Beer Coasters
25 July, 2016

Kinda like giant, alcohol-themed stamps, beer coasters are interesting exercises in design and typography. This small collection of images comes via a little pub in Berlin. They had a massive wall of these, but here is just a taste of what was on display.

I think it’s something I’ll eventually want to start collecting… (I already have a few, I’ll post those soon.)


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Georgen-Parochial-Friedhof II
22 July, 2016

This one wasn’t amazing, but there were a few nice finds – as usual.

Friedrichshain, Berlin


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The Volksbuehne Theater Covers Berlin in Amazing Posters
15 August, 2015

Going through my virtual piles of photos, I’ve came across a few posters that I’ve been wanting to post for some time. Made for the Berlin theater “Volksbühne“, this wonderful campaign has been going on for a couple years now, but never gets old.

Florian Hardwig has already written two extensive pieces (the first, and second) on this series some time ago, and they are very much worth checking out!

These posters stand out starkly against most of the other designs pasted all over the city. The layouts are deceptively simple, but the variety of typefaces and colors keep them looking fresh, eye-catching, and instantly recognizable every time. I’d consider this an incredibly “successful” redesign and advertising strategy… but I am deeply interested to know how this has affected ticket sales, website traffic, funding, etc. I hope the Volksbühne would call these a success as well.

volkssbuehne-1

volkssbuehne-2

volkssbuehne-3

 

Updates from 2016
berlin-volksbuehne-2016-1

berlin-volksbuehne-2016-2


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Happy Saturday
18 October, 2014

Happy Saturday
From Berlin.

And the full version:

happy saturday full-1


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Kartique Letter Gallery
12 July, 2014

Opened March 2014, Berlin has a new shop devoted to letters. The Kartique Buchstabenshop in Kreuzberg sells all sorts of letters large and small. Some are rescued letters from old signs, some are new and they are made from everything from paper to metal to erasers. You can pick stuff up from €1 to quite expensive.

Verdict: visit if you are nearby!


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Museum of Things’ Graphic Design Collection
6 July, 2014

I’ve mentioned (several times) that the Museum der Dinge is my favorite museum in Berlin. And they have recently became even more awesome by making public some of their expansive collection of graphic arts materials. You can now peruse an interactive cabinet of old type specimens, brochures, ads, and miscellaneous graphic ephemera. It’s time for you to make another (or first) visit!


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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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Typo Berlin 2014
21 May, 2014

Thursday: Kicking it off

Frank Grießhammer opened it up with a talk celebrating 25 years of Adobe Type. He showed his favorite obscure Adobe Originals typefaces, and released his latest design Source Serif (open source).

The talk by the Neon Museum Warsaw was supposed to have been great, but I was happy to finally see Vitaly Friedman from Smashing Magazine speak during the same time slot. That’s something tough about TYPO… there are at least two talks at once, and many times there are 3-5 simultaneous events (yes five things happening at the same time), so sometimes it’s difficult to see everything you may be interested in.

SNASK managed to win the title of worst talk of the conference. They didn’t live up to their silly motto of ‘make enemies and gain fans’. For me (and everyone else I spoke to) they only managed to lose any respect from us by wasting our time with their giant egos, terrible music, and lack of any content. I survived 32 minutes into the talk before leaving – which was about 20 minutes longer than I needed to make come to the stated opinions.

The day ended with another tough scheduling conflict: Yanone’s talk & Antithesis movie premier vs. 1000 free beers given away by FontShop. I took the opportunity to see Yanone’s film, but missed out on the beer. Even more unfortunate, the room was nearly empty as all but maybe 50 people chose the free beer.

Friday: The day of the Dutchmen

A video interview with Gerrit Noordzij started the morning. That was followed by one of the consistantly best parts of TYPO in the recent years: the Type Cooker workshop. Erik van Blokland and Paul van der Laan host a workshop for attendees to draw some type. I didn’t get a chance to participate this year due to the overwhelming popularity and limited seating. It’s ok tho, it’s nice when more new people get to try it out (side quip: there is no reason current t]m students should be filling the seats there). Later in the day Petr van Blokland spoke about Xierpa 3 (now open sourced) and explained a bit why designers should learn to code.

