An article by Cheryl Yau for PrintMag

As pedestrians meander swiftly through urban grids, confronting billboards, scrolling through incoming texts and saturated Twitter feeds simultaneously, London-based designer Amandine Alessandra demands that they pause…with the use of typography.

Eager to step away from digital fonts and ubiquitous desktop publishing software, Alessandra frequently turns to the urban environment, found objects and the human body as a resource for typography. She calls herself a live-type maker. “I have nothing against computers. I use lots of programs and I’m not saying one shouldn’t use them,” she explains, “I just think it’s nice to question your tools.” Alessandra’s typographic work not only challenges her viewers to consider the tools they use to communicate, but to be open minded about what letters could look like. Distorted by low-tech and unrefined methods of construction, each letter designed by Alessandra depends on the reader’s imagination for interpretation. “It’s accepting that if it looks vaguely like an A, it can be an A,” Alessandra states. “I think it’s a very postmodern approach to typography.”


Inviting her audience to think and look more closely at the letterforms has been an ongoing goal in Alessandra’s work. Her latest project Dance with Me utilizes long exposure photography to capture letterforms created by micro-choreographed movements. Clothed entirely in black, each dancer uses quick short motions to draw a letter in the air with their hands. Each letter is a ghosted silhouette – the result of repetitive movement accumulated in a single static image. Coming from a background of photography, Alessandra prefers to use long exposure or stop motion over video to capture movement. “I find that video is quite difficult to share. Because you really take a lot of people’s time, even if it’s 10 seconds. People have very very low attention these days.”

Sharing is an important aspect to Alessandra therefore she often tries to organize performances in public spaces, stopping people in their tracks with her typographic installations. In 2010, as the final project for her masters at London College of Communication, Alessandra orchestrated an assembly of eight people to mimic a real-time digital clock in Liverpool Street Station. Dressed in black and a lime green bolero, each performer bent their arms and torsos to act out the numbers. Even amidst the rush hour crowds on a Friday evening, the group was able to attract curiosity from passer-bys. “Some people thought we were selling something, so they were trying to understand what the advertising was for,” Alessandra recalls.

In an earlier iteration of the same project, Alessandra had her performers occupy the crossing at Abbey Road, and spell out words such as wait, pause and hold in front of oncoming cars. She compares the Letterform for the Ephemeral project to guerilla advertising or an analog Tweet, as it allows her to disperse short messages at a very large scale without it being illegal. “It’s a bit like graffiti,” she says, “but it doesn’t damage anything.”

Alessandra draws inspiration for her activist typographic performances from a photograph of a student protest in May 1968, documented in Massin’s Letter and Image. Wearing big paper boxes with a letter written on each, the students gathered to spell something together. “If one of them was to be missing, the work wouldn’t mean anything anymore,” says Alessandra, who sees great value in collaboration and tries to use her work to facilitate collective experiences. “The idea of this typography was to question things, to question the passing of time, and to question how we can need each other to spread a message.” Her work draws attention and interaction, serving as social commentary of the current culture of speed.


At the time of her experimentation, Alessandra’s peers at school were skeptical her work would find any commercial application despite its visual appeal. But Euro RSCG Lisbon quickly reused her wearable letterforms for the launch of the site Optimus Kanguru, appropriating the bolero with bright colors. Alessandra’s use of the human form has appeared in numerous publications and her low-tech yet engaging work has caught the attention of many designers. Despite the abundance of media messages and overwhelming information we receive everyday, it seems Amandine Alessandra is a success in provoking us to pause for thought.

Side note: As I was finishing up this piece, I thought a lot about how Amandine drew her inspiration from a student protest, and how there is a very active protest among us right now…Occupy Wall Street! So this weekend I’m going to go with a few of my friends, and use Amandine’s medium to project the voice of the movement.


