Fit for a Queen

Lady Gaga's performance for Queen Elizabeth II on December 8.

Letter love

-El Lissitzky

Brands, remixed

Awesome poster of alphabetical logo letters
(Can you name them all?)

More heavenly goodness

Caffe Artigiano
322 6th Ave. SW, Calgary
(yes, this is my second)

One big baby

"Head of a Baby" by Ron Mueck
Currently part of the "Real Life" exhibit at the Glenbow Museum, Calgary
"...Mueck's extremely popular, uncannily realistic sculptures continually shock contemporary art sensibilities with the reminder that the essentials of the human condition — birth and death, love and loneliness, body and mind — are still, today, worthy subjects for art, and can be powerfully evoked through inert materials formed in our likeness, but not exactly like us."

Best. Gift. Ever.

My very talented colleague made this Lady Gaga doll for me:

Complete with blonde bob, mirrored glasses and pursed lips:
Triangle-inspired dress:
And Alexander McQueen pumps:

Gaga will be on the streets of Toronto soon. Pictures (and possibly videos) coming soon...

CRazy for type

I had been wanting some woodcut letters for a long time. But ever since I took the snap & tumble letterpress curiosity workshop, I've loved letterpress letters even more. These beauties arrived on my doorstep yesterday from an Etsy seller in the USA. Merry Christmas to me!

On design

-Rowena Reed Kostellow

Weekend find

Chadwick Alphabet Blocks, circa 1985
(it was the illustrations that put me over the edge...)

Crafts for the masses!

City of Craft this weekend, over at Theatre Centre on Queen St. W.



Saturday's niche


626 Queen St. W., Toronto
* * * *

Sent from my iPhone

The More You Know: Hypermodernity

From the back cover of Hypermodern Times by Gilles Lipovetsky, 2005
"The term 'postmodernity' has been used to describe that historical transformation of the late 20th century when the institutional breaks holding back individual emancipation disintegrated, thereby giving rise to the full expression of individual desires and the quest for self-fulfilment. But there are now signs (...) that we've entered a new phase of 'hypermodernity', characterized by hyperconsumption and the hypermodern individual.
"Hyperconsumption is a consumption which absorbs and integrates more and more spheres of social life and which encourages individuals to consume for their own personal pleasure rather than to enhance their social status. Hypermodernity is a society characterized by movement, fluidity and flexibility, distanced more than ever from the great structuring principles of modernity. The hypermodern individual (...) is also filled with the kind of tension and anxiety that comes from living in a world which has been stripped of tradition and which faces an uncertain future. Individuals are gnawed by anxiety; fear has superimposed itself on their pleasures, and anguish on their liberation. Everything worries and alarms them, and there are no longer any beliefs systems to which they can turn for assurance. These are hypermodern times."
Also, from Wikipedia:
-a type, mode, or stage of society that reflects a deepening or intensification of modernity
-characteristics include a deep faith in humanity's ability to understand, control, and manipulate every aspect of human experience - typically manifested in a emphasis on the value of new technology, science and knowledge
-committed to reason and to an ability to improve individual choice and freedom
-posits that things are changing so quickly that history is not a reliable guide
-there is a disintegration between the past and the present because:
  • what happened in the past took place under "lesser" circumstances than now, and,
  • artifacts from the past clutter the cultural landscape and are reused to generate an even greater superabundance from which individuals are unable to discern original intent or meaning.
-information that is useful is selected from the superabundant sources of new media
-acts amid the chatter and excess of signification in order to escape the "nihilistic tautology" of postmodernity.
-The Internet search and the construction of interconnected blogs are excellent metaphors for the action of the hypermodern subject

The power of type

-Frederic William Goudy, 1931

Kitties, meet snow

Toronto sees its first major snow of the season

The more you know: Know your type

I was only going to post one of these, but they're so great, you should see at all of them! (via)

Meet Clarendon:
-created by Robert Besley in 1845
-based on Antique and Egyptian slab serifs; now considered a style of its own
-popularized in the era of wood type and the Wild West; ubiquitous use in 'Wanted' posters

