Extreme Typographic Fandom & A Curiously Star Struck Dog

You probably have at least one favourite typeface, and I’m pretty sure that you’re likely to favour a dozen or so others that you can happily deploy depending on context and use, of course.

Now some of your stable of old faithful faces will eventually amble quietly out to pasture beyond your studio door, either because they have become over familiar and tired, or because times have moved on and their stars have simply waned.
Those faces will inevitably be replaced by stellar newcomers from freshly published collections, crackling with energy and wit, alongside others that sail through the window promising radical new twists on classic themes.

In typography, nothing stays still for long, which makes it very difficult to answer the question of which is your absolute all time favourite face.

This dilemma is even more tricky if you have to choose a typeface to express something very long lasting.

Such as a tattoo, for instance….

thumbnail of Beauty Is Truth
(Click these small images to enlarge them, please)

The typeface used on this guy’s arm is Burgues Script. It was designed by Alejandro Paul (below), who is one of the founder members of the Argentinian type design house Sudtipos. The typeface is based on the late 19th century American calligrapher Louis Madarasz’s work, whose legendary pen has inspired schools of penmanship for over 100 years. His talent has caused some people to call him ‘the most skillful penman the world has ever known’.

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Spline City: The master typographer at his workstation.

Burgues Script seems to lend itself easily to the traditional aesthetic of tattoos with all its hairline swashes and wild cursive extenders.

There are other fans who recognise how stylish Burgues Script can look when applied to the skin.
thumbnail of Amare tattoo
Shame about the technical quality of that picture…1
This one is better, in so many ways:

thumbnail of Pobody
Nearly nerfect, in fact.

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Footnotes for this post:____________________________________
  1. It looks as if someone has used a telephone to take the snap with. How crazy is that? I expect you will tell me that in the future we will talk into our cameras and expect people to hear us. []

Günther Reindorff & Villu Toots

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Evening Landscape, Günther Reindorff, 1944
(Clickety, clickety to make it biggety!)

I think I came across this beautfully wistful mezzotint on Bukowski‘s auction website. I can’t be precise because I was not using the researcher’s friend, ClipCache Pro at the time.

Google didn’t yield much on this Estonian artist apart from some rather badly scanned prints. An example below –
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Someone’s scanned or converted this picture to a greyscale image, and blown away all trace of the tonal subtlety it might have once had. Shame. (Why is this delicate job so often delegated to the office junior?)

Here’s another really wonky scan, this time ruined by cackhanded overuse of the sharpen filter…
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Stream And straighten it up!

A little more digging, and I wound up on a page showing the work of many Estonian typographers and calligraphers.

Now the history of this part of Northern Europe is complicated to say the least, up until the Fall of the Wall and the eventual acceptance of Estonia into the EU in 2004.

The territory was occupied first by its Russian neighbour, and then by the Third Reich during the second world war, and once more illegally re-occupied by the Soviet Union in 1944.

Consequently, Reindorff had a complicated client list, to say the least. He has designed banknotes and postage stamps for a succession of governmental bodies..

Most of his work was within the graphic arts, with a strong leaning towards calligraphy, and that’s how I found him in the company of his compatriot and fellow pensmith, Villu Toots. (What a wonderful name!)

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Stanley Morison Villu Toots

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Tahestik Villu Toots

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Hermann Zapf (If that surname rings a bell, check this page.)

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Kodanic Brych

One more Estonian designer whose work on that page grabbed me was Rudolf Koemets. There’s an invigorating balance between clarity and mania in this poster from 1965. It looks like the work of a Zen master wielding a very large Japanese brushpen just like a Samurai sword….

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Raamatu Graafika Rudolf Koemets, 1965

If anyone has a link to more work by any of these artists, please get in touch!

Clearing The Cellar – David Dabner of the LCP

For once, here’s a YouTube video with some intelligent comments appended to it. The subject is the Typography tutor at the old London College of Printing, David Dabner, or “Debner” as the slightly 1950’s style voice over artist pronounces it. The LCP is now known as the London College of Communication, and it’s the largest constituent College of the University of the Arts, London.

David Dabner
Click the picture to activate the video.

According to Dabner, the computers might be scarily accurate, but the thinking can be “sloppy”….

Some links; to the old LCP, the new LCC, and the University of the Arts.

TypeFaces (Type – Faces Geddit?)

thumbnail of Paul Belford's typographical postcard 1
Figaro; Primer Two Line Ancient; Eight Lines Elongated Sans Series No. 3

From “Typefaces You Won´t Recognise”, a series of witty postcards produced by Paul Belford for the London Type Museum.

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Five Lines Pica No. 2; Anglo Saxon; Granby

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Eight Lines French Antique No. 1; Seven Lines Open No. 1; Doric No. 3

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Eight Lines Thorncliffe No. 2; Expanded Grotesque; No. 120 Sans Serif Old Style

It seems the Type Museum is has been going through some changes recently. The website still gives the impression that it is possible to visit the amazing collections in its care, so if you are thinking of visiting, it’s probably best to check first via the contact page of their site just to make sure.

There’s a 2 page image gallery here.

The museum address is:
The Type Museum
100 Hackford Road
London SW9 0QU

Telephone 020 7735 0055