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

Background image: BonBon Kakku
Title typeface: Times New Roman

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Posts tagged Chromeography


1955–59 Jaguar 3.4-litre (Mark 1) (by Stephen Coles)

I shot this (and many others) today at Classic Remise in Berlin. The renovated tram depot is a massive showcase for antique automobiles, complete with restoration parts dealers and specialist body shops.

Maybe it’s the delirious result of looking at nothing but supermodel cars all day, but I see in this photo a man’s chest overlaid with the shape of a woman’s hips.

Are you delirious about this stuff too? Be among friends! Join us at 2:00 pm this Saturday for glühwein and cookies. Fans of cars and/or letters will gather at Mota Italic in Prenzlauer Berg where the Chromeography exhibition is still on display.

Chromeography Exhibition: The Logo

Collaborating with Laura Serra on the exhibition logo was a delight. I tossed her a disparate pile of photos from the collection and (short of a few final touches) she came back with this.

She managed to balance the flowing style of her natural freehand lettering with the more mechanical nature of mid-century emblems cut from metal. It clearly references several decades of classic automotive brightwork without leaning too heavily on any one example or era. The allusions are obvious yet the mark is completely original. This thing really could exist on a car or refrigerator made anytime between 1930 and 1965.

Two objects — one for the title wall (on Laura’s Bel Air silhouette) and one for the window — were milled with a slightly angled bevel and sprayed with a chromesque coating.

More photos of the show later, but for now it’s best seen in person.

Thanks to Rob Keller of Mota Italic for these photos.

Chromeography is looking a bit shinier this morning. I finally updated Chris Hamamoto’s aging site design that served us well for over two years. Thanks to a (heavily modified) Narnia theme, the thumbnail grid now fills the window with uncropped images. Navigate via the dropdown menu at the top. (If someone wanted to draw me a simple stick shifter or dashboard toggle or some other cute icon to replace the ‘+’ I wouldn’t complain.) All text is set in FF DIN Round, a typeface with a mix of craft, engineering, and industrial history that fits our topic well.

I’ve packed the Chromeography sidebar with tags. Now you can navigate by color, era, car make/model, lettering style, and motif. More to come.

Looking at Chromeography just now from the 20-inch display at work. Sometimes the stars of steel and script align and the main page looks nearly perfect. A varied mix of color, object, and letter style that only chance could compose.

Thanks again, Chris, for helping make the magic. We’re just about to unleash another collaboration. Look for it next week — wait, I’m not going to say when. I’m always overly optimistic. Soon.