Meet DIN:
-stands for Deutsches Institut für Normang (German Institute for Standardization)
-created in 1905 for the Prussian railways; redrawn by D. Stempel AG and released as DIN in 1923; adopted in 1936 by Germany government and renamed DIN 1451; polished in 1995 by Albert-Jan Pool and renamed FF DIN
-widely used today for its lean, geometric lines

Meet Futura:
-created by Paul Renner between 1924 and 1926
-based on the Bauhaus philosophies of simple geometric forms and proportions
-one of the most used sans serif fonts today

Meet Gill Sans:

-designed by Eric Gill in 1928
-inspired by Johnston font; based on classic roman proportions
-called the "Helvetica of England"

Meet Gotham:
-designed by Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler in 2000 for GQ magazine
-based on post-war signage and lettering around New York City
-after GQ's exclusive license ended, it became hugely popular, most recently during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign
-deemed by USA Today as the "font of the decade"

Packaging lust

Yesterday, I experienced Crate & Barrel for the first time.
I think their Helvetica-based identity (with the exception of the capital 'C') may be even closer to perfection that the No Name brand.
(Thanks to the kind salesperson who tolerated my insanity and gave me a variety of different sized gift boxes... for free! You made my day!)

Killing me softly

Lady Gaga goes all glam-Transformer on UK's X-Factor last night
(She also kind of reminds me of the ROM...)

Saturday morning views, part 2

Facing south, at the corner of Queen and John

Family heritage, Part 2

A rare photo of my maternal grandmother's family, with all 16 children, taken in 1944.
Generally, from right to left:
  • Rita Carignan - born May 7, 1923
  • Alcide Carignan - born January 2, 1925
  • Laurent Carignan - born September 25, 1926
  • Lucille Carignan - born October 6, 1928
  • Alice Carignan - born January 22, 1930 (not pictured, died June 1930)
  • Jean Carignan - born April 27, 1931
  • Emile Carignan - born November 15, 1932
  • Maurice Carignan - born January 2, 1934
  • Denise Carignan - born May 21, 1935
  • Suzanne Carignan - born November 5, 1936
  • Gisèle Carignan - born March 3, 1938
  • Raymond Carignan - born April 3, 1939
  • Henri Carignan - born July 2, 1940
  • Rollande Carignan - born October 10, 1942
  • Baby Hélène Carignan (being held) - born January 16, 1944
  • Louis Carignan (in utero) - born February 23, 1945
Papa Edouard not pictured - I like to think he's taking the photo.

Book review #2

Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton, 2004

Some inspiring highlights:

-words originated as gestures of the body
-there is a continual tension between the hand and the machine, the organic and the geometric, the human body and the "system"
-typography is the visual manifestation of language; text gathers into words, words build into sentences
-typography helps readers navigate the flow of content
-printing converted word into a visual object precisely located in space
-Derrida - alphabets cannot function without silent marks and spaces
-Barthes - text is a network of ideas which is impossible to contain
-language functions as a database, an archive of elements from which people assemble linear utterances of speech - writing/text occupies space and time, breaking this linearity
-typography has changed from a stable body of objects to a flexible system of attributes
-type as discourse: typography is a mode of interpretation
-the Author no longer controls significance; the Reader controls and creates meaning
-typography can illuminate the construction and identity of a page, screen, place or product
-contrary to what one might expect, the computer has revived the power and prevalence of writing
-a grid breaks time or space into regular units - grids control through order
-Derrida - the Frame is a form that seems to be separate from the work yet is necessary for marking difference from its surroundings - a Frame elevates the work from ordinary to extraordinary

some of Ellen Lupton's "Free Advice":
-think more, design less
-say more, write less
-spend more, buy less
-make the shoe fit, not the foot
-design is the art of situations
-no job is too small
-read, white and talk about your work


A 1906 diagram by Edward Johnston, British typographer and craftsman, most notable for his Johnston typeface designed for the London Underground tube system