Ephemeral remains of Stephen Coles.
Writer, editor, typographer.
Oakland and Berlin.

Background image: BonBon Kakku
Title typeface: Times New Roman

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This is the kind of signature that was common back when folks learned how to write with calligraphic pen and ink. Look at that ‘H’!

H. V. Meloy, Ex-secretary Salt Lake CIty Chamber of Congress. Published in Utah: her cities, towns and resources, 1892.

Laura Serra Portraits:

Ewok/bear hat self portrait by Laura Serra

for my portfolio
about-page

swisscheeseandbullets (in 2010, site now offline):

There’s a nice bunch of images tracing the evolution of the Braun logo over at Logo Design Love. I absolutely love the geometric simplicity of the current incarnation, although their actual product and packaging design leaves a lot to be desired. [Come back Dieter!]

That Braun schematic is a very satisfying image, and it’s a great logo, but don’t you go thinking type is purely geometric, kids!

Update (July 12, 2014): In the 1972 piece “Trade Mark” the artist Richard Hamilton designed his own logo using the same modular principles, as part of a Braun parody:

This style of lettering was known to American sign painters as “gas-pipe” and it was used often in the 1920s–50s as a quick way to get clean, simple letters up on a board or wall. The shapes are easy to make. And, just as importantly, they are easy to space because of their flat sides.

Follow Stephen’s board Lettering: Gas-pipe on Pinterest.

This modular technique is just the sort of thing that is ideal for FontStruct, and I used the app in 2008 to make WPA Gothic, a half-baked attempt to fonticize the lettering commonly found on WPA posters of the 1930s.

WPA Gothic

WPA Gothic is free to use for personal projects. (Contact me for commercial use.) But there are far more professional gas-pipe fonts. The two I recommend most often are Mark Simonson’s Refrigerator Deluxe and Mark van Bronkhorst’s MVB Solano Gothic. These typefaces have a slew of alternate glyphs that can mimic many of the variations on the gas-pipe style. And they are made by legit type designers who understand the drawing adjustments necessary to built a complete type family that’s practical for wide-ranging use.

Cheque, from the Boston/Central Type Foundry catalog, 1892

Bird/Face/Letter, an unfinished alphabet by Laura Serra

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Slapdashing posted this by simply copy/pasting text but without a link. It took me 5 seconds to find the original artist and site:

Virginie Morgand: Proposition d’affiche pour le concours des fêtes de Bayonne 2014 - non retenue

Slapdashing posted this by simply copy/pasting text but without a link. It took me 5 seconds to find the original artist and site:

Virginie Morgand: Proposition d’affiche pour le concours des fêtes de Bayonne 2014 - non retenue

Slapdashing posted this without credit or link. It took me 10 seconds to find the original designer and site:

2011 DesignMarch Festival / Conference In Iceland by Siggi Eggertsson.

Slapdashing posted this without credit or link. It took me 10 seconds to find the original designer and site:

2011 DesignMarch Festival / Conference In Iceland by Siggi Eggertsson.

Slapdashing posted this without a credit or link. It took me 20 seconds to find the designer and site:

Poster for Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit by Amanda Berglund.

Slapdashing posted this without a credit or link. It took me 20 seconds to find the designer and site:

Poster for Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit by Amanda Berglund.

Slapdashing [slap-dash-ing], verb: irresponsible blogging 

The Slapdashing blog doesn’t link back to their sources and I’m calling them out until they do.

This isn’t how the grown-up web works, guys. Don’t hide behind the definition of your blog title as an excuse. Running a public site with a large following comes with responsibility. Credit and link to the original posts.

Want to share something that wasn’t properly attributed when you discovered it? Find the original and add attribution before you post. It’s easy and fun!

Bart Vollebregt — Dust:

Experimental typography, one mile of thread on cardboard (45x32cm). By unwinding the thread while applying seperate layers you can create distortions.

Tjokvol Letters by Bart Vollebregt.

A lot of the ornamental typefaces from the Victorian era were pretty wild, but I’ve never seen anything quite like Vassar, found in the specimens of Farmer, Little & Co. back to about 1886. Nick Curtis digitized the face and released it as Foxcroft NF in 2005. It’s certainly not a complete revival, as its missing stuff like the alternate ‘S’ seen in “VASSAR” at 36pt in the first specimen above.

I’d like to see Rian Hughes take a crack at this — in his own devious way of course.

Um, Tumblr, where is the “Not OK” button for this? Sigh.

Update: Fortunately, Tumblr backs up your theme revisions! This was news to me. Thanks, Chris Bowler.

Stigmatypie: 19th-Century Dot Matrix Printing

Tonight I found an odd bitmappy portrait of Gutenburg (top) in a fold-out spread of Harpel’s Typograph, a type specimen from 1870. “What is a stigmatypie?”, I wondered. Some cursory research reveals it was a pioneering, but seldom used, technique for producing halftone images with very small type. It was developed around 1867 by Carl Fasol of Vienna.

Stigmatypie is described in the American Encyclopaedia of Printing (1871):

Pictures made with tiny periods of metal type! Not only was this a Victorian precursor to dot matrix printing, but also (in a way) ASCII art.

Read more from John McVey and Peter Fasol (Dutch), who is the source of the other images above, from Carl Fasol’s Album der Buchdruckerkunst.

Titles and marketing for the Netflix series House of Cards are set in a Trajan-like typeface called Pacioli. The font is based on the work of Luca Pacioli in his 1509 mathematical treatise De divina proportione. You can see that source alphabet (and the rest of the book) at the Internet Archive.

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