Typography observations in Hastings

An observation of typography, lettering and visual communication in Hastings, a town rich in history, in the county of East Sussex on the south coast of England.

Ranked third most deprived seaside town in England, the town centre is split into two main areas, the ‘new town’ where you’ll find your generic chain shops and cafés, and the ‘old town’ in the East, which is the supposed culture quarter – it hosts a variety of independent cafés, restaurants, and specialist shops trading antiques and art. Before approaching the Stade, the site of Europes largest fleet of beach-launched fishing boats, is the Jerwood Gallery – a contemporary addition to a much traditional setting.

On the hills above the town are the ruins of Hastings Castle with Britain’s steepest funicular railway to take you up.

Old Town, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Old Town, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.

Also, worth noting is the pier, that famously was set ablaze, is located further along the seafront to the West, in front of White Rock Theatre. It has been regenerated and has become an open area for music festivals and other popular events.

Shops

Children’s Library. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Children’s Library. Photo: David John Lewis.
Hoagies. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Hoagies. Photo: David John Lewis.
Haircutters. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Haircutters. Photo: David John Lewis.
Waterfalls. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Waterfalls. Photo: David John Lewis.
Racer Computers. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Racer Computers. Photo: David John Lewis.
Smiffy’s Chippy. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Smiffy’s Chippy. Photo: David John Lewis.
Bradley’s. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Bradley’s. Photo: David John Lewis.
Old Town Tattoos. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Old Town Tattoos. Photo: David John Lewis.
Dispensing Chemist, Ophthalmic Optician. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Dispensing Chemist, Ophthalmic Optician. Photo: David John Lewis.
Sweet Cheeks. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Sweet Cheeks. Photo: David John Lewis.
Up the garden path. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Up the garden path. Photo: David John Lewis.
Roberts Rummage. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Roberts Rummage. Photo: David John Lewis.
Shop, sign painting. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Shop, sign painting. Photo: David John Lewis.
Delboys seaside supplies. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Delboys seaside supplies. Photo: David John Lewis.

The Stade

The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
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The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
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The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
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The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
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The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
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The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
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The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.
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The Stade, Hastings. Photo: David John Lewis.

Ben Eine’s alphabet street

Ben Eine's alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Ben Eine’s alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis.
Ben Eine's alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Ben Eine’s alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis.
Ben Eine's alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Ben Eine’s alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis.
Ben Eine's alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Ben Eine’s alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis.
Ben Eine's alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis, 2016.
Ben Eine’s alphabet street. Photo: David John Lewis.

Culture petri dish

I recommend next time you’re in this part of the country, pop down to Hastings and have a look around, there are lots to see and do, it’s amazing the variety on offer, crack out the ol’ Tripadviser.

Yes, deprivation is around, as it is in most places, but it’s not a hindrance, as I find it’s often a catalyst for regeneration, new art, and renewed community spirit. It is the home to the Jerwood Gallery and ‘has developed its reputation as one of the UK’s cultural centres’, read Culture Trips overview.

So see you there!

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Berlin: Graphic Design in the GDR

This May Lara and I headed out to Berlin for a long weekend, the sun was out and it felt like the start of summer – with temperatures passing 25°C for the first time this year.

It was my third visit, Lara’s first, to the cosmopolitan city and we enjoyed the food, the drink, the hospitality, and the availability of vegan currywurst!

Vegan currywurst from Curry at the Wall Berlin Mitte, opposite the Topography of Terror
Vegan currywurst from Curry at the Wall Berlin Mitte, opposite the Topography of Terror

Berlin has a plethora of museums, with countless exhibitions on the go to, one that caught my eye was an exhibition on GDR graphic design at the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge (Museum of Things).

Masse und Klasse: Graphic Design in the GDR. Flyer, 2016.
Masse und Klasse:
Graphic Design in the GDR. Flyer, 2016.

The exhibition presented a wide range of designs, for books, periodicals and phonograph records, as well as packaging, advertising and posters – works of commercial graphic design for mass production that shaped the day-to-day visual environment of East Germany.

‘The exhibition examines the characteristics of this part of the GDR’s aesthetic culture. What images, typefaces, materials and colours were used; what traits and qualities or references to international trends can we discern?

‘“Masse und Klasse: Graphic Design in the GDR” introduces illustrative examples of the people and organisational structures involved, and investigates the potentials and limitations of graphic design in the East Germany. Themes include the improvisation driven by an environment influenced by scarce resources and political exigencies.

‘With a nuanced look at the various fields of graphic design, the exhibition questions widespread judgements on the aesthetics of day-to-day life in the GDR – often described “grey” or “pallid”.’

– words of Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge (Museum of things)

David Bowie – Letterform Live

Grafik bring you Letterform Live, in partnership with Monotype and the ISTD, a series of talks – all about type, typography, and the design process.

At each event speakers zoom in on a single letterform, exploring both its visual form as well as the story behind it, sharing their letter’s little-known secrets and reveal their personal relationship with the letter they’ve chosen.

This April’s Letterform Live theme celebrates the late David Bowie and those who were luck enough to work closely with him. Speakers included Jonathan Barnbrook, Tom Hingston, Morag Myerscough and Julian Morey.

