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Typography Design and Libre Fonts

I just recently finished a five day intensive Typography course called Crafting Type. My head is still spinning a little from being so immersed into the realm of type design and fonts. I was surprised at after learning a few techniques for sketching and drawing how quick it was to get some decent ideas down on paper. I highly recommend the course if you ever get the chance to take it.

The course was led by Dave Crossland with Eben Sorkin and Octavio Pardo. Dave is a firm believer in “Libre Software” (free software) and is now creating Libre fonts. He is currently working as ‘Font Consultant’ to the Google Web Fonts project and has contributed many fonts to it. He also is a large contributor to FontForge and set each of us up with his own customized version to design our fonts.

The interesting part (that I didn’t realize) about Libre fonts is you are free to edit them and improve or make variations of them, providing you contribute them back into the Libre community. This is completely opposite of the current commercial type model (philosophically and financially). It was an eyeopener for me into the possibilities of this movement.

As web designer having fonts that I can use freely in my designs (on the web) is huge. Thinking back even a couple years, it was almost an impossibility due to Licensing. Some might argue that with the free fonts there is less “quality control” and a model more like Typekit is a better solution (both for users and font designers). Either way with a player as big as google building its free font library its exciting for me to see the flood gates on type and type creation opening up, even just a little bit.

Posted by: Seth Hardie
Instagram: @hallwood

Photography by: Rob and Lauren

Designing With Photography


1. Initial photo (architectural feature)


2. Cropped and mirrored


3. Cropped and mirrored and layered in Image Blender


1. Initial Photo of some shadows in a corner (taken with Stilla)


2. Cropped and mirrored


3. Final Image layered in Image Blender


1. Initial photo of some stairs


2. Mirrored (you may notice a habit here)


3. Final image layered in Image Blender

The first photos I started using in my designs were simple textures. (we’ve all seen the explosion of texture sites out there) but lately I’ve been using photos to get shapes that typically I would have drawn before. This has been largely driven by having a decent camera in my pocket at all times, allowing me to capture random staircases or light hitting the corner of an architectural feature just right. I find the natural light and texture in photographs have so much more depth in the final product then what I can come up with in photoshop …and its much easier to get to the end result.

Posted by: Seth Hardie
Instagram: @hallwood

Matthew Shlian

Matthew Shlian might be labelled a “paper engineer,” but the work that he’s been doing for Ghostly International as of late is seriously blurring the lines between art and science.

Now on his fifth collaboration with Ghostly, the newly released Extraction Series sees him furthering his exploration of geometric movement and tension themes through paper folding and assembly.

I’ve been a bit obsessed with his work since his first colab with Ghostly, and I think it’s now time for me to man-up and make a purchase, as the Extraction Series is in my opinion his best work to date.

For this latest series, Ghostly collaborated on a video of Shlain documenting his process and discussing his techniques. Video work by Ann Arbor-based director and producer Jakob Skogheim. Music by Shigeto.

(Dear Matthew: Please get together with Auralex (or the like) and make us the worlds most beautiful studio acoustic foam panels EVER.)

Posted by Rob Fissmer

Ghostly International FvF Compilation


Here’s a compilation I put together on Ghostly’s behalf for the Freunde von Freunden blog. It’s comprised entirely of Ghostly releases. Honestly it’s not hard to put something like this together, considering the depth of the Ghostly catalog. Endless gems. My three faves from this one are Shigeto’s Ann Arbor Part 1, Tycho’s Melanine, and of course Dabrye’s We’ve Got Commodity. I’ll never forget previewing One/Three on the busted turntables at Kim’s Video in NYC in 2001.

Freunde von Freunden is an online “interview magazine that portrays people of diverse creative and cultural backgrounds in their homes or within their daily working environments.” The latest feature is none other than Ed Templeton and his wife at their home in Los Angeles. Amazing. They have also been running a ‘mixtape’ series for some time, they are now on #29.

