Something concrete

On a visit to Portland I popped into a great little fashion/design boutique called Johan (as I can never resist anything Scandi sounding). I got chatting with the owner and found out she’d spent time in Malmö and Lund - small world. Then it got even smaller, all (at least a lot of) her books were supplied by The Idea of the Book who I know through the Letterform Archive. Anyway, as traveling I had to limit myself to just one purchase so grabbed; anthology of concretism edited by Eugene Wildman. Mostly because my shelves are severely lacking in the concrete poetry department. Here’s a taste:

So I decided to go some way to rectifying the shortage. The fabulous Red Fox Press (also discovered via Letteform Archive) recently issued a great set of small editions that included this little beauty from Derek Beaulieu. Love his Letraset work and his tendancy to give things away of twitter and IG. Also I particular love the packaging it came in, lovely touch.

A few more pics from Red Fox Press here:

Shortly after I spotted that Derek Beaulieu had a Georges Perec related piece; L’Echec de Perec. Published by the wonderful French small press MA Bibliothèque, so I had to grab that and a few more items.

Thus 2018 bought with it a cascade of coincidences and connections so I thought I’d share them and start the year off on a solid, concrete foundation.

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.

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