Berlin P98A visit

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Walking along the Potsdamer Straße in Berlin one can’t help but notice busy building works. The street entry through to the beautiful ‘Stiftungshaus’, a red brick building from 1893 in which the letterpress workshop was established by Erik Spiekermann and his collegues, is covered in scaffolding. I was late, my well-planned trip on public transport had been interrupted by Ersatzverkehr, due to train track works.

Out of breath, knowing how much Germans love Pünktlichkeit, I entered the room through a big industrial-looking, iron-framed glass door. Jan Gassel (designer, pilot, entrepreneur amongst many other things) had invited me to a tour around the letterpress workshop. Rows of extremely heavy printing presses and neatly positioned tools lined the room. Jan explained they were collected from all parts of Germany and with lots of care, time and effort eventually placed at P98A. As he did all the technical installation work (mainly manual as these machines are over sixty years old) his knowledge of the individual presses was literally ‘impressive’. He started an old, heavy iron Heidelberg printing press, which, well-oiled of course, worked very precisely, similar to a swiss watch. Like a dance, the machine elegantly turned paper and applied ink in a rhythm accompanied by its own soundscape. Determined by the machine’s impact, the resulting print had generated a visible process (see below):

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Next door, in a narrow side gallery, a beautiful collection of typefaces was arranged on shelves. The moveable letters on show were made from wood, metal and Plakadur. There was of course the well known Akzidenz Grotesk (Plakadur, led and wood), the German Fraktur typeface Bernhard Fraktur (cut in wood and released 1913 and 1926) and an unusual chromatic typeface which showed only outlines and shadows, therefore different colours within one typeface could be applied (wood). It was easy to see which wooden letters had a higher occurrence in texts than others as the darkness of the ink covering indicated the frequency of use. The ligatures were rarely used and lightly coloured, whereas the a’s and e’s were deeply black.

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This workshop was a real gem for any typographer and we got lost in discussions about letters, presses, papers and books. It was certainly a much more tactile experience than anything I encounter in my daily work. There was a visible process that allows for a deep understanding and exploration, for new findings (as accidents happen) and very likely tends to push a designer’s patience. On reflection, I believe this visit allowed me to appreciate once again, how physically relaxed my job is nowadays. This is thanks to many inventions that have been developed and have come such a long way within the last century. As I left and heard the noise of the building works again, I smiled.

Huge thanks to Jan who travelled to Berlin from Hamburg to lead a private tour and meet an old friend. More info about the letterpress workshop P98A: http://www.p98a.com

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Display-typeface Design

A few years ago, whilst working on the Albuera Primary School design project, I was inspired by the organic forms and wanted to weave some of it into a typeface. Aiming for a geometric form that derives from an organic framework, two so-called polar opposites, the design reflects playfulness and strength as the same time. The typeface, which I named  Albuera, had been sitting in my ‘drawer’ (or more precisely ‘file folder’) for some time until my friend and designer Michelle Boyde asked me for a typeface she could use for an event design she was planning. It was the size she was looking for, that reminded me of Albuera, which was quickly un-dusted, set and laser-cut. I think it works really well in this size and Sunday seems to be happy (secretly) to have her name written all over the bar for her first birthday ; – )

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Comics Festival

imageThe smallest comics festival with the longest name, or so it seems. Fun creating some design again this year for such a team of passionate people. No 3 : Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival program.

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Anthony McCall – catalogue design

British (based in New York) avant-garde artist and minimalist Anthony McCall was commissioned by Dark Mofo to show three groups of works in Hobart, Tasmania: Landscape for Fire (1972), Solid Light Works (2005–13) and a new work, he had especially developed for Tasmania: Night Ship (2015). The Museum of Old and New Art asked me to come up with a concept and design for the catalogue of these artworks, which was to accompany the exhibition in June 2015. For Anthony his conceptual hand drawings were just as important as the photographs of the final works. The Night Ship performance was first to be seen during the Dark Mofo Festival itself, therefore we chose to produce a ‘naked’ catalogue first and a dust cover documenting the final artwork and produced after the show. We needed a voucher for people to claim the dust jacket, so I decided to cover the naked catalogue with a censorship strip, which could easily be removed from the cover and had all the necessary info on the back. To quote the words of the Mona media manager: Anthony was a delight to work with. The catalogue is available here >IMG_3502 IMG_3503

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novum mag article

Stoked ‘novum’ picked up the book design for David Walsh’s autobiography:

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SanKessto Publications

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My other project I have been running together with Joshua Santospirito is SanKessto Publications. It’s a small Hobart based indie publishing house dedicated to provide a platform for discussion and promote Tasmanian Art(ists) and Design(ers). It started with our love for zines and zine making ( like our Typography Zines and Comic Zines ) and went on publishing a graphic novel ( The Long Weekend in Alice Springs ) and several Tasmanian artists comics, also known as Down There Series.

The Long Weekend in Alice Springs is so far SanKessto’s most widely distributed publication, available in bookstores Australia wide and many orders have been shipped worldwide. This graphic novel was a labour of love and took at least three years to complete. It was incredible humbling to see it reviewed in The Australian and winning the 2014 Northern Territory Read Non-Fiction Book Award as well as the ComicOz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book for 2013.

We will continue the Down There Series with a few exciting artists in the pipeline as well as a couple of other long term projects, which we keep up to date via our facebook page. Please like us and come to our future launches for a laugh and a bevy!

SanKessto has an online store: www.sankessto.com

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Nice words from Constance gallery

In the latest newsletter Constance listed some past and recent board members’ achievements. I volunteered a few years on this incredible Hobart Art Institution, which has been a great platform for experimental and new art for many artists over the last eleven years. Thanks for the kind words Constance!

Connie-gratulations

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Book review ‘A Bone of Fact’

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 10.14.53 pm‘A Bone of Fact’, David Walsh’s autobiography, is one of the books I have designed in 2014. It was reviewed in The Australian. It’s quite a  nice write-up, check out the article here or click on below image.

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Newspaper article: book design ‘Unseen Mountain’

Artist Ping Chen, centre, Adam Glover, left, Mark Bacon, Mark Beton, Simon Bevan, Di Waite, Bob Barker, Laura McCusker and Nadine Kessler.

Artist Ping Chen, centre, Adam Glover, left, Mark Bacon, Mark Beton, Simon Bevan, Di Waite, Bob Barker, Laura McCusker and Nadine Kessler.

The Tasmanian newspaper ‘The Mercury’ published this article featuring my latest book design ‘Chen Ping – Unseen Mountain‘. It contains paintings by local artist Chen Ping, who exhibited his work as one of the Australian artists at the Venice Biennale in 2013, as well as essays and writings by Doug Lowe, Bill Bleathman, Dr Vanessa Goodwin, John McDonald and Andrew Harper. It tells the story of Chinese migrants who came to Tasmania in the last 150 years. The book was presented as official gift to the Chinese President Xi Jinping by the Tasmanian Government on Nov 18, 2014 when he visited Hobart for a day.

There was also another article and video published about Chen Ping and the book by the ABC here.

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Ray and Charles

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A communications Primer by Ray and Charles Eames is still a classic short film, which beautifully illustrates the basics of the communication process, sixty years ago and today.

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