The Odd Couple: Michael Doret & Siggi Eggertsson

Few publications present their content in a more contemporary and compelling manner than Wired Magazine. Brimming with smart spot illustrations, unexpected custom typography and an overall fresh design aesthetic, Wired is intrinsically relevant to designers. Since the arrival of Scott Dadich as creative director in 2006, the list of freelance designers and illustrators has grown to include many of the most innovative creative minds practicing today. Recent issues have featured the work of Marian Bantjes, House Industries, Felix Sockwell, Christoph Niemann and Office.

Title for Wired by Marian Bantjes

Title for Wired by Marian Bantjes

The current issue features a visually rich article entitled “Cutthroat Capitalism: An Economic Analysis of the Somali Pirate Business Model” illustrated by Siggi Eggertsson with lettering by Michael Dorett. A zoomable Flash version of the article can be viewed here. The synthesis of Eggertsson’s illustration with Doret’s lettering creates an unexpected and surprising result. While either artist could have easily produced both the lettering and illustration for the article, Art Director Maili Holiman chose to play to their strongest suits. Typically Doret’s work has an overt nostalgic sensibility, however within the context of this article his lettering somewhat resembles the work of Chris Ware.

Wired Design Department & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

Wired Design Department & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

Michael Doret & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

Michael Doret & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

Michael Doret & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

Michael Doret & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

Wired Design Department & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

Wired Design Department & Siggi Eggertsson for Wired Magazine

After the assignment was completed, Wired Italia contacted Doret and asked him to recreate all of his custom titles in Italian. The titles translated astonishingly well. Michael has posted several side-by-side examples of the English and Italian lettering on his personal blog.

Michael Doret for Wired Italia

Michael Doret for Wired Italia

Pairing two seemingly incongruent artists on a single assignment is a very fresh approach. I am interested now at the uncharted collaborative potential of other artistic odd couples.

The wealth of visual talent on display in each issue of Wired makes it an indispensable resource. Wired has transitioned from a technology magazine to a “curator of a world that is constantly in flux.” And with a bargain subscription rate, it is a practical addition to any designer’s library. Wired was awarded the National Magazine Award for Design earlier this year.

As an anecdotal aside, both Scott Dadich and DJ Stout of Pentagram served as art director for Texas Monthly before assuming their current positions.

4 Comments Category: Reviews

Lite-Brite Type

Brooklyn based collective GrandArmy designed the CD, 12 inch vinyl and promotional materials for Fabric. In addition to be an interesting representation of blackletter, GrandArmy used the ever popular children’s game Lite-Brite to construct the type. If you’re unfamiliar with Lite-Brite or simply nostalgic for the 80’s, be sure to check out the old school TV commercial on YouTube. Much of GrandArmy’s work is typographic in nature. I recommend checking out their online portfolio. The use of Lite-Brites to build type reminded me of a Type Workshop project from 2003 entitled “shining type“. Underware type foundry conducts type workshops at universities and conferences worldwide. Inspired by all the Lite-Brite type, I threw together a quick “Type Theory” using the addictive web version of Lite-Brite on Hasbro’s website. Thanks to Luke Bott for the link to GrandArmy.

