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Typography


08.28.14: Erik Spiekermann

Should Architects Understand Type?
The relationship between architecture and graphic design has deep roots.
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08.14.14: Jessica Helfand

Logocentrism
For Paul Rand, a modern mark was a simple mark, and the secret to making things last lay in keeping them simple.
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08.13.14: Rob Walker

“Kern Your Enthusiasm”
HiLobrow's "Kern Your Enthusiasim" is a smart, insightful series about lettering and typography
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08.05.14: Jason Santa Maria

On Web Typography: Smart Quotes
Punctuation is a system.
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07.28.14: Rick Poynor

The Mysteries of France:
A Gothic Guidebook

Guide de la France mystérieuse, illustrated by Roman Cieslewicz, is a surreal beast of a travel book.
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07.16.14: The Editors

Parametric Posters from MuirMcNeil
New posters by MuirMcNeil demonstrate the parametric principles of their typeface designs.
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07.03.14: Laura Tarrish

Hunter | Gatherer: Text as Textile
Evidence of fabric embellished with needle and thread has been found as far back as the Cro-Magnon days (30,000 B.C.). The artists featured here, writing with stitchery, challenge our expectations of what is commonly considered a domestic art.
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04.02.14: Bryn Smith

De Vinne at the Grolier Club in New York
A review of the Grolier Club’s quiet, yet noteworthy exhibition, “The Dean of American Printers: Theodore Low De Vinne and The Art Preservative of All Arts”.
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04.01.14: Chris Pullman

How Can One (Re)make Swiss Typography?
Chris Pullman on the 1970's covers of Typografische Monatsblätter, a monthly journal serving the Swiss printing and typography industry.
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03.06.14: Alexandra Lange

Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories
A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.
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11.18.13: Alexandra Lange

Art On Campus
A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."
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11.14.13: Steven Heller + Mirko Ilić

Lettering Large
An excerpt and gallery from Steven Heller and Mirko Ilić's new book: Lettering Large: Art and Design of Monumental Typography.
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11.08.13: Alexandra Lange

L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.
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10.20.13: John Foster

Asemic Writing: Open to Interpretation
Michael Jacobson’s Gallery of Asemic Writing is a website repository for international artists, writers, readers and viewers.
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10.14.13: Alexandra Lange

MoMA’s Modern Women
The Museum of Modern Art's new installation, "Designing Modern Women," could have made a bolder statement about the transformative role of women in 20th century design and architecture.
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09.20.13: Roshanak Keyghobadi

Composing in Space: Tactile Poetry of Farhad Fozouni
A review of work by Iranian graphic designer Farhad Fozouni.
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06.10.13: Alexandra Lange

That Personal Touch
In the age of the digital signature, what does script mean?
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05.05.13: John Foster

Enjoying TypeToy
This week's Accidental Mysteries highlights the blog TypeToy — an online collection of mid-century design and typography created by Aaron Eiland.
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03.03.13: John Foster

The Proper Art of Writing in 1655
Accidental Mysteries for March 03, 2013 focuses on the proper art of writing in 1655.
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02.12.13: Rob Walker

Let’s Make A Mark
Ellen Susan proposes a new punctuation mark, the ElRey, for the digital-text era.
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02.03.13: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries
From 1935 to 1944, the Farm Security Administration hired economist Roy Stryker to set up what would become one of the most important photographic documentary projects in the history of the nation.
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12.23.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries
Peter Vogel's mysterious aging techniques are highly guarded, and for good reason.: as works of art, his handmade signs are nothing short of spectacular. 
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12.16.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries
An extraordinary selection of ornate 19th-century typography.
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12.09.12: Rick Poynor

Dom Sylvester Houédard’s Cosmic Typewriter
Dom Sylvester Houédard: Benedictine monk, champion of concrete poetry, and master of the “typestract.”
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11.30.12: Rick Poynor

Herbert Spencer and the Decisive Detail
In Herbert Spencer’s most memorable photographs, signs of official communication fray into visual poetry.
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11.21.12: Alexandra Lange

3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
Holiday card designs for 2012 reveal the social media preoccupations of their buyers, whether it is Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or old-fashioned (perhaps Downton Abbey-inspired?) stationery.
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09.05.12: Louise Fili

A Life in Letters
An excerpt from Louise Fili's Elegantissima.
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08.09.12: Michael Bierut

The Typeface of Truth
What are the implications when Errol Morris declares the typeface most likely to induce credulity is Baskerville?
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07.11.12: Alexandra Lange

Obama’s New Fonts
Obama bets on American nostalgia, shrinking Gotham and picking a script.
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05.09.12: Bill Moran

Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum
The Hamilton Wood Type Foundry museum, a living monument.
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04.26.12: Rick Poynor

