Kara Walker’s Lecture Poster

On April 19, 2016 Kara Walker, Tepper Chair in Visual Arts, delivers this special lecture in honor of the graduating Class of 2016. The poster is designed by Anna-Sophia Vukovich. She says,

“I took Kara Walker’s black cut-paper silhouettes as inspirations for the poster. I created my own cutout type, using this as the main element for the design. I wanted it to be both bold and simple, reflecting on the strength of politics in her work.”

Guest Lecturers in Typography Class

On Monday, April 18, there will be two guest lecturers in Lauren Francescone’s Typography class in Room 220. Nejc Prah (Bloomberg) and Sean Yendrys (independent designer of architectural books&exhibitions) will be speaking about their work.

These two lectures will be pretty informal; one from 3:30–4:10, the other from 4:30-5:10.

This lecture has been rescheduled to Monday, April 25th! Same time, same place.


May 1, 2014-June 18, 2014

On view at the AIGA National Design Center (May 1–June 18)
Interest in type, typefaces, typography and fonts has grown far beyond the graphic design community, yet few truly understand how and why these vital components of design are created and applied. This exhibition, organized by Monotype and designed by AIGA Medalist and Pentagram partner Abbott Miller for the AIGA National Design Center, celebrates 100 years of type as a constant influence in the world around us.

Gathering rare and unique works from premier archives in the United States and London, “Century” will serve as the hub of a series of presentations, workshops and events held at the AIGA gallery as well as the Type Directors Club and the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at Cooper Union in New York City. The “Century” exhibition features a range of artifacts representing the evolution from typeface conception to fonts in use. Typeface production drawings by the preeminent designers of the last 100 years, proofs, type posters and announcement broadsides are supplemented by publications, advertising, ephemera and packaging.


The AIGA/NY invited a select group of New York designers to submit videos for October’s Midnight Moment. Midnight Moment is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night.

Graphic Designer Andrew Sloat’s video “1st Amendment (excerpts)“ was ultimately chosen for its content, approach and distinctive execution. Using analogue techniques, Sloat focuses on the key elements of Times Square: color, words, and movement, with excerpts from the U.S. Constitutional First Amendment literally spelled out. The video reminds visitors of Times Square’s strong identity as the nation’s “town square.”
“A place like Times Square exists because the rights of free speech and assembly are broadly defined and protected in America. Yet in an urban environment, these freedoms are also constantly negotiated. This twelve-channel video celebrates the simple words that make this globally-famous place possible.” —Andrew Sloat

The video will premiere just before midnight on Tuesday, October 1st, and play every night throughout October from 11:57PM–midnight. Midnight Moment is a synchronized program and presentation of the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.
See all of the videos created for October’s Midnight Moment here.
Find out more about Times Square Arts Midnight Moment. This month’s program is co-presented by AIGA/NY and Times Square Arts.



Fontastic is a Processing library to create font files

What can you do with Fontastic? Create fonts with code!

Fontastic is a library for creating font files in TTF and WOFF format which you can then use in any design program or website.

It allows you to make fonts based on data, sensors, live feeds, or any other algorithm, or manipulate existing fonts to create your own version (see examples).

Fontastic was designed to make it as easy as possible to create a font in Processing.

Under the hood, it uses doubletype, a Java font editor that builds font files according to the TrueType format, and sfntly to create Web Open Font Format files.


David Bowie: The Next Day. That album cover design

There has been much discussion surrounding the cover of the new David Bowie album The Next Day so thought I would answer a few questions that people have asked about it.

– Why not a new image for the cover?
We wanted to do something different with it – very difficult in an area where everything has been done before – but we dare to think this is something new. Normally using an image from the past means, ‘recycle’ or ‘greatest hits’ but here we are referring to the title The Next Day. The “Heroes” cover obscured by the white square is about the spirit of great pop or rock music which is ‘of the moment’, forgetting or obliterating the past.

However, we all know that this is never quite the case, no matter how much we try, we cannot break free from the past. When you are creative, it manifests itself in every way – it seeps out in every new mark you make (particularly in the case of an artist like Bowie). It always looms large and people will judge you always in relation to your history, no matter how much you try to escape it. The obscuring of an image from the past is also about the wider human condition; we move on relentlessly in our lives to the next day, leaving the past because we have no choice but to.

– Why “Heroes”?
If you are going to subvert an album by David Bowie there are many to choose from but this is one of his most revered, it had to be an image that would really jar if it were subverted in some way and we thought “Heroes” worked best on all counts. Also the new album is very contemplative and the “Heroes” cover matched this mood. The song Where are we now? is a comparison between Berlin when the wall fell and Berlin today. Most people know of Bowie’s heritage in Berlin and we want people to think about the time when the original album was produced and now.

