Emigre No. 70, the Look Back Issue

In 1983 Rudy VanderLans, Zuzana Licko, Marc Susan, and Menno Meyjes began Emigre, a magazine about “…the global artist who juggles cultures, travels between them, and who is fluent in the cultural symbols of the world. An émigré.”[1] Early issues meandered through essays, interviews, fiction and poetry. VanderLans directed wild layouts that ignored the so-called rules instilled by modernist design pedagogues. After four issues Susan and Meyjes had left the magazine, allowing VanderLans and Licko to steer Emigre toward being a design magazine that explored experimental and usually computer-driven work like their own.

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The library of the Gutenberg Museum

I. Introduction

Large or small, letters seem to inhabit their own universe. Re-arrangeable in any combination, they can spell out all conceivable messages, be they poetic, bureaucratic, or anything in between. But sometimes a text is just about its letters themselves, not an object to be read, but one to be looked at. Type specimens have taken various forms over the centuries, from posters to postcards and from primers to pamphlets. In fact, this web ‘page’ that you are reading now is also a type specimen, at least of some sort. In our digital age, creating type specimens has become easier than ever before. But what did our predecessors do 100 years ago, or even 500 years ago?
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Designing Armitage

This is the doorway to The Claremount, an apartment building in Manhattan. I think that it was built in the 1890s. Those letters over the door just reached out and grabbed me from across the street and I had a typeface coming on.

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Art and Text

Artist Joseph Kosuth’s 1965 work One and Three Chairs presented a static composition that represents an idea three ways. It was heady stuff, addressing what conceptual artists saw as a crisis of reconciling the realization of concepts with the concepts. One of the three material representations in One and Three Chairs was an enlarged photostat of the dictionary definition of the word chair, making text both a literal and metaphorical focus in a work of art. It was not the first time text had been used in art, but it was a key moment in the conceptual art movement of the time, followed by decades of conceptual artists using text to convey their ideas.

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My favourite fonts of 2009

Perhaps the most difficult part in compiling this list is not what to include, but what to leave out. There are, then, many other typefaces that should be in this list, but aren’t. Perhaps some of your favourites from 2009 coincide with mine; perhaps they don’t — I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Without further ado:

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Twenty-ten type

Hoping that everyone is feeling refreshed, invigorated and inspired after Christmas and New Year. That we are now in 2010 is arbitrary, but it is at the same time a marker, the end of something, and the beginning of something else; a kind of armistice, an opportunity to dump all the bad, and begin a anew with the good. Well, that’s quite enough verbiage from me. May I present to you the first week in type of the 10s.

I sometimes forget that not every one of the world’s 6-point-whatever billion inhabitants is on Twitter, so I never announced the Font Game here on ILT. For those who haven’t heard:

font game for iphone and ipod touch

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The Making of Vesper

Vesper was developed over the course of almost three years. For this article, I’ve divided the process into two stages: #1 during my studies at the University of Reading; and #2 After Reading. Hopefully through this highly-condensed-yet-still-rather-wordy account of this project you will learn some interesting bits regarding my first major type family, the design process, and the MATD program.

intro

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Our own alphabet

I don’t usually do these single-item posts, but just had to share this. An alphabet created using items from the Mitchell Library’s broad and eclectic collections—with wonderful results. Some of the letters are accompanied by videos explaining the origins of their constituent parts.

our own alphabet

In celebration of their centenary.

Thanks to @ashmorris

Graphic Masterpieces of Yakov G. Chernikhov: The Collection of Dmitry Y. Chernikhov

Yakov G. Chernikov (1889–1951), was a Russian artist, designer, and architect learned in classical and modern styles. As a draftsman he was on par with Piranesi and Rembrandt; his most forward-thinking drawings resemble the style of Yoshitaka Amano. This combination of knowledge and skill made him one of the most accomplished Russian Constructivist writers and architects; Chernikov designed sixty buildings—although most were not built—and wrote numerous books about architecture and graphic design.

Graphic Masterpieces of Yakov G. Chernikhov: The Collection of Dmitry Y. Chernikov

In the late 1920s the state-controlled world of Soviet architecture began to turn against the Constructivists. In 1932 Stalin tired of the pointless political debate between Constructivism’s remaining supporters and many critics. He barred architects from political speech and limited Soviet architecture to classical revival. Unable to practice in his Constructivist style, Chernikov began drawing architectural fantasies that were usually not intended to be built. But he still needed work free from politics and in the 1940s he began to study and draw typefaces, an activity unlikely to draw attention.

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Wishing on a typeface

Nadine Chahine is a type designer for Linotype GmbH, where she is also Branding & CI Manager, and Arabic Specialist. She designed Frutiger Arabic with Adrian Frutiger and Palatino Arabic with Hermann Zapf, for which she won the Certificate of Excellence in Type Design from the TDC. Today I’m excited to announce that Nadine’s Neue Helvetica Arabic has just this minute been released.

Neue Helvetica Arabic nun

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