Lettering Workshop with James Edmonson

Not too long ago I had the opportunity to take a class at the Letter Archive with San Francisco based type designer James Edmonson. The workshop was straightforward enough. Two days of nothing but learning type forms, a crash corse in serif history, and then practice practice practice. 

For our final assignment we were assigned a random meaningless word. With that word we were to take two randomly generated adjectives and use only the letter forms to communicate the adjectives. Mygales was my word, and my adjectives were "fragmented" and "delicate". I utilized a double base line and double X height to show fragmentation, and then a high contrast hairlines to emphasize the delicate nature of the letterforms. 

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Touring the Other Eames House

In fall of 2015 I had the opportunity to visit the "other" Eames House. Llisa Demetrios, the granddaughter brought the archive to life as she shared her house with a small handful of arts, designers, and enthusiasts. Each object she presented over the 5 hour walk had a rich and intricate story riddled with the tedious pitfalls of the Eames notorious design process and triumphs of their famous ingenuity.

As I walked the grounds and noticed iteration after iteration and photograph after photograph I saw not just people who loved what they did, but people that loved the world around them. They seemed in a way to be collectors and creators of human joy and their innate curiosity is what truly inspired me.

At the beginning of the tour Llisa quoted her father Charles Eames, "...the role of the architect, or the designer, is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests—those who enter the building and use the objects in it." I will not soon forget the warmth and generosity of Llisa and her family for sharing her home with me, and thank her for time and passion. 

Psychedelic Lettering Workshop

Spend a weekend with James Edmonson and some rad design kids in San Francisco learning the ways of the 70's Psychedelic movement. We discussed the Art Nu Vogue influence, and a lot about psychedelic drugs. We listened to a ton of music, did a ton of sketching, and as a cherry on top we had a guest apearance from Victor Moscoso himself, one of the Big Five (he hates being called that) or the five most popular poster artist of the 70's San Francisco scene. 

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Studio Gorm

Studio Gorm is an Eugene Oregon based product design firm, and they mean serious business. I mean that in the most light and playful kind of way. It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of feeling truly inspired, and curious. John Arndt and Wonhee Jeong Arnd met while studying at their masters program school in the Netherlands and I suppose the rest is history. They make household products encouraging sustainability, play, and beauty. Their work can be found here

Beatrice Warde and a Thinkers Goblet

 Beatrice Warde most likely during her time at Colombia University.

Beatrice Warde most likely during her time at Colombia University.

So I just readThe Crystal Goblet by Beatrice Warde.

Look it up Designers and READ it! HERE

Beatrice metaphorically presents her argument for how type should be utalized. She compares type to the chalice used when drinking a fine wine. Shall the goblet be made of crystal, revealing its color, and allowing the taster to truly taste. Or, does one choose an ornate victorian gold goblet to parade their drinking of fine wine in front of others. What function does the chalice truly serve.

I believe there is a time an place for both. I strive to fall somewhere in-between the fine artist drinking from the diamond entrusted, gold filigree, ornate, life of the party goblet, but also to be the thinker, admiring the texture, the age, the story and the smallest of flavors to the wine. I wish to feel and think.

I leave you with a final thought from The Crystal Goblet.

I once was talking to a man who designed a very pleasing advertising type which undoubtedly all of you have used. I said something about what artists think about a certain problem, and he replied with a beautiful gesture: ‘Ah, madam, we artists do not think—-we feel!’ That same day I quoted that remark to another designer of my acquaintance, and he, being less poetically inclined, murmured: ‘I’m not feeling very well today, I think!’ He was right, he did think; he was the thinking sort; and that is why he is not so good a painter, and to my mind ten times better as a typographer and type designer than the man who instinctively avoided anything as coherent as a reason.
— "The Crystal Goblet, or Printing Should Be Invisible" by Beatrice Warde, London 1934
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