Julian Morey

Morey kicked off the night with a light-hearted in-depth observation of a record, The Visitor, featured in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) which starred Bowie. From identifying the designer, to the typeface, and the image featured on the cover. The talk was intensely fascinating and for an object that only appears in the film for about a minute – quite impressive to what Morey had discovered. I shan’t share his story, as it is his to tell, and I hope he continues to recount his obsession at future gigs.

The man who fell to earth (1976)

Morag Myerscough

Myerscough delighted us with some nostalgic stories of her childhood and the music she listened to with her sister. The letter she had chosen to focus on was the letter ‘K’ featured on the cover of David Bowies Hunky Dory (1971). It was interesting to hear the thoughts of an artist who disregards all the house rules (like Bowie), experimentation with the letterforms, and her experiences with the popular rub-down type – Letraset.

Hunky Dory (1971) by David Bowie

Tom Hingston

Hingston kindly shared with us the story behind the video of David Bowie’s Sue (Or in a Season of Crime) (2016), from concept to creation. Showing us behind the scenes of how the elements, and tangents in the creative process, led to the final shoot – somewhere in south London with a big arse projector, smoke machines, and mysterious characters. The outcome is beautiful and fitting, inspired by 1930/40s film noir.

Jonathan Barnbrook

Finally Barnbrook delighted us with the journey to the creation of Black Star (2016), David Bowie’s last album released shortly before his death. Without knowledge of Bowie’s condition it seemed a fitting tribute, as it followed the subject of mortality. A coincidence some people cannot believe, as Barnbrook recounts many a time people have questioned him, such as relating the character code with special dates etc.

Barnbrook used Unicode Character ‘BLACK STAR’ (U+2605), an open source graphic language, and further made all artwork created as free to use under Creative Commons on bowieblackstar.net.

The broken up star shapes make the word ‘Bowie’.

Black Star (2016) by David Bowie

SpeechStorm acquired by Genesys

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In December 2015 Genesys acquired SpeechStorm in a move to enhance their omni-channel contact centre solution.

Genesys, is a company that sells customer experience and call centre technology to mid-sized and large businesses. It sells both cloud-based and on-premises software.

Wikipedia (February 2016)

I’ll be working with a new brand in the near future so I thought it appropriate to look back over the year. It was logical for a small company like SpeechStorm to hire a dedicated in-house graphic designer to meet their creative needs, it showed me that the company understood the benefits of, and appreciated, good graphic design. I immersed myself into the brand, becoming a guardian of some sort, leading visual identity decisions and advising on design related queries on UX/UI.

SpeechStorm year in review

Branded material, photography, and video from over the last 12 months at SpeechStorm.

 

Offset

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Two-day art and design event in London

Dublin-based art and design conference set up shop bang in the centre of London’s creative community, at Shoreditch Town Hall, the programme consisted a whole host of notable speakers.

Attending: Johnny Kelly, Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer), Seb Lester, Yasmeen Ismail, Maser, Pony, Andy Stevens (Graphic Thought Facility), Rachel Thomas, Aisha Zeijpveld, and more.

Representing industry at all levels, speakers are key disruptors and influencers in their field driving everything from huge global campaigns to awe inspiring personal projects.

There is a sense of celebration of cross-pollination of disciplines to be had with guests working in many disciplines animation, fashion, graffiti, graphic design, illustration, craft and more. With a general focus on their journey and strategy – the creative process – rather than the product of their efforts.

Highlights included Andy Stevens’ insight into Graphic Thought Facility’s wayfinding and identity work for Hult International Business School in East London. The studio visited the Evening Standard’s print room and were given a copy of the alphabet used to make its headline posters, which it used to create a series of phrases in the style of newspaper headlines, again using Cockney rhyming slang about money.

‘Visually they’re very simple – there’s not a lot of richness – but the language is quite opaque,’ says Stevens.

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Erik Kessels of KellelsKramer spoke wise words; ‘It’s not so much about learning from your mistakes,’  he told the London audience. ‘It’s more about deliberately going towards your mistakes to change your creative process. Confusion is crucial.’

He advises making an idiot of yourself once a day. ‘If no one hates your work, no one loves it.’

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Poster campaign – It can’t get any worse
Poster campaign - It can't get any worse
Poster campaign – It can’t get any worse

One of my favourite speakers was Johnny Kelly, Nexus Productions director, who believes in working with nice people. He is willingly ready to credit his successes to the people he works with. He also had advice to ensure with every pitch, won or lost, that you can take something away. ‘I try and learn something new with each pitch,’ he said, adding that this way he can walk away with a new technique or tool, even if he doesn’t win the pitch.

‘I’m also quite good at keeping ideas and using them again for something else,’ he said.

Finally Vince Frost gave us a rundown on his self-motivational book, Design your life, which deals with applying design principles to our everyday life. With the belief that design is fundamental to every aspect of our existence, this most recent publication is in response to the applications that changed him in terms of ambition and design practice.

I hit one too many walls. I was designing and redesigning everything else but myself. I tried outsourcing my problems but it didn’t work so I decided through desperation that I would tackle my life problems as if they were briefs. As a result I feel stronger and more alive. Life is a learning process. Instead of being intimidated by aiming for perfection just start taking incremental steps.

I know whats on my Christmas list… *wink wink*

Offset
12–13 November 2015
Shoreditch Townhall, London