Sketch Club


The first Sketch club meeting will be Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30pm. 

Packaging for fashion


There's a good article about packaging design for fashion at the International Herald Tribune by author Alice Rawsthorn.

Most have opted for one of two default design styles for their boxes, bags and logos (or visual identities, as graphic designers call them). One style belongs to what we'll dub the Voguettes. These are the brands with forgettably pleasant packaging, whose logos look more or less like Bodoni, the elegant serif typeface that Alexander Liberman adapted in 1947 to create the lettering that spells out Vogue's title on the magazine cover. Now that style seems very Vogueish, which is presumably why Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Dior, Piaget, Pucci and Vera Wang have adopted similar typefaces.

Milton Glaser


website10 Things I've LearnedThe Push Pin Graphic


chocolat.jpgUPPERCASE is included in the "Hot Chocolate" section of this new Canadian home design and lifestyle magazine. It's great to be featured in a national magazine (with my photo of our bookshelves included in the table of content graphics as well), but it is particularly fun to be included in the first issue of a newly launched magazine.

First issues of magazines typically have more editorial content and have had significant development and production time. From a design perspective, they are interesting to analyze. The first issue must grab the attention of its target audience (and advertisers) and present the publication's personality with confidence and a distinct style.

Since the folks at Chocolat were kind enough to contact me a few months ago about inclusion in this issue, I won'd be too hard on their design team. However, my main recommendation would be to narrow down the selection of typefaces. There are simply too many, and none of them are particularly refined faces nor do they relate visually to the rather charming masthead.

As a fan of the American homestyle magazine, Domino, I can see that Chocolat is borrowing some of the visual language that Domino has well established in the past few years. I can also see the influence of Martha Stewart's latest magazine, Blueprint, particularly in the masthead and choice of decorative typefaces. Although I see the value in referencing existing magazines and therefore borrowing on their success and subject recognition, it would have been nice for a Canadian magazine to explore some new visual territory.

The trend in magazines is the lifestyle shopping magazine. Many magazines are basically a glorified catalogue of shopping websites, or a paper version of a design style blog (Design Sponge). Domino does a nice job of balancing editorial with the web links and shopping info so that the reader doesn't feel like they're reading a gigantic illustrated shopping list. For me, there is a tangible reason to buy Domino or Blueprint: both the magazines offer a diversion into well-designed world of typography, photo styling, colour and content. For less than the price of a movie ticket, I can be happily entertained for a few hours or more. Other than the personally memorable page on UPPERCASE, Chocolat didn't leave an lasting impression on me. I was left wondering when the new issue of Domino comes out... how nice it will be to curl up on the couch with a new issue!

Matchbox Labels


Thank you to Joanna at Atelier455 for linking to our online poster shop. The image above is from one of her recommended links to Jane McDevitt's Flickr collection of matchbox labels. Both of these sites are full of vintage graphic inspiration! When I get a free moment or two, I'll post some of my collection of Polish matchbox labels that I found at a flea market recently.


Strips, Toons, and Bluesies: Essays in Comics and Culture

bluesies.jpgAs a comic book enthusiast, it's refreshing to come across a book that takes the medium seriously.  Published by Princeton Architectural Press, Strips, Toons, and Bluesies appreciates the significance of comics; the role they have played historically and their impact on popular visual culture.

Four essays explore issues such as the relationship between comics and animation -how the emergence of comic strips like Felix the Cat and Little Nemo influenced early cartooning; the 'Underground' comic movement of the 1960s and 70s which pushed boundries with the highly sexual 'Tijuana Diaries' and other counter-culture publications; Jaime Hernandez's 'Locas' stories published in Love and Rockets during the early to mid-eighties which explored the depiction of marginalized subcultures in Southern California; and a look at the portrayal of African American characters during the 1960s, namely by Robert Crumb, Mad Magazine, and Stan Lee's character 'Black Panther'.

Compiled by D.B. Dowd, professor of art at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, and Todd Hignite, founding editor of Comic Art magazine and author of In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, this compilation begins to explore the significance of an often-overlooked cultural document.

 Available at UPPERCASE $27.95 

Ray Fenwick

ray.jpgThis week I discovered the great portfolio of Ray Fenwick. His lettering style is quirky, sincere and marvelous. Make sure you explore the many delights on his website, and then go to Co & Co's typographic tour of Winnipeg. You can also find more of Ray's lettering and pattern designs at Naked and Angry.


Glorious Libraries

boston8.jpgVia Coudal Partners is this review of Candida Hofer's book of photography entitled "Libraries." Reminds me of the Boston Public Library which I had the pleasure of exploring last September. It was full of wondrous vignettes – a chronology of old library technology, beautifully distressed books and carts, handwritten signs and old card catalogues...


New Show opens

russianshow.jpgThank you to everyone who came to Art Central last night – it was a really great crowd! The Motherland: Russian Advertising and Propaganda Posters was off to a great start, with over half of the available posters sold. Since we have only one of each poster available, we recommend that you come by and see the show soon.

Russian Graphic Design Links


I wish I could read Russian, because this book on typography looks fantastic. Found via KaK, the Russian graphic design magazine. The magazine seems to focus on design from outside of Russia, and there are many image archives of entire annual report and book designs by western designers such as Cahan and Associates.

rma-2006.gifIf my deciphering is correct, the book was designed by Letterhead, who have also done some work for MTV's Russia Music Awards
. (Why am I surprised that there's an MTV Russia?) Letterhead is also involved in Daily Type.

Russian Type Designers


In honour of the upcoming Russian poster show, I'll be recommending some links to Russian design sites. Daily Type is an ambitious group project in which Russian type designers present sketches, projects, and ideas on typeface design.

Introducing two new Eclecto product lines


Eclecto Papers!

A marvelous collection of vintage paper treasures. Each collection contains at least 100 grams of paper ephemera dating from the 1900s to 1980s. May contain, but not limited to: vintage labels (food, liqueur, cigar & pharmaceutical), postcards, clips from old magazines, sewing patterns, postage stamps & rescued letraset. All authentic articles, no reproductions! I've personally assembled each pack.

$25 plus shipping. Available online soon - for now, please email us to order. 


Eclecto Packs!

Vintage papers protected by clear vinyl, sewn into pencil packs/mini clutch purses by Janine Vangool.

$22 plus shipping. Available online soon - for now, please email us to order. 

packdetail4.jpgEclecto Paper content details.