– Why the white square obscuring the image?
We worked on hundreds of designs using the concept of obscuring this cover but the strongest ones were the simplest – it had to be something that was in direct contrast to the image underneath but that wasn’t too contrived (we know all design is contrived, that is the essence of the word ‘design’). It would have been clearer to many people if we had scribbled all over the cover but that didn’t have the detachment of intent necessary to express the melancholy of the songs on the album. Obscuring Bowie’s image is also reference to his identity, not only in the past when he changed endlessly but that he has been absent from the music scene for the past ten years. Was this an act to hide his identity or that he has simply become more comfortable with it?

– Why is there no colour?
The title of the album The Next Day evokes numerous reference points, notably Macbeth’s speech ‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow ’ which deals with the relentless onward push that any unnatural position of power requires. It also has the existential element of Waiting for Godot with waiting for The Next Day – these all seem to question the nature of existence so a monochrome palette seemed most appropriate to this feeling.

– Why didn’t you do a logo, or new design of his name on the cover?
We wanted the cover to be as minimal and undesigned as possible, we felt the most elegant solution was to use the original one from “Heroes” and simply cross out the title of the old album. It has the detachment appropriate for the atmosphere of the new album.

– What is the font you used for the main title?
It is a new font that we are working on called Doctrine – this is the first major use of it. Doctrine will be released in the coming weeks at VirusFonts.

– What is Bowie like to work with?
He is quite a private person, so no need to say too much about him other than that he is a pleasure to work with. Very intelligent, funny, serious when he needs to be and generous in his thoughts and actions.

– Is there anything else you can add?
Yes, having said all this, we know it is only an album cover with a white square on it but often in design it can be a long journey to get at something quite simple which works and that simplicity can work on many levels – often the most simple ideas can be the most radical. We understand that many would have preferred a nice new picture of Bowie but we believed that would be far less interesting and not acknowledge many of the things we have tried to discuss by doing this design. Finally we would like to give David Bowie great credit, he simply did what he always does which is to go with a radical idea and that takes courage and intelligence. That is why we love his music and love working for him.


P-O-R-T-R-A-I-T: The Artist Who Draws With Letters

Designer Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich has embraced the possibilities of using fonts to illustrate images.


To the list of great fine-arts materials—clay and marble, oil paint and watercolor, and the like—it may be time to add an entry: fonts. At least, doing so would account for the career of Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, a book cover designer and children’s author who makes typographic portraiture of famous authors from letters, numerals, and punctuation marks—using an inventive, playful method that draws from a history of inventive, playful portraiture.
His first children’s book, 2001’s Bembo’s Zoo (Henry Holt) began as a Christmas present for his young daughter. It’s an illustrated alphabet that shows children how to match letters and sounds with animal names. “I was trying to teach Portuguese to my then two-year-old daughter,” de Vicq, a Brazilian who’s based in New York, told me in an email exchange. “There were no bilingual alphabet books that we could use for both languages.” For examples, he pointed out, “A” is for “Alligator” in English, but in Portuguese the same animal is Jacaré. So he created his own abecedarium where each animal’s initial letter is the same in both languages.

“Since I consider myself a graphic designer, not an illustrator, the animals were fashioned out of a typeface called Bembo, the glyphs of which work very well both in large and small sizes—plus Bembo is a fun word for little kids,” he said. He restricted his animal portraits to being composed of only the letters in the animal’s name, and even made a typographical picture of himself instead of the typical, bland author photo.

The further potential of font-as-art quickly opened up to him: “After that, I started creating famous writer’s portraits out of different typefaces, in homage to the fact that letters are the basic staple of a writer’s work.” He limited himself to recognizable people, using only the letters (plus some punctuation glyphs) of the specific author’s name. The style of the typeface that he used needed to convey personality while suggesting the period in which the writer lived. Franz Kafka, for instance, was fashioned out of Ruzena Antiqua “to impart the feeling of Jewish woodcuts.” For Proust, he said the typeface Auriol expressed the French Belle Epoque. In 2008 these portraits were collected in Men of Letters and People of Substance (David Godine Publishers). He also used some of the same portraits in a promotional book and website for Adobe titled Words at Play.

“Part of the fun is to have a rigid set of limitations,” de Vicq said. “Otherwise, the decisions would become arbitrary and the work loses meaning. All the letters have to come from the writer’s name. The only two exceptions are that I allow myself to use the writer’s middle name (even though sometimes it might not be well known) and some punctuation glyphs of the same typeface to resolve some problems that a poor letterform can’t solve.”

While his methods are novel, De Vicq’s typographic imagery follows the tradition of the mannerist painter Arcimboldo, portraits of allegoric figures made from objects like fruits, vegetables and animals—though not type. Historical precedents for Bembo’s Zoo includes Curious George Learns the Alphabet by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey that play with letterforms to define aspects of animals (“A” for “Alligator” uses that letter as its mouth, for example). “Not exactly in the same vein, but with the same sensibility is the work of two of my design heroes Shigeo Fukuda and István Orosz,” he said, and indeed each figure exhibits a transformative surrealist mystique in their work.

