Shocase is a new social network site with some of the intentions of LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook, but is targeted specifically to the 100+ million marketing professionals worldwide. It acts somewhat like the old Blackbook directories, but in a friendlier, more interactive and constantly updated way.
Shocase CEO Ron Young explains, “Members can present their work, skills and experience in the best light to the audience they value most; brands can find the right marketing professionals to suit their needs in any discipline. The site is designed to help build working relationships, and ultimately help members grow their business.”
For the past 13 years, Kit Hinrichs has been indulging his fascination with typography by creating the “365” calendar, featuring 12 different typefaces, one for each month of the year. What makes him happy (in my opinion) is viewing each letterform as its own little sculpture — whereas combining characters into words and sentences distract from seeing typography as its own art form. For the 2015 calendar, Kit asked his design staff to nominate fonts that intrigue them and assembled a mix of traditional, avant garde, serif, sans serif, display, and script faces. Then for the 13th straight year, he cajoled me into writing the text. The 365 Typography Calendar for 2015 is now available for sale via Amazon, major U.S. art museums, and from Studio Hinrichs. The calendar comes in two sizes: 23” x 33” (58.5cmx84cm) for $44 retail and 12”x18” (30.5cm x 45.75cm) for $26 retail. Design professionals, particularly, love this calendar and display it prominently to prove their “street creds.” Order now.
When you think of it, words get in the way of appreciating typography. You find yourself reading what’s said and paying scant attention to the characters from which the words are composed. In fact, idiosyncratic typefaces can be distracting and irritating if you are trying to read long passages. Type should affect the reader on a subliminal level, adding to the reader’s enjoyment, not stressing the eyes or competing for the reader’s attention. But as graphic forms, typefaces can be beautiful, elegant, whimsical, futuristic, historic, geometric, sculptural, and even funny, if you count Comic Sans. Used as a design element, quirky fonts can add a lot of spice to a page.
At age 68 when Kit left his partnership at Pentagram after 23 years to set up his own independent studio, we discussed how it would give him the luxury of doing what he wanted to do simply because he wanted to do it. Since I’m not that far behind him in years, I understood the importance of the question, “if not now, when?” Speaking for myself, when I fantasized about becoming a writer in high school, I didn’t have corporate brochures and power point presentations in mind (not that I’m complaining). Our quasi-serious venture, Hirasuna + Hinrichs Special Projects – or as Kit calls it “Hinrichs + Hirasuna Special Projects” – was intended to set aside a small portion of our time and energy to focus on the topics we found of compelling personal interest, whether it was profitable or not. We promised to take turns choosing the topic, since the things that interest me don’t necessarily interest him, and vice versa. Our first project is “Obsessions,” a series of small perfect-bound books on things that fascinate us, even though others may find that inexplicably odd. Kit’s collection of alphabet postcards, an offshoot of his passion for typography, launches the series. We also agreed that the production value must live up to our high standards – i.e., nothing cheesy. This is why it was printed beautifully by Blanchette Press on Sappi McCoy Silk.
The words “typeface” and “character” are fitting terms to describe fonts. When listening to good designers talk about them, you would think they were gossiping about people. They talk about their emotional qualities, complain about what they perceive as their flaws, get blushingly specific about their physical beauty. For them, some typefaces are casual flings, good for a quickie when the mood strikes and the lighting is right; with others, they are in love and ready to commit for life. For many designers, a studying letterforms is more engaging than reading what the collected letters have to say.
When you are given an assignment to demonstrate the awesome special effects possible on paper, you need subject matter worthy of such dazzling printing feats. Superheroes. Pirates. Bigfoot. Weird larger-than-life creatures. Spies. It didn’t take long to figure out where to find all of them in one place – at 826 National, a nonprofit network of tutoring, writing and publishing centers for kids, ages 6 to 18. The 826 centers are “disguised” as retail stores, selling gear for “real” working pirates, superheroes, time travelers, bigfoot researchers, robots and so on.
Lately street banners with a logo of the Golden Gate Bridge have been popping up all over San Francisco to mark the 75th birthday of the city’s most beloved icon. Designed by Studio Hinrichs, the anniversary logo features the Bridge’s familiar vermillion red (aka International Orange) color, its soaring 746-foot-high tower and the Art Deco-styled sunburst border of the rivets that bolt the Bridge together. Applied to everything from signage to souvenir merchandise, the 75th anniversary logo was created to work in one-, two- and four- colors and remain crisp whether etched onto glass, cast in metal, or stitched on fabric. Along with the logo medallion, Kit designed a special Bridge typeface, called Golden Gate Girder, for a commemorative poster, single alphabet letter keychains and other uses.
