Moon Studio

A good friend of mine has a burgeoning pottery business. She sells handmade ceramics online and at local shops and markets, and recently took on her first studio in an old converted barn where she makes beautiful things and holds workshops.
The latest development in this business plan was to ask me to make her a hand-painted sign for the workshop

This was a particularly important commission for me. It’s nice to be involved in your friend’s projects and I was given creative freedom with the design and style of the piece, so as well as producing something effective for her business, I was also looking for a strong addition to my design and sign writing portfolio. The project also involved different disciplines, from preliminary pencil sketches, some work in illustrator, to hand-lettering and gilding.

I had in mind the idea of producing the sign in black and white but was keen to create some kind of effect for the main logo panel. There has been an old cigar box of silver leaf on the workshop shelf for some time, a mixture of transfer and loose leaf that my dad is certain belonged to my granddad. I was keen to put it to good use and eager to gain some more gilding experience.

http://www.moonstudioceramics.co.uk/

Practice

A few bits and pieces that I’ve been messing around with of late, in between my real work……

   
   
The main purpose of these has been to try and develop some freehand skills, trying to rely less on pre-pounced artwork. With the saw, I just loosely sketched the layout in white pencil and painted over the top, adding freehand shadow, lining and flourishes afterwards. For the flourishes on the handle I used a Swirly-Q – a long, thin brush often used for intricate and twisty detail and lettering. It’s a brush that I’m keen to get to grips with.

Go Outside


Inspired by Anthony Purcell’s Pennsylvania wall art, I decided to dabble with some pictorial typography of my own.


The original idea came with a sketch, before trying out some further ideas in Adobe Illustrator, culminating in a hand painted version.


The final effect is a little more cartoonish than perhaps originally intended – it reminds me of the Simpsons opening titles – but, at the same time I think it works for this project and now I’ve had time to live with it for a couple of weeks, I think it works better than if I had gone over the top on detail. After all, the main feature are the words and you need to strike a balance between the image and legibility.

I’m still deciding what to do with it. These projects are always intended as practice, with the intention of perhaps selling them on if they come out well. But I usually end up hanging them up at home. So I’ll never make much money, but at least I’ll have a good looking house!

Here are some photos of the process along the way……




 

Motivational Signwriting


Just finished a nice half term project at a local Poole-based school, painting inspirational quotes on the walls.


We had previously handpainted a Nelson Mandela quote at the same site about a year ago, and they were so happy with the results that they asked us back to add Albert Einstein and Malcolm X to the walls.



I managed this contract on my lonesome while the boss recuperates following a replacement hip operation, so I was particularly keen to do a good job in his absence.

Magna

Cinema Typography Inspiration

I’ve been getting lots of typography inspiration from old black and white movie title cards, with some notable examples in the B-movie and film noir genres.

Wonderful vintage typefaces brought to monochromatic life with inventive backdrops and imaginative shadow and visual effects.

Here are some of my personal favourites……

dawn_title a85e9a4aecdb828b255c7470f783f7fc cda97d4d02548849f2fd7cc343fe0b82 nothing_but_trouble__title_card_ hellsangels1930dvd old-maid-trailer-title youngamerica1932dvdr The-Day-The-Earth-Stood-Still-movie-title-screen-movies-2074178-640-480 02468dcaa8a4848fce256fb4443f4e67 in-a-lonely-place 6beecfd28613f1ad2044e6e4b9417abb tom-dick-harry-movie-end-title-screen-shot

Berlin & The Museum Of Letters

Picture 028Kicked off 2015 with a few days in Berlin to see in the new year and celebrate a friends’ birthday. Although we’d previously visited the city a few years ago as part of a European Inter-Rail trip, we needed little persuasion to revisit, Berlin is one of the best!

Situated a stones throw from Checkpoint Charlie on the border of historic Mitte and the slightly scuzzier but no less charming area of Kreuzberg, we took in cold-war history at the checkpoint museum and Karl-Marx-Allee, the Jewish museum in Kreuzberg (worth it for the architecture alone and an excellent gallery of poster stamps – early advertising stamps featuring exquisite illustrations and typography), excellent German food and flea markets in Freidrichshain, the overwhelming crowds at Brandenburg gate for New Year’s Eve, street art at the East Side Gallery (and most other places!) and some fantastic bars (again, mostly in the Kreuzberg area).

A late highlight for me was a visit to the Buchstaben museum. Here’s some explanation from the museum literature:

“The Buchstabenmuseum (the museum of letters) was born out of a passion for typography and for rescuing threatened letters from public spaces.  In 2005 Barbara Dechant and Anja Schulze founded the non-profit organization……dedicated to preserving, restoring and exhibiting signage from Berlin and around the world.  The museum researches and documents the stories behind the signs, exploring the letters’ unique typographic qualities as well as delving into the manufacturing process.”

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The museum was small but held a wealth of interest. The main gallery featured exhibits based on some of the salvaged signs, often with additional notes on the history of that particular sign and, in some cases, archive film footage and interviews with those involved in the production. For someone in the industry and with a general interest in the field, this all proved fascinating, but the look of the exhibits themselves held a more general appeal to those beyond type-geeks and graphic designers.  For a start many of the signs were neon, so walking through the dimly lit museum with these brilliantly illuminated letters was an impressive sight in its own right, regardless of the history and production details. But on closer inspection many of these letters, beyond the glow, had decayed beautifully, all sporting the many signs of ageing and exposure to the city – rust, peeled paint and bird shit. Many of the letters had collected years worth of dried leaves and cobwebs, coating them in a decrepit natural patina that seemed at odds with the still-strong modern glow of the neon.

In a city full of attractions, a type museum may not jump out as an obvious way of spending precious time, but it proved an odd and endearing attraction. Here are my highlights:

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Take a look at the links……

Buchstabenmuseum

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