Kazvare Made It blends Blackness, art and humour

Kazvare Made It - African Marge saying "I am not your age mate"

One of my favourite Instagram accounts has to be Kazvare Made It.

The illustration lab from London is headed by Kazvare and blends blackness, cultural references and humour to create a distinct style of art that resonates. Kazvare studied Classics and African Studies at university before going into illustration full time. Creativity has always been a part of her life as she told Scribbler in a 2019 interview:

I’ve always loved drawing and not too long ago I found an old notebook that I wrote in when I was about 9 years old. I declared that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. And a chef, but let’s not dwell on that one.

The chef thing might not have worked out but the lab has been cooking up storms of comical collections, from gift cards to mugs and stationery. Arguably, its standout piece is the Beyhive Gift Collection with all things Beyoncé and design. Nothing says Black culture like Bey.

Pentagram refresh Fisher-Price's logo and it's lovely

Fisher-Price logo

I loved my Fisher-Price tape recorder. They don’t make them like that anymore (mainly because kids don’t use cassettes in 2020). Even though I recorded some of my finest voice work in the 90s, the logo was quintessentially retro.

Well, Pentagram did what they do best and freshened things up. The result is really good, in my opinion.

The new branding by Pentagram refines the visual identity and expands it to a customized kit of parts that gives Fisher-Price the flexibility to function consistently in a variety of environments. The exuberant use of colorful graphics and unconventional typography captures the brand attributes of fun, action, play, celebration, silliness and joy.

Pentagram

As you can see from the logos below, the changes are very subtle. The new “f” is lower case and fused with the “i” to make a ligature. The “p” is lower case too but the “h” remains intact from the original.

The cosmetic changes are small on their own but grouped together, along with the new “FP” wordmark, it’s a brilliant brand refresh.

Atkinson Hyperlegible is a typeface that helps readers with low vision

Atkinson Hyperlegible in print

Over the last few years, I’ve taken more of a keen interest in accessibility.

I forget myself sometimes but when I remember, I add alt text to images on Twitter, reduce my use of emojis, and avoid ASCII memes like that 2020 meme from last week. Another element of improving accessibility is readable typography and Atkinson Hyperlegible is a step in the right direction.

What is Atkinson Hyperlegible?

Atkinson Hyperlegible is a typeface created by Applied Design Works, in partnership with The Braille Institute. Its purpose is to:

  • Increase legibility for readers with low vision
  • Improve comprehension
  • Help develop better character recognition

The name comes from J. Robert Atkinson, a blinded cowboy from Southern California who founded the Universal Braille Press, later known as the Braille Institute of America.

Did you know: J. Robert Atkinson published the first Braille edition of the King James Version of the Bible.

“Hidden in plain sight” is a bad cliché to use but it works

Atkinson Hyperlegible doesn’t seem that different from other geometric typefaces out there. But that comes from my perspective; I don’t have any vision problems. The beauty of Atkinson Hyperlegible is the distinctive characters that make it stand out.

The key elements of this font are:

Recognisable footprints

The letter boundaries are clearly defined so they’re legible when blurry.

Differentiated letterforms

1, I, i, and l could all be mistaken for each other in many typefaces. Same for 0, O, and Q. They’re all lines and circles with little variation. But with Atkinson Hyperlegible, each character has a unique look.

How many letters are there?

With 248 glyphs, this font has everything you’ll need for most Roman-lettered languages. I particularly like the inclusion of mathematical symbols.

Where can I get the font?

Unfortunately, this font isn’t available yet. Applied Design Works is still working on it although they have approached Microsoft and Apple with a request for them to include Atkinson Hyperlegible in their OS’s.

If/when it comes available, I’ll update this post.

Atkinson Hyperlegible on some merch

A common misconception is all people with some form of vision impairment needs Braille. That’s not the case. With Atkinson Hyperlegible, the spectrum is covered with clearer typography and improved legibility. This ingenuity was rewarded last year when Applied Design Works won the 2019 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award in the Graphic Design category.

The fantastic film posters of Matt Needle

Suspiria Poster by Matt Needle

You just can’t get artistic film posters for new movies nowadays. We discovered so many weird and wonderful ones when we interviewed CoolFilmArt a while back but the stuff you get now is basic and cookie-cutter nonsense.