Studio Culture: The Materialism of Matter
Studio, print shop, dance club and store: a photographic essay on Matter's design HQ in Denver.
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04.06.12: Rick Poynor

The Enduring Influence of Richard Hollis
An exhibition of Richard Hollis’s work provides the first public opportunity to assess the entire shape of his output.
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03.26.12: Michael Erard

The Elements – Molecules, Atoms and Quarks – of Style
The cipher shared by great poets and the best brand namers is essentially that the littlest things mean the most.
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03.09.12: Rick Poynor

Typographic Stories of the City Streets
Characters, a new book by Stephen Banham, investigates the stories behind Melbourne’s street signs.
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03.02.12: Rick Poynor

Motif Magazine: The World Made Visible
Motif magazine, founded in 1958, anticipated a new way of seeing, documenting and appreciating the “visible world.”
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01.11.12: Pat Kirkham

Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration
The evidence, scholarship and debates: Saul Bass and the famous shower scene in “Psycho.”
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12.16.11: Rick Poynor

Saul Leiter and the Typographic Fragment
In Saul Leiter's color photographs, the fragment is infinitely more mysterious and suggestive than the whole.
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10.04.11: Alexandra Lange

What Makes Architecture Useful?
At Experimenta Design 2011, the buildings of Lisbon make the best argument for the ongoing usefulness of good design.
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09.15.11: Rick Poynor

Richard Hamilton, the Great Decipherer
The artist Richard Hamilton, who died this week, was an acute observer of design and the contemporary world.
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05.07.11: Rick Poynor

Paul Stiff, the Reader’s Champion
For the late Paul Stiff, design educator, writer, editor and skeptic, typography must never neglect to serve the reader.
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04.19.11: Paul Shaw

Standard Deviations: Types and Families in Contemporary Design
When the Museum of Modern Art decided, at the beginning of this year, to expand its purview and include typefaces, it was a moment of celebration. However, the feeling of elation quickly gave way to puzzlement.
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03.10.11: Andy Chen

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Cub
Is design strictly a set of rules?
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01.31.11: Michael Bierut

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mentor, Or, Why Modernist Designers Are Superior
Does a strict upbringing make you a better designer?
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12.20.10: Jessica Helfand

Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones but Print Can Never Hurt Me: A Letter to Fiona on First Reading "The End of Print"
In 2000, Jessica Helfand wrote a letter to her daughter Fiona, giving her a primer on graphic design.
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11.29.10: Alexandra Lange

Sans Serif Seasons Greetings
The market in "modern" holiday cards grows every year, but the choices--Helvetica, brown and baby blue, color blocks--still seem dated.
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11.22.10: Rick Poynor

Rethinking Conceptual Type Design
In Copenhagen last week, the organizers of “Conceptual Type — Type Led by Ideas” posed the question: “Where are the idealistic fonts, the fonts that are frontiers of new belief?”
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08.02.10: Meena Kadri

Two Rupees Worth

Now that the dust has settled on India's launch of their rupee symbol we are starting to see its application beyond the initial fanfare.


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05.24.10: James Merrill

"b o d y"
A poem by James Merrill.
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05.10.10: Eric J. Herboth

Eames the Typeface
A look at the new Eames Century Modern typeface, designed by Erik van Blokland, and developed by House Industries in collaboration with the Eames Office.
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03.04.10: Dirk Wachowiak

Peter Bilak & Satya Rajpurohit: Interview on Typography
Dirk Wachowiak interviews Peter Bilak and Satya Rajpurohit on their recent collaboration, the Hindi version of Bilak’s Fedra.
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12.11.09: Alexandra Lange

Where Have All the Type Geeks Gone?
Set in Helvetica, the title for Up In the Air looks plain wrong.
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08.05.09: Mark Lamster

Belgium: A Note on the Type
When you think about national schools of typography, Belgium isn't the first country that comes to mind.
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07.29.09: Sebastian Carter

Jan Tschichold — Master Typographer
Jan Tschichold was one of the most distinguished typographers of the last century, and has had many admirers, among whom he himself was not the least. Jan Tschichold — Master Typographer is, as its title suggests, intended as a tribute to it's subject, but it is one which would have displeased him greatly.
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07.29.09: Ars Libri Ltd

Writing & Calligraphy
This remarkable collection of Writing & Calligraphy from the noted connoisseur and bibliophile Peter Arms Wick.
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07.15.09: Alexandra Lange

Numbers Game
In an attempt to skirt around the Landmakrs Preservation Commission, modernists in my neighborhood are declaring their taste through their house numbers.
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12.28.08: Jonathan Barnbrook

New Year's Greeting
A New Year's greeting from Jonathan Barnbrook, with a quote from George W. Bush.
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10.01.08: Steven Heller

