise at least give their lovely (and comprehensive) Time After Time website a browse.

handpaintedLO04

project_stamps

kaisa_and_christoffer_leka


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TypeTalks comes to Brno, Czech Republic
18 April, 2010

TypeTalks 2010

I am very excited to report about the TypeTalks conference in Brno this summer. It comes just after the ICTVC conference in Cyprus and directly before the 24th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno. Three design conferences in a week, this might be some kind of record.

(more…)


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Hey man, it’s been a while!
19 February, 2010

A bit of an update /
Excuses for not updating the site for a rather long time:

Unfortunately, things has been hectic lately and this site has suffered. There are many updates waiting and plans for the future here, just no time to implement them (this is a common problem for most of us it seems).

Since opening Mota Italic in October I have had almost no life*. The remainder of 2009 was spent bug fixing the shop, fine tuning the design, and adding a bit more content. Major updates to Vesper and Mota Pixel were began then as well.

So far most of 2010 has been divided between these two designs and the new family “Gemma.” I can report that all three of projects are coming along nicely and will be released in the near future now. We had hoped to have Vesper out already, but we ended up adding way more features and improvements to it that have pushed the schedule back. Gemma too is a bit behind schedule, but that is due to the family growing greatly. The wait should be worth it – we hope! I’ll update our Facebook page in the next couple days with some new previews.

The last relevant story is that along the way too I had a hard drive crash and lost most of my photo library. This is might be recoverable, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. This concerns you, Dear Reader, because the next 40 or so “Showcase” posts are sitting on this drive. In the meantime I have a few posts that I can still put up and/or I’ll just go discover some new cool images.

I keep telling myself that life will eventually level out and it will be easier to fit side projects in… we will see. But deep down I am pretty sure that assumption is false. So in the next months I will try harder to at least occasionally put up some new things here. Thanks for your patience and for coming back!

* There is a German term my mother-in-law loves to use to describe me: Kellerkind. Haha, it has my name in it. The explanation of this though is basically a kid that lives in the basement and never goes outside or sees the sunlight; i.e. I sit in front of the computer all day.


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Mota Italic: Now Open!
5 October, 2009

motaitalic.com is now open

After many long months of coding, designing, and bureaucratic paper work, Mota Italic is finally online and open for business! We have worked hard to bring you some great font families and a special shopping experience. The website features numerous images and samples of the fonts and a totally unique shopping cart and checkout process. (more…)


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