Read more: Pausing for Amandine Alessandra, By Cheryl Yau — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers

Shane McAdams: Ball Point Pen Paintings | ArtFlakes – Blog





Shane McAdams, an artist and writer living in Brooklyn, NY, created stunning paintings by just using ball point pens and resin. His technique involves some sort of elaborate method in which the chosen pen has its cartridge removed and its contents blown out on panels before the whole lot gets taken to a tanning salon for a bit of UV light-blasting.

via Shane McAdams: Ball Point Pen Paintings | ArtFlakes – Blog.

“My Favorite Museum Exhibit”: Butterflies eating a piranha

This is not a spot of whimsy, people. This kind of thing really does happen. In fact, you can watch a real-life example (with a less-threatening fish substituted in for the piranha) in a video taken in Alabama’s Bankhead National Forest.

The good news: The butterflies are not really carnivorous, per se. The bad news: What they’re actually doing is still pretty damn creepy.

It’s called “puddling” or “mud-puddling”. The basic idea works like this: Butterflies get most of their diet in the form of nectar. They’re pollinators. But nectar doesn’t have all the nutrients and minerals butterflies need to survive, so they have to dip their probosces into some other food sources, as well. Depending on the species of butterfly, those other sources can include: Mineral-rich water in a shallow mud puddle, animal poop, and (yes) carrion.

When butterflies puddle over a dead fish, though, they aren’t biting off chunks. Instead, they’re essentially licking the dead fish—going after salt and minerals that seep out of the dead animal as it decomposes. Bonus: Some butterflies also like to lick the sweat off of humans. And a few species of moth have been documented sucking blood and tears for living animals, including humans.

“My Favorite Museum Exhibit”: Butterflies eating a piranha – Boing Boing.

Shelf-Conscious, an article by Francesca Mari


Chris Killip, ‘The Library of Chained Books,’ Hereford Cathedral, Hereford, UK, 1992.

In the Middle Ages, when monasteries were the closest equivalent to a public library, monks kept works in their carrels. To increase circulation, these works were eventually chained to inclined desks, or lecterns, thus giving ownership of a work to a particular lectern rather than a particular monk. But as collections grew, surface space diminished, and books came to be stacked on shelves above the lectern, at first one and then many. The problem, of course, was that two books chained next to each another couldn’t be comfortably studied at the same time: elbows knocked; shackles clinked and tangled.

A selection from Odorico Pillone’s library with fore edges painted by Cesare Vecellio.

Hence the innovation of vertical storage. One book could be removed without disturbing the rest. Yet the transition was gradual. Books in monasteries retained their chains for some time, and many leather covers, particularly in private libraries, protruded irregularly, tricked-out as they were with embossing and jewels. Those books that did stand were oriented with their spines to the back of the shelf.

Sometimes an identifying design was drawn across the thick of the pages. A doctor of law just north of Venice named Odorico Pillone had Titian’s nephew, Cesare Vecellio, draw the fore edges of his books with scenes befitting their content. Other times a title label flagged off the inner edge of the cover or was affixed to the chain.

From The New York Times Shows You 65 Ways to Decorate with Books in Your Home, photographer unknown.

All text by Francesca Mari,

read all about it here: Paris Review – Shelf-Conscious, Francesca Mari.

Mandy Barker: SOUP

SOUP is a description given to plastic debris suspended in the sea,
and with particular reference to the mass accumulation that exists
in an area of The North Pacific Ocean known as the Garbage Patch.
The series of images aim to engage with, and stimulate an emotional
response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial
aesthetic attraction and social awareness. The sequence reveals a
narrative concerning oceanic plastics from initial attraction and
attempted ingestion, to the ultimate death of sea creatures and
representing the disturbing statistics of dispersed plastics having
no boundaries.

All the plastics photographed have been salvaged from beaches
around the world and represent a global collection of debris that
has existed for varying amounts of time in the world’s oceans.

The captions record the plastic ingredients in each image providing
the viewer with the realisation and facts of what exists in the sea.