Charles Peignot: Man Behind the Faces
This is but one example of Charles Peignot’s influence on type and typography, which made his professional life so important to the history of design...
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07.02.08: Steven Heller

Vanity Fair Type: 1930 Style

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06.16.08: Paola Antonelli

The Typographer’s Guide to the Galaxy
Before Oded decided to mix chemistry and typography, his work already explored the inner soul of letters by letting them channel the personality of a poet’s or a musician’s work.
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03.28.08: Matthew Peterson

The Cuckoo Bird and the Keyboard
Designers are famously nauseated by novices' use of neutral quotes — or dumb quoes — in place of true quotes. Why do we care so much? Should we?
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11.07.07: Jessica Helfand

Type Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry
Designers make choices about the appropriateness of type based on any number of criteria, and "liking it" is indeed one of them. But is that enough?
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10.29.07: William Drenttel

Stephen Doyle: A Few Words
Stephen Doyle is a graphic wordsmith.
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10.03.07: William Drenttel

Wood That We Could
Remember back in the late 1980s, when Minneapolis was a hotbed of creative energy? Back when brochures were tied together with braid and twigs? Minnesota was making a play for the next big thing: the North Woods look. Well, it's back...
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08.02.07: Rob Giampietro

The Fonts of Summer
Why not summer fonts? I can't think of a good reason why not. Like all things summer, a summer font need only follow a few simple rules. Be catchy. Be simple. Be happy. And be gone soon enough to belong to a single summer only. It's the Summer of Grouch. ITC Grouch, that is.
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07.30.07: Adrian Shaughnessy

Barnbrook Bible: A Graphic Autobiography
Jonathan Barnbrook's new book, Barnbrook Bible, ranks amongst the most ambitious personal projects undertaken by any graphic designer...
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07.17.07: Jessica Helfand

Harry Potter and The Enchanted Letterforms
The most recent theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix includes a paradigm shift that warrants particular recognition, for the simple reason that this may be the first film in which mere letterforms, once the purview of the production designer, break free and actually join the cast.
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06.26.07: Jessica Helfand

Why Is This Font Different From All Other Fonts?
Earlier this spring, our local art-supply store closed its doors. The promise of discount art supplies looms large, so off I went. There was a paltry selection of picked-over goods, until a chipboard assortment of "birthday letters" caught my eye. Birthday letters? I think not. This is Faux Hebrew.
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05.12.07: Michael Bierut

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface
Why choose a particular typeface for a particular situation? Here are thirteen reasons.
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04.06.07: Michael Bierut

Our Little Secret
The documentary Helvetica premieres in a world where everyone knows how to do something that once only very few did: how to set type.
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03.29.07: Dmitri Siegel

The New New Typography
French design duo Vier5 make new typography. The author raises questions about modernism and typography.
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12.15.06: Jessica Helfand

The Not-So-Golden Age of Zero Tolerance
When I was a student, the assignments and their expected outcomes were intentionally conceived as chore-like, specific and frankly, narrow. This was the age of zero tolerance: deviation from a designated format was neither an approved approach nor an acceptable method. Today, the opposite is more likely to be true: a student who does not expand his or her approach to a project is strongly encouraged to do so.
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10.26.06: William Drenttel

Silk Road Typography
"This is the Silk Road at its worst: a kind of PC 1990s where each and every interest has to be fairly represented — a letter for every voice. The result is Babel, seven discordant voices singing in the wind." Commentary on new European Union 50th anniversary logo, and a look back at the 100th anniversary logo for the New York Public Library.
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09.24.06: Michael Bierut

The Golden Age of American Commercialism
The encroachment of commercialism into everyday life seems like a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Yet around one hundred years ago, America began a romance with salesmanship that today seems almost delirious. A 1922 business directory shows how great crass commercialism used to look.
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07.20.06: Jessica Helfand

The Global Curse of Comic Sans
In this coastal region slung just below the Pyrenees, one might expect to see evidence of the enduring cultural tensions between Spain and Catalonia — different kinds of signs or symbols, for instance â€" but on the surface at least, no such rift is exposed. Instead, Catalonia clings to a visual language that celebrates the goofy: this is a country awash in Comic Sans.
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07.14.06: William Drenttel

Move It Down . . . A Little to the Right
That some years ago, some poor sign installer went to put the first letter of the name of the museum up on the wall, and someone screamed, "No, you idiot! Lower! Much Lower! Get it down close to the edge. And a quarter-inch to the right." That the building is the Guggenheim Museum, and that the architect was Frank Lloyd Wright, makes this photographic detail especially interesting.
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06.20.06: Rob Giampietro

