Thursday, March 27, 2008

Three Red Hens on Eighty8Words blog!

The multi-talented artist & blogger behind Eighty8Words shop & blog will be featuring Three Red Hens on her blog today! As always, accompanying her crafter/artist interviews is a lovely haiku contest to win some goodies (this time it's spring cards from yours truly). Go check it out; give her a little love. I look forward to seeing your haikus! Click here to be redirected to the interview. And don't forget to check out Chelsea's latest typewriter-inspired necklaces here at her Etsy shop.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A little academic inspiration: Pop Matters

I love my Google Alerts! It's how I came across a posting on Scott Hansen's inspiring graphic design blog ISO50's recent post about NYC-based designer Nikolay Saveliev's Pop Matters project. These witty pieces were put together for a viral marketing campaign for indie radio stations – I love their minimalist design & smart copy. Enjoy!

Check out the rest of Nikolay's portfolio here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A hot cup of tea

If this damp chilly spring has got you down, warm up with nice new card from Three Red Hens. Stay warm!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fun custom invitations

I was approached by a client seeking unique & fun invitations for her father's retirement party, in a small quantity (25). She was looking for a tongue-in-cheek tribute to her father's years of work, between law enforcement and a famous food manufacturer. Although it took hours of brainstorming, back & forth, sketching & illustration, and of course, the printing, I'm very proud of the final result. Thirteen hours, three plates, three colors and some hand cropping later we arrived at some beautiful invites. These invitations were printed on Crane's 110# Lettra paper with matching envelopes in Natural White. As a note, I've used dummy text for the illustration and blacked out the names, dates & places on the photographed final.

The illustration was done using a photograph I took of a can of tomato soup. It is paired with some Helvetica Black I mapped around a (3-D) cylinder in Illustrator and then traced by hand (for the "Bureau Shapes") and hand-drawn icon noodle shapes for the fedora, badge & gun. Text around the outside is dummy text but layout is the same as in the project.

Close up of the finished product. In the original Illustrator file I tried hard to make the text on the can look sketchy, but in the finished product it ends up with a more refined smooth look.

Another close up. Note the trapping I used to make sure all the colors overlap with no white showing. It's much more noticeable in this picture than it is with the final product in your hands.

The whole final product. I did black out the information along the edge but the text of the invitation runs around the outside black border in white (much like the illustration).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Chip Kidd: The Learners

I was intrigued by the New York Times' review of book jacket designer & obviously also book-writer Chip Kidd's latest novel The Learners. It wasn't a stunning review, but the premise of the novel is interesting & excerpts I've read seem entertaining & well written. It's still on my list to read.

As per Amazon & the Times, the book details the experiences of a recent graphic design graduate in the "real-world" of office work and his unexpected involvement with the experiments of Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram. The name may not ring a bell, but I'm sure you've heard of the experiments in which participants were coaxed by a "Teacher" to give "Learners" what they believed were dangerously high electric shocks.

The following is part of the New York Times article:
"...The Learners is a funny novel, if one that doesn’t always do grief as convincingly as comedy or succeed in evoking both at once. For an Image guy, Kidd has infectious fun with words. “Some people spoke volumes,” Happy says of Tip, his glib co-worker. “Tip spoke leaflets.” Sometimes Kidd strains too hard, but he’s set his novel among advertising people, who strain too hard with words for a living. One of them waxes about the transformational power of the suffix in a cereal brand, Crispy Cornies: “By adding three letters to the word ‘corn,’ it’s no longer made by God, it’s made by man. Amazing.”

But Kidd’s use and explication of graphic design — Happy’s means of expressing himself — is what’s most striking here. “Typography,” he writes, “is truly the invisible art of the last 100 years.” It’s ubiquitous, influential and too often ignored. (Especially, as Happy quickly learns, by the damn Word people: “Make it bigger.” “Make it smaller.” “Cut some of the copy? You’re joking.”) In several digressions — sometimes enlightening, sometimes pedantic — ”Content” gets monologues to describe how it can appear as deception, irony, metaphor and so on. On one tour-de-force spread, Happy gets an assignment to design a small newspaper ad — for the Milgram experiment — and breaks down the mundane-looking block of text to annotate the subtle messages of every typeface, punctuation mark and column grouping. These digressions don’t always successfully connect with the story, but when they do, they poignantly show Happy trying to find the words — and the typeface — to adequately express his emotions."

You can read the whole New York Times review "The Medium and the Message" by James Poniewozik here.

You can also listen to the recent interview with Chip on Minnesota Public Radio here (accessible through Real Player & Windows Media Player only unfortunately).

Or go to purchase The Learners or his first book in the series, The Cheese Monkeys, on here.

You can browse Chip's latest work and learn more about him on his website

Monday, March 3, 2008

Remember to eat your vegetables!

After [visually] indulging in my last post and its chocolatey goodness, it's time to get your serving of healthy veggies. This brand new letterpress card was just printed today and will be posted soon on Etsy. Sprouted just in time for spring – which seems to be coming soon for NY. It was in the 50s today! I actually saw a few bare legs and hopeful spring outfits.

Bon app├ętit!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A time when it's not so bad to eat your words...

In the print shop there's definitely not much eating, especially not any of the type. Cast metal type (as opposed to wood type), whether antique or new, contains a large percentage of lead, from the mid-50s to over 80%.

Right now I'm trying to figure out the best way to clean all the old cases of type I've "inherited" via E-bay in way that is sensitive to the dust that's accumulated - lead-filled & otherwise. I'll probably try to do it outside when the weather is nicer. Even if type is clean, you should make sure to wash your hands after handling it.

Anyway, my troubles aside, I wanted to share a little treat with fellow typophiles and letterpress printers. This is a German company called Typolade who makes chocolate "type" that can be assembled to spell out a
special message. I'm doubting they ship international, but I wouldn't know because I can't read German. :-(
Click here to be redirected to their website.