Punt road has never been a favourite of mine; having to be a passenger while forced to listen to drivers complain about how much they hate the traffic and how many hours of their life they've lost while sitting in a slow moving car-park. I better stop it there before I get lynched. But I've recently enjoyed walking down it, and enjoying the stupidity of walking down such an annoying street. Walking underneath the overpass I've started to notice the details on band posters - something you don't get while in the confines of the passenger seat - but usually dismiss most of them as trite pieces of work until something caught my eye and stopped in my tracks.
I know those letterforms. Hell, I know the scratches, missing corners and annoying type-high requirements of those letters. I've cleaned them, sorted them, tested them and tried to bring them closer to the sweet spot of 0.9186 of an inch. After nursing them back to health, feeding them, shining them and giving them a good childhood. And what a marvellous use of those letters as well. I usually get annoyed by the poster type look, but this has been done with class, attention to detail and an eye for the craft. My hunch was further compounded when I saw the Melbourne Museum of Printing logo in the bottom, which not only confirmed my suspicion. I feel proud that the museum is being put to some good use, and so is all those hours I put into fixing their type collection. My little kids have all grown up, left the nest (typecase) and got themselves a job.
Sure, the kerning on the Modified Gothic Condensed is a little off and I'm a bit surprised because they either didn't use the pre-cut A and T that kerns perfectly, or fix it in photoshop. I suppose a hint of awkward authenticity helps this a bit. All is not lost however. Not only are the street posters charming examples of well crafted typography (and the face is a wonderful example of image making) but the website is just as nice.
I shudder to think how long it took to use the palette of a somewhat limited poster type collection in creating these faces. They somehow capture the caricature of aussie manliness (something I have in spades) while only hinting at cliches. The colours, stance and faces are all pitch perfect. If only I liked this music and had the inclination to go to the country to check out the festival.
I've been watching and waiting for Olly Moss to finish off this set of Penguin inspired video game covers; only to find out he's not releasing the last three because something cool has happened with them and he's been asked not to release anymore. Funny how quickly this thing spread around the tubes a few weeks ago. I'm not willing to place bets on where this meme originated, but I've seen plenty of them sprout up very quickly; Spacesick did movies and Corleym did potter to name a few. And then everyone got tired of it after a few jumpers really ruined the quality of it for everyone.
I'm always a sucker for the rigid authority that natural history museums present to the public. All those trays of butterflies and fossils; visual evidence of genetic change laid out with little white stickers next to them all. The stark presentation of the object itself, with disregard to it's surrounding environment (dioramas not included). It seems that I've been missing out on what goes on behind closed doors. Justine Cooper was privileged to go backstage at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and took these beautiful photographs that look at both as an evolution of the collecting and storing process, and as an historical and contemporary perspective on how we systematise and assign value to nature. Seed have a rather beautiful slideshow of her work Saved by Science (which look better on their site than they do on hers).
As the only artist ever given the privilege as the museum's artist-in-residence she was able to document the 'immense corridors of locked steel storage cabinets most powerfully express the veil of structure dropped over the complexity of nature'. And yes, I was just dying to drop that line in somewhere. It's not all systems of stark rational order; these bones haven't been unwrapped since they were excavated nearly 100 years ago. I'd be dying to delicately unbundle them not just to handle 70 million year old bones but to also gaze at editorial design from 100 years ago.
As an accompanying article to the slideshow Seed have an article about The Awe of Natural History Collections. The lure of these collections as well as the vast storage of the unseen lies not just in it's systems of order, but in the collection's utilitarian value. As Ole Worm (builder of one of the most impressive wunderkammern of his time) said to his students when using his collection to teach "Let us take off the spectacles that show us the shadow of things instead of the things themselves".
Having been given this book for my birthday last year, I'll sheepishly admit that I haven't touched it. It's tome-like denseness mocks me every time I think about it. However considering the rare window of opportunity I have, I've decided to start and finish it between now and the 150th anniversary of the launching of the book on the 24th of November. I'm well aware that this gives me a rather large timeframe to complete this task, but considering the growing pile of unfinished books tormenting me on the bed head it's not so trivial. I'm particularly looking forward to supplementing it with what this guy has to say on it. And yes, I'll also be reading the Voyage of the Beagle as well. No point in doing things in literary halves.
Update: I did not end up reading this. Kinda embarrassing