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.


Read More →
utterly butterly delicious!
19 March, 2014

utterly butterly delicious!

View in Instagram


Read More →
@arialcrime my new favorite cereal
13 October, 2012
@arialcrime my new favorite cereal


Read More →
Museum of Things #2 [UPDATED]
21 November, 2009

Just a few more images from Berlin’s ultra-cool Museum of Things!

You can also see more great objects from the museum in this previous post.

[UPDATE]

You can also help out the museum by becoming a Dingpfleger (a caretaker/sponsor of a thing). For a small donation you can adopt one of their objects! For more information and to learn about becoming a Dingpfleger(in) have a look here (German).

Check out what we are sponsoring for 2010!
(And thanks to Dan Reynolds for the quote!)(Even if it maybe, possibly, came with the tiniest bit of sarcasm.)

The “Vesper” Bahlsen Keksdose from 1923 over at the Museum der Dinge’s website


Read More →
The Museum of Things ⇒ WOW
6 September, 2009

Oh my god Becky, seriously the Museum of Things (Museum der Dinge) is like totally the most raddest place in Berlin. If you thought the DDR Museum had some cool old stuff, then you will be blown away by all the junk at this place. It is a cross between a natural history museum, the Smithsonian, your grandma’s house, a garage sale, and a dump. It has an extensive collection of “things” from the 1800s through today – roughly sorted chronologically and also a bit categorically.

Its stockpile of ephemeral, everyday objects is amazing. Typoholics will find hours of pleasure simply staring at all the old logos and packaging. I ended up taking about 150 photos while managing to convince my friends I am nuts because of how overly excited I was.

For those of you who are maybe not impressed with *just* nice old type and objects, the museum has more attractions. There are also some big, powerful, loud, Mythbusteresque machines that smash, chop, stomp, and roll/crush/flatten. Visitors are invited to use the hydraulic beasts to annihilate some miscellaneous bric-a-brac. Mechanical thumps, shattering, screaming, and laughing can be heard echoing throughout the museum.

It is a great place. Plus there is a gift shop with some nice designer objects and some other old crap you can buy too!


Read More →
Vintage German Design & Lettering
15 May, 2009


Following up to the popular GDR packaging/branding post, I present here 20 more great vintage specimens.


Read More →
Everyday Branding in the GDR
23 April, 2009


Commonly referred to as East Germany, the former German Democratic Republic existed from 1949-1990. During that period, a significant portion of Germany was virtually cut off from the rest of the world (at least from Capitalist societies). So what exactly was it like for those living behind the infamous wall?

Anyone interested in learning more about the GDR needs simply to check out the fascinating DDR Museum in Berlin. Visitors can interactively experience aspects of what life was like during that time through multi-media displays and many hands-on items. They illustrate everything from the education system to the Stasi to how people spent vacations. There are numerous samples of everyday items such as food and toiletry goods, clothes, and toys. The major headliners of the museum are the fully reconstructed kitchen & living room from a quintessential apartment and one of the famous Trabant cars. Both of those exhibits you can explore and play in.

However, of primary interest for all of us here are some superb typographic specimens! These typical* East German household objects have often been adorned with gorgeous lettering. The museum has much more to see and admire, these here are just a taste.

Next time you are in Berlin consider an excursion to check out a bit of former East German (life)style.

*Not all of these are necessarily “typical” items but could still be found (somewhere) in the GDR.


Read More →
Bright, Loud, & Scary
27 January, 2009

The packaging of these fireworks are definitely as bright, loud, and scary as the pyrotechnics that they spit out. Exploded cases like these could be found all over Berlin on Jan 1st. Depending on how nice your neighborhood you live in determines how long you can enjoy this typographic litter confetting your street. Lucky for us, these hung around for several weeks!


Read More →
German Candy Packaging
14 April, 2008


It is no secret that I have a sweet tooth (and many cavities to prove it), but I am especially weak in certain cases. These treats were bought mostly out of interest for the lettering, more than being hungry. However. all were tasty. Germany has some interesting packaging that is frequently significantly different than that back in the US. Check out larger images on the next page.


Read More →