Lover’s eyes

In the 18th and 19th centuries, wealthy British and European lovers exchanged “eye miniatures” — love tokens so clandestine that even now, in the majority of cases, it is impossible to identify their recipients or the people they depict.

Experts believe that there are fewer than 1,000 “lover’s eyes” in existence today.

Apparently, they were meant to be worn inside the lapel, near the heart. Damn romantic.

I discovered these just a few weeks ago in The Met’s Gallery 754 (one of my favorite parts of the new American Wing – all portrait miniatures). I’d love to see the show in Birmingham.

even*cleveland: lover’s eyes.



Last December, DesignMarketo was invited to show its first retrospection (yes, somewhere between a retrospective and an introspection, it’s a retrospection), DesignMarketo en Barcelona at Otrascosas de Villarrosas gallery in Barcelona in December 2011. The exhibition space looked amazing, designed by Lars Frideen and Jordi Canudas (waiting for pictures here! Anyone?), and featured a variety of products launched during various events organised, the BookSetting poster being one of them.

On this occasion, DesignMarketo also launched its first book, (designed by DesignMarketo themselves!) presenting designers, products and events from the main events organised so far. It includes an introduction text by Brit Leissler and the photographs I’ve been taking for DesignMarketo those past 3 years.

A4, 64pages, printed laser & Riso as an edition of 100 only.
Get it from here!

Thomas Forsyth: Drawing tops

Drawing Tops
A spinning-top, that uses a pen as the spindle, represents many of the core ideas behind my current work. It is recognisable, un-intimidating, and invites people to interact with objects that can lead to unpredictable results, or an emergent property. Simply through indulging in the enjoyable process of spinning the top a bi-product is created. Where the pen marks the surface, a beautiful map of the experience and events that have occurred is produced. I am able to draw, but I am not particularly talented at it and yet found that, through the interaction with these objects, I have created drawings that I am more proud of than any I have done before.

Why not have a go…

His Drawing Tops are now available to buy at: (UK) (UK & Worldwide)

Presentation @ LCC


As a London College of Communication alumni, I was asked to give a presentation of my work to students of the MA Graphic Design course, along with Adam Hypki, who presented his research on the meta-narrations built by the juxtaposition of at first glance unrelated images in daily newspapers, and their echo to History of Art. I was asked to discuss my research on typographic forms for ephemeral messages, emphasing the difficulties in finding a satisfying direction.
It’s always nice to look back to where an idea came from, what didn’t work, and how vastly the frame of work always seemed to expand, however narrowly you tried to pinpoint it.
I loved the refreshingly dynamic attitude of the students, who allowed the lecture to turn into the kind conversation about graphic design and semiotics that I would like to have more often.

Yes, More To Do Lists





Yes, More To Do Lists

I thought these were lost forever. Imagine my joy at finding them sandwiched in between the pages of some soon-to-be-thrown-out magazine. These are my brother and his partner’s to do lists. If you’ve been here for awhile, you may have seen the earlier iterations here, here and here. He has been feeding them to me over the past year or so. I gasp every time I look at them.

via Mrs. Easton » Blog Archive » Yes, More To Do Lists.

Light Stencils Commemorate Victims of the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake | Colossal



The 2011 Christchurch earthquake was the largest natural disaster in New Zealand’s history, claiming the lives of 181 people and leaving behind nearly $30 billion in rebuilding costs. Touched by the events of that February day, photographer Fabrice Wittner set out to confront the destruction the best way he knew how: by making art. His Enlightened Souls project utilizes large, human-sized stencils that are painted with light during long exposures, creating thin portraits that appear almost like holograms. Many more images and process shots can be seen here. Images courtesy the artist. (via behance)

Light Stencils Commemorate Victims of the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake | Colossal.

