Archive | Typography

Inventor of the modern album cover

Via Cool Hunting, a new Taschen book celebrates the designer who revolutionized music packaging, Alex Steinweiss. In 1940, at 23, Steinweiss proposed using original artwork instead of kraft paper for Columbia’s “albums” of 78rpm records. Sales increased 800%.

With the advent of the 33rpm LP format, he invented the “album” sleeve that came to be the industry standard. But it is his iconic cover art for Columbia, Columbia Masterworks, Okeh, Decca Records (among others) that made Alex Steinweiss “the man who made music for your eyes.” His signature style was modern and playful, with geometric shapes and many type influences, including his own curly hand-drawn type (“the Steinweiss Scrawl”).







In case you don’t have $500 for a signed copy, look inside the Taschen book Alex Steinweiss, Inventor of the Modern Album Cover.

AIGA biography and slide show.

Interesting history of Remington Records’ design, under the direction of Alex Steinweiss from its launch in 1952.

InDesign by trial and error

My InDesign education was all of about 1/2 hour at the end of a course, so almost everything I know I learned by trial and error. For my most recent assignment, that isn’t enough, but I found this series of tutorials on line that helped immensely.

Creative Mentor > Practical Learning for InDesign Users

Neil Oliver is an Australian designer and Adobe consultant who has made these 3-minute video sessions available on his website for free.

By following some of his lessons, I’m slowly putting together paragraph style sheets to imitate the New York Times editorial pages. Fun!

Stalking typefaces

Stalking the New York Times typefaces and fonts:

For a class assignment, I have to mock up a NY Times Op-Ed page. I could have asked my friend who works there what fonts they use, but thought that might defeat the purpose a little.

For the headline, I went through every font I have and compared this lower-case G until I found the right one – Cheltenham Book.

For the body text, I wasn’t as lucky. I had to refer to articles on the web, and it’s a typeface I don’t have: Imperial

Along the way I found a lot of discussion about the Times’ redesign in 2003, and how previous redesigns had been received.

The Times announces its redesign, October 21, 2003.

Slate deconstructs the changes, November 5, 2003.

A history of the New York Times nameplate on Typopedia. In 1967 a redesign of the logo removed the long-standing period after the name, and a thousand horrified readers dropped their subscriptions!

Gigi Gaston, The Black Flower

Ran across this on The Daily Beast –

The Steven Kasher Gallery just closed an exhibition by Josh Gosfield: Gigi Gaston, The Black Flower.

The elusive 60’s French pop star is commemorated with magazine covers, album art, photographs, and even a music “video”. What a treasury of vintage type!

You might wonder, like I did, why I hadn’t heard of a world-famous singer who had a music video directed by Jean Luc Godard, and who disappeared after being acquitted of murdering her husband in a jealous rage. I won’t spoil the story for you…you’ll have to check it out for yourself.

Steven Kasher Gallery website.

Daily Beast’s Rachel Wolff reviews the show in this blog post.

Josh Gosfield’s website, with a long trailer of Gigi’s story.

DVNO type geekery

Just for fun — this video for the French duo Justice is a cornucopia of 80’s typographical homages, and has inspired at least one determined blogger to attempt to identify the origins of each typeface.

Here is Yves Peters’ dissection of the video, from The FontFeed.

Interview with Justice about the video and its creators, So Me and Machine Molle.

Generative Shakespeare

As a type experiment, Simon Egli and Stian Ward Bugten transformed the sounds from Shakespearean words into letterforms (it’s over my head, but the generative idea is interesting). The results aren’t just conceptually interesting – they’re pretty.


shakespeare 2

shakespeare 3

The second panel above supposedly explains the process – and a short film about it is here.

Stian Ward Bugten’s portfolio on Behance.


Helvetica is a 2008 documentary film by Gary Hustwit. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the launch of the ubiquitous typeface, Helvetica also looks at how type impacts our lives.



Helvetica trivia: the name was derived from “Helvetia”, the Latin name for Switzerland, the home of its designers.

Helvetica official website

Hatch Show Print Shop

The Hatch Show Print Shop in Nashville opened in 1879, and still designs and prints posters in the original letterpress and wood block style, hand inked, hand cranked, hand cut, and the customers are even called from a rotary phone.




The Smithsonian has a traveling exhibition, American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print. The exhibition website and blog is here.

A short video tour of the shop is here.

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