Promotional logo for Fabric by GrandArmy

Promotional logo for Fabric by GrandArmy

Lite-Brite F for Fabric by GrandArmy

Lite-Brite F for Fabric by GrandArmy

TypeWorkshop shining type project

TypeWorkshop shining type project

web-based Lite-Brite experiment

web-based Lite-Brite experiment

4 Comments Category: Discovered

Liza Pro by Underware

Liza Pro

Liza Pro

Running out of ink using OpenType tehnology

Running out of ink using OpenType tehnology

Liza Pro is a stylish new font from Underware type foundry crammed full of Opentype goodness. Liza Pro embodies the energy and contemporary flare of other Underware releases like Bello and Sauna. In an effort to simulate the look and feel of actual hand lettering, Liza Pro has an “out of ink feature”, that keeps track of how much ink you theoretically have used and simulates what would happen if you started to run out. The live script feature automatically swaps ligatures on the fly as you are typing. The “Introducer” and “Finalizer” features offer calligraphic swashes for the first and last character in a word. A list of Liza Pro’s Opentype features can be found here. Liza Pro consists of 4 different fonts (Display, Text, Caps and Ornaments). Underware recently added a fun new feature to their site that enables you to set your own text with the OpenType alternatives displayed. And the “static oldskool” text is also displayed for comparison. You may recognize Liza Pro from the Typeradio logo. Be sure to sign-up for the Underware newsletter for exclusive offers – I just received an offer today for two licenses to Liza Pro for the price of one. If you buy Liza Pro, post a link in the comments and share your results.

Contextual ligatures and alternative glyphs

Contextual ligatures and alternative glyphs

LetterMixer

LetterMixer

Typeradio.org logo

Typeradio.org logo

No Comments Category: Showcase

HypeForType

Designer Alex Haigh of Nottingham, England recently launched a new type foundry entitled HypeForType. Acclaimed designers Si Scott and Alex Trochut have both released exclusive typefaces through HypeForType: Hunter and Neo Deco respectively. Alex Haigh runs the studio Thinkdust and dreamed-up the idea of HypeForType out of a desire for high quality affordable typefaces. Alex managed to bring HypeForType from concept to launch in just over a year. Though he admits that he has only been able to get 1-2 hours a sleep on average each night. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for HypeForType.

Hunter by Si Scott

Hunter by Si Scott

Neo Deco by Alex Trochut

Neo Deco by Alex Trochut

Lace by HelloHikimori

Lace by HelloHikimori

No Comments Category: News

Joshua Distler

Designer Joshua Distler resides in Brooklyn and is the founder of Shift type foundry and Live Surface template library. Prior to going solo, he worked for IDEO, Metadesign, Studio Dumbar, Wolf Ollins and Apple. Thanks to Brian Miller and Elisabeth Owens for the tip.

Typeface for designer Alissia Melka-Teichroew

Typeface for designer Alissia Melka-Teichroew

Identity for Banco Deuno. Typeface by Mike Abbink.

Identity for Banco Deuno. Typeface by Mike Abbink.

G and g for Max Kisman's Holland Font series

G and g for Max Kisman's Holland Font series

Identity concept for Visit London

Identity concept for Visit London

Additional identity concept for Visit London

Additional identity concept for Visit London

Wordmark study for Wamu bank

Wordmark study for Wamu bank

1 Comment Category: Showcase

Charles of the Ritz

This 1953 ad for the cosmetics brand Charles of the Ritz features two of my favorite hallmarks of golden age advertising: illustration and hand lettering. While this illustration is not spectacular, the hand lettered logo for Charles of the Ritz is a true gem. Revlon eventually acquired the Charles of the Ritz brand which was discontinued in 2002. The logotype was recreated for almost every ad, so there are several variations of this same basic lettering. A very similar example can be found on Flickr and a somewhat divergent example is located at All Posters.

made-to-order

made-to-order

Ritz

Ritz

Charles of the Ritz ad

Charles of the Ritz ad

1 Comment Category: Discovered

Hire Ed

After seeing Blanca Gómez’s cover illustration for the first issue of Uppercase Magazine, I decided to order the first issue. It arrived in the mail just a couple of days ago and I can officially say that Uppercase Magazine is a well-designed and engaging magazine. Native Canadian Ed Nacional has a witty typographic project featured entitled “Tiepography”. Ed is currently studying design at Parsons the New School for Design in New York and is slated to graduate in December of 2009, so hire Ed before someone else beats you to it.

Tiepography by Ed Nacional

Tiepography by Ed Nacional

Uppercase Magazine

Uppercase Magazine

3 Comments Category: Showcase

Walking on Water Meters

I snapped these shots recently while taking a stroll through Wichita’s Old Town district. Despite the fact that the last water meter cover says “Wabash, Indiana”, all the photos were taken in Wichita. The first two examples have the same design and the forth and fifth examples use the same typeface for “Water Meter.” Which is your favorite? Leave a comment to cast to your vote.

