I have often admired the work of Herman Miller, and not just for their wonderful furniture and environmental concepts. I love the variety of interactions and sheer beauty of their website. It is a fitting vehicle for their products and ethos. The sanguine use of white space enriches the presence of both type and image in the layouts. They utilize FF Meta as a webfont with Arial playing the supporting role, much as if Arial was the typographic potato to Meta's meat. There is a lot waiting to be discovered on the Herman Miller website, and tasteful typography is part of it.
I’ve been enjoying Patricio Betteo’s 365 project for a few years now and somehow never linked to it here. The illustrations are (I think) added daily, though there’ve been a few months where it’s not been updated at all (sounds familiar, can’t think why). It’s a regular source of inspiration for me, with a mix of illustrative styles, with occasional photographs and typographic designs, and always in a square format — the variety and quality are quite brilliant. Patricio Betteo is extraordinarily talented, and if you look through his blog or DeviantART portfolio you’ll probably notice you’ve seen some of his work at some point even if you’ve not heard his name. Well worth a look.
via Ministry of Type
I’m quite fond of illustrations made with restricted palettes (part of the appeal of mid-century printed ephemera, I think) so this project by Sameer Kulavoor (as Bombay Duck Designs) caught my eye when It’s Nice That featured it.
The illustrations highlight the use of basic blue tarpaulins in Indian cities by abstracting all the other elements and leaving just the shadows and the blue colour to define the scene. If in India the blue tarp is ubiquitous, as in Kulavoor’s words, “it makes for excellent sun-proofing, dust-proofing, pigeon-shit proofing, packaging, and temporary refugee camps.” they’re certainly familiar globally; I recall my father’s motorbikes being protected from the rain with them, a neighbour’s shed-rebuilding project shrouded in one (for years) and various festivals and outdoor markets seemingly constructed from them (and thickets of scaffolding poles). The book is available from Tadpole Store.
via Ministry of Type
Created by Bart De Keyzer and Frederik Jacques, This is how I learn my ABC is a beautiful little educational app (or digital book, should you prefer) for the iPad. Clearly aimed at children, the app is delightfully presented with clean, crisp illustrations, bold typography and subtle animations, and therefore will probably get just as many designers as parents buying it (and I’d guess most of the overlap between those). The app is in three sections, the first a tour through the alphabet where you get to admire the big illustrations, hear the sounds of the animals and read a fact or two about each one, and the other two are quizzes that let you match the letter to the animal or vice versa, and keep score on how well you’re doing.
There are some posters available to buy on Society 6 as well (there’s no page listing all of them that I can see, so I’ve linked to D for Dog here). I think the name of the app is a little too dominant on them, if you got a ‘full set’ it’d look pretty strange — I’d rather they be more traditional with the illustration and animal name front and centre with the name of the app much less visible. After all, if you buy these for your home, who are you advertising to?
via Ministry of Type
The image of Cosette used for the iconic logo of the Les Misérables musical is based on an etching by Gustave Brion, which is in turn from an illustration by Émile Bayard (1837-1891) for the first edition of the book. Dewynters creative director Russ Eglin adopted the art for the 1985 London production logo, pairing it with Caslon Antique. (Eglin went on to design for other Cameron Mackintosh productions such as The Phantom of the Opera and Cats.)
As vital as the Cosette image is to the franchise, the logotype may be even more so, having survived for several decades, even up to the recent Hollywood film in which the classic illustration is replaced by a photo of the actor playing Cosette.
The Les Misérables logo is almost certainly the most famous modern use of Caslon Antique, a typeface by Bernd Nadall that was released in metal by Barnhart Brothers & Spindler way back in the late 1800s. The design has nothing to do with Caslon which was likely applied for marketing reasons more than anything. The various digital interpretations of Caslon Antique vary widely, probably because they used different sizes as their sources, but also because some versions appear to smooth out a few of the original’s rough contours.
The Beer Institute was organized in 1986 to represent the beer industry in the US. They recently got a new identity and website from 3 Advertising. The logo – featuring Trade Gothic Bold Condensed No. 2, Mayo, and nicely pictogrammed beer ingredients – is fashioned in the Hip Traditional style currently favored by craft brewers and their customers.
Supporting the identity in the stationery is Archer. The typeface may be a tad twee for beer folk, but it does echo the monoline strokes of the logo. It also survives an extra-deep letterpress impression on the business cards.
For this mid-century furniture retailer in Brighton (UK) New York firm Ghostly Ferns chose the warmer side of modernism, using Eames Century Modern for the logo, Archive Antique Extended (roughed up wood type, similar to Hellenic Wide), and Cabin, a humanist sans inspired by Johnston and Gill. The overall effect works pretty well, and really puts me in the mood to buy some vintage goods.
There’s a possible technical pitfall, though. I wonder if the Archive Antique webfonts really hold up at small sizes on Windows. I welcome readers on that OS to chime in. Otherwise, I can’t think of a really good Hellenic Wide alternative for the web. Dispatch Extended is probably the best bet.
Still, the site a handsome effort worthy of the company name, and it seems to be serving them well.
The iconic symbol for the famous furniture brand was designed in 1946 by Irving Harper, a designer in George Nelson’s office. The story, as told by Metropolis magazine in 2001:
Never trained as a graphic artist, Harper based the logo around a large letter ‘M’, for Miller. At first the logo was in wood-grain, since wood figured prominently in Herman Miller furniture. Harper states, “I continued to use the M and refined it as the ads went on. The Herman Miller logo was something they got for free, and they loved it.” He chuckles. “There was no project to do a logo. It was probably the cheapest logo campaign in advertising history.”
In 1960, fitting with the times, John Massey created new, all-lowercase lettering for the logo based on Helvetica.
That logo lasted 40 years until a comprehensive rebranding incorporated FF Meta. The updated logotype read as one word. I’m not sure who was responsible for this identity. Perhaps Herman Miller’s Creative Director Steve Frykholm?
In 2011, the company dropped the name from its logo but FF Meta remains the corporate typeface.