Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘typography’

19 APRIL, 2011

Everything Is Going To Be OK: Aesthetic Anesthesia for the Soul

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An antidote to cynicism by way of typography, or what it’s all right to have everything you want.

In a world brimming with cynicism, it’s a rare and wonderful occasion to find an oasis of sincerity and optimism. That’s exactly what we found in the recently released Everything Is Going To Be OK — an absolutely lovely pocket-sized anthology of positive artwork from a diverse lineup of indie artists, designers and illustrators, including Brain Pickings favorites Marian Bantjes, Marc Johns and Mike Perry. What makes the book exceptional is that it manages to take existential truisms we’d ordinarily roll our eyes at, reframe them in a context of honesty and simplicity, and deliver them through such outstanding graphic design that the medium itself becomes part of the delight of the message.

Everything Is Going To Be OK is reminiscent of the lovely Live Now! project and Mico Toledo’s Music Philosophy, an absolute treat of design and a priceless existential reminder of what we too often forget: Life is beautiful, our fellow human beings are good, and happiness is within our reach.

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06 APRIL, 2011

Store Front: New York’s Disappearing Face

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Last week, we watched a poignant short documentary about how one British barber is handling the slow demise of his business, driven by the changing face of the modern city. His was one of many voices that reflect the bittersweet aftertaste as “progress” as it touches, and invariably changes, commerce and community. In Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, photographer duo James and Karla Murray bring the same lens of retrostalgia to New York City’s morphing landscape of mom-and-pop shops. For eight years, the Murrays shot the facades of hundred of stores, more than half of which are now gone.

From the retrotastic typographic signage to the beautiful vintage color schemes, these storefronts are priceless time-capsules of an era as faded as their paint coats, haunting ghosts caught in the machine of progress.

Ideal Hoisery, Grand Street at Ludlow, Manhattan (2004)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Katy's Candy Store, Tompkins Avenue near Vernon Avenue, Brooklyn (2004)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Giovani Esposito & Sons Pork Shop, Ninth Avenue at West 39th Street, Manhattan (2004)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Ideal Dinettes, Knickerbocker Avenue near DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn (2004)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Maries Beauty Lounge, Morris Park Avenue near Haight Avenue, The Bronx (2004)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

We were shooting graffiti around the five boroughs and were always into the letters of graffiti, so we started to notice these signs have a lot of different interesting fonts. And we liked the stores themselves, but we’d come back and shoot the walls, because in graffiti, a lot of the walls are painted over and over, and we noticed the stores were gone.” ~ Jim Murphy

Brand's Wine & Liquors, West 145th Street near Broadway, Manhattan (2004)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Walters Hardware Co., Broadway near 36th Street, Queens (2006)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Erney's Bike Shop, East 17th Street near Third Avenue, Manhattan (2003)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Miller's for Prescriptions, Broad Street near Cedar Street, Staten Island (2005)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Nissan Seafood Wholesale, Madison Street at Catherine Street, Manhattan (2005)

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray / Newsweek

Store Front is equal parts design candy, feat of documentary photography, and visual study in urbanism. For more on the project, Newsweek has a fantastic audio slideshow, featuring wonderful interviews with some of the store owners and the Murrays themselves.

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02 MARCH, 2011

Who Is The World’s Most Typical Person?

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In December, National Geographic released a fantastic teaser for 7 Billion, their ambitious series on overpopulation, delivering some jaw-dropping statistics in brilliantly animated kinetic typography. Today, they’re back with the second installment, which examines the same issue through a highly unusual lens: In a world of 7 billion people, who is the most “typical” person? The answer might surprise you.

The world’s most typical person is right-handed, makes less than $12,000 a year, has a cell phone but not a bank account. […] Based on these traits, the world’s most typical person is a 28-year-old Chinese man. […] But he won’t be typical for long. By 2030, that person will come from India, and typical is always relative.”

For an intelligent take on overpopulation, its implications for our not-at-all distant future and the opportunities that lie in it, we highly recommend David Christensen’s Two Elephants in the Room: Overpopulation and Opportunities We Overlook at Our Peril.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.