Wichita, Kansas

Water Meter 01

Wichita, Kansas

Water Meter 02

Wichita, Kansas

Water Meter 03

Wichita, Kansas

Water Meter 04

Wichita, Kansas

Water Meter 05

Wichita, Kansas

Water Meter 06

10 Comments Category: Discovered

Duffy & Partners – 25 Years of Logos

In celebration of 25 years of business, Minneapolis based Duffy & Partners has created a gallery showcasing logos from 1984 to the present. Of the 151 logos displayed in their online gallery, I selected 24 that use type to great advantage. Whether it’s a “T” for a bolt, a “P” nested in the negative space of a “D”, or an eye for an “I”, each mark utilizes typography to create a memorable and distinctive identity. The year of creation and designer credits can be found by clicking on the thumbnail images. The names of several world-renowned graphic designers can be found among the logo credits including Sharon Werner, Chuck Anderson, Haley Johnson, and Rutiger Goetz. I have asked Joe Duffy to share some of his thoughts on the role and importance of typography within branding. Additionally, the designers at Duffy & Partners were kind enough to share their 3 favorite type foundries for branding projects.

Duffy & Partners - 25 Years of Logos


Typography in Brand Development


“In looking back over our 25 year history of developing brand identities, it becomes clearly evident that type has played an instrumental role in conveying the right tone of voice and helped project the appropriate “personality” in virtually every instance. Whether it’s a hand rendered logotype, a customized version of an existing face or the use of a typeface in a supporting role within the brand language, a brand identity succeeds or fails based on the designer’s ability to work with type.
 
Logos alone do not create a successful, proprietary brand, nor does type. It’s the interplay between the typographic solution and the other brand icons – colors, graphic elements, photography, illustrations, etc., that establish a unique, compelling way to distinguish a brand within a crowded competitive set. Understanding the role type plays and making the right choices in either lead or supporting roles within this language most often makes or breaks a design solution. Understanding the rich history of typography and the intent behind typeface designs, should be an important part of any design curriculum. That knowledge, combined with a creative sense of interplay, will help young designers begin to create successful brand identities.
” 


Joe Duffy | Chairman | Duffy & Partners


1987 Dickson's - Designers Joe Duffy and Sharon Werner

Dickson's


1988 French Paper - Designer Chuck Anderson

French Paper

1989 D'Amico Cucina - Designer Haley Johnson

D'Amico Cucina

1991 Vereins Bank - Designer Rutiger Goetz

Vereins Bank

1992 Wieland Furniture - Designer Neil Powell

Wieland Furniture

1994 Diet Coke - Designer Kobe Suvongse

Diet Coke

1996 Fleischmann's Goodness Center - Designer Missy Wilson

Fleischmann's

1998 Mynd - Designers Alan Leusink and Brian Murphy

Mynd

1998 Smart Start - Designer Missy Wilson

Smart Start

1998 Starbucks Doubleshot - Designers David Mashburn and Jeff Hale

Doubleshot

1999 International Truck - Designer Tom Riddle

International

2002 Fractal Jeans - Designer David Mashburn

Fractal Jeans



2003 Toyota Trucks - Designer Esther Mun

Toyota Trucks

2004 Duffy & Partners - Designer Ken Sakurai

Duffy & Partners

2004 Thymes - Designer Ken Sakurai

Thymes

2005 Good Day Café - Designer Ken Sakurai

Good Day Café

2005 Pangea - Designer Brad Surcey

Pangea

2005 Thymes Filigree - Designer Esther Munn

Thymes Filigree

2005 Thymes Olive Leaf - Designer Ken Sakurai

Olive Leaf

2006 Cruet & Whisk - Designer Allison Newhouse

Cruet & Whisk

2006 Mona Lisa - Designer Alan Leusink

Mona Lisa

2007 Basin White - Designers Alan Leusink and Allison Newhouse

Basin White

2007 V.I.O. - Designers Alan Leusink and Joseph Duffy

V.I.O.

