Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘typography’

01 DECEMBER, 2010

The Secret of Happiness: A TED Remix

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project fame, who inspired me to excavate an old pet project of mine featured here a few years ago: An exploratory story of what happiness is, told in TED soundbites and kinetic typography — a true labor of love that took three weeks to compose, audio-edit and animate. Enjoy!

Speakers, in order of appearance:

For a complementary read, see these 7 essential books on the art and science of happiness.

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17 NOVEMBER, 2010

Alphabets: A Miscellany of Letters by David Sacks

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It’s no secret we’re obsessed with alphabet books. But a new book by David Sacks offers much more depth than the designerly eye candy the genre lends itself to.

Alphabets: A Miscellany of Letters is an ambitious exploration of the pervasiveness of letters in everyday life, tracing our visual vocabulary to its roots in Egyptian hieroglyphs, Kanji characters and other ancient alphabets with rich illustrations, beautiful graphic design and typography, found objects, graffiti and more.

B from Linotype Zootype

The Zootype font, with its animal heads poking holes into the backs of letters, was created by Argentine designer Victor Garcia in 1997

E in lights

Composed of thousands of E-letters, rendered in a bright neon light, this image seems almost kinetic

F from Peter Blake's Alphabet

Pop artist Peter Blake is a master of typographic collages and found objects

Sacks explores the persona of each of the 26 letters of the alphabet, treating it as a separate symbol with its own design history and cultural legacy. It’s interesting to consider letters outside the context of text and words — suddenly, they come to life as conceptual creations that carry a powerful and complex aesthetic, symbolic and interpretational charge.

The letter N, rendered in grass

X from Pin Ups

From a provocative book shaping letters out of women's bodies represented by negative space

And for a special tickle of our appetite for creative derivatives of the London Tube map, this gem:

Q from A to Z

London-based designer and illustrator Tim Fishlock posterized Harry Beck's famous alphabet made of sections and lines from the London Underground map

From Braille to the Morse code to Muji alphabet ice cube moulds, Alphabets covers an astounding range of linguistic symbolism, giving the nostalgically familiar alphabet book of our childhoods an adult upgrade with remarkable design sophistication and aesthetic sensibility.

Images courtesy of The Guardian

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04 NOVEMBER, 2010

PICKED: Faucet Face

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Water sustainability has been an ongoing concern. Which is why we love Faucet Face — a delightful line of glass bottles that make drinking tap water a joy, in hopes of inspiring people to buy less bottled water.

The bottles come in three colors, each featuring original artwork by an independent designer — a green Hose Water, with typographic illustration by Ray Fenwick; a red Hummingbird Feeder designed by Anneka Tran; and a blue Tap is Terrific with typography by UK designer Seb Lester.

Exra-thick glass keeps the bottle from breaking easily and a BPA-free cap ensures a non-toxic, carcinogen-free drink. A portion of the profits from the sale of each bottle goes to charity:water, our favorite nonprofit bringing clean drinking water to people in the developing world.

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02 NOVEMBER, 2010

The Holstee Manifesto: Making The Life You Want To Live

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This morning, we celebrated a brilliant upcycling effort, but when it comes to upcycling and smart social responsibility, no one can out-smart, out-cool and out-inspire our friends at Holstee, who blend an ethos of sustainability with an honest and inspired approach to all of life.

We’re particularly enamored with The Holstee Manifesto – a poetic homage to the art of living your passion.

UPDATE: The Holstee Manifesto is now available in a wonderful 5×7 greeting card printed on handmade paper derived from 50% elephant poo and 50% recycled paper and a gorgeous letterpress print.

Show Holstee some love on Facebook, take a look at their original collection, and keep an eye on their fantastic ongoing Curated section.

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