Some typefaces aren’t meant for everyday use. They often aren’t readable as running text or even for headlines. Most will never be licensed for public use nor are they commercially available. But they set the mood, add their own graphic interest, and tell their own slice of the story. That is the case with several of the typefaces featured in the 365 Typographic Calendar for 2012.
Take Girder, for example. Asked to create the identity for the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge next year, Kit submitted an alphabet as part of his presentation. The alphabet took its inspiration from the riveted girders that formed the unpinning of the bridge. The immediate association with San Francisco’s most famous landmark offered a visual linking device in the visitors’ gift shop, and made a distinctive image for all kinds of tourist souvenirs, from key chains to coffee mugs.
Corbis doesn’t lack for products. With more than 100 million rights-managed photographs and illustrations and royalty-free images, Corbis continually faces the challenge of communicating the depth, breadth, diversity and quality of its vast collection and getting designers, art directors, publishers, editors and filmmakers to think of Corbis as their one-stop source for all stock image needs every single day.
That design brief quickly suggested to Studio Hinrichs the idea of creating a day-at-a-time calendar, featuring an event that happened that specific day in history and an image that tied the story together. This approach would allow Corbis to showcase the range of its many collections – celebrities, sports, fine art, science, architecture, cultural, outer space, historical, etc. –and give recipients a fascinating factoid for the day. What’s more, it addressed Corbis’ desire to make this program accessible across multiple platforms and to provide something that would be appreciated by everyone from top-level newspaper editors to wannabe designers still in school.
We know that sex sells, but at what point do you cross over the line from suggestive to simulated? For the past week, the @Issue editorial team and interested others at Studio Hinrichs have been engaged in an ongoing dispute. My opinion and that of several others (who just happened to all be women) was that this commercial bordered on soft porn (the next ad in this series even more so). The male designers in the office watched the commercial attentively before describing it as “stylish,” “well-designed,” and “clever marketing.”
A consistent award-winner coveted by designers, architects and lovers of modern design, the 365 Typographic Calendar now celebrates its tenth year. Each month includes a brief description about what makes the featured font distinctive and a biography of the type designer.
The typefaces for 2011 were chosen by the Studio Hinrichs team from the archives of the 20th Century’s design and architectural icons including A.M. Cassandre, Le Corbusier and Frederic Goudy, plus contemporary stars including Zuzana Licko, Christian Schwartz and Ondrej Jób.
The 365 Calendar is available in two sizes: A wall-hanging 23" x 33" version that can easily be read from across a large room and a smaller 12" x 18" version suitable for smaller spaces and for desk use.
Super Size 23" x 33" (58.5cm x 84cm) $44 retail
Desk/Wall 12" x 18" (30.5cm x 45.75cm) $26 retail
Design, particularly graphic design, is not a profession that most inner city kids consider, partly because many don’t know that such a profession even exists. In fact, the whole notion that somebody had made design choices about the size, color, typography, etc. of a simple sign comes as a revelation to some kids. Jessica Weiss, a student in the nonprofit Inneract Project program, explained her surprise. “I just thought, oh, someone wrote this sign. Someone wrote that sign. No, it had to be designed.”
This is exactly the lesson that Inneract Project founder Maurice Woods hoped to pass on. Woods, a senior designer at Studio Hinrichs in San Francisco, started the program in 2004 when as a graduate student in a University of Washington’s Visual Communication Design class, he got the assignment to “Use Design to Try to Change the World.” Drawing from his own experience growing up in the violent teen-gang and drug-plagued town of Richmond near San Francisco, Woods wanted to help young adolescents expand their awareness of the career options open to them.
Editor’s Note:Normally we don’t post people announcements on our blog, but we are breaking the rule for Kit, @Issue’s co-founder and creative catalyst. Kit’s new studio is off to a running start, with his entire San Francisco staff still on his team and projects proceeding on schedule. Below is the joint announcement released by Pentagram and Studio Hinrichs. Watch for more great work from Kit. Congratulations, dear friend, and all the best.
October 1, 2009 — After 23 years as a partner of Pentagram, Kit Hinrichs announced that he is leaving the international consultancy to establish an independent design firm, Studio Hinrichs, in San Francisco.
“My more than two decades at Pentagram have been the most gratifying of my 40-plus years in design,” says Hinrichs. “I’ve been proud to be in partnership with many of the world’s most talented and dedicated designers. Their commitment to design excellence set the bar to which I’ve continually aspired.”