wind paintings






If there’s a single thing that keeps me working in design, it’s that moment when you look at something for the first time and it simply takes your breath away. That’s exactly what happened when I saw these beautiful Wind Paintings from artist Bob Verschueren. Verschueren worked in the 1970s and 80s using wind to create these stunning landscape pieces. Each work would focus on a material like iron oxide, yellow ochre or burnt umber, which was then laid out in linear patterns on the land. Verschueren would let the wind move and blow the pigments around and create an altered version of the shape that represented the stunning collaboration between man and nature. Though these pieces were created years ago, Tom at I Love Belgium is celebrating them on his fantastic blog and was kind enough to send them my way. Click here to check out more of Verschueren’s work online; it’s the sort of artwork that makes me want to throw this laptop aside and run outside. xo, grace

wind paintings | Design*Sponge.

1,000 Doors by Choi Jeong-Hwa







Doors was an enormous 10-story public art installation made from 1,000 reused doors by South Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa. From what I can tell it appears the piece was installed somewhere in Seoul in 2009. Choi discusses his process over on the Creators Project where he talks about becoming a public installation artist because he was unable to draw or paint, but would instead spend much of his time walking around the city discovering interesting trash and discarded objects and photographing it. (via ju est fou)

via 1,000 Doors by Choi Jeong-Hwa | Colossal.

Thomas Forsyth: Chess?

This is my mischievous challenge on the rigidly structured squares of the chessboard. I have introduced new components to the board, some of which may only emerge during play. This encourages players to communicate and have creative input rather than simply follow pre-determined rules. You can play spontaneously, or those who want a more strategic game can negotiate rules before the game commences. This all means that players don’t need to know how to play chess in order to participate.

Photography by Jonathan Green.

In Vino Veritas, Rainbow Edition @ the Barbican Centre


“At first glance, the Curve Gallery at the Barbican looks as if it has been transformed into a glorified gallery gift shop. Step inside, however, and you will notice that the objects adorning the sleek lacquered tabletop units possess an element of the surreal and idiosyncratic, including hacksaw shaped bread boards and tiny wind up music boxes.
This is the Design Den – the Barbican’s answer to a pop-up shop, keeping intact a design aesthetic befitting of its Brutalist location. Focusing on the applied arts, and in conjunction with DesignMarketo — ‘a platform that diffuses up-and-coming designers’ small or limited productions’ – the consumer cultural experience comes alive. (…)
Hato Press, a specialty printing and publishing house based near London Fields, showcase small notebooks of illustrations collated from test prints and mistakes in their studio. Their expertise in screen and Risograph print processes create beautifully constructed art books. Elsewhere, design fuses with humour, from the Ty DIY Edition Shower Curtain with marker pen (create your perfect shower curtain) to Amandine Alessandra’s In Rainbow Veritas, a plain white bistro tablecloth that reveals a flower blossom pattern when wine, curry sauce or tea is spilt on it. (…)”

Rosie Higham-Stainton,

Design Den
The Curve
Barbican Centre, Silk Street
London, EC2Y 8DS
Until 23 December 2011
Mon – Sat 10am – 8pm
Sun 12 noon – 8pm

Geoffroy Tory



Véritable icône bibliophilique, artisan du livre moderne, promoteur de la culture graphique, Geoffroy Tory reste et demeure un inclassable. Imprimeur officiel de François Ier, illustrateur attitré de Du Bellay, créateur de la cédille, de l’apostrophe et des lettres accentuées, ce maître de la mise en page est un père spirituel pour un grand nombre d’éditeurs, de typographes et de relieurs contemporains. Aussi n’est-ce pas un hasard si le Musée national de la Renaissance et la Bibliothèque nationale de France lui rendent aujourd’hui hommage.


Aleksandra Domanović: 19:30 Stacks







19:30 Stacks is a new series of sculptures by Aleksandra Domanović. They’re actually stacks of A4 and A3 paper with parts of photos printed on their side. To create this effect, Aleksandra made huge PDF files which she printed with an inkjet printer set to “border-less printing”. You can actually print one yourself: download this 5555 A4 pages PDF, print it out, place 1500 empty pages on top and 1500 at the bottom of the printed stack. Voila, you have one of the stacks.


