Inspired by Friday’s Radiohead tribute show, I started sketching out a piece to depict, and this time I chose Mahler’s first symphony, nicknamed “Titan”. It’s a piece that means a lot to me personally, it was the first I ever played in an orchestra, and I’ve rediscovered it recently. It flows between themes of nature and drama, birds and childrens’ songs. It’s really great.
This Friday, I’ll be participating in an art and music tribute to the 20th anniversary of The Bends. Each of the 12 great local artists was asked to depict a song from the album, and I am representing Sulk, seen above. It was fun to add a touch of gold to this ink and marker drawing, it’s a new technique for me that I hope to explore more.
The other day I received a little booklet in the mail from Lippincott and Monotype, providing a short overview of their recent brand work for Southwest Airlines.
The booklet itself was comprised of two sections, an overview of the new brand via some collateral examples, and a study of the characteristics of ten fonts, including the brand new Southwest Sans. None of it goes into much detail, but the mailer works as a nice, esoteric souvenir for the types of designers who care about what the spurs of letters are up to, and the many ways a heart can used across a brand. The booklet can afford to specialize, because there’s a whole website devoted to the full project, and Brand New covered it twice.
What impressed me about the mailing was the focus on those small details (not just about the spurs). As Michael Bierut rightly points out, “Designers are sensitised to things other people don’t even notice,” which is a joy that makes mundane errands much more interesting/infuriating. My mom teases that she could never take me to the grocery store, because I was constantly exclaiming fascinating things like “Oh my god Mom, Wheat Thins changed their logo!”*
This booklet provided that same sort of joy for me. To start, it was wrapped in a brown cardboard envelope with large, silver letters printed on it. When the envelope is opened and spread flat, it reads “by Monotype”. I love it when people take the time to make something as throwaway as a wrapper special.
Next was confusion. Both sides of the booklet appeared to be the front, with a cover and stapled binding along the left. This results in something awkward to hold, falling weirdly open in your hand. However, when set on a table, the booklet sings. Its pages turn right-to-left like any other booklet, but when you get to the final page and close the booklet, the cover of the second side is revealed, so you can continue to page through this book to infinity, without ever lifting or turning it. It’s delightful.
I’m always impressed by the clever things print designers come up with. I was trained as a digital designer, but I love working in print too, and have luckily had the opportunity to work on many print projects so far in my career, from newspaper and magazine design to exhibit and event graphics, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing that physical object fresh off the press.
*I’m fairly positive this happened on two occasions. Wheat Thins have been busy!