"Do Not Open It," Erik Marinovich's Beautifully Hand-Drawn Letter

Curator: Karan Singh
date: August 27, 2014
Categories: Packaging Design, Typography
Tags: Lettering, Typography
San Francisco-based Erik Marinovich is kind of hard to ignore on the contemporary lettering scene. Not only does he have a respectable roster of previous clients as well as some incredible accolades, but the guy carved type into a tree stump with his bare freakin’ hands (okay, maybe he used tools, whatever). I use a Wacom every day and still struggle with chopsticks, so to go from brushes to chisels is just showing off. 
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Handwritten "Insta-therapy" with "Content Creator" Timothy Goodman

Curator: Gemma O'Brien
date: August 22, 2014
Categories: Art, Typography
Tags: branding, calligraphy, graphic design, Typography

In the last few years, designers and non-designers alike have embraced typography and lettering in social media to illustrate inspirational quotes, song lyrics, declare their love of coffee and complain about Monday mornings. In Didot all-caps, fashion mavens proclaim “Dress Well or Die Trying,” while avid travelers urge us to “Seek Adventure!” in  a loose-hand written script. 


For budding letterers, readymade quotes are the perfect starting point to apply technical ability, show your calligraphic prowess or experiment with a new lettering style. But there’s only so many times you can see “stay hungry,” “follow your dreams” or “quit your day job” before these affirmations become empty phrases that simply look nice.  


I'm always looking for examples of lettering or type that  illustrate content that's self-generated and honest. I believe the best thing a designer can do with typography when not limited by an advertising brief is to take something personal and make it universal or remind us of the realities of human experience. 


With this in mind, my final Design Envy post was inspired by a series of handwritten Instagram posts from Timothy Goodman (of "40 Days of Dating" fame) titled “Insta-therapy.” They take the form of quotes or stories based on past relationship experiences, fears and memories. In the flurry of cool, over-stylized type and recycled quotes,  these represent a refreshing starting point to consider ideas about the designer as author and the idea of authenticity in lettering and typography.  


I interviewed Timothy Goodman to find out what the Insta-therapy project is all about.

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I Love Dust: An Interview with Co-Founder and Creative Director Mark Graham

Curator: Gemma O'Brien
date: August 20, 2014
Categories: Book & Magazine Design, Illustration, Typography
Tags: Design, illustration, Lettering, Typography

There are few design studios whose work I recall fawning over when I was studying design that still hold my attention now. But seven years after first seeing the work of UK-based studio ilovedust (iLD), I remain envious of their attention to detail, badass-yet-beautiful ornament, killer murals and illustrative approach to type.   I caught up with co-founder and creative director Mark Graham to chat about some of his recent work, what it's like being a boss and who he’d most like to get stuck in an elevator with.  

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Martina Flor Sends Her Typographic "Letter Collections" via Snail Mail

Curator: Gemma O'Brien
date: August 19, 2014
Categories: Art, Typography
Tags: calligraphy, Typography

I first came to admire Martina Flor’s work when I discovered Lettering vs Calligraphy, a project she worked on with calligrapher Giusseupe Salerno. It continues to be a highly valuable resource that explains two distinct ways of crafting letterforms to new designers. Her latest side project, Letter Collections, features equally delightful letterforms, this time printed on postcards that she's sending to people around the world. 

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Colorplan Sample Book for G.F. Smith by Made Thought

Curator: Wade Jeffree
date: August 14, 2014
Categories: Brand & Identity Design, Packaging Design, Typography
Tags: logo, paper, printing, Typography

For some time now, paper merchants have been looked upon by designers as an opportunity to produce “print porn."  Yes, most are beautiful things in their own right, but what were they beside a designer's wet dream?


This is where the strength of design studio Made Thought’s rebrand and repositioning of paper manufacturer G.F Smith, and more specifically their new Colorplan paper sample book, is brilliant. Not only does it show a level of restraint not shown in many other sample books, but its core value and offerings are evident in every piece. It's paper, and beautiful paper at that, so why not show the paper for what it is? It's a really strong concept that makes you think “I wish I did that,” executed to the utmost perfection of quality. Made Thought truly nailed this.


The effortlessly simple confidence and beauty of the product itself is always prevalent. All the pieces have minimal printing crafted using techniques that are exceptionally gorgeous. From the business card that uses a very traditional piece of craft called paper marquetry to showcase not one or two, but three styles of Colorplan offering at once, the three papers represent three signature aspects of the range: color, weight and embossing.


The same technique is also used on the sample booklet, which uses simple fold techniques to minimize material waste, and once again, showcase the paper. Minimal printing is used, with only the necessary details. You're clearly informed and understand how the paper will hold a texture and print when needed. The concept is inherent in the product and has been used with craft and high production value to form a real gem for the designer to truly salivate over, whilst having a piece that is useful for the potential specifier.


The transition from something that's inherently physical to the digital world is also somewhat seamless, and the best use I have experienced. You can view and get a gauge for how different stock weights bend and look just by viewing videos on the site. The colors and textures are fully viewable in hi-resolution downloads—I've used many in image mock-ups for client presentation. The production introduction videos are all exquisite.


Being so wrapped up in the paper and online components, I almost overlooked the bespoke typeface for the logo designed by Colophon. It’s subtlety only helps by heightening that the product is key through and through when showcasing their offering.


When a good product is coupled with strong thinking, beauty will take shape. It's obvious with this example. I implore you to get calling or emailing to get your hands on a piece. Below are further examples that incorporate the beauty shown in the above.

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