So film posters like the ones Matt Needle produces are a stroke of artistic genius (and that’s meant in the true definition of the word). Matt is a Cardiff-based illustrator and graphic designer who specializes in editorial illustrations and film poster design. He’s worked for the likes of Warner Bros, Disney, Marvel, and the BBC to name a few.

And when you look at his work, you can see why. His posters don’t all follow a particular art style, allowing him to mould and remix the film genres with aesthetics that aren’t associative. As an example, take a look at this poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster
Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster

The film was released in 2017 but its style wouldn’t look out of place in the 60s or 70s (particular when you think about the Tokyo 1964 Olympic designs for example). It’s subtle yet effective. Three key elements and a minimal colour palette. Enough to want it on your wall.

In an interview with Cat on the Wall, he said of his creative process:

My creative process would begin normally with me sitting down with a pad and a pen scribbling down notes and sketches, bringing that all together and drawing up a plan, I would then get on the computer and make the idea happen using Adobe creative Suite (namely Photoshop & Illustrator).

Poster for Black Panther
Poster for Black Panther

He’s also called Saul Bass one of his biggest inspirations, alongside Salvador Dali, Escher, Milton Glaser, Bauhaus, and Surrealism amongst others.

While Matt Needle doesn’t follow a specific art style, every design he creates unearths complex beauty from within himself and the subject matter. Movie posters of this era lack that because they’re churned out quickly and lose any semblance of meaning as they pass through the design chain. Matt has the luxury of a more considered approach and it shows in his work.

If you want to buy some of Matt’s posters or pins, check out his online store. And for more of his artwork, visit Matt Needle’s website.

Grab a slice of typography with Pizza Typefaces

pizza typefaces

I like pizza and I like typefaces. The good news is there are lots of cool fonts on Pizza Typefaces. The bad news is there isn’t any pizza. But you can’t have everything in this world. According to the pair, a friend told them making pizza was the most profitable business and it became an inside joke that they’d swap graphic design for pizza and they put it all together into one foundry.

But while there isn’t a whiff of mozzarella or tomato sauce to speak of, you can have are unique sans-serif fonts from a place of expertise. Adrien Midzic and Luc Borho are the duo in charge of Pizza Typefaces and they established the site in 2018. They’re both art directors and type designers by trade so they know their stuff.

Their current selection is as minimal as their designs but in the words of the great Mies van der Rohe: “less is more”. My personal favourite is Metal.

Head over to the Pizza Typefaces website and see if any of their 11 fonts take your fancy.

Instagram | Twitter

An interview with Dan Clarke

arkotype

I’ve been a huge fan of Dan Clarke’s work for years so it’s been a pleasure to have him join Cultrface for this interview.

What is favourite city in the world?

Tokyo – I went in my early 20’s and I’ll definitely be going back with my wife at some point. It feels like a different World in every way and I can’t wait to see it again.

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go?

I tend to have a Nintendo DS Lite in my bag most of the time – Probably not that unusual in the grand scheme of things.

Why do you do what you do?

I’ve never known anything different — I try my best to make the things that I would want or like had someone else made them.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

I tell my wife and dog on most days.

Where do you go to relax?

A dog walk or a run is usually where I find that I do most of my thinking – I think it’s really important to dedicating time in a week to having some personal time.

69, 280, or 420?

280 — I like the symmetry of it.

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

In a bit.

(images courtesy of Arkotype)

Nicky Chulo creates Off-Black brand in response to Off-White's lack of diversity

Off-Black

Off-White is a brand that bridges minimalism and maximalism. Its creator Virgil Abloh, known for collaborations with the likes of Kanye West and Takashi Murakami, was appointed artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection in 2018 and while this was seen as a breakthrough for modern black art and culture, there have been criticisms.

Off-White or off colour?

One has come from a fellow black designer, Nicky Chulo. The graphic designer questioned Abloh’s lack of diversity in the Off-White brand. Particularly “in the room”. In an interview with Black Enterprise, he discussed his reasons for the stance:

Even if he’s just the “face” of the brand I believe he has a responsibility to speak up on behalf of diversity. I’m not discrediting the talent at Off-White, but knowing how hard I worked, especially as a designer of color, to get to where I am, it hurt a bit […] We need more people of color inside the room.

Off-Black
Off-Black tee

And his response? A brand of his own.

What is Off-Black?

