Hooray for urban typography!
I’m excited to share that my “type-spotting” blog Typography in the City and the related book were mentioned in two places yesterday.
Bill Motchan, writer of the Chicago Journal’s ‘West Loop Wanderings’ blog posted an article about my inspiration for Typography in the City—including a photo of one of my favorite West Loop typography spots. Read the Chicago Journal article.
My self-published book, Typography in the City (based on the blog) was featured on Creative Bloq, a blog that delivers a daily dose of design tips and inspiration. Read the Creative Bloq post.
Thanks Chicago Journal & Creative Bloq for spreading the word about urban typography!
MyChronicleBooks race car growth chart
As a Chronicle Books affiliate, I’m pleased to share this special MyChronicleBooks.com offer with my readers:
One week only! 40% off Personalized Books and Gifts at MyChronicleBooks.com with code MYCB40. Ends 10/30/12
Click the link and make sure to enter the code.
MyChronicleBooks.com offers personalized Books, Growth Charts, Lunch Boxes, Placemats, Wall Art, and paper goods based on their beloved book titles.
Get those kids’ holiday gifts early!
Images © Chronicle Books (top) and © Janine Vangool, UPPERCASE magazine (bottom)
If you’re like me and regularly fantasize about having your work published by Chronicle Books, here are two opportunities that might make this a reality.
This is happening – Instagram book
Chronicle Books and Instagram are teaming up on a new book featuring Instagram users’ photos.
The assignment: send your favorite Instagram that captures a fleeting moment that made your day.
“This is Happening” page with submission details and entry form.
Janine Vangool, editor of the lovely UPPERCASE magazine is designing/curating a set of notecards featuring vintage typewriters, also to be published by Chronicle Books (spring 2014).
She is seeking Polaroid or lo-fi/retro-inspired photographs of vintage typewriters, taken by UPPERCASE readers.
Submission details can be found on the UPPERCASE website.
On Wednesday, I attended a wonderful walking typography tour with Paul Shaw, organized by STA Chicago and AIGA Chicago.
I’ve been blogging found typography in my West Loop neighborhood, so I was eager to see what Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and Loop had to offer. Two-and-half hours later, my freezing fingers had documented 20 typographic spots—and Paul was still going strong at the Chicago Cultural Center when I had to head home (Little One was waiting for his dinner).
Paul Shaw has a mind-boggling knowledge of typography and thoroughly explained each type specimen, with humorous anecdotes along the way. He reminded us that much of what we saw was not typography, but in fact lettering.
Downtown Chicago lettering highlights
- Clarendon-style lettering on a water fountain at our starting point, the Historic Water Tower.
- Versals in the uncial form on the downtown Loyola University building. IWAC stands for Illinois Women’s Athletic Club, a social, athletic and residential club in the ’20s-’30s.
- Uncials on the Fourth Presbyterian Church entryway. Paul explained that the lettering was designed to fit the space.
- Slab serif cast letters on the Chicago Water Works building. Paul pointed out that there was no period after the title (the grammatical style during that period).
- Helios relief on the former McGraw-Hill Building facade. Another example of lettering created to fit the space.
- Paul doing a stone rubbing of textura blackletter lettering on the Tribune Tower.
- The quirky sans/serif-combination lettering on the Old Republic Building. We also peeked inside the lobby to see a fabulous ’20s-’30s era mailbox.
- Art deco lettering on the Carbide and Carbon Building (now the Hard Rock Hotel). Paul pointed out the thick and thin lettering with echoes of Florentine Sans serif.
- Dome of the Chicago Cultural Center (I missed the explanation because I had to leave!)
Thank you Paul, for an amazing tour of Chicago typography!
If you are a fellow type geek, check out Paul Shaw’s website, which includes info for his urban lettering walks. Sign me up for the Italy tour next year!
Personalized goodies from Chronicle Books…and my little one’s current Chronicle fave (not available personalized though!)
Being a huge Chronicle Books fan and mama of a 1-year old, I was thrilled to hear about MyChronicleBooks.com: Chronicle Books’ new personalized products for kids. As someone who grew up with with an uncommon name, I would have loved to have one of these books!
Personalized Books are available, of course, but also Growth Charts, Lunch Boxes, Placemats, Wall Art, and paper goods, oh my!
I can’t wait to order personalized goodies for my little one—who is already a book lover, or should I say, book eater.
As a Chronicle Books affiliate, I am pleased to share this special offer!
25% off + Free Shipping on New Personalized Books and Gifts from MyChronicleBooks.com! Enter discount Code MyCB25 at checkout.
Details from Lichtenstein’s paintings and my pint-sized art museum companion
One of the perks of being a mom in business is taking off a few hours to do something fun with Little One. Ever since he was a few months old, my son and I have been attending the Art Institute of Chicago’s stroller tours: a baby-sized tour of one of the Museum’s exhibits or rooms.
July and August’s stroller tours feature the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit. Since my 11-month old son is starting to point at and notice everything around him, I thought the lively modern art would appeal to him. Not to mention, Mama needed a little art break.
Recognize these haystacks? Lichtenstein’s ‘Haystacks’ based on Claude Monet’s series.
