Mint Process Book

Mint: Process Book is a book created that documents the progression of plain text into a group of graphic compositions that come together in a hand-bound accordion-style book. Source material came from text message conversations between myself and my friends and family. The process book exists as a virtual entity that lives on, a site that offers free online publication of small books. It’s pretty nifty, I suggest checking it out.

Directional Typography

Type can serve as more than just type. It can push, pull, drip, sprint, fade, shine…name an adjective, and a designer will make it embody that word. Directional typography is a drop in the cloud of typographic design. Layouts for directional type can follow any number of paths: radial, growth, burst, splatter…as long as the type feels as though it moves in a direction, it qualifies as “directional typography.”

The first image moves outward radially from the center, but the point in to draw the eye into the piece and through the type as if they served as a tunnel into the red. The second piece is growing and expanding, much like an ecosystem does. Both are drastically different, yet they both have clear directionality.

This one is interesting: The type is meant to mimic blood spatter. With the popularity of the HBO’s Dexter, I’ve found more typography relating to splatter; the show has been effective in inspiring designers to return to fluid type, whether it’s water or blood or juice or wine, etc. Movement in typography has become popular again. However, I’m especially attracted to 3D type:

Click on the picture, it’ll lead to the original post about this 3D type. I really like “tangible” type. It makes the design heartier, I think anyway (when it’s done right anyway). Here’s a side shot:

Edible Typography

In being connected to Pinterest and Tumblr recently, I’ve found a lot of inspirational typography, and especially a lot more than I would have found on my own. One of the areas that I find really interesting is edible typography. It’s really interesting in the sense that a lot of designers are really drawn to the idea of their work being a permanent thing, whether it’s a highly trafficked website or a poster or a packaging identity; edible typography removes that sense. With type made out of food of any sort, it’s a lot more tangible in the physical sense, but as soon as it’s been eaten there’s no product left, just documentation.

I think what draws me to edible type, other than things like Chocolate Scrabble or chocolate letterpress blocks, is the fact that the designer creates this product knowing he’s not going to get to keep it. That pushes my comfort zone a bit, as I’m the kind of person who likes having a permanent record of my work, I like keeping the original print, rather than just a photo of it. But such is the same with installation artists: The only record of their installation will be the documentation that comes out of it; it won’t stay in its designated exhibition space forever.

And on the total opposite hand….edible type is playful! Who doesn’t like alphabet soup, or chocolate letters, etc? It’s a chance to get to play with your food. Mom has been telling you for years and years not to play with your food, so having edible typography breaks those rules, and makes you feel like a kid again. It’s fun. Things like alphabet soup or cereal or crackers, those area a chance for everyone to play with typography. And then there are specific “typography projects” created in cookies, for example. Projects like that are more time consuming and planned out, whereas alphabet soup is something mass produced and available at most grocery stores. But it’s still typography, and it’s still fun to play with your food, no matter what age you are.

The Ampersand

An ampersand (or epershand; ‘&‘) is a logogram representing the conjunction word ‘and’. This symbol is a ligature of the letters in et, Latin for and’.

I have a little bit of an obsession with ampersands. They are without a doubt my favorite letterform, even though they don’t get used that much. Because of that, however, the design possibilities are endless: Since they’re not used in “everyday use,” designers can be extremely creative and fancy with the letterform that they create. There are an endless number of beautiful letterforms because of that. I’ve always loved ampersands; their peculiarity has always intrigued me, even when I was little. Granted, I couldn’t draw them “properly” until I was in college, but the appreciation was there. I’ve never tried to explain why I like them so much before, but in doing so it’s forcing me to look formally at the different versions of the letterform and to use the knowledge I’ve gained at school to recognize those ampersands which work the best in the design sense.

The main surviving use of the ampersand is in the formal names of businesses (especially firms and partnerships, particularly law firms, architectural firms, and stockbroker firms). It is also used aesthetically in movie titles, and in credits to associate collaborations. They’re also common among other type nerds as a favorite design exercise. For example, this past September I designed an ampersand logogram as a woodcut for my printmaking elective.

The photo here is a letterpress print of and ampersand designed by Jessica Hische. She’s incredibly talented, and currently works freelance in New York City. She previously worked for Louise Fili Ltd. as junior designer, and with the help of her boss, Louise Fili herself, Hische was able to branch off on her own and has been successful since leaving in fall 2009.

Print is dead? No, not quite…

Nothing compares to the excitement of getting that new issue of the magazine you’ve been waiting for. You may have already read the title article online, but staring at a screen just can’t compete with real pages with real, innovative design, rather than a stock template to which all articles adhere. The New York Times is a great example of the disconnect between the tangibility of newspaper and online article. The day-to-day design of a paper publication is never exactly the same; all the articles on the NYT‘s website are published in the same format, day after day.

Digital interfaces have become increasingly popular recently, however, as real-time news has come into demand more and more. Apps for various smartphones and tablets have filled the need for fast-paced, on-the-go news acquisition, and many newspapers are focusing more and more on their websites as people turn away from paper and towards the screen. The desire to reduce paper waste has been a prominent push for online measures as more people turn towards more eco-friendly lifestyles.

Print has become a commodity. People still cling to the notion of tangible artifacts: books, magazines, newspapers, you name it, people will keep them. How many parents still keep newspaper clippings of the time their child had their name in the paper for something? Mine do. They have stacks of old newspapers that have photos of my brother or myself from high school, when varsity players were featured or academic achievements made the news in our small town. Magazine articles float all around my childhood home on this topic or another, recipes and fashion advice, health and fitness…

And then there is letterpress. What once was the sole avenue for publication has now become something “antique” and “vintage.” Letterpress printing is now a facet of typography and design in and of itself, with the number of people in this area of expertise dwindling. Letterpress has become something reserved for wedding invitations, or business cards, stylized calendars and tags for especially unique products.

The more that digital territory is explored and utilized, the more that print becomes precious. Print will have its die-hard loyalists, myself included, but it’s impossible to deny that the Internet is quickly dominating the information scene, especially with younger people who have grown up with the Internet and now cannot see themselves without it. Still, nostalgia will hold print in a place of revere, as well as the need for tangibility. Emotional and personal connections between print and digital media are vastly different, and I think will remain so. Hand-writing a letter is considered much more personal than an e-card or an e-mail, regardless of the fact that will take longer for the former to reach its final destination. I’d rather have a letter from a loved one any day, wouldn’t you?