2008 501 Fit - Designer Joseph Duffy

501 Fit

•  •  •  D E S I G N E R   S U R V E Y •  •  •

Question: What are 3 of your favorite type foundries for branding projects?

Jenney Stevens | Senior Designer



Answer: Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Process Type Foundry, FontFont

Missy Wilson | Senior Designer



Answer: Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Émigré, House Industries

Ken Sakurai
 | Senior Designer



Answer: Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Process Type Foundry, Linotype

Joseph Duffy IV
 | Designer



Answer: T.26, FontShop, Veer

Allison Newhouse
 | Designer



Answer: Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Process Type Foundry, Émigré

Candice Leick

 | Designer



Answer: Process Type Foundry, Underwear Type Foundry

6 Comments Category: Showcase

Ken Barber Interview

Ken Barber Illustration

Welcome to Type Theory! For our inaugural interview I am pleased to present Ken Barber of House Industries. Enjoy!

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 1994, Ken Barber moved to New York where he worked for various graphic design firms. In 1996 he joined House Industries in Yorklyn, Delaware full-time. Ken has been involved in everything at House including illustration, layout, copywriting and type design. His work has been recognized by the Type Directors Club, The Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and numerous international design publications. Ken is also a frequent guest lecturer at design conferences, including the HOW Design Conference, where he conducts lettering workshops. He teaches typography and lettering with Ben Kiel at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and University of Delaware.

Ken teaching lettering

Ken teaching lettering

You have a particular interest in the relationship between hand-lettering and type design. The title of your personal website (typeandlettering.com) reflects this interest. What can hand-lettering and type design learn from one another?

While it’s true that lettering and type design are quite different, I am convinced the two disciplines share more in common than the alphabet. Every letterer exercises certain design preferences, and as such commonly employs routines in executing his or her work. Present day technology allows designers to programatically determine type behavior, resembling the choices an artist might make while lettering. Some of my typefaces, most recently those of the Studio Lettering collection, emulate these lettering routines applying the same sort of thinking in a typographic framework. Thankfully I have friends like Tal Leming and Ben Kiel to help with all the tricknological heavy lifting.

Outtakes from the Studio Lettering photo shoot.

Outtakes from the Studio Lettering photo shoot.

Sketches of Studio Sable

Sketches of Studio Sable

Study for Studio Swing

Study for Studio Swing

Above is a study done for Studio Lettering Swing executed with a style “D” Speedball pen and India ink. I did several such studies in an effort to evaluate the silhouette and rhythm of the lettering, which would ultimately become distinctive features of the typeface.

Earlier this year you received the prestigious Certificate of Excellence in Type Design from the Type Directors Club for Blaktur and Studio Lettering. What about these typefaces helped catch the judge’s attention?

I suppose only the judges can say what it is about my typefaces that captured their attention. Though, I would like to think that they noticed the inventiveness, functionality and draughtsmanship in my submissions—qualities which I hope my work exhibits.

Blaktur

Blaktur

alternative accessed through stylistic sets

Alternatives accessed through stylistic sets.

Blaktur is a fresh take on a fraktur that began as a personal project. Do you regularly work on type related personal projects? Or, are there any other personal projects that you are excited about right now?

During the countless sleepless nights that followed the birth of my daughter, I began toying around with the idea of a stout broken letter modeled loosely after Rudolf Koch’s holzschnitte. After showing the would-be font to the guys at House, we had the idea of releasing it (on a CD of music performed by the House band, of course) during TypoBerlin 2007 where we were scheduled to present/perform. That’s essentially how Blaktur was born.

I normally have my hands full with House Industries projects, so I don’t get a chance to do personal work too often. I will occasionally do some pro bono work or lettering for a friend, but those opportunities are becoming more scarce. Besides, any type work done on my free time—like Blaktur for example—generally makes its way into a House Industries product sooner or later.

Sketches of Blaktur. Photo by Ben Kiel.

Sketches of Blaktur. Photo by Ben Kiel.

