Happy Halloween!

It is officially the season of pumpkins!

Autumn is flirting with us here in Virginia, we had a few days of cooler weather, but yesterday it was 80F/27C degrees! However, in celebration of halloween, here is a free desktop, tablet, and phone wallpaper for you to download to jazz up your tech! 

pumpkin preview.jpg

Deco Japan

Art deco style originated in the 1920s and 1930s following the First World War and the Great Depression. It is synonymous with jazz music and flappers, bold colours and geometric patterns, and influenced the architecture, fashions, and visual arts of the time. I had always assumed it only appeared in Europe and the United States, so I'm fascinated to learn that it also appeared in Japan as well.

The Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture: 1920–1945 exhibition at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens reveals the widespread impact of Art Deco on Japanese culture. It's a stunning exhibition and I highly recommend visiting it if you're local to D.C.

I particularly loved the depictions of the modern girl, known in Japan as the modan gaaru or moga, for short. With short hair, bright lips, and Western clothes or kimono, she was a ubiquitous figure during the 1920s and 1930s, appearing almost everywhere, from paintings exhibited in salons to nationwide advertisements. She epitomized the vibrant new culture while engaging in such “modern” activities as smoking, drinking and dancing.

SONGBOOK FOR “SONG OF THE MILKY WAY” (GINGA NO UTA) FROM THE FILM MILKY WAY (GINGA), 1931, PRINTED BY NOGUCHI TSURUKICHI, PUBLISHED BY SHŌCHIKU KINEMA GAKUFU SHUPPANSHA, COLOR LITHOGRAPH, INKS AND COLOR ON PAPER, 10 7/16 X 7 1/2 IN.

SONGBOOK FOR “SONG OF THE MILKY WAY” (GINGA NO UTA) FROM THE FILM MILKY WAY (GINGA), 1931, PRINTED BY NOGUCHI TSURUKICHI, PUBLISHED BY SHŌCHIKU KINEMA GAKUFU SHUPPANSHA, COLOR LITHOGRAPH, INKS AND COLOR ON PAPER, 10 7/16 X 7 1/2 IN.

“TEN QUALIFICATIONS FOR BEING A MOGA”

  1. Strength, the "enemy" of conventional femininity

  2. Conspicuous consumption of Western food and drink

  3. Devotion to jazz records, dancing, and smoking Golden Bat cigarettes from a metal cigarette holder

  4. Knowledge of the types of Western liquor and a willingness to flirt to get them for free

  5. Devotion to fashion from Paris and Hollywood as seen in foreign fashion magazines

  6. Devotion to cinema

  7. Real or feigned interest in dancehalls as a way to show off one's ostensible decadence to mobo (modern boys)

  8. Strolling inthe Ginza every Saturday and Sunday night

  9. Pawning things to get money to buy new clothes for each season

  10. Offering one's lips to any man who is useful, even if he is bald or ugly, but keeping one's chastity because "infringement of chastity" lawsuits are out of style

–by the leading illustrator Takabatake Kashō for the magazine Fujin sekai (1929)

Saitō Kazō (1887–1955), Songbook for “Heart of the Modern Girl” (Kindai otome gokoro), 1930, color lithograph, inks on paper, 20 x 16 inches. Levenson Collection.

Saitō Kazō (1887–1955), Songbook for “Heart of the Modern Girl” (Kindai otome gokoro), 1930, color lithograph, inks on paper, 20 x 16 inches. Levenson Collection.

SONGBOOK FOR "THE MODERN SONG" (MODAN BUSHI), 1930, K. KOTANI, JAPANESE, INK ON PAPER, 16 X 20 IN.

SONGBOOK FOR "THE MODERN SONG" (MODAN BUSHI), 1930, K. KOTANI, JAPANESE, INK ON PAPER, 16 X 20 IN.

SONGBOOK FOR "SONG OF THE ERA OF EROTIC FEELINGS" (EROKAN JIDAI NO UTA), 1930, SAITŌ KAZŌ, JAPANESE, 1887–1955, INKS ON PAPER, 16 X 20 IN.

SONGBOOK FOR "SONG OF THE ERA OF EROTIC FEELINGS" (EROKAN JIDAI NO UTA), 1930, SAITŌ KAZŌ, JAPANESE, 1887–1955, INKS ON PAPER, 16 X 20 IN.

KIRIN ORNAMENTS (KIRIN OKIMONO), CA. 1930, SAKAIDA KAKIEMON XII, JAPANESE, 1878-1963, PORCELAIN WITH TRANSPARENT GLAZE, 13 X 12 1/2 X 7 3/4 IN.