The day was wrapped up by the polarizing face-off between the irrelevant David Carson and the amazing John Hudson. This combination of a dusty famous guy and a scholarly, mostly behind-the-scenes guy clearly illuminates the divide in the conference attendees. I made a harsh tweet during the talk, and was acknowledged by the TYPO twitter account :) It took much effort to not reply that I can be much meaner and easily offended many more people. Having said that, most of the people who liked Carson would not have enjoyed Hudson (and vice versa)… So in all fairness, this pairing was the best of the entire conference.

Saturday: It’s all about the small room

My day began with the Type Cooker review – my favorite annual event of the last several years. Paul and Erik give hilariously educational critiques of the workshop results. Every year there are more and more people here to watch and learn, but unfortunately the “stage” area doesn’t get any larger.

All my favorite remaining talks were in the small “Show” room. (I saw 16 talks: 4 were in large hall, 9 were in the small room, 2 were on the free stage, and 1 was in the foyer.)(The small room consistently has the best presentations.) Adi Stern showed some wonderful projects and dealt with the difficult topic of the holocaust very sensitively. Alessio Leonardi donned his space-aged shiny silver suit, hat, and gloves to talk about the roots of Sci-fi type. Fritz Grögel presented some of his research on German lettering. And finally, Hakobo made a wonderful show of Polish vernacular typography.

Wrapping it up

I don’t know if it’s a compliment or critique, but TYPO is almost exactly the same every year. The venue, atmosphere, look, feel, quality, variety… it’s always the same. I think the organizers generally do a good job with the mix of presenters (even though much of it isn’t to my personal interest or taste – certain content is evidently more attractive to other demographics of the audience).

The one aspect that was radically different than the last years was the closing party. It is usually at a terrible club that no one turns up to until after midnight. This year’s Cafe Moskow venue was considerably better than in recent times, and the event was designed to get you there earlier. Starting at 10PM they had a food sponsor giving out tasty snacks. Shortly after there were a few special events held – a speed poster design contest, and a ridiculous performance by Jim Avignon. I would have been terribly belligerent towards these events, except there was plenty of extra space to completely avoid them and talk with friends. By time the DJs started it was late and most of my group of people were too tired to actually party… so most of us left.

The thing I appreciate most about TYPO is its convenience – it’s a 15 minute bike ride from where I live, and it’s nice that all my friends come here to visit for it. But, if I were to move away, I’m not sure if I’d come back for it. (Although maybe the thing to appreciate most about TYPO if you don’t live here, is that it’s a good excuse to come visit Berlin.) Still, every year (except the first) I walk away from the conference and then say to myself that it was fun but I’ve had enough and that I won’t go next time. In that regard it’s not so different from the morning after a night of drinking when you wake up and swear off all alcohol… well at least until next weekend.

One last comment: The goodie bag was filled with quite wonderful things this year. (Only the best things were photo’d above, but the reject pile was much smaller.) Typotheque, Bold Monday, and the Type Jockeys had great specimens – congrats guys, all awesome work! And while, on the topic of the goodie bag (and related to doing things the same as every year), again the actual goodie bag was ridiculous and will never be used by me. I wish they’d save some money and make a simple tote (as they did in 2012 for the theme “Sustain”), or maybe a shirt or something actually useful.


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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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Random Prenzlauer Berg Cemetery
9 July, 2013

I am not even sure about the name of this cemetery, and honestly it’s not intriguing enough to go back and check (google maps doesn’t know the name either). The overall age and quality of the inscriptions was utterly mediocre. However, this collection is useful as a benchmark for the average, but still, one will find a few interesting and creative solutions in the lettering.

 


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