House Industries produces elaborate self portraits with each font kit release. You’ve been depicted as a Greek statue, captain of type industry, stunt man, bowler, and a Nasa astronaut with skin discoloration and cranial swelling from atmospheric re-entry. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Are there any other alter egos you are waiting to explore?

Although they’re a lot of fun, we haven’t done any projects in awhile that have called for self-aggrandizing portraiture. As for what’s on the horizon, there are no ego-inflating paintings in the works…but you never know.

Illustration by Adam Cruz of Ken Barber for the House 3009 font collection.

Illustration by Adam Cruz of Ken Barber for the House 3009 font collection.

Much of your work champions the spirit of the blue collar worker. What about the vernacular intrigues you?

The work of the “anonymous,” blue collar designer was my first introduction to graphic design and it made an indelible impression on me. When I attended art school I was introduced to self-indulgent “design for designers” and it didn’t appeal to me. So, I decided to stick with what I knew. Vernacular design lacks pretense; it’s honest and straightforward. It’s that sort of sincere design that I still aspire to create.

During your interview with Typeradio you described your hero as “someone who takes their own path.” Can you name a type designer working today who epitomizes this definition of a hero?

It’s probably far-reaching to refer to a type designer as a “hero.” That title should perhaps be reserved for folks more profoundly impacting our communities. That being said, there are a number of incredibly talented type designers working today: Christian Schwartz, Tal Leming and Erik van Blokland are just a few that come to mind.

House Industries' new studio shortly after moving in. Ken is seated in the back, talking with Andy Cruz and his wife, Steph. House designer, Bondé Prang, is seated in the foreground. Photo by Ben Kiel.

House Industries' new studio shortly after moving in. Ken is seated in the back, talking with Andy Cruz and his wife, Steph. House designer, Bondé Prang, is seated in the foreground. Photo by Ben Kiel.

House Industries embraces an “image as content” credo. What does this mean to you?

I believe that image can be as much a part of the content of a piece of visual communication as the literal message it conveys. This has long been overlooked or dismissed by the design elite, but appears to be making a comeback as of late. This is evinced in the return to hand-done work and the recent trend towards “naïve” lettering.

You’ve been a Jack of all trades at House. In addition to designing type, you have served as an illustrator, designer, copywriter and type designer. At what point did you transition to focus on being a type designer?

As new designers joined House, we each began specializing in those fields that most interested us, and in which we felt we could contribute best. It was natural to leave illustration, for example, to folks who were more competent in that discipline than I. Besides, it gave me more time to focus on what I really loved doing: drawing letters.

Emigre 38 cover illustrated by Ken. Lettering by Allen Mercer.

Emigre 38 cover illustrated by Ken. Lettering by Allen Mercer.

What typeface do you look at and say, “I wish I had created that!”

Anything by Roger Excoffon.

Choc by Roger Excoffon

Choc by Roger Excoffon

Do you always follow the same method when developing a typeface?

More or less. First I see what the given job demands, before making pencil sketches following the intended use of the typeface. Next, base characters are digitized to ensure the project is on the right track. After some preliminary trials, I work up a more comprehensive set for more testing. When the typeface at hand appears to be shaping up, a series of rounds of drawing, kerning and programming are meticulously proofed. Finally, after much typographic tedium, the face is mastered and prepared for retail distribution.

You designed the “Only Vegas” lettering and logo based on an earlier logo you designed for the AIGA Las Vegas Conference. Do you often wish for opportunities to rework past designs?

On occasion we refer to our own work, though most times it’s to ensure we’re not duplicating our previous efforts. However, rarely do we recycle as we did with the AIGA Vegas logo. Michael Beirut invited us to create the mark for the design organization’s big shindig in 1999, but it saw limited use. Rather than let a good idea go to waste, we resurrected it for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority a few years later.

Only Vegas logo

Only Vegas logo

What 3 books would you recommend to an aspiring type designer?

For an introduction to foundational type design concepts, I recommend Letters of Credit by Walter Tracy. Secondly, of course, I have to suggest the House Industries book; readers might not learn a ton about the ins and outs of type design, but it is an interesting study in the connection between the type design and lettering disciplines. Finally, I highly suggest that fledgling type designers read The Complete Guide to Plumbing; after all, aspirants will need some practical skill to fall back on.