KIRIN ORNAMENTS (KIRIN OKIMONO), CA. 1930, SAKAIDA KAKIEMON XII, JAPANESE, 1878-1963, PORCELAIN WITH TRANSPARENT GLAZE, 13 X 12 1/2 X 7 3/4 IN.

SMOKING SET WITH LACQUER TRAY, 1931, YAMAKAWA KŌJI, JAPANESE, 1884 - 1938, LACQUERED WOOD, SHIBUICHI, SILVER, SHAKUDŌ, 1 1/2 X 13 5/8 X 9 5/8 IN.

SMOKING SET WITH LACQUER TRAY, 1931, YAMAKAWA KŌJI, JAPANESE, 1884 - 1938, LACQUERED WOOD, SHIBUICHI, SILVER, SHAKUDŌ, 1 1/2 X 13 5/8 X 9 5/8 IN.

VASE WITH FLYING FISH DESIGN, CA. 1930S, ISOZAKI YOSHITSUGU (BIA), JAPANESE, 1884–1949, SILVER WITH GILDING, 12 X 8 5/16 IN.

VASE WITH FLYING FISH DESIGN, CA. 1930S, ISOZAKI YOSHITSUGU (BIA), JAPANESE, 1884–1949, SILVER WITH GILDING, 12 X 8 5/16 IN.

DANCER, OR "CURVED LINE OF THE INSTANT" (DANSĀ, OR SETSUNA NO KYOKUSEN), 1932, KOBAYAKAWA KIYOSHI, JAPANESE, 1899 - 1948, INK AND COLOR ON PAPER, 24 X 20 IN.

DANCER, OR "CURVED LINE OF THE INSTANT" (DANSĀ, OR SETSUNA NO KYOKUSEN), 1932, KOBAYAKAWA KIYOSHI, JAPANESE, 1899 - 1948, INK AND COLOR ON PAPER, 24 X 20 IN.

Weekend Adventures: Blind Whino, Washington, D.C.

In my post Why Creative Professionals should consider Washington, D.C. as a Place to Live, I mentioned Blind Whino, an arts and event space based in South West D.C. The Blind Whino building is a decommissioned church, painted with a bold and colourful full wrap mural by HENSE. This weekend I finally went to visit, took a lot of photos, and got to go inside to see their current exhibition.

image4 (1).JPG

5 Women Type Designers

I recently wrote a blog post about struggling to be able to name 5 Women Graphic Designers, which has inspired to continue researching women who may have been overlooked in the history of graphic design. I have decided to turn this into a series of blog posts highlighting different groups of women within the world of graphic design. I hope you enjoy following along, but most of all I hope it inspires you to seek out and appreciate female designers.

Typography must be the MOST male-dominated area of graphic design, so here are 5 women type designers:

1. Zuzana Licko

Zuzana Licko with her husband Rudy VanderLans. Image via

Zuzana Licko with her husband Rudy VanderLans. Image via

Ever since I was first introduced to graphic design, I heard everybody say how bad digital type looked and how it was impossible to make it look any better. This really intrigued me. Whenever anybody makes a statement like that, I have difficulty agreeing.
— Zuzana Licko

Zuzana Licko (pronounced Litchko), was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1968. She earned an undergraduate degree in graphic communications from the University of California at Berkeley. When Rudy VanderLans, her partner, launched the graphic design journal Emigre, Zuzana became their resident type designer contributing bitmap fonts she created herself using public domain software. EmperorEmigre and Oakland appeared in the magazine and were soon advertised for sale when VanderLans and Licko co-founded the Emigre foundry. She went on to design other well-known typefaces, my favourite being Mrs. Eaves, a classical serif font that was a reinterpretation of Baskerville and Bodoni. 

Left: Oakland font, Right: Mrs Eaves, both designed by Zuzana Licko. Image via

Left: Oakland font, Right: Mrs Eaves, both designed by Zuzana Licko. Image via

 

2. Jessica Hische

Photo by Edyta Szyszlo.

Photo by Edyta Szyszlo.

I'm sure a lot of you are already familiar with Jessica Hische and her beautiful work, so I don't feel like I need to give her much more of an introduction! Jessica is a letterer, illustrator and type designer with a drop dead gorgeous portfolio. Here are some of the typefaces she has designed:

 

3. Freda Sack

Image via

Image via

Freda Sack is a British type designer and typographer, and one of the principals of The Foundry type design partnership. She has fonts included in the Letraset, International Typeface Corporation (ITC), and Linotype libraries. 

