Observer: The Life of the Seoul

In the summer of 2008, I was invited to give a week of lectures to a design class in South Korea. Several students were scheduled to make brief presentations at the end of the week on subjects they had been …

Stilla

— Stilla is a headline typeface for anyone waiting for Poster Bodoni to shrug off its restrained precision and get a little funky. Remaining true to its Fat Face brethren (e.g. Normande, Falstaff), Stilla is primarily defined by thick verticals, …

Fabrica’s exhibition “Les Yeux Ouverts”

Approaching the staircase leading down to “Les Yeux Ouverts” (“Open Eyes”), an exhibition of Fabrica currently on display at Paris’s Centre Pompidou, I braced myself for the expected succession of blunt, cause-driven campaigns and personal experiments following the design rubric …

Photographic Testimonies

— Since the American Civil War, photography has played a central role in crafting narratives about conflicts and disasters, whether domestic or international, natural or man-made. As photographic technology has changed, so has our shrewdness in interpreting these documents, allowing …

Flexion

In the late ’70s, John Langdon discovered that he could manipulate letters to form words that read the same from the right and the left. He has since carved out a strong career as a designer and letterer specializing in …

The Big Pixel

—  In his 2001 book, Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies, architect James Sanders describes the relationship between the city and iconic films like Annie Hall and Miracle on 34th Street. Recently, though, as he discussed at a recent …

Shadow Boxer

On April 21, 1964, James Harvey, with his friend Joan Washburn, walked into New York’s Stable Gallery to see an opening for a rising artist named Andy Warhol. The show—which attracted a line around the block, despite mostly negative reviews—consisted …

Orphan Works

— “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lose everything you’ve ever done.” That’s Brad Holland, from a recent interview with business consultant Mark Simon. Holland, a legend among illustrators and co-founder of the advocacy group The Illustrators’ Partnership of America, …

FE-Schrift

For almost seven decades, the numerals on German license plates were punched with characters from the typeface DIN 1451—a progeny of the 1920s Constructivist design movement. As the acronym suggests (DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung, or German Institute …

New Visual Artists 2007

Monograms, once used to identify clothing at Roman baths, are now mainly machine-rendered tokens of convention. But Phil Lubiner’s hand-drawn monogrammed initials (left), for each of our New Visual Artists, have their own distinct personalities. They’re a perfect introduction to …