Letterform Archive - an eclectic sample

One of the things I love most about visiting the Letterform Archive is the impromptu discovery of awesome bits of design. You can book a research session with them and get a focussed deep dive into a particular subject area, but as a volunteer you just turn up and get stuck in. At one of my sessions Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko from Emigré had just sent over a batch of posters and printed paraphernalia. Letterform Archive already has Emigré's archive including the digital development of the type faces, but this was a stack of items that they had been sent (by the looks of it back in the '90s). It was an amazing flashback to my time at art school. Here's a selection from the stack that includes the work of (amongst others) The Designers Republic, Phil Baines and Graphic Thought Facility. I particularly love the poster for The Residents gig in Zurich, not sure of the designer, Homer Flynn maybe?

Although the eclectic nature of the archive is being filtered heavily through the things I love, it's still amazingly diverse. Here's a bunch of shots that include Raymond Queneau's Exercices de Style (see my copy here) and Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes, dada letter art, type specimens and a few pics from the many, many design journals they have. 

And this wonderful type specimen with the annotation in pencil explaining that the ragged top is the result of mice.

If you want to stay up to date with what the have join their 'Just in' mailing list: https://letterformarchive.org/this-just-in

Zembla Magazine issue 1 - words, pictures and graphic design gorgeousness

Since the early 2000s there's been an explosion in high quality independent magazines. These are often lovingly crafted, hugely indulgent, hyper focussed niche offerings. Not aimed at mass distribution or high ROI and usually not the most successful business models. One of these magazines that appeared briefly (only 8 issues) on the mainstream newsagents' shelves was Zembla. It positioned itself as a literary magazine, with words fundamentally at it's core. Designed by Vince Frost, it's was a wonderful playground for typographic ideas, letter play and bold graphic design. It's not the grunge and dirt from the '90s but rather a rediscovery of type and the printed form. 

Here's issue 1 from September 2003, with the rather special Tilda Swinton on the cover.