It takes vision to imagine exactly how a human face will emerge from a jumble of digital typefaces. “At the start of each portrait, I am always afraid that it will not work, and sometimes they don’t,” de Vicq said. Failure occurs often because the writer has no single feature that defines their face – “or their name is too short.” He studies photographs, looking for defining features, then finds the most appropriate typeface for each personality. “I assemble all the letters of their name, both upper and lowercase, and I start playing.” Variations in type size are kept to a minimum, to create an even contrast. Some combinations don’t work: “I stay away of badly drawn type and from display typefaces that are too ornate or complicated.” But ultimately, there is a moment when everything fits together—like, say, the letters in a word.

‘K Karl Holmqvist, Book Launch and Reading

Artists Space : Books & Talks
55 Walker Street

$5 Entrance Donation
Members Free
Limited capacity, entrance on a first come, first served basis

To mark the New York launch of his recent publication ‘K, Berlin-based artist Karl Holmqvist will give a reading at Artists Space : Books & Talks.

Holmqvist’s work centers on the printed and spoken word, extracting meaning out of often oblique textual arrangements with tools such as humor, repetition and vocal cadence. Forsaking linearity for a networked approach to language, Holmqvist’s “writing” connects words through their printed aesthetic qualities and aural pronunciations. A collage of cultural references and quotidian language implicates a direct call and response with the matter of contemporary life. To produce ‘K, a large part of the book’s material was also gathered as “loans” from historical movements that emphasized a graphic and visual approach to text, such as Futurism, Vorticism, and Lettrism, as well as from the work of contemporary artists such as Shannon Ebner and Ferdinand Kriwet.

Holmqvist’s work has been shown at Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2012); Établissement d’en face projects, Brussels (2012); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2010); and included in Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011).

‘K is designed by the artist along with Joshua Schenkel, and published as a collaboration between Kunsthalle Zürich and Bergen Kunsthall, with JRP Ringier.


Index Book | Typo Latino

Index Book | Typo Latino – 30 types and many more fonts

Index Book | Typo Latino – 30 types and many more fonts from Index Book on Vimeo.

Typo Latino is a publication where we showcase the work of emerging typographers as well as established type designers from across the globe. What differentiates Typo Latino from other font books is that we feature typefaces, outline the process of constructing them and provide short explanations from the authors on the formal characteristics or applications of each typeface. We want to show the working process, the final result and the end uses where they exist. As a compilation of best works by Latin authors, this text serves as a tribute to and an emphasis on Latin character.


Cedvel is an application for designing grid systems.

It is designed and developed by my dear former colleague Fahri Özkaramanlı. He is one of the most inspiring young designers in Istanbul who is specialized on screen ergonomics and typography. His previous project wordmark.it was also designed to help with this font selection process by quickly displaying previews of any text with the fonts installed
on your computer.

His methodological approach to interface design becomes quite exceptional when combined with his personal sharing and information generous personality.

Please  free to contact him on regarding any question or permissions regarding both two projects.

Not Amazing and not Groundbreaking but Really Very Decently Good Typography

Friday, June 1st
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

A Talk at the Cooper Union, NYC

This is sure to be a fantastic talk from a smart and talented designer, co-author of “Graphic Design Referenced” and the blog Under Consideration.
The cost is $15 for student non-TDC members.
Grab your design friends/classmates and head to New York for this not-to-be-missed event

Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language

May 6 – August 27, 2012

The exhibition is divided into two sections, with the first featuring an abbreviated timeline of language in modern art culled primarily from drawings, sculptures, prints, books, and sound works from MoMA’s collection. Artists in this historical section of the exhibition include: Carl Andre, Marcel Broodthaers, Henri Chopin, Marcel Duchamp, Ian Hamilton Finlay, John Giorno, Kitasono Katue, Ferdinand Kriwet, Liliane Lijn, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Bruce Nauman, Lawrence Weiner, and others. Artists in the contemporary section of the exhibition include: Ei Arakawa/Nikolas Gambaroff, Tauba Auerbach, Dexter Sinister (David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey), Trisha Donnelly, Shannon Ebner, Paul Elliman, Experimental Jetset, Sharon Hayes, Karl Holmqvist, Paulina Olowska, Adam Pendleton, and Nora Schultz. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication designed and produced by Dexter Sinister.

The Happy Show by Stefan Sagmeister

April 4 – August 12, 2012

Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister not only tests the boundary between art and design, he often transgresses it through his imaginative implementation of typography. Filling the Institute of Contemporary Art’s (ICA) entire second-floor galleries and Ramp, and activating the in-between spaces of the museum,The Happy Show offers visitors the experience of walking into the designer’s mind as he attempts to increase his happiness via mediation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. “I am usually rather bored with definitions,” Sagmeister says. “Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down.” Centered around the designer’s ten-year exploration of happiness, this exhibition presents typographic investigations of a series of maxims, or rules to live by, originally culled from Sagmeister’s diary, manifested in a variety of imaginative and interactive forms. The Happy Showopens on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 with a reception from 6–8pm, and will remain on view through August 12, 2012.

art.design@mgsa.rutgers.edu | New Brunswick, NJ