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For Lovers of Visual Junk

Posts Tagged ‘design’

Seeing is Believing: Seed Catalog Covers and the Search for the Perfect Vegetable

May

30

2014

A rotating exhibit at the Lillian Goldman Visitor Center of the Seed Savers Exchange highlights some beautiful seed catalog covers from days gone by.  I’m nowhere near Decorah, IA, but if you aren’t either, don’t fret. They’re updating this Facebook photo album with samples from the exhibit. Hopefully they’ll be adding more as this is merely the inaugural selection. When you’re done, you should also check out another album of “Early 1900′s Seed Catalog Tin Signs & Magnets,” which they’ve re-issued as tin replicas that you can buy in their online store.

baia Instamount Photo Cube

Jul

17

2012

I’m a sucker for 1950s color advertising photography, with its over-saturated colors and idyllic subjects and scenery. The packaging for the baia Instamount Photo Cube was no let down in this respect. Looking like scenes from bygone family-oriented TV shows the sides of this box, which held a once ubiquitous acrylic photo cube, wreak of family values and WASPy middle American life. The eye-catcher for me, though, was the simple 3-color baia logo set in a bold, slightly extended version of Clarendon. It feels rather modern for such a classic and commonly used typeface perhaps due to the even/odd interplay of the flipped words’ alternating characters. I owned a baia 8mm film editor some time ago and never paid much mind to the faded, black logo on it. I’d surely have kept the thing if the logo had appeared like this.

Austin Music Posters in the Wild [an online photo gallery]

Jul

9

2012

Austin Music PostersI’ve occasionally collected band/concert posters that I’ve managed to un-secure from walls and poles around the various cities I’ve lived in and visited, but they’ve always ended up rather mangled due to whatever packing tape, wheat paste or staples were keeping them in place. Not to mention have taken up a lot of space, what with their average 12″ x 18″ dimensions. And, no, I don’t remove posters before they’re “old,” so as to ensure they’ve lived out their intended purpose. Well, I’ve recently decided that I don’t need to own every piece of graphical ephemera I come across—mostly because I’ve mainly collected these posters as design inspiration rather than whatever precious little objects I or anyone else might believe them to be. So, here’s my online photo gallery of Austin Music Posters in the Wild. I’ll add new ones as I see/snap them. Sorry if the quality of some seem fuzzy. They are in the wild, after all. Please feel free to comment if you like and/or know the designers of any. Credit where credit is due.

The Lost Type CO-OP

Mar

23

2012

lost-type-coopThe Lost Type Co-Op is a Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of its kind.” So reads the first line on their About Us page. I had to read their About Us page because I wanted to find out what the catch was. Here are several typefaces—many vintage-inspired—that I’d like to own and each has a pay-what-you-will price model that ruffled the skeptical feathers on this bird. But there’s no catch. The Lost Type Co-Op really does sell high quality fonts designed for print and sometimes web use (@font-face) for whatever price—including zero dollars—you are willing to pay. Upon entering the amount and clicking the DOWNLOAD button on a particular font’s page, your download starts immediately and you are then redirected to PayPal to complete your order. Yes, your product is delivered before you finished paying for it. (more…)

Vernacular Typography – a website, blog and film

Mar

9

2012

newarkFellow type-obsessed collector, Molly Woodward, has embarked far beyond the shores of this occasional blogger’s endeavors with her website, blog and Kickstarter-funded film project, all appropriately titled “Vernacular Typography.” Visitors of my Hand-painted & Hand-made Signs exhibit may see some overlap, possibly in one or two sign photos, but definitely in a related passion for the often overlooked typographic relics scattered throughout cities as exotic as Havana, Florence and Newark. Her film has been successfully funded and I can’t wait to see what comes of it. While future generations may not have the real artifacts to admire and study, there will surely be sufficient digital archives thanks to the tireless efforts of folks like Molly. Cheers!

Letterheady – Vintage & Not-So-Vintage Letterhead Designs

Jul

29

2011

LetterheadyClick on over to Letterheady, a one-page scroller featuring letterhead designs for such notable figures as Nikola Tesla and Adolph Hitler to obscure companies like the Liverpool-based Robot Salesmen Ltd. They appear to be legit, with sources linking to other sites from which the examples were culled. Some seem to have been Photoshopped to give them an empty, unused state. Who cares. They’re fun to browse and fit right in here with my love of Visual Junk.

MoMA Collects Lustig (Alvin, that is) via The Daily Heller

Apr

28

2011

Steven Heller posted this piece on Elaine Lustig Cohen’s recent talk at MoMA’s Library and Museum Archives on the museum’s collection of works by her late husband, legendary graphic designer Alvin Lustig (previously lusted over on this website). Cohen is, of course, a superb graphic designer in her own right and probably too often overshadowed by Mr. Lustig’s high-profile body of work.  My favorite piece of hers I discovered years after acquiring it. Huh? Picked up for a song in an NYC used book store, Jose Ortega y Gasset’s On Love: Aspects of a Single Theme sat on my bookshelf of design fetishes for years before I’d ever bothered to look up who’d designed the cover—even though her signature was plainly visible.

The Label Man – Fruit Crate Labels & More

Aug

13

2010

vintage fruit crate labelFirstly, no, I am not affiliated in any way with The Label Man, but I do LOVE the original vintage labels featured (and for sale) on this website. The collections are broken down into several categories for your browsing pleasure and the website also features plenty of info on the history of crate labels as well as “Tips on Building your Collection of Vintage Fruit Crate Labels.” The hundreds of labels on the website provide a cornucopia of hand-drawn typography from around the ’30s through the recent past and should be a great source of inspiration for any creative persons’ pursuits.

Alvin Lustig Book Covers (via FaceOut Books)

Dec

7

2009

faceoutbooksThanks to @brandi_duncan for turning me on to FaceOut Books and their inspiring blog, which features among others these wonderful book covers designed by Alvin Lustig. Reminiscent of Alexander Steinweiss’ covers for Columbia records, Lustig exploited the silhouette as design element and hand-drawn scripts to wonderfully tasteful heights. If you’ve read any of the books whose covers he designed for authors as varied as Franz Kafka to Henry James you will probably find that they were equally illustrative from a context standpoint. One can see resemblances to fellow modernist Paul Rand in the geometric and free-form shapes he used as well as his love for color. Check them out and be inspired.

EricBelowSeaLevel: The Design of Erik Kiesewetter

Sep

22

2009

ebslPeruse the portfolio of this New Orleans-based designer and try not to feel lazy! In addition to his commercial work, which is quite excellent, Mr. Kiesewetter has been busy working and collaborating on projects ranging from post/medium, an online artist/gallery portfolio management system for New Orleans artists, a screen-printed poster series for the historic 2nd-lining Nine Times Social & Pleasure Club and the Neighborhood Story Project, a book-making project based in New Orleans whose mission states “‘Our stories told by us,’ we work with writers in neighborhoods around New Orleans to create books about their communities.” Honestly, it’s difficult to tell which of Mr. Kiesewetter’s work is commercial or pro-bono as the level of quality and creativity remains consistently high. I recently purchased the first two issues of Constance, an art and literary magazine produced in New Orleans, which Mr. Kiesewetter collaborates on and is how I stumbled upon his work. You should take a look, yourself.