Admittedly, I never had a penchant for modern art, so I enjoyed hearing background on the evolution of Lichtenstein’s artwork and techniques. Being a graphic designer, I enjoyed seeing the hand-drawn “Ben-Day” dots and other graphic patterns.
I especially enjoyed seeing the way Lichtenstein combined expressive brush strokes with his pop art aesthetic. I liked his works that were representative of artworks I was familiar with (see inset). And I was surprised that some of his paintings were downright subdued.
As I suspected, the Lichtenstein exhibit was a hit with my little guy. His eyes darted and delighted in the bold colors, dot patterns and stripes all around him. Perhaps he enjoyed it a little too much! (yes, I was the mom with the wriggling, happily shrieking baby in the gallery around noon yesterday). Needless to say, we both left the exhibit energized and inspired!
a few examples of my new photographic obsession: typography
So, I was just recently talking about creative side jobs on the Creative Freelancer Blog. I’m happy to finally announce one of my side projects: a photographic essay on typography titled Typography in the City.
The inspiration for this project came about in July 2011. I had recently attended the HOW Design Conference in Chicago and picked up a book called Photo Idea Index by Jim Krause. It gave me a new perspective on photography and most importantly, the encouragement to practice daily.
At the time, I was in my last month of pregnancy so my only form of exercise was long walks with the dog. On these walks in my West Loop neighborhood, I started to notice typography—a letterform on a sign, an address number, words spray painted on the ground. With my new found photographic inspiration, I started taking photos and sharing them.
To share my collection of images—and to add to it when I’m on the go—I recently created a blog called Typography in the City.
I’m also currently designing the related book, titled Typography in the City. Send your email to be added to the mailing list when the book is released!
Follow along on instagram and twitter with the hashtag #typeinthecity
The evolution of graphic design tools: circa 1991-1994. (photos from Wikipedia)
My first experience with an Apple Macintosh computer was as a design student at Columbia College Chicago in the early-90s.
Computers had just started to break into the design industry. Having a love of fine art, I was initially opposed to abandoning my craft for the beige plastic box (“Me, use a computer? Never!”) However, once I realized how much easier—and dare I say fun!—it was to complete my design assignments on the Mac rather than using rubdown type, letrafilm, rapidograph pens and the dreaded stat machine (youngsters, click the links if you don’t know what I’m talking about), I was sold.
In those days, most students didn’t have a computer at home (so expensive!) so I was lucky to attend a school that believed in staying up-to-date with technology. When I arrived at Columbia College in 1991, they had a handful of Mac Classics. By the time I graduated, there was a room full of fancy Mac Quadras, complete with scanners, Zip drives and color laser printers. How quickly times were changing! And how much faster we could get our homework done! Many nights were spent in the design lab, working away on a Mac and printing and assembling design projects.
So as I type away on my Mac keyboard, I thank you Steve Jobs for allowing me to be a part of the evolution of design technology.
photo © Art Institute of Chicago
I stopped by the Art Institute of Chicago today for a quick visit and stumbled upon a wonderful exhibit: Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life.
Most of us are used to seeing old woodcuts and engravings in books and on museum walls. But back when they were created (1500-1600s), Renaissance prints were sometimes used rather mundanely in daily life.
A few standout examples:
- Prints adhered to wooden storage boxes—something you may still see today (see example at right)
- Prints used as wall coverings (instead of the more costly tapestries of that time)
- A “scrapbook” of engravings, woodcuts, etchings and aquatints pasted into a journal
- Pattern books for needlework and amateur artists—similar to the Dover Art Books you find today
- Compass and sundial decorated with woodcut prints
- Prints used as playing cards—a great example is the Italian tarocchi deck, which you can still buy today in Florence
- Anatomy flap prints: prints showing the human anatomy with removable, cut-out organs—a fabulous precursor to today’s pop-up books and paper cutting art
The exhibition runs through Sunday (July 10) and is worth a visit!
Moleskine Cahier Notebooks, Strathmore Windpower Sketchbook & Pantone Notebooks
As I prepare to attend the HOW Design Conference in Chicago, I’ve started the search for a new sketchbook to record all the great ideas that will no doubt arise.
Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of sketchbooks and notebooks. Some are filled with business brainstorms, designs and color palettes for new stationery products or conceptual thumbnails for new projects. Others are purely artistic, made up of with pencil and ink sketches or watercolor illustrations. I even have sketchbooks from my high school/college days featuring a visual documentation of the alternative rock era.
It’s always inspiring to sit down and peruse my old sketchbooks. It makes me think about where I’ve been, where I am now, and how the two influence each other. I never fail to be moved by an old idea or somehow find a way to apply it to a current project or challenge.
Some of my favorite sketchbooks
- Moleskine Cahier Notebook: by the makers of the classic Italian journal, the softcover notebooks are easy to tuck in your purse or bag.
- Strathmore Windpower Sketch: it has a nice subtle paper texture, perfect for ink pen and colored pencil—my two favorite sketching tools.
- Pantone A6 Notebook: I have yet to buy one, but I’m already in love with the orange Pantone-chip inspired design!
What are your favorite sketching or note-taking tools? Share in the comments!