1897 Map Depicts Original Lot Grants in New-Amsterdam


Happy birthday, New Amsterdam (1653). An engraved map from 1897 is described as follows:

Map of the Original Grants of Village Lots from the Dutch West India Company to the Inhabitants of New-Amsterdam, (Now New-York.) lying below the present line of Wall Street. Grants commencing A.D. 1642.

Click here to view a larger version.

1884 U.S. Census Maps Show Forest Trees of North America

Officially titled “Sixteen Maps Accompanying Report On Forest Trees Of North America, By C.S. Sargent, 1884,” this beautiful collection of maps-as-info-graphics produced by the U.S. Census provides a Victorian era view of forests in North America by genus of tree, density, and position. Thanks to Rebecca Onion who runs Slate’s history blog The Vault (@SlateVault) for posting this article, which contains link to high-res images for zoom-in fun.

There are Now Over 600 Photos in My Hand-Painted Signs Gallery

I’ve been snapping photos of hand-painted signs (or otherwise handmade) for as long as I can remember and only just today went over the 600 mark. After a recent trip to visit my former home, NYC, I discovered several new “reveals” that were the result of City Gates or Coca Cola awnings being removed during renovations. Luckily I had a decent enough camera on my phone to capture them with. After all the years of having this obsession, you’d think I’d never leave the house without my digital SLR. Click here to view the photos.

Nikki Villagomez – How Culture Affects Typography – Talk at AIGA Austin

Those of you who frequent this website should appreciate the relevance of this AIGA Austin presentation: On Thursday, March 27, 2014, designer, blogger and typophile Nikki Villagomez will share her thoughts on how culture affects the decision-making processes of everyday life. Her presentation includes pictures taken throughout her travels accompanied by a discussion of the comparisons (and contrasts) in typography choices based on location.

I’ll be there:

Thursday, March 27, 2014
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

506 Congress Ave. Suite 200
Austin, Texas 78701

Register here.

Abandoned Yugoslavia Monuments

yugo-monumentI stumbled upon this blog post containing some remarkable photographs of cold war era monuments that seem right out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie. My favorite is this one located on a hilltop in Podgarić, Croatia and also immortalized on this Yugoslavian postage stamp. From what I can dig up it appears to be a WWII memorial made of concrete and aluminum and was possibly erected in 1967. I remember seeing some similarly powerful Soviet-era monuments while travelling in Vietnam, but none as striking as these. What’s probably most eerie about them to me are the photographs themselves. The monuments certainly don’t seem contemporary, but instead rather futuristic and they appear more like relics of a lost civilization situated in uninhabited landscapes much like Inca and Mayan monuments must have looked to early bushwhackers. Days of Future Passed!

200 Years on the Grid – via AIGA.org

manhattan-grid-1811Love it or hate it, the “grid” has been a fact of life in Manhattan for 200 years. I spent 21 years of my life alternately bragging then complaining about this marvel of city planning that was once probably quite useful to those traversing the long, narrow island. Of course with any grid comes “grid-lock” and anyone who’s ever tried to cross Manhattan on four wheels has certainly experienced the fatal flaw in this boro’s design: human beings. Phil Patton’s article here provides a good historical overview along with the cultural impact the grid has had over the centuries.  Interested in viewing more old drawings and maps? Check out Vincent Virga’s Historic Maps and Views of New York, an over-sized collection of historical drawings, engravings and renderings of NYC.

Design and the Elastic Mind

CatalogIf you’re in the NYC area and you haven’t made it to MoMA in a while, now would be the time to do so. Design and the Elastic Mind is a new exhibit which examines how designers of all kinds are exploring advances in science and technology—not to mention the changes in how we both view and relate to the world around us—in order to rethink who we are and how we spend our limited time here on spaceship Earth. This exhibit, which takes a few hours to really soak in, makes it clear that we are on the verge of, if not deeply immersed in, a fundamental leap in our thinking, doing and being. There are sublime examples of how data sources such as internet traffic and prison incarceration-vs.-spending can be visualized in new ways and for new means. The innovative concept of “thinkering” is often evoked in the demonstration of how everyday objects can have uses and lives beyond their original purpose. In many of the projects on display the roles of scientist, inventor and designer are virtually interchangeable though they are mainly presented in the context of design. Even if you do make it to the exhibit I highly recommend spending an afternoon clicking around the wonderful website that MoMA created which reflects the character of the exhibit in its approach to user experience and information design. As a visual designer I was inspired by Design and the Elastic Mind to look beyond the current hype of green and sustainable design and reexamine not only what I do but how and why. I’ll keep you posted on what I discover.

Bicycle Paintings

Pedal on over to Taliah Lempert’s unique collection of bicycle “portraits” and see if you can find your own…model that is. The bikes in her artwork belong people she knows and, she claims, represent an extension of their personalities. She has a loose painterly style that fits the portraiture concept and clearly has developed a mastery of capturing her subjects’ likeness. Oh, and check out her coloring book, while you’re there.