Paddington by Linotype

Paddington by Linotype

Stratford EF™ by Elsner+Flake

Stratford EF™ by Elsner+Flake

 

4. Emanuela Conidi

Image via

Image via

As someone who has read – and still does – some typography-related history, I can safely say there are more women in type design today than ever before.
— Emanuela Conidi

Italian Emanuela Conidi was the first female type designer at fontsmith, a London-based independent type design studio. I couldn't much else about her online, but here is an interview with her with more examples of her work.

FS Blake, Emanuela Conidi's first published font

FS Blake, Emanuela Conidi's first published font

I never experienced any difficulty or discrimination. Neither did I ever feel held back nor was my opinion taken less seriously because I was the only female designer. And quite frankly I wouldn’t have expected it either.
— Emanuela Conidi, on working at fontsmith
FS Albert Arabic

FS Albert Arabic

 

5. Fiona Ross 

Image via

Image via

Dr Fiona Ross, is a typographic consultant, typeface designer, lecturer and author, specialising in non-Latin scripts. She worked for Linotype Limited (UK) from 1978-1989 where she was their first female manager and was responsible for the design of their non-latin fonts and typesetting schemes, in particular those using Arabic and Indic scripts such as Devanagari. Typefaces designed personally by Ross (such as the Linotype Bengali) or by her team remain among the most widely used typefaces in the relevant parts of the world, they're equivalents of Times and Helvetica. She is currently an Associate Professor in Non-Latin Type Design at the University of Reading and Curator of the Department’s Non-Latin Type Collection. Most recently, Ross was presented with the SoTA (Society of Typographic Aficionados) Typography award at TypeCon 2014 in DC.

Adobe Thai

Adobe Thai

Linotype Bengali

Linotype Bengali

How to use Calligraphy Fonts

It's easy to see why calligraphy fonts are so popular right now; they are a simple way of achieving the look of pointed pen calligraphy without a) the time commitment of learning how to do it yourself, or b) the cost of having to pay someone to do it for you! However, not all calligraphy fonts are created equal. There are a lot of calligraphy fonts out there that aren't well-crafted, they don't fit together properly, or they don't have any special features to help mimic a handwritten script.

Here is a quick guide for what to look for when picking out a calligraphy font:

1. Alternative Glyphs

I think the beauty of real calligraphy is the slight variances and inconsistencies of the letterforms that remind you that it has been created by hand. For a calligraphy font to be successful it needs to be high-quality and contain plenty of alternative glyphs to try and recreate that aesthetic. 

In typography terms the word 'glyph' roughly describes a character within a font, e.g. a numeral, a letter in the alphabet, or punctuation marks. So when you see a calligraphy font advertising 'alternative glyphs', that means that it contains lots of different versions of frequently used letters, or combinations of letters. You will be able to swap out different versions of letters to achieve a more custom look.

Bombshell by Emily Lime is a good example of a well-designed calligraphy font (see picture below), it has over 800 glyphs! I love the romantic, natural-looking flow of this font. The "run on" letter connections and alternative characters mean you can create a pretty unique and realistic calligraphic effect. 

2. A Moving Baseline

Similar to alternative glyphs, a moving baseline is integral for helping you get that handwritten look. The baseline is the imaginary line upon which the majority of a line of text 'sits' on:

Image via

Image via

High-quality calligraphy fonts are designed to have an uneven baseline to mirror the natural and expressive rhythm of handwriting. For example, Asterism by Great Lakes Lettering (see image below) has a subtly moving baseline which helps create a realistic, hand-written effect. 

On a side note, if you not already familiar with Molly Jacques (one of the founders of Great Lakes Lettering), I would definitely suggest looking her up. Her calligraphy styles are so beautiful, she's one of my favourite hand-lettering artists!

 3. Swashes

Who doesn't love a good swash? If you're not familiar with the term, a 'swash' in typography is a decorative flourish added to a glyph. Calligraphy is all about the swashes! 

Here is an sample of the kind of swashes that you can find in Bombshell:

Another font that does swashes very well is Carolyna Pro Black by Emily Lime. As you can see from the image below, this font has some pretty large swashes even in the basic alphabet set, so combined with the alternative glyphs, this is a fun font to play with! 

You can also add swashes at the beginning and ends of words or phrases. Both Bombshell and Carolyna Pro Black have this feature. Again, so fun to experiement with!

4. Make Sure it's Legible

Calligraphy fonts can be hard to read! They should be used sparingly: I suggest using them for display text rather than body text, and always at a large enough size. I would also recommend pairing them with a very legible secondary font. Remember that you might be able to read it, but not everyone can read calligraphy easily.