Kafka & Typography
For many, including myself, "The Trees" is about typography, and, in its first sentence, Kafka lets letters speak directly to the reader themselves: "we are like tree trunks in the snow." Picture a field after a recent snowfall. Think of the straight, almost runic lines of the fallen boughs. Approaching them, they seem like characters from an unused alphabet.
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03.30.06: Michael Bierut

Variations on a Theme: New York's High Priorities
A half-page weekly feature in New York magazine has become a showcase for some of the world's best graphic designers.
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02.02.06: Jessica Helfand

Freedom of Speech or Filching of Style? The New Law of Eminent Lo-Mein
DIY design invading typography terrain: culture-jamming in the domains of freedom of speech, pharmaceutics, and pop-culture.
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09.30.05: Adrian Shaughnessy

"Can you make the type bigger?"

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09.19.05: Rick Poynor

The Guardian’s New European Look
The Guardian's choice of the "Berliner" format, half-way between broadsheet and tabloid, is an inspired alternative. The paper is the first British title to adopt this European page size. Elegant, well-proportioned pages make its tabloid rivals look like poor relations.
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02.21.05: Jessica Helfand

Our Bodies, Our Fonts
Body markings — piercings, tattoos and so forth — have recently evolved into a kind of marginalized form of graphic expression, yet one that sheds an unusual light on some of the more mainstream ways in which design often reveals itself.
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10.01.04: Michael Bierut

I Hate ITC Garamond
ITC Garamond, a popular typeface designed in 1975, is quite simply ugly, and I hate it.
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07.25.04: Michael Bierut

The Bodoni Conspiracy
Eerie parallels between the cover designs of the reports of the 9/11 Commission and the Monicagate investigator Kenneth Starr suggest a conspiracy that can be traced back to sixteenth-century type designer Giambattista Bodoni.
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07.08.04: Jessica Helfand

Ask Not What Your Typeface Can Do For You: Ask What You Can Do For Your Typeface
"Manhattan-based architect Frederic Schwarz's memorial 'Empty Sky' WILL USE Times New Roman..."
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04.03.04: Michael Bierut

Stanley Kubrick and the Future of Graphic Design
Stanley Kubrick's attention to the nuances of graphic design, typography, and branding went far beyond his well-documented obsession with Futura Extra Bold. 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular projects a perfectly designed vision of the future that has never been topped.
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03.16.04: Jessica Helfand

Blanket Statements

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02.26.04: William Drenttel

Typography and Diplomacy

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02.02.04: Michael Bierut

Rob Roy Kelly’s Old, Weird America
The late educator and designer Rob Roy Kelly has had a lasting influence on the profession of graphic design, particularly through his landmark book "American Wood Type."
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12.21.03: Rick Poynor

Notes on Experimental Jetset
Experimental Jetset’s argument that design should have a certain autonomy and an inner logic separate from tastes and trends makes sense, but as a rationale for defaulting to Helvetica, is it convincing?
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12.05.03: Jessica Helfand

Sign Language: Endangered Species or Utopian Uprising?
At turns provocative and peculiar, photographs of a new building in Birmingham, England, hint at a utopian uprising: No angles. No signs. In other words: no branding?
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11.16.03: Rick Poynor

Unnecessary Revival
As a first-time enthusiast for American Typewriter, I was happy to see it pass into history. Resurrecting the typeface now that the typewriter has given way to digital technology is just nostalgia ― soft at the core.
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11.09.03: Rick Poynor

Those Inward-looking Europeans
Three American design teachers visit London and the Netherlands. European designers, they say, are not paying attention to design history. Maybe the visitors are missing local factors and broader global issues.
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11.06.03: William Drenttel

Information Archaeology
Russ Kick is "a self-described 'information archaeologist...'" The revealing of state secrets through deconstructing a PDF.
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11.03.03: Jessica Helfand

Color Me Kurt
Having seen Schwarzenegger as a black man before he was elected Governor, one can only imagine what's next for Colors under Kurt Andersen.
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10.28.03: Michael Bierut

The New York Times: Apocalypse Now, Page A1
Michael Bierut on the typographic redesign of the New York Times, October 2003.
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09.22.03: William Drenttel

VAS: An Opera in Flatland
VAS: An Opera in Flatland is the first full-length novel by Steve Tomasula and Stephen Farrell.
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09.14.03: William Drenttel

Twin (Cities) Type in Flux
A new typeface commissioned for the City of Minneapolis moves when the wind blows. Is this what Gutenberg imagined when he invented movable type?
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09.14.03: William Drenttel

Twin (Cities) Type in Flux
A new typeface commissioned for the City of Minneapolis moves when the wind blows. Is this what Gutenberg imagined when he invented movable type?
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09.06.03: Jessica Helfand

The Real Declaration

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