6 November, 2009
Fonts in Time and Space
Typeface: Gotham Bold
By the way, that tiny screen grab below — which even fixed in time is so charmingly reminiscent of that CBS cafeteria designed by Lou Dorfsman — is but part of a captivating typographic video designed by Gretel. Greg Hahn was kind enough to share with me the original; I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. —JH
13 August, 2009
These Aren’t The Fifty States You’re Looking For
In Fast Company, Ellen Lupton writes:
The graphic designer Michael Bierut, a partner working in the New York office of the firm Pentagram, designed a 21-foot sign for the new U.S.-Canada border crossing at Massena, New York. The sign, as well as the building, which was designed by architects Smith-Miller & Hawkinson, has received substantial praise as a bold and daring piece of federal design. Too daring, perhaps. The sign is being dismantled by the Customs and Border Protection Agency for fear that it will be a target for terrorists.
I share Michael Bierut’s hesitation in second-guessing the seasoned professionals at the Department of Homeland Security, who surely know more about armed extremists than I would ever want to. Still, I think there’s a compromise to be struck: if the goal is to create a typographic fig leaf that disguises one’s arrival at our 9,161,923 square kilometer nation, why not change the inscription to “Bienvenidos a México?” —JH
29 June, 2009
Made With H&FJ
An optometrist's business card, the packaging for a rubber band gun, a basketball court, a scented candle, the concrete signage markers for subtropical hiking trails: these are just a few of the marvelous projects for which designers have chosen fonts from H&FJ. They’re sharing their work over on our Facebook photo page, where more than 3,800 fans are currently perusing the collection. If you’re a Facebook user and an H&FJ enthusiast, come by and share the typographic masterpieces that you’ve made with our fonts.
New on the blog this morning, the tag “Made with H&FJ” marks some of the great things we’ve seen done with our work, which we’ve written about here on the blog. Hiding among the publications, identities, posters, illustrations, and presidential campaigns are a few unexpected delights, including one typeface bedecked with icicles, and another fashioned into a ten-foot topiary. This week promises two more typographic extravaganzas: a brilliant but unclassifiable magazine, and a roving cupcake purveyor. Stay tuned. —JH
7 May, 2009
Typeface: Verlag Light
For one quarter of its lifetime, the Guggenheim Museum has enjoyed the use of a signature typeface created by H&FJ. The project originally commissioned by Abbott Miller, a sans serif in six styles called Guggenheim, has since grown into a family of thirty styles, now known as Verlag. This expanded set of fonts, now including five weights in three different widths, is now available from H&FJ. And gratifyingly, it’s still being used by the Guggenheim — now more than ever.
If the fonts’ thirteen years of continuous use can be attributed to anything, it’s the careful formulation of the original brief. The iconic lettering on Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous rotunda furnished the seed for the project; unchecked, this might have grown into an overly stylized typeface, too eccentric to be of much use. A more short-sighted designer might have made the easy play for nostalgia, but Miller took a more thoughtful approach, envisioning all the different applications that the typeface would come to serve. The family of types we created was therefore more interpretation than facsimile, a versatile family that we all hoped would evoke the qualities of the museum without simply replicating its signature. It was the right call: the fonts once used only by the Guggenheim New York’s publication department now serve the signage programs of four museums, the institution’s Webby Award-winning website, and now the new identity for the Guggenheim Foundation, also designed by Miller, and premiering this year as part of the Guggenheim’s fiftieth anniversary. —JH