Chip Kidd: Book Two

I thought I’d start 2018 by making some time to sit with this impressive new title from Rizzoli New York. CHIP KIDD: BOOK TWO: WORK 2007-2017 covers the last decade of work from a talented and accomplished artist and designer; Chip Kidd, creator of countless book covers, movie posters, and graphic novels too. Since he’s partly so well-known for his (literally) outstanding book designs, such as the cover for Haruki Murakami’s recent-ish novel 1Q84, it stands to reason that this monograph also boasts an eye-catching and impressive cover design. Speaking of Murakami, he’s one of my absolute favorite novelists ever and this title features an essay of his. Murakami just is just one of many impressive novelists who Kidd has designed covers for: John Updike, David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, and Elie Wiesel are also on the list. [See More]

The Pier Falls

I’m a big fan of English novelist Mark Haddon’s writing – he’s probably best-known for his best-seller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which I enjoyed tremendously a few years back. Since then, he’s published a couple more novels, and most recently, The Pier Falls; a collection of short stories. I don’t typically enjoy short stories for a few reasons, but I really enjoyed this collection. The stories span a wide range of styles and genres, and perhaps it’s no great surprise that I enjoyed the sci-fi-ish ones the most.

The 101-Year-Old Man…

…Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared is a newish film from Sweden, a sequel to the 2013 film The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, which was in turn based on the wonderful book, The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. The first film was a huge hit, so it seems to have spawned a sequel, which, as far as I can tell, is not based on any new work by Jonasson. So the bad news is we don’t seem to be getting a new novel from the talented Swedish author just yet, but the good news is, this latest film is really quite good. It’s very, very silly. It’s distributed via Netflix Originals so you can catch it on Netflix.

Pep Talks for Writers

Writing usually comes quite easily to me. I’m not pretending it’s always top shelf material, but something wordy usually just sorta flows out, most of the time. I think this is why I quite enjoy writing – whereas many people seem to hate it. Banging out a caption here, a Call To Action message there; it’s all so easy. But there have been some tough times too. Particularly when the rest of my life feels like a total mess, I’ve have experienced some times when I wanted to write more but struggled to do so. Full disclosure: I’ve always wanted to try writing a novel, but I’ve never been brave enough to take the plunge. I’ve told myself I don’t have enough time or loot put away to pull it off. But those are just excuses based on some kind of vague fear of failure. If you are also battling anxiety-driven enemies then Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo by Grant Faulkner might be exactly what you are looking for. New out from Chronicle Books, Grant knows a thing or two about getting novels written – he’s the architect behind National Novel Writing Month a/k/a NaNoWriMo; when people all around the world make time for their first novel during the month of November. One day I aspire to be brave enough to try this. If you feel like you need a bit of direction or encouragement, Faulkner has gathered wisdom from gifted writers who overcame obstacles in order to get their writing out into the world. [See More]

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, &c.

The good people at Rizzoli have recently republished an incredible vintage type foundry catalog called Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, &c.: The 1874 Masterpiece of Colorful Typography. Fans of type, and especially connoisseurs of vintage wood type will absolutely love this beautifully printed time-capsule, which allows us to peer back 150 years into the unique and ornate offerings of William H. Page’s Connecticut wood type foundry. In addition to the wonderful typefaces and classic designs, the original author sampled rather odd words, as specimens of the lettering, such that the text can be viewed as humorous and strange experimental poetry. This edition reproduces all 102 pages of the original book. The hefty hardcover title measures 13 x 9.75 inches, and is sure to impress. [See More]


What’s cooking? If you’re like me – you love Italian food, and you are also keen on design – then this new title from Electa is a total no-brainer, right? What’s not to love about a thorough documentation of all the wonderful ways that Italians have branded, advertised, packaged, and marketed their delicious cuisine over the last century or so? The author, Alberto Bassi, is an associate professor and director of Industrial Design at the University IUAV in Venice (Italy, not SoCal, duh!). The thick paperback tracks no less than 80 beloved Italian food products, from the initial concept through to packing, communication, and advertising. The impressive visual assets within FOOD DESIGN IN ITALY include drawings, posters, magazine ads, stills from T.V. commercials, and more. The lineup is mouthwateringly familiar for the most part, including the likes of Barilla pasta, San Pellegrino water, Campari aperitif, Bacci chocolates, Nutella spread, Illy coffee, and, I’m getting super hungry right now…gotta run. Ciao! [See More]

Creative Pep Talk

Brand new from Chronicle Books, Creative Pep Talk: Inspiration from 50 Artists by Andy J. Miller, is the beautifully-designed...


 Junk Type: Typography – Lettering – Badges – Logos by Bill Rose, is new from Universe Publishing this month. The author is a Minneapolis-based photographer, whose work focuses on documenting vintage Americana, such as neon signs and industrial objects, through his website Recapturist. He puts his unique skill set to work here, capturing incredible examples of postwar American typography and design, by scouring junkyards, yard sales, antique stores, and all the other places that modern-day treasure hunters look to find little bits of vintage magic. He presents 400 images, which tell a visual story through the distinct typography, icons, badges, and branding of America’s industrial heritage. This is an invaluable design/inspiration trip down memory lane, peppered with beautiful Art Deco style fonts, incredible handmade cursive lettering, early industrial logos, eventually moving into cleaner graphic logos of the ’60s. Without the work of Bill Rose, some of these memories might be lost. [Read More]

The Golden Secrets of Lettering

If you’ve been itching to try your hand at lettering, then The Golden Secrets of Lettering: Letter Design from First Sketch to Final Artwork by custom lettering & typography master Martina Flor would be an ideal starting place. The lovely new hardcover title from Princeton Architectural Press includes easy-to-understand instructions and guidelines, covers a wide array of tools and techniques, with beautiful examples of hand sketches, and over 300 illustrations in all. Flor deftly demonstrates how to transform these initial lettering concepts and handdrawn sketches into incredible works of digital lettering. And then, the Berlin-based career lettering artist explains how these creations can be sold and published, with tips on things like showcasing and pricing your work, and how to handle feedback. It’s a pleasure to flip through, admire the beautiful letterforms, and get inspired. This would make an incredible gift for any aspiring typographers.

Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art

Consensus says Paul Rand (1914-1996) is one of America’s, if not the world’s, most important graphic designers. He famously developed posters, corporate identities, and logos for the likes of IBM, UPS, and ABC. He also taught at Yale for 30 years. The good people at Princeton Architectural Press have just published this new edition of Rand’s critically-acclaimed, and long out-of-print hardcover monograph, which is the best account of his important work. A Designer’s Art includes two hundred illustrations, twenty-seven essays, and a new afterword by Steven Heller. [Read More]