House Industries book

House Industries book

You and your wife Lynn periodically make trips to India. Where does your interest in India come from? Have you ever considered combining your love of hand-lettering and love of India by designing a Devanāgarī script typeface?

My wife and I have been Indophiles for well over a decade. A mutual fascination with the culture of India has led us to visit the subcontinent on several occasions. As for designing a Devanāgarī script typeface, the prospect intimidates the heck out of me. One day I’ll tackle it, but I need to do a lot of homework before I’m ready to make a meaningful typographic contribution in that realm.

This is a photo of me with Jagdish Lal Goswami at the Radha Raman temple in Vrindavan, UP, India. Goswami was a well-known artist in Uttar Pradesh, recognized for his charming hand-tinted photographs of the region. His work is part of the permanent collection at the British Museum in London. I was fortunate to have met Goswami shortly before he passed away in 2006.

Ken with Jagdish Lal Goswami

Ken with Jagdish Lal Goswami

Devangari Script

Devangari Script

Do you think your typeface Delvue will come to market before the projected release date of 2023?

Not unless the type market sees a surging demand for highly disciplined, yet quirky, upright italic mono-weight sans serif faces. Until then, users will have to be satisfied with other faces in the genre. Besides, other projects have since been monopolizing my attention.

There has been an explosion in the popularity of script typefaces in the past few years with designers like yourself, Alejandro Paul and Mark Simonson leading the way. Is this a trend you see continuing for some time?

I think the demand for well-executed script faces will continue, just as it has for decades. Although, it will be hard to capture the same buoyancy and vitality that masters such as Roger Excoffon, Imre Reiner and Karlgeorg Hoefer imparted in their metal type exemplars over a half century ago.

monogram for photographer Michael Bühler-Rose

monogram for photographer Michael Bühler-Rose

Can you share some juicy tidbits about any projects that are in the works?

As for detailed information, my lips are sealed—company policy. However, I can say that I am looking forward to the House Industries release of Neutraface Slab. Also slated for publication this year is a typeface designed by Erik van Blokland in collaboration with the Eames Office. I’ll also be taking a crack at my first bona fide text face. We’ll see…

Thank you Ken for helping us kick-off Type Theory! I look forward to everyone’s comments. Cheers, Ty

9 Comments Category: Interviews

Barış Sarhan

Grafik Tasarim is the leading graphic design magazine in Turkey providing design news, research and educational articles. Turkish art director Barış Sarhan was approached by Grafik Tasarim to design the cover for the March 2009 “graphic design education” issue. With this theme in mind, Barış researched the fundamentals of graphic design, which led him to type. Rather than illustrate the anatomy of typography in the standard way, Barış collaborated with artist Ahmet Eken to produce a lowercase “a” with human-like muscles and vertebrae exposed. The image is a composite of items built by hand and 3D computer generated images created with Maya and ZBrush. They have plans to make a scale model of the image to send to graphic design departments at various schools in Turkey. Barış works for Medina Turgul DDB in Istanbul and graduated with a Fine Art degree from Marmara University.

Cover of Grafik Tasarim Magazine

Cover of Grafik Tasarim Magazine

11 Comments Category: Showcase

General Electric Radios Ad

What I love about this General Electric Radios ad from 1951 is that it was created by hand. From the vibrant illustrations to the hand lettered headlines, this ad exudes personality and originality. The brush lettering for “RADIOS” relates to contemporary typefaces including Bello from Underware and House Showcard from House Industries’ Sign Painter font kit. Both Bello and House Showcard are effective at capturing the buoyancy and energy of hand lettering within a systemized typographic framework. There is something naïve and charming about the diverse target market of “brides, grads and dads.” The golden symbol and structured san-serif capitals of the GE logo radiate warmth and nostalgia. I wonder if one can still buy a cactus green portable radio.

1951 General Electric Radios Ad

1951 General Electric Radios Ad

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2 Comments Category: Discovered
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