Look up


I came across this appealing display typeface during an idle search for the latest releases. Although I design and work with type every day, I’ve never been particularly interested in crafting my own. However, I admire those who do, especially when their work stands out from the predictable mimicking of existing styles. Look Up was designed by Filiz Sahin, who wanted to create ‘a playful font with a home-made feel’ and was ‘inspired by little arrows on websites’.



I wonder if this is some reference to the TMNT characters, or scrawled by some modern jazz and Jamaican ska aficionado. Either way, the perpetrator has made an impressive mark on this scarred rendered rock face. I came across it at the site of a local art prize. The prize was one of considerable repute, but this scratched graffiti—most definitely not part of the exhibition, although it could have been—was just about the thing I liked best.

Sahara Bodoni


Sahara Bodoni is a lushly elegant ultra heavy display face based on Bodoni. It was designed by Bob Alonso in 1996 and published by his company BA Graphics. Alonso was a highly regarded and skilled lettering artist. He gained much of his experience working with type designers Ed Benguiat, Tony Stan and Vic Caruso at the New York based Photo-Lettering Inc (known as PLINC), a company that pioneered photocomposition in the 1930s. PLINC closed in the 1980s, and in 2003, House Industries bought the entire physical assets of PLINC—material amount to 42 cubic metres.



I could use some amazing goop this week. I’m preparing for a small exhibition with my friend and artist colleague Sue Rawkins. I am busy printing prints, cutting mat board for frames, as well as glueing and pasting  and folding and all manner of things that need doing to finish my work in time. I’m pretty certain there will be a trip to the hardware store in the next day or so. I need a staple gun, some cord, some D-rings. And if I’m lucky I might find some amazing goop.



Embossing the word ‘eggs’ into the end of an egg carton strikes me as completely superfluous. Egg cartons are an unmistakable item of packaging and, just in case you need clarification on the contents, they invariably have detailed printed labels stuck on the top. But I’m rather pleased they added the unnecessary touch. ‘Eggs’ is such a typographically pleasing word when it’s displayed large using a serif typeface with a double-bowl g. The yellow is pretty striking too—just the colour egg yolks used to be, and so much sunnier than the usual off-white, beige or greige cartons.

No good story


Just about everything about this handwritten chalkboard appeals to me. I caught a glimpse of it while driving and immediately had to circle the block to park because the next day’s soup might have been different! It’s piquancy, it’s humour, and even it’s typo gave me cause to smile. It was a hot day, but I resisted the lure of the cool dark interior to sample the fare because, after all, the sun wasn’t yet over the yardarm.



On my way home today I saw a poster announcing the upcoming Blur tour. Seeing it reminded me that, back when they last toured, there was that whole Blur vs Oasis war going on. It was hard to like the foul-mouthed Gallaghers but there’s no question that ‘Wonderwall’ was a great pop tune, and so was Blur’s ‘Song 2’. We often put ourselves in one camp or another. Beatles or Rolling Stones. Ford or Holden. Helvetica or Arial. Oh, and speaking of typefaces … Blur was designed by Neville Brody in 1991, comes in three weights—light, medium and bold—and in 2011 was added to MoMA’s design collection. It bears no resemblance to the band Blur’s logo, which is more akin to Bauhaus.



There’s a great view of Moloka’i and Lana’i from the highway above Honolua Bay, and there is also this—a quirky handpainted sign, hanging from a rusty pole with twisted rusty wire. I’d love to know its provenance. I also wonder who maintains it. I remember it from a couple of years ago, and when I looked back at an earlier photograph, I discovered that this year it is hanging differently, and, while the writing style is similar and could have been done by the same hand, it has most definitely been repainted. Unless, of course, there is more than one. Now I’m going to have to get myself back there …

Civil defense


I know. Most visitors to Hawaii would take photographs of coconut trees and beaches, but I find the beauty of tropical scenery difficult to capture. I was not on the lookout for typography and graffiti but seem to have arrived home with quite a bit of it. This civil defense warning device box caught my attention because its defacement struck me as so polite: none of the important information was obscured, and each of the stickers has allowed the others some breathing room. I also thought the typography of the red CD in the yellow triangle and blue circle was quite a clever piece of design.

Frozen brushes


My friend emailed me because she thought I would be interested in the frozen brushes at the supermarket. Indeed I was, and went to see for myself! Everyone seems to be feeling the cold this week. This is Australia, so it isn’t cold cold, but everything’s relative, and even if the temperature doesn’t drop to single digits, when you’re sitting at your desk and your feet feel like iceblocks, then your feet feel like iceblocks. This supermarket is always freezing, even during summer, but obviously even the brushes are feeling the onset of winter.