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

Semiotext(e) Architecture

This is Semiotext(e) Architecture from 1992. It's a massive (44x28 cm) landscape orientated collection of essays, experiments and ideas focussed on design, architecture and theory. I included the shot with my feet just to show it's size when opened. Totally unmanageable and doesn't fit on any of my bookshelves - which makes me love it even more.

I have three books from the independent publisher Semiotext(e); Architecture, USA and Radio - but this is visually the richest. It's a black and white production, which emphasises the dark and dirty style of the era and also makes it feel very underground and almost fanzine like. It's full on 'cult of the ugly' stuff and touches on the design for designers trend of the time, but also is very reflective of the DIY culture vibe (more here). For me this isn't the greatest piece graphic design but the variety of the content, the scale and the richness of the textures makes it rather special.