Helvetica, the movie

Appar­ently there are still peo­ple who haven’t seen this movie. You can rent it from here or even buy it and inflict it upon your mother, chil­dren, stu­dents, dogs – whomever you are try­ing to impress, shock or sim­ply bore.

Random

Ever since I used my first num­ber­ing stamp as a school­boy, these clever mechan­i­cal devices have fas­ci­nated me. I now print one on every piece that leaves our work­shop, even though they are really dif­fi­cult to print on a proof press. They require a lot of pres­sure and the plunger will even­tu­ally destroy the cylin­der because it is much higher than type and will also print on the trip back (if you don’t under­stand this jar­gon, this may not be for you).

Which didn’t stop me from try­ing to build a forme with 60 of these lit­tle suck­ers. It’ll take a lot of arrange­ment, adjust­ing the mak­eready and other para­me­ters to get them all to print fairly evenly, but I am not going to give up eas­ily. These pho­tos are from the first run which hasn’t yielded any pre­sentable results so far.

The cool thing will be that every time it prints, all 60 stamps will rotate by one digit. Every print will be ran­domly unique.

(the two top pic­tures are by Max Zer­rahn)
nummern
erik_nummerierwerk_72
nummerierwerke72
First proof

Steepest US streets

If you’re on a bicy­cle, this infor­ma­tion could be vital. As far as I expe­ri­enced from cycling around San Fran­cisco, they missed quite a few streets.

I like the fact that the graphic uses FF Meta.

Click the image to enlarge
Top 10 US steepest streets
Via fixr

The Public Domain Review

Among mil­lions of other good­ies, http://publicdomainreview.org also has a col­lec­tion of ani­mated gifs like this one:

backwardsrider

That site is a project of the Open Knowl­edge Foun­da­tion. They trawl through col­lec­tions of images, books, films, audio, essays and pick stuff that is obscure (i.e. well-hidden), amaz­ing, insane even. But always inter­est­ing and not eas­ily found else­where. And every­thing they pub­lish is under a Cre­ative Com­mons Attribution-Share Alike license. In other words: they charge no money so they make no money. I’ve put my money where my mouth is and donated. You should do like­wise, or else an amaz­ing resource like this one can­not exist.

Letterpress will save the world

We (my new gallery and let­ter­press work­shop, P98a in Berlin) printed a poster as a New Year’s gift for clients and friends at Eden­spiek­er­mann. Set in 16 cicero (approx. 17 pica) Akzi­denz Grotesk Halbfett (aka Medium) type made from Plakadur, Berthold’s resin-based mate­r­ial for large dis­play type. Two colours, 50x70cm (work it out for your­selves), printed on our Kor­rex Frank­furt. 100 posters, signed and num­bered. Here it hangs on the wall of Fer­di­nand Ulrich’s office at the Uni­ver­sity in Halle.
The poster next to it is by Alexan­der Roth who works at FontShop Inter­na­tional in Berlin and designs cool stuff, e.g. this site for FF Mark.
ferdinandPosters

More bicycles

Well, one more for now. Here in San Fran­cisco one needs a few more gears. I had a bicy­cle put together for me by Brad Woehl at Amer­i­can Cyclery in the city. The frame was made by Water­ford Pre­ci­sion Cycles in Wis­con­sin. I like Cam­pag­nolo and need 11 gears here in the hills. Athena is good enough for my less than pro­fes­sional needs.

I pub­lished these pic­tures before on this site, albeit smaller and with a warn­ing to bike thieves.

Still rides like a dream.

waterford_72waterford_gears72waterford_hub72waterford_stem72

Bicycles

My remarks in inter­views and videos about own­ing 13 bicy­cles has cre­ated quite a cor­re­spon­dence. Here now the proof, or rather, some proof that these bicy­cles do exist. I recently took pic­tures of the ones in Berlin (the oth­ers will fol­low). As you’ll see, there are only nine bikes here. Two more are in our lit­tle house in Cal­i­for­nia, two oth­ers at my son’s house in Lon­don and one more in Ams­ter­dam, parked down­stairs from the Eden­spiek­er­mann offices there. Which would actu­ally make it 14 bicy­cles if it wasn’t for the fact that one of them is not mine, but Susanna’s. I had it made for her birth­day, so it gets a pic­ture here but no count.