5. Don't Mess with the Tracking!

'Tracking' is the spacing between the letters of a word (see graphic below). One of my pet peeves is seeing a calligraphy font set at the wrong tracking! Calligraphy fonts are supposed to run on nicely joining letter to letter, they shouldn't be spaced out, or squashed up. Some free calligraphy fonts are not properly designed, make sure the one you have chosen to use has perfect tracking! 

Image via

Image via

Where to Use Calligraphy Fonts

Calligraphy fonts are perfect for designs that have a shorter shelf-life, for example, stationery design, advertising, and digital design like social media posts and web banners. In other words, designs that need to look attractive, current and contemporary but aren't meant to last the test of time. 

I am personally not a fan of using calligraphy fonts for logo design, unless it's really well done. There's nothing wrong with wanting your brand to be fashionable, but you have to be conscious of the fact that your trendy logo design may not stand the test of time. Calligraphy fonts may go out of fashion in a few years: you don't want to be stuck with an out-of-date logo. Something else to consider is that a lot of calligraphy fonts are now so popular and widely-used, that if you use them in your logo it will not be unique, and it might be in danger of looking cheap. If you love the idea of a hand-lettered logo, I would recommend investing in hiring a calligrapher or hand-lettering artist to create a custom design for you.

 

5 Women Graphic Designers

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is one of my favourite museums in Washington, D.C. Although it is a relatively small gallery, they do a fantastic job of showcasing female artists throughout history, and I highly recommend making a visit. I loved their recent social media campaign which asked the question, "Can you name five women artists?", to highlight the gender bias that is so prevalent in the art world - both in the United States and internationally. 

The campaign inspired me to reflect on how women are shockingly overlooked in the world of graphic design as well. Can you name five women graphic designers? I strongly suspect that the average person would struggle to list more than one name, and as a female graphic designer I find that very disheartening.

In this blog post I will be answering the question myself and, to be honest, I found it quite a challenge as well. When I think back to my studies while earning my degree in graphic design, I'm almost certain that we never learned about any female graphic designers, even though the majority of students in my class were women. Sadly, this might not be that unusual: at the internationally acclaimed London art school Central Saint Martins, 70% of their graphic design students are women (compared with 50% in the late 1990s), however only 30% of the graphic designers covered in the curriculum are female (I found this statistic here).   

So, without much further ado, here are my five women graphic designers:

1. Lora Lamm

Image via

Image via

Lora Lamm was a Swiss graphic designer born in 1928 who studied at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts before immigrating to Italy in 1953. She was a major contributor to the Milanese design style of the 50s and 60s, creating work for La Rinascente (a major Milanese department store), Pirelli, Elizabeth Arden (cosmetics), Olivetti and other Italian companies. She was the head of the creative department at La Rinascente from 1958-1962 and went on to partner at Frank C. Thiessing, BSR., handling exhibition and packaging design and freelancing. 

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

2. Cipe Pineles

Cipe Pineles was born in Austria in 1903. She graduated from Pratt Institute in 1929 and became assistant to M.F. Agha, then art director of Condé Nast publications in 1932. Working with Agha on the design of Vogue and Vanity Fair, Pineles learned how to be an editorial designer. She went on to become the first female art director of Glamor magazine in 1942 and during WWII she art directed and put her distinctive mark on Seventeen magazine as well. Pineles left Seventeen to go to Charm magazine, then became an art director for Mademoiselle, and in 1961, she became an independent consultant designer and teacher of design. Pineles taught editorial design at Parsons School of Design up until the mid 1980s. She was the first woman in the New York Art Directors club and the first woman to be inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1975.

All Cipe Pineles images via

All Cipe Pineles images via

download (1).jpeg

3. Paula Scher

Photo © John Madere

Photo © John Madere

Paula Scher is probably one of the most famous women graphic designers I can think of. For good reason, as she was the first female Principal at Pentagram. I really recommend this interview with her if you want to find out more about her.

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

4. Betty Willis

A handout picture provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau (LVNB) dated May 13, 1998, shows Betty Willis, designer of the iconic 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign. Darin Bush / LVNB / EPA

A handout picture provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau (LVNB) dated May 13, 1998, shows Betty Willis, designer of the iconic 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign. Darin Bush / LVNB / EPA

Betty Willis is best known as the designer of the famous 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign. She was one of the city's first commercial artists and started her career in the 1940's designing newspaper ads for Vegas shows. In the early 1950's she began designing neon signs, two of which were the Blue Angel motel sign and the Moulin Rouge casino sign. I really recommend this very amusing New York Times interview which she gave when she was 81-years old, it shows you what a firecracker she must have been! 

