The Nostalgia of Chalkboard

blackboard art by AdunateI asked my father-in-law to make me a chalkboard for my birthday. Isn’t it cool? You can’t see it in this picture, but the bottom portion of the frame is a storage box for the chalk and eraser. I love it!

Chalkboard art is everywhere these days. Maybe it’s because we no longer use these scholarly slates in the classroom that we’re drawn to their nostalgic quality? Who knows. Whatever it is, we seem to find chalkboard art most appealing. So, my plan was to write a daily note—you know, just kind of whip off something artistically profound and inspire everyone with my wisdom and calligraphy. Yeah, right.

Anyway, because I’m using the board for an upcoming project, I’ve been researching chalkboard art online. Wow, it’s really become a highly developed medium (obviously one I’ve not yet mastered). Here’s an article on Dana Ranamachi, who’s making a career of sketching these stunning boards.

For you DIYers, bloggist Leslie from Gwen Moss wrote this helpful “10 Things You Should Know About Chalkboard Art.” The Dear Lille blog also offers helpful tutorials, as well as lovely pieces you can buy.

And here’s why my daily quips never made it past Day 1: Carla Hackett. I don’t have her speed. I don’t have her finesse. Above all, I don’t speak with the wisdom of Kemi Nekvapil.

Maybe I’ll update my board monthly.

Or quarterly.

 

 

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Wednesday Webs: The Art of the Ampersand

ampersand

Ampersands are the funnest typographical character (even more than the letter A, which I also love). And because I’m using an ampersand in an upcoming project, I’ve been obsessing over them wherever I can find them.

Such a bold, expressive character, yes?

 

 

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Hamilton Wood Type Preserves a Magnificent Print

Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, Two Rivers, Wis.

This week I dragged my husband and son out of our holiday hibernation and up to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

What a cool place!

Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, Two Rivers, Wis.


The museum is located in an age-old manufacturing plant used by the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, now known as Thermo Scientific. The building is as interesting as the wood type.


Hamilton Wood Type & Museum, Two Rivers, WI


Wooden letters are everywhere! The museum has 1.5 million pieces of wood type in more than 1,000 styles and sizes. It also has an amazing collection of advertising cuts from the 1930s through the 1970s.


pantograph at Hamilton Wood Type & Museum, Two Rivers, WI


Back in the day, type cutters used this pantograph router to cut new letters while tracing an old letter. Hamilton manufactured wood type until the late 1980s.


Hamilton Wood Type & Museum, Two Rivers, WI


Hamilton made the drawer pulls too. Aren’t they a wonderful contrast to the modern label-maker strips?


Letterpress ink at Hamilton Wood Type & Museum, Two Rivers, WI


 Ink and supplies from the old days.


Hamilton Wood Type & Museum, Two Rivers, WI


The museum’s 40,000 square feet is packed with antique machinery — presses, sanders, and so much more. They’re beautiful.


lithograph machine at Hamilton Wood Type & Museum, Two Rivers, WI


Lithograph printing: An era that followed letterpress.


Learn letterpress at Hamilton Wood Type & Museum, Two Rivers, WI


Hamilton offers letterpress seminars and opportunities to use its equipment. I’m so planning to sign up for a class!

Artists customarily leave a sample of their work so the museum walls are truly a gallery. Aren’t they fun?


Letterpress blocks, Hamilton Wood Type & Museum


Wood Type: I think they’re so beautiful! Their use in letterpress is such an important part of our printing history, and, interestingly, it’s an art form being revitalized today.

Thanks Hamilton Wood Type & Museum for making this happen!


 

 

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Wednesday Webs 9-28-11


Adunate Word & Design, playing with type


Since I’m still trying to finish my business logo, I’ve become rather obsessed with type. Typography is a refined art and designers like Louise Fili, one of my favorites, are a highly skilled breed.

Here’s more:

  • Thinking with Type, by Ellen Lupton: Everything you ever wanted to know about type and using it to communicate a message.
  • Mixing Typefaces: Combining typefaces can be hard. This helps.
  • Kerning is the horizontal adjustment of space between letters to improve appearance and readability. Well designed logos and headlines are always carefully kerned and I use this 3-letter method.
  • The font game: a fun way to learn typeface.

 

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Mackinac Pro: Bridging Sentiment and Design

P22 Mackinac Pro

Designers love typefaces. Writers love words. And Michiganders love their Bridge. Even though it’s been decades since I’ve lived in the Great Lakes State, when P22 Type Foundry announced its Mackinac Pro, I swooned with the nostalgic excitement of an 8-year-old girl in a Mackinac Island fudge shop.

What’s so special about this typeface? (Or font, as graphic designers acquiesce to saying these days.)

Well, to start, it’s got a mighty name—aptly so, since the type’s designer, Mike Beens, is from Michigan. And its advertising copy is worthy of an award: “P22 Mackinac Pro (pronounced Mackinaw) spans four centuries of type design, bridging the Old World with the New.” Gotta love it—making sure you pronounce the name correctly, as only a Michigander would!

But it’s the letterforms themselves that structurally are as beautiful as the bridge. Mackinac Pro is described as having “smooth shapes, sweet curves and seamless transitions evocative of wind & water.” Yet, it’s an OpenType workhorse that’s as utilitarian for advertising, publishing and signage as the bridge is for motorcycles, cars and semis.

I like the double-story, lower case “a” and “g” (my favorite for serif type). I also like the positive, upward arch of the lower case “a” and the italic “e” (too bad the regular version isn’t arched as well).

Most of all, I love, love, love the ampersand—it’s a Great Lakes wave all in itself!

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