typography

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Art

Illusory Street Typography Pops Off the Wall in Bold Murals by Ben Johnston

April 20, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

All images © Ben Johnston

Toronto-based designer Ben Johnston plays with color, shadow, and perspective to create typography that appears three-dimensional in his site-specific murals. He’s a self-taught designer, spending time in the agency world of South Africa before moving back to his home country of Canada to pursue a freelance career focusing on branding and typography.

Johnston happened upon mural painting when a friend asked him to create a piece for the entranceway of a new office building. That opportunity completely shifted the course of his career, and he now spends 80% of his time creating murals for clients, charity, and fun.

A disciplined designer, Johnston told Scotty Russell of the Perspective Podcast that he spends no more than four days painting a mural, preferring to work longer days to get it done rather than stretch it out over a week. He balances outdoor mural painting with client work in his studio and always tries to get in a bike ride before the day begins to clear his mind. The designer pushes what’s possible with letter art by finding inspiration outside of the digital realm—by flipping through classic design books on Bauhaus and taking photos of peeling vinyl lettering. He even has entire mood boards dedicated to shadow references.

Follow Johnston on Instagram to keep up with his latest illusory murals, and get a glimpse into his painting process on Vimeo.

 

 



Design Illustration

Mischievous Monsters Smirk and Grin in Fuzzy Alphabet Collection by Jose Arias

April 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jose Arias

Lima-based graphic designer and illustrator Jose Arias has created a wacky cast of typographic monsters ready to cuddle you in their serifs and ascenders—Monsters Inc. meets the alphabet. Often smirking or baring a couple of teeth, Arias’s letter-based characters sometimes come adorned with coiffed hair, a gold crown, and a pair of headphones. Each has an alphabetic shape that’s formed naturally by their bodies or when they jump into the air, open their mouths, or stick out their legs.

The illustrator created the project that’s “full of hair and cuteness of characters” as part of the 36 Days of Type challenge, which asks creatives to share their conceptions of letters and numbers. Head to Instagram or Behance to check out the rest of Arias’s mischievous collection.

 

 



Design Photography

Marmalade Type: Colorfully Illuminated Letters Created with Photographic Interference

October 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Graphic designer, artist, and photographer Rus Khasanov (previously) plays with color and perception in a new alphabetical series called Marmalade Type. “This is a bright and colorful typography captured with camera,” Khasanov clarifies in a brief statement on the project. “There is not a drop of any paint here only the phenomenon of interference.” (Learn more about birefringence here).The resulting letters appear to pop off the page as shimmering multi-colored blobs. Explore the full series on Behance, and see more of the multi-disciplinary creative’s work on Instagram and Vimeo.

 

 

 



Design

Take to the Streets with a Free Font Inspired by Climate Activist Greta Thunberg’s Hand-Painted Protest Signs

October 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A new font, free to all for download and use, is inspired by climate collapse activist Greta Thunberg. “Greta Grotesk” was created by Uno, a new company designing a solution to the disposable beverage cup pandemic. Drawing from the hand-painted protest signs that Thunberg has created for her worldwide efforts to create action on climate collapse, the font is in all capital letters. Above is an excerpt from Thunberg’s powerful speech she recently delivered at the U.N. You can download Greta Grotesk here. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Craft

Embroidered Calligraphy by Olga Kovalenko Plays with Notions of Time and Gesture

October 8, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Kafkaesque”

Embroidery and calligraphy merge in Olga Kovalenko’s gestural stitched lettering. Evoking the style of loose, ink-splattering calligraphy, Kovalenko replicates each speck of “ink” in carefully places, minuscule stitches. The artist shares with Colossal, “the main idea in this project was to connect two arts—the fast (expressive calligraphy) and the slow one (hand embroidery). It makes you think about the deceitfulness of time.” Kovalenko studied type design at Moscow State University of Printing Arts, and pursued further calligraphy studies with Evgeniy Dobrovinsky. See more of her multi-media lettering work on Behance and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

“Uncertainty”

“Uncertainty” detail

“Rise”

“Rise” detail

“Ennui”

“Ennui” detail

“Mourn”

“Mourn” detail

 

 



Art Design

The Full English Alphabet Painted on Store Shutters in 26 Different Fonts by Ben Eine

August 3, 2019

Andrew LaSane

PHOTO CREDIT: OurTypes 2019

Nearly a decade after completing the “Alphabet Street” project in East London, English artist Ben Eine has again painted all 26 letters from A to Z on over 40 shop shutters. “Alphabet City 2.0” uses 26 bespoke fonts and a wide range of spray paint colors to transform the area into a vibrant street art destination.

Made in association with Global Street Art and the Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (HARCA), the “Alphabet Street” shows the evolution of Eine’s style over the past 30 years. Bold letters emerge from the metal shutters with deep drop shadows and layered graphic elements. Each glyph has its own personality and dimensionality that allows it to stand alone while also being a part of the larger set.

It’s that exploration of type that Eine and his team are bringing to clients with their new creative agency; “Alphabet Street” also marks the launch of Eine’s new creative design studio, Our Types. “Our minds are always busy, even when sleeping, it refuses to rest,” he said in a statement. “It is the only true tool for manipulating the world about us. Our Types is going to be the visual drug your brain has been looking for.”

To learn more about Our Types’ fonts and projects, visit the agency’s website. To see more of Ben Eine’s street art, follow the artist/creative director on Instagram.

 

 



Design

Color-Changing Dyes Illuminate Iconic Internet Acronyms and Popular Phrases

June 19, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Traditional calligraphy styles get an update with Seb Lester‘s series of contemporary words and phrases pulled from popular memes and classic web acronyms. Words like “chill” are slowly hand drawn in colorful inks which slowly change their hue and increase in sparkle as they dry on the page. Lester studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London and now works in East Sussex as an artist and graphic designer. The calligrapher has amassed a large online following for his daily twists on the ancient form, which you can follow on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to watch with the sound on, as the scratching of the pen nib on paper is just as engaging as his shimmering strokes. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 

 

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