Image via, you can actually see this sign at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas in their 'neon boneyard'!

Image via, you can actually see this sign at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas in their 'neon boneyard'!

5. Jacqueline Casey

Image via

Image via

Jacqueline Casey was hired in 1955 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to design their summer sessions materials. She quickly became an important figure in MIT's pioneering Office of Design Services which was among the first in the nation to hire a designer to represent it graphically. Casey was director of the Office of Design Services from 1972 to 1989 before retiring and becoming a visiting design scholar at the MIT Media Laboratory. She was a woman in a man’s world, not only in the publications office, but also in the MIT community that served as her clientele.

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Image via

Why Creative Professionals should consider Washington, D.C. as a Place to Live

In March 2014 my husband and I were living in a small, picturesque English town where I had lived for most of my life. One very memorable day my husband came home with the news that his employer had offered him a job at their Washington, D.C. office. We were ready for a new adventure, so packed up our lives and moved here in September of 2014!

My expectations of Washington, D.C. were based on fuzzy memories of visiting as a tourist in 2005. (That was back in the days when you could actually get your photo taken right up against the gates in front of the White House!) I had been over in America visiting a friend in Pennsylvania when we went to D.C. for a day trip. My lasting impression of D.C. included the monuments, the Mall, and anti-Bush protestors. I could never have imagined that fast forward almost 10 years that I would be moving there. Pretty wild, huh?

I think when most people think of D.C. they think of politics, power, free museums, and the cherry blossoms. Those things are definitely a big part of D.C.'s identity, but I've also found it to be a surprisingly creative city. I think New York City will always be considered the creative capital on the East coast, but I would argue that Washington, D.C. has a lot to offer creative professionals too. It's impossible to really compare D.C. to NYC as they are such different cities, but I think you'd be surprised (like I was) by the wonderful, vibrant creative scene here. It is a smaller city with a much more accessible and close-knit creative community. Here are just five examples of where to find it:

A Creative DC

A Creative DC is a project that was started by Morgan H. West which 'promotes Washington, DC across social media, online, and IRL channels, shifting perception of DC creative culture from the inside out'. I strongly recommend checking out their hashtag on Instagram (#acreativedc), it's an everyday reminder that D.C. is an inspiring city with a lot to offer creative professionals. They also interview local creatives on their blog, and I love receiving their newsletter in my inbox.

Screenshot of their website, I love that they constantly update their homepage with images from the #aCreativeDC feed.

Screenshot of their website, I love that they constantly update their homepage with images from the #aCreativeDC feed.

Made in DC

I am an advocate for shopping local and supporting small businesses so was very excited when Made in DC was launched. The program 'promotes and supports businesses that design, make/produce, and/or assemble products in the District of Columbia.' Love how many talented makers call D.C. home! Again, get on Instagram for #MadeInDC to see for yourself. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser signing the Made in DC bill. Photo via

Mayor Muriel Bowser signing the Made in DC bill. Photo via

The Lemon Bowl

I'm actually yet to go to The Lemon Bowl, but I'm planning to go to one of their events very soon! They offer a wonderful range of classes covering activities like terrarium making, knitting, weaving, block printing, and jewelry making. They're based in the Park View neighbourhood, about a ten minute walk from Columbia Heights metro station. Here's their calendar for July

Photo by Jeff Martin, via Brightest Young Things

Photo by Jeff Martin, via Brightest Young Things

Blind Whino

Blind Whino is a decommissioned church that is now a non-profit Arts Club and Event Space located in the Southwest Corridor of Washington D.C. The building itself is absolutely breath-taking (just look at it!): with a full wrap mural from Atlanta-based artist, Hense. 

Image via Blind Whino

Image via Blind Whino

Torpedo Factory Art Center

Not technically in the District, but worth the short metro trip down to Old Town Alexandria, the Torpedo Factory is the nation’s largest collection of working-artists’ open studios under one roof. It's so fun to wander round the building (which used to be a munitions factory, hence the name), meet the artists and be inspired by their beautiful work. The Art League School also offers adult education classes at their annex on Madison Street in Old Town North - I'm dying to go to their ceramics class!

Image via Dwellus Blog

Image via Dwellus Blog

I know that this list does not even begin to scratch the surface of what D.C. has to offer. Fellow D.C.-area creatives: feel free to comment down below with your favourite places to find our creative scene!