19:30 Stacks – today and tomorrow.

Sofia Design Week: When life gives you bulgur, make lemonade


During the Sofia Design Week, DesignMarketo will present Lemonade For All, a new collection of specially commissioned products made by a selection of international designers. The new collection will be presented in their pop up shop/workshop, where they will be handing out freshly home-made lemonade to visitors.

For this occasion, I’m giving a cooking workshop entitles When life gives you bulgur, make lemonade, a twisted interpretation of the popular saying about doing the best of what you have. This is happening on Wednesday 15 June, 2-5pm, so please do pop in if you are in Sofia!

The workshops are free and opened to all. They are limited to about 10-15 people and booking by email is essential. Bookings are based on a first booked/first served basis. To register:

5 Open Art Space
1? Hristo Botev Blvd.
1606 Sofia, Bulgaria
(Next to “Pette Kiusheta”)
Open everyday 10am to 7pm.

More info, design, worskhops and lemonade here:

Show: Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig


TYPOTAGE invites Michael von Aichberger, Amandine Alessandra, Bela Borsodi, Alexander Branczyk, Andrew Byrom, Arnold Dreyblatt, Götz Gramlich, Sascha Grewe, MAGMA Brand Design, Ebon Heath, Susan Hefuna, Monika Heineck, Aoyama Hina, Domingo Kdekilo, René Knip, Vladimir Koncar, Eric Ku, Pantea Lachin, Sebastian Lemm, Thomas Mayfried, Niessen & de Vries, Julius Popp, Lisa Rienermann, Camilo Rojas, Stefan Sagmeister, Lee Stokes, Reona Ueda, Ralph Ueltzhöffer, usus,Bembo’s Zoo, zwölf to exhibit their typographic work at the Museum of the Printing Arts of Leipzig, Germany.

Workshops and Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig
May, 8th – July, 17th 2011

Clerkenwell Design Week 2011: Stop Motion Typography workshop

amandine_alessandraTypographic performance at Liverpool Street Station (18:00:00 – 19:00:00)

For Clerkenwell Design Week 2011 DesignMarketo is setting up at the Farmiloe Building on St John Street in collaboration with the Barbican Art Centre. I will be giving a (free) workshop based on stop motion and typography, using the iconic building space as a grid to produce a human typeface.
Wednesday 25.05.11 from 2-4pm

Also: do not miss Alexandre Bettler‘s workshop on mobile typography:
Thursday 26.05.11 from 5-pm

24-26 May 2011
34, St John Street, London

New collection: In Rainbow Veritas


Cutlery Use Dev Org, tablecloth Amandine Alessandra during A Dinner with DesignMarketo at the Barbican Gallery.



In Rainbow Veritas is a new edition of In vino Veritas, a plain white bistrot tablecloth that reveals its pattern as wine, blueberry juice, curry sauce or tea is spilled on it, diverting the attention away from an awkward situation, as an irregular pattern of flowers blossoms in the stain.
The new collection was recently launched in London at the dinner hosted by DesignMarketo
at the Barbican Gallery.

A limited series, hand printed in East London by All Cats Are Grey and sold on DesignMarketo.

LOVE on DesignMarketo

LOVE, for Japan—by Akinori Oishi

Like anyone this past week, we’ve been following the aftermath of the terrible events in Japan. We decided to produce a series of posters to support and encourage your donations. For the first poster we asked our friends Akinori Oishi to draw and All Cats Are Grey to print.

Silkscreen print, 2 colours, on Somerset “rough edges” 220g approx. 50×70cm—edition of 50.

More links:

Akinori Oishi

printed by:
All Cats Are Grey

Get it there: LOVE on DesignMarketo.