Brian from The Ghostly Store made this happen, and this is the second time Sam, Brian and I worked on a compilation together: the first was for Moss in 2006, delivered on a USB stick. (it was the FUTURE)

Phil Cuttance: FACETURE series

Really beautiful pixelated looking vases from Phil Cuttance. Now based in London, the New Zealander’s FACETURE series consists of vases, side tables and lightshades, all handmade using his custom FACETURE machine and molds. The reusable molds are made from an extremely thin polypropylene sheet, which when handled, allow him to reshape the form due to the malleability created by his “live hinge” system. The results are that no two objects cast are the same.

In the era of stereo lithography and other 3D printing methods, Phil’s analog workflow is inspiring, and the process seems just as important as the results, which are impressive to say the least. Head over to his site for a more in depth look at the process.

Posted by Rob Fissmer

Tired Of The Mouse

One of the reasons I enjoy creating on my iPhone, is it takes me out of my usual process. The image above I created with Fuzel It’s similar to Grid Lens but lets you make your own slices that you can load up with images. The lines are the slices I made and then I added a tringle to each slice. (I added the clouds with Blender). This is all fairly simple to do in Photoshop with masks but not nearly as simple to manipulate. Being able to tap points and change their size as I’m moving them around feels much more “organic”. I find the results are less forced and there seems to be a more natural progression of the design. I recently switched from a mouse to a tablet which I find much more natural, but you really cant beat direct contact with the screen. Posted by: Seth Hardie Instagram: @hallwood

The Fox and King

We have featured some amazing illustrators on ISO50 such as Matthew Lyons and many others, but it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t include the amazing work of Glenn Thomas. Glenn is an illustrator and designer know as “The Fox and King”. I am constantly amazed by his use of texture and light as well as his brush techniques. He is also a top notch animator. Very quality stuff. If you get a minute, make sure to check his work out, you won’t be dissapointed.

Posted by Tav Calico

Enter through the gift shop




I’ve just returned returned from a trip to both Munich and London, where I spent time with colleagues in both locations. Cosmic timing really, considering the London 2012 Olympics are on the horizon, and I’ve had Otl Aicher on the mind recently.

Much has been said in recent years about the shortcomings of the London 2012 graphic identity, but I hadn’t really been paying close attention to all the outrage, and had all but forgotten the design work – so I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of Olympic schwag that greeted me at the official London 2012 shop at the St. Pancras Station in London. It’s borderline seizure inducing. Having just stepped off the train from Munich, where I spent time in Olympiapark and was exposed to Aichers work throughout the city, this London 2012 noise was especially jarring. And that mascot! Sigh. I took quite a few pictures, and had originally thought I’d post about Waldi vs Wenlock, but I decided I wouldn’t subject you to any of that madness. After all, this blog is here to celebrate beautiful things.

Scott has extensively covered Aicher’s work for Munich ’72 here before (in fact it’s where I was first exposed to it), but I thought the timing was right for us to be reminded just how amazing a coherent Olympic graphic identity and subsequent merchandising campaign can be.

Creative Review recently posted the above scans of the official Munich ’72 merchandise catalogue, and there are a few images of what look to be the official gift shops as well. While Waldi was the only souvenir that was actually designed by Aichlers studio directly, I find it really impressive how cohesive the entire output of the “Olympic Souvenir” department was. This is most likely due to the fact that Aicher dictated a very strict set of rules as to how the logotype and symbols could be used.

It’s easy to pick apart London 2012 when stacked up against the extremely high bar set by Aicher’s work for Munich, but let’s be real here, remember Izzy from Atlanta? NOTHING is as bad as that. What. Is. That. Thing.

I’m not sure if they entered the competition, but if they did I’d be real curious to see what Bibliotheque came up with for the London 2012 graphic identity. After all, they know a thing or two about Aicher’s legacy, having put together an exhibition of his Munich ’72 work over at the Vitsoe shop in 2007, comprised entirely of posters and print from their their own collection. This unofficial Olympic torch poster they did is pretty amazing as well.

Bonus link: While googling around, I found this site that offers up the official Olympic report books as PDFs. The Munich 72′ books span 3 Volumes, upwards of 1200 pages. For the true Munich ’72 geeks.

Posted by: Rob Fissmer