The Swiss Cresta is the all-purpose bike for Berlin when the weather is bad (like now in snow and ice) and when I have to carry more than my iPhone.

The Swiss Cresta is the all-purpose bike for Berlin when the weather is bad (like now in snow and ice) and when I have to carry more than my iPhone.

The Stevens trekking bike has been with me on the week-long rides somewhere in Germany every year. It is rugged enough for dirt roads and has enough gears to climb comfortably.

The Stevens trekking bike has been with me on the week-long rides some­where in Ger­many every year. It is rugged enough for dirt roads and has plenty gears to climb comfortably.

I bought this from my friends at Cicli Berlinetta, mainly for its colour. It rides well but is a little short for me and actually a little too shiny and flash.

I bought this Wil­ier from my friends at Cicli Berlinetta, mainly for its colour. It rides well but is too short for me and actu­ally a lit­tle too shiny and flash.

The De Rosa is also a little short for me but rides well. Its main attraction, however, are the infamous Delta brakes. They look great, but don’t ever try and adjust them – takes the best part of a day.

The De Rosa is also a lit­tle short for me but rides well. Its main attrac­tion, how­ever, are the infa­mous Delta brakes. They look great, but don’t ever try and adjust them – takes the best part of a day.

The infamous Delta brakes on the De Rosa.

The infa­mous Delta brakes on the De Rosa.

I bought this electric bike just to see whether it actually works. It doesn’t look as heavy as other pedelecs, but the battery on the handlebars doesn’t exactly look elegant either. It was designed by an architect, Hadi Teherani, and looks great, but at the expense of function. Quite frankly: I have never really used it, apart from around the block. But perhaps one day I’ll be grateful for some electric assistance.

I bought this elec­tric bike just to see whether it actu­ally works. It doesn’t look as heavy as other ped­elecs, but the bat­tery on the han­dle­bars doesn’t exactly look ele­gant either. It was designed by an archi­tect, Hadi Teherani, and looks great, but at the expense of func­tion. Quite frankly: I have never really used it, apart from around the block. But per­haps one day I’ll be grate­ful for some elec­tric assistance.

This is a single speed, converted from an old Viner frame. 48x16 gearing makes it slightly heavy to get going but fast once up there. My favourite bike for running around Berlin. Light enough to take it inside instead of locking it.

This is a sin­gle speed, con­verted from an old Viner frame. 48x16 gear­ing makes it slightly heavy to get going but fast once up there. My favourite bike for run­ning around Berlin. Light enough to take it inside instead of lock­ing and los­ing it.

This single speed was also made from an old Patelli racing bike. Susanna got it for her birthday in 2012. It has 48x19, so lighter to start but not quite as fast as the other single speed.

This sin­gle speed was also made from an old rac­ing bike, a Patelli. Susanna got it for her birth­day in 2012. It runs 48x19, so lighter to start but not quite as fast as the other sin­gle speed.

This was made for me by Dustin at Cicli Berlinetta. I take it out into the Grunewald but not around town.

This was made for me by Dustin at Cicli Berlinetta. I take it out into the Grunewald but not into traf­fic around town.

Sheep 3.0

An inter­view I gave to the peo­ple from Peach­pit when the third ver­sion of my book Stop Steal­ing Sheep and learn how to use type prop­erly came out.

1. How did you first become inter­ested in typog­ra­phy?
A printer in our neigh­bour­hood gave me a small table­top platen press and some type when I was 12.

2. Do you have a favorite type­face? Which one is it and why?
His­tor­i­cally it would be Berthold’s Block, because that was the first one I ever looked at closely and later redrew one of its vari­ants as one of my first excur­sions into type­design. But my favourite type­face of the day is the one that works really well for a project, whether it’s designed by myself or by one of my col­leagues. It helps that I am friends with a lot of type design­ers, so using their faces is also very personal.

3. Your book, Stop Steal­ing Sheep, is cel­e­brat­ing its 20th anniver­sary. How has the design world changed over the past 20 years?
Do we have 500 pages and doesn’t every­body know the answer? Seri­ously, that is too big a ques­tion to answer in one para­graph. The good news is that design becomes ever more impor­tant as the world grows more com­plex. Design­ers are inter­preters: we need to trans­late the world to peo­ple by mak­ing com­plex issues and processes vis­i­ble.
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