Chulo created Off-Black as a way to balance the tables and show black inclusion. He said he was “hesitant at first” when launching but felt compelled to go all in, particularly after Abloh had started blocking people on Instagram who sent him messages under the #diversity hashtag.

But Chulo isn’t looking to make a profit from the brand. 100% of proceeds are going to Leaders Amongst Leaders, “a creative program that teaches kids the sky is the limit”.

Currently, there’s only the Off-Black tee available on the site but I’m considering getting one.

You can too by heading to Nicky Chulo’s Teespring site.

The Awesome Art of Karis Pierre

Karis Pierre

The London graphic designer is one to watch for the future.

Social media can be a hellish place when you suffer from anxiety. But I prefer visual therapy in the form of art and that’s what makes Instagram so good (for the most part).

I discovered Karis Pierre aka karpie.jpg via Rhea Ellen and I love her work. According to her Insta bio, she’s studying graphic design at Norwich University of the Arts but originally from/based in London.

My favourite piece is the “Dunk” Nike Store poster. That’d look awesome on sports fan’s wall.

Art by Karis Pierre
Art by Karis Pierre
Art by Karis Pierre
Art by Karis Pierre
Art by Karis Pierre

(All image rights reserved © Karis Pierre)

Jumanji Fan Steven Richter Builds Replica From Scratch

Making a Jumanji Board -Timelapse

According to the late Robin Williams, the word jumanji is Zulu for “many effects”. While I’m not 100% sure of its validity, this real-life board game lives up to that definition.

Steven Richter is a sculptor and prop-maker by trade and he lent his fantastic skills to a Jumanji board game just like the one from the 1995 film. Rather than any paranormal forces pulling the pieces around, Richter’s version uses simple magnets but the attention to detail is out of this world.

You can watch how the board was made below.

The Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter

Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter

Perfect for whiskeys, cognacs, and wines, this Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter can hold up to 750ml of your finest alcohol. Picture this: you get home from a trying day on the new Death Star. All you want to do is hang up your lightsaber, unwind to an acoustic cover of the Imperial March in front of a fire. But you want something to drink. Then you remember you have a Star Wars Stormtrooper decanter filled with Corellian wine.

I’m mixing fantasy with reality here but the fact is a stylish, high-quality Star Wars decanter is the perfect gift for any Stormtrooper enthusiasts. Whether you’re on the side of the Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance.

And don’t forget to drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive.

Star Wars Glass Stormtrooper Decanter on Amazon

Brutal bookends

Landmarks Bookend (Set of 2) by Klemens Schillinger

The brutalist bookends are a concrete take on the Mayan pyramids (although they’re very close to being ziggurats).

An architectural twist on functional accessories, reimagined in stylish concrete. Subtle in colour but crisp in form, Klemens Schillinger’s Landmarks collection evokes a certain understated cool. Perfect for those who want dimensions to rule style: each step is an extruded offset of the footprint that comes before it.

I have two books on brutalism on my bookshelf and these bookends would be perfect for them. I’ll give it some thought.

UPDATE: The bookends are no longer available on Hem.com but there are plenty of alternatives on Etsy.

40,000 Movie Posters Under The Sea with Posteritati

Anatomy of a Murder 1959 Poster

The store/gallery is based in New York where you can purchase everything from a 1960s Swiss Scene Card of Casablanca for $150 to a 1933 Argentinian King Kong poster for $75,000.

Batman Returns poster
Batman Returns poster

As well as posters, Posteritati also sell books. The ones that caught my eye were Art of the Modern Movie Poster (2008) and The Independent Movie Poster Book (2005). If I was a rich man, I’d buy so many posters (and maybe a Fiddler on the Roof poster.)

Find more on the Posteritati website.

(via Kottke.org)

A Cheatsheet of Typographic Characters and How To Use Them

Do you know the difference between a hyphen, an en dash, and an em dash? Or when to use single or double quotation marks? If the answer is no, then you’re not alone. Fortunately, Jeremiah Shoaf of Typewolf is at hand to help with this brilliant “cheatsheet” dedicated to those little known typographic characters. The guide features a variety of characters and their respective keyboard shortcuts for Mac and Windows as well as a mini-FAQ for each category.

You can read the full typographic list on the Typewolf website or download the condensed 1-page printable PDF.

(Fact: Did you know the @ symbol is known as an arroba in Spanish and an arobase in French?)