Category Archives: music

Smokin’ Book


Your Highness and Typeface

Last semester a sophomore student wondered why I tend to show so much UK based design in class. I was not able to provide her with an objective answer, but considering my earlier design background was heavily influenced by European design, combined with living three years in Europe and going back to London whenever possible, it’s a given fact, one might be exposed to the Brits in any of my classes. Shrug.

UK #1
Yesterday I was (extremely) fortunate to attend the Vaughan Oliver talk at the ICA. Music inspired design shared with humor, honesty and a great accent. A fascinating interpretation and representation through photography and typography.

Vaughan Oliver for David Lynch's solo single "Good Day Today"

UK #2
A weird coincidence, but today I watched The King’s Speech (again!). History, friendship and a great accent. Though one might expect Gill Sans, movie poster was designed using Futura.

UK #3
Tonight students started emailing to let me know they might be arriving late to class tomorrow, due to watching the Royal wedding ceremony. I offered to use the projector so we all can follow in the studio. Note to self: get scones.
Since our last typography class for the year takes place during the royal wedding, it is an opportunity to share Camphor, a modern sans serif, by Nick Job and some type history related to London.

Inspired by Edward Johnston’s type for the London Underground and Eric Gill’s Gill Sans®, Camphor™ is also informed by the European sans serifs typified by Adrian Frutiger. However, Camphor copies neither. It is narrower than Johnston’s type and eschews the idiosyncrasies of Gill Sans, making for clean and cool, modern sans serif that lends itself to everything from branding and wayfinding to advertising and editorial design. (via Linotype)

It’s also an opportunity to be reminded of calligrapher and typographer Edward Johnston and compare ITC Johnston with P22 London Underground related to London transportation past and present.

Frank Pick commissioned the calligrapher Edward Johnston (1872-1944) to develop a typeface specifically for use by London Underground in 1916. He asked Johnston for a font with “the bold simplicity of the authentic lettering of the finest periods” while “belonging unmistakably to the 20th century”. Inspired by classical letter forms, Johnston Sans consists of plain block letters of Roman proportions in which the main strokes are of equal thickness and there are no end strokes or serifs. Designed to optimise legibility for passengers who would see it across crowded platforms or walking briskly, Johnston Sans is based on squares and circles. The capital M is a square with the diagonal strokes meeting in the centre and the O is a perfect circle. The first version of Johnston Sans was unveiled in 1916 and applied to signage and posters throughout the network. A variation of the original, named New Johnston, is still used by London Underground today. (Frank Pick via Design Museum)

Frank Pick - Original drawing for the London Underground roundel symbol

ITC Johnston

P22 London Underground

And last but not least, to all 357 residents working hard towards their finals next week, almost there!

Invaluable inspiration for $5

Boston’s premiere screening of American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art

When: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 6:30

Detailed information via AIGA Boston