Slanted – issue 26
Issue 26 of design and typography magazine Slanted is a New York special and a visual treat for type fans. The issue includes a photo essay by German photographer Jochen Sand alongside features on artists, designers and typographers based in the city.
Interviewees and contributors include Lance Wyman, Monotype’s Dan Rhatigan, TDC executive Carol Wahler, letterpress studio The Arm, book designer Jennifer Heuer, Apple designer Jessica Svendsen, Everything Type Company, Original Champions of Design, Sagmeister & Walsh, Paul Sahre and more.
The issue also comes with a booklet showcasing 14 recently released typefaces – from Daniel Sabino’s Gandur to Fontsmith’s FS Silas – and a limited edition set of stencils by Commercial Type, Village and XYZ Type. It’s beautifully produced and filled with great illustrations, lettering and photography.
Designed by Fontsmith‘s Fernando Mello, FS Brabo is a four-weight family inspired by 16th century book typefaces and ‘Garalde’ designs such as Garamond, Plantin and Bembo.
Fontsmith describes the typeface as a “contemporary, personal interpretation of a garalde” rather than a revival: “Brabo’s ‘ct’ and ‘st’ ligatures, upper-case italic swashes and contextual ending ligatures – ‘as’, ‘is’, ‘us’ – all preserve the beauty and character of traditional typefaces, but its serifs are thicker. …Their sharp cuts and squared edges give them a crispness at text sizes,” says the foundry.
Mello came up with the design after studying an archive of early book typefaces at the Plantin-Moretus museum in Antwerp. The typeface is named after a tale involving the mythical Roman soldier Silvius Brabo, which allegedly gave the town of Antwerp its name (legend has it that Brabo killed a violent giant who had been holding the town ransom, cutting his hands off and throwing them into the river, which led to the name ‘hand werpen’ – Dutch for ‘hand-throw’. A statue of the soldier resides outside Antwerp City Hall).
To promote FS Brabo’s release, Fontsmith commissioned letterpress shop The Counter Press to create a handsome four page booklet showcasing its editorial credentials. The booklet uses a range of weights and styles to display title pages, chapter openings and a play manuscript.
Bunch – Frank
Created by Bunch and Alberto Hernandez, stencil typeface Frank was designed as a custom font for print production company Cerovski back in 2013. The design has now been extended into a full character set for commercial use by foundry Milieu Grotesque.
“The sans-serif display typeface follows the formal tradition of lathe-milling, as used for modular stencils through a mono-linear, thick main stroke and geometric rounded endings,” says Bunch.
To promote its release, the studio launched a short film and a limited edition pack containing a bronze stencil and a 32-page specimen book. It’s a delightfully tactile product with embossing, foil blocking and textured paper.
Sawdust – Le Bron James
London type design studio Sawdust has updated its website with a handful of new projects, including an angular custom typeface for basketball star LeBron James and some striking sculptural lettering for the Wired World in 2016 (Wired magazine’s latest annual trends report).
The typeface for James is based on the Cleveland Cavaliers player’s official logo and was created for use across a range of Nike Basketball merchandise. It follows Sawdust’s work on a typeface for Kobe Bryant and monograms for Blake Griffin and WNBA player Maya Moore.
The broad design and sharp angles give letters a robust, athletic feel while mirroring the L and J in James’ monogram. Lettering for section openers in the Wired World, meanwhile, have a suitably futuristic feel and are shot against a series of brightly coloured backgrounds:
The fourth edition of Korean typography biennale Typojanchi takes place in Seoul until December 28. Organised by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation and the Korean Society of Typography (and hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism), this year’s event explores the idea of cities and typography.
The central venue is the Culture Station Seoul 284, a grand 1920s building that was formerly the city’s main train station (it was closed after the introduction of the bullet train in 2004 and re-opened as a cultural venue in 2011). The building is currently home to a number of installations, including a 10×8 metre vinyl recreation of a section from Why Not Associates and Gordon Young’s Comedy Carpet – with a new section in Korean.
“Preparing for the exhibition, we thought of the many striking works of Why Not Associates and Gordon Young, but the reality was that it seemed simply not feasible to transport and exhibit those works all the way here in the given time, so we had to figure out another way to realise the exhibition,” say Typojanchi director Kyungsun Kymn and co-ordinator Daeun Lee.
Lee and Kymn say the team were keen to establish a link between the Comedy Carpet and Seoul. During their research, they came across the work of Korean comedian Seo Young Choon, a billboard painter who became a professional comic after standing in for another comedian at short notice.
“He is very well-known for a song called ‘Sight-seeing in Seoul’ (when I translate it to English, that is) which is actually a re-do of The Laughing Policeman by the British comedian Charles Penrose [which is quoted in the Comedy Carpet]!” says Lee. “This song which is well-known until today is actually to do with taking the train to Seoul … and the lyrics describes funny incidents that happen on that train ride.”
Why Not Associates’ Andy Altmann then suggested that the team add Korean lyrics to the Comedy Carpet display. “He sent us a working file so that we could add Hangeul (Korean language) and suggested we get a designer to work on the carpet for the Korean part.” The Korean version is showcased alongside a book documenting the making of the original Comedy Carpet and some sample letters.
The installation is just one of dozens installed in the city throughout the event – for details, see typojanchi.org. You can also read Adrian Shaughnessy’s report on Typojanchi over on Design Observer.
Blackletra – Silva
Silva is the latest release from Brazilian type designer Daniel Sabino (Blackletra). The project started out as an experiment to design Didone letterforms using a broad-nib pen and evolved into a 26 font family designed for “typographically complex environments.”
“This idea served as the starting point of the project but its influence on the design quickly began to decline,” says Sabino. “The main reason for this is that this was the first project that I used Superpolator as interpolation tool, and to test the tool I decided to organize the system with 3 masters only: A hairline, an extremely heavy and contrasted (Fat Face), and also a very heavy slab. Over time the workflow based on such masters brought other ideas and influences,” he adds.
You can read more about the design process and download the typeface at Village.
James Marsh – A-Z of Animal Verse
To promote his typeface Sanzibar Pro – an exotic looking sans released in 2014 – designer and illustrator James Marsh has produced a charming limited edition children’s book featuring an A-Z of animal verse.
The book uses Sanzibar throughout and features colourful illustrations adapted from a rare 17th century scrap book and Marsh says he wanted to show the relationship between type, verse and image. It’s a lovely way to showcase his design and the textured paper, illustrated end papers and vintage imagery create a classic feel.