James Clough – Signs of Italy
Signs of Italy is a new book from Milan-based designer and calligrapher James Clough which showcases hundreds of examples of lettering in Italy – from metal signs and manhole covers through to hand-painted shop signs, school plaques, 1930s architectural lettering and ghost signs which serve as a fading reminder of the country’s fascist past.
Yes, there are now dozens of Instagram feeds and publications compiling images of lettering, signage and type in the wild, but Clough’s stands out for its vast and varied selection and insightful commentary. As well as introducing key lettering styles and techniques, he provides historical context throughout – from a look at the Industrial Revolution and the Fascist Regime’s urban regeneration programme on Italian lettering, to the cinema signage that represents the rise, fall and resurgence of Italian cinema.
It’s a fascinating look at Italy’s lettering heritage and, as Clough points out, the remarkable amount of historical type that still exists in the country. “The spread of supermarkets and shopping centres in Italy since the 1970s, together with the later domination of city centres by fashion chains and phone stores, has obviously not been kind to the survival of attractive old shop signs or ‘street jewellery’ as they are sometimes called…But despite this, Italian tobacconists, dairies, butchers, florists, stationers, dry cleaners, etc., have had a better survival rate than their British high street counterparts,” he writes.
Signs of Italy is published by Lazy Dog Press and priced at €49.90. Cover design is by Luca Barcellona.
The Plant – BFI London Film Festival
London design studio The Plant has created the identity for this year’s BFI London Film Festival, which runs until October 18.
Idents, posters and the event catalogue feature bold lettering cut from sheets of coloured Perspex, a design the studio says is inspired by the light and textures of celluloid and the festival’s desire to look both accessible and glamorous.
“Each layer of coloured Perspex relates to the feeling of motion brought to life when light is shone through film,”adds the studio. The effect works particularly well in idents and outdoor advertising, which reveal the definition between layers.
Matt Willey – Avaunt issue two
The inaugural issue of Dan Crowe, Matt Willey and explorer Ben Saunders’ luxury travel and adventure magazine Avaunt, which we wrote about back in April, was a feast for the eyes. Inspired by Twen, National Geographic and Esquire, the publication combined bold type with photographic essays and visual features on new gear and accessories.
The second issue doesn’t disappoint, with more impactful type from Willey and a dramatic use of black, white and red, coupled with yet more brilliant photography. We particularly liked the stencil typeface used on section openers and the opening spread for feature China Western (above).
You can see more images of the issue on Willey’s website.
Design director: Alex Hunting
Photography director: Madeleine Penny
Accept & Proceed – Framework
AP Framework is a new four weight display typeface designed by Accept & Proceed and digitised by Colophon. A&P describes the design as a modern interpretation of a classic grotesque which has been drawn to a strict grid.
The typeface was launched during London Design Festival and is on display in an installation at Accept & Proceed’s studio gallery space, 43m3, until October 30. It is also available to download for free during the exhibition.
Letters from Sweden – Nilsson Type
The typeface was commissioned by Henrik B. Nilsson, founder of Nilsson förlag, who wanted to build a strong graphic identity for the company. The unusual mix of vertical and horizontal contrast in the typeface is inspired by the publisher’s mix of content from various countries, says Söderström, and the typeface has been used on book covers as well as communications, creating a distinctive look for the publisher with some quirky touches.
Colophon/Hoon Kim – PIN
PIN is a three weight family of geometric sans typefaces created by Hoon Kim, a New York-based designer and founder of consultancy Why Not Smile. The nine-cut family is available in dot-matrix, stencil and solid versions.
“Initiated by Kim after a chance look towards the ceiling in a London tube station—which revealed a circular, 24-bulb chandelier above—the project started with a 16-node variation on a geometric dot matrix and grew from there to ultimately include three styles and three weights, each applicable across body copy, headlines, and tables,” says Colophon.
“With a nearly monolinear stroke width and unique construction, PIN is intended to be mixed and matched liberally: lighter weights adjacent to darker ones, stencil alongside solid, etcetera—a type family in the traditional sense of the word.”
You can try it out or buy it at colophon-foundry.org
Anton Ioukhnovets – The New York Times Magazine’s Culture Issue
Earlier this month, we published a feature on The New York Times Magazine’s Voyages issue – a photography special with possibly the best mag cover we’ve seen this year, shot by Alec Soth from his hotel room in Tokyo’s Park Hyatt Hotel.
The magazine’s latest issue is a culture special, with a bold cover starring Nikki Minaj and some striking typography throughout by Anton Ioukhnovets, as revealed in this video tweeted by design director Gail Bichler.
Jon Daniel – Ogoni 9 commemorative poster
The Ogoni Nine were a group of environmental activists from the Ogoni region of Nigeria, who were put on trial and executed by the Nigerian military on November 10 1995 after campaigning against the oil company Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta. (The group opposed oil production on the grounds that it was devastating the Delta’s ecosystem – hundreds of oil spills have occurred since exploration began in the area in the 1950s – and criticised the government’s failure to enforce environmental regulations to protect it).
Families of the Ogoni Nine – which included author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa – have since spent several years fighting Shell in the courts, alleging that the company was complicit in the torture and murder of the group. The oil company denied all claims made against it but in 2009, agreed to pay a $15 million out of court settlement ‘in recognition’ of the executions – one of the largest payouts agreed to by a corporation accused of human rights violations.
In 2005, London arts and activist group Platform commissioned the Battle Bus, a sculpture made by Nigerian-British artist Sokari Douglas Camp to commemorate Saro-Wiwa and mark the tenth anniversary of his death. The bus is made from recycled oil drums and words from one of Saro-Wiwa’s final speeches, burned on to the metal with a blow torch. It has since toured England to teach people about oil companies’ activities and the resulting conflict in Ogoniland and is now on its way back to the region, where it will reside as a permanent memorial to the group.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the execution of the Ogoni Nine, Platform has commissioned creative Jon Daniel, political artist Alfredo Jaar and Artomatic’s Tim Milne to create a poster insert for political magazine Red Pepper. Inspired by Sokari’s blow torch lettering, Daniel has created a stencil font titled Sokari Stencil, used by Jaar for the poster’s artwork, which also features a speech by Saro-Wiwa. The poster’s reverse (pictured above) also includes information about the Ogoni nine and the Ogoni Bill of Rights.
Platform says a series of follow-up artworks will be created to raise funds for the Action Saro-Wiwa campaign, and Daniel has produced an A2 engraved steel sheet using the typeface, which will be signed by Daniel and Jaar and installed inside the Battle Bus.
More information about the project is available at platformlondon.org