Tag Archives: typography

An Exhibit for Lunch

For many of us who work in an office, the lunch hour is the much-awaited seam in the day that hinges the morning and the afternoon. Many of us can end up end working through lunch depending on our respective workloads, but if we could have a little more liberty, what else could we ingest?

A small exhibition at the New York Public Library aims to answer that question — and bring to light a few other things that we might take for granted as we take our midday meal. The exhibit is deliciously rich with images and information but is also easy enough to walk through within the span of your lunch break.

Comprised mainly of printed material presumably from the library’s archives, the exhibit tackles how lunch gained evolved over a century, and how it developed its modern identity in New York City.

The exhibition design is bold and contemporary, using large typographic installations and vibrant colors throughout to supplement the similar tones in the printed material on display. The exhibit entrance drew you right in, with its bold typography in vibrant red.

I also loved the black on black treatment of this wall with the large typography, too.

Some cases had interesting backdrops – like this skyline drawing, which added a fluid, artistic dimension to the stark red and bold, streamlined text panels.

The artifacts also had interesting details — I loved seeing some of the vintage prints and graphics. Vintage graphic design is deliciously inspiring!

The exhibit is neatly packaged, not so different from a boxed lunch meal with perfect portions of content, graphics, and artifacts. It’s a brilliantly illustrated history of lunch — its origins, evolution, and intrinsic link to the rich culture of New York City.

All images original by Renée Alfonso

Posted in Culture, Design, Food | Tagged , ,

Judging Books by Covers

Books are meant to be read, and not just displayed for their good looks. But I’ve got to admit, when going book shopping, I look at the covers. Call me shallow, but after the author, a book’s cover design is the major factor in my purchase decisions.

In a roomful of books, the only way to not be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options is to breathe in the smell of paper and ink, go into a new age-y state of consciousness, and let the books call out to me. And how else can they call out except visually—using the language of colors, photography, typography, illustration, layout.


I like colors. I’m a kid like that. It’s no wonder then that I own a lot of children’s books, most of them acquired long after my official “childhood” has ended.

Cover illustration by Beth Parrocha-Doctolero

Photography and Illustration

I’m also a sucker for stunning images. Take this cover of George Orwell’s 1984. I was attracted by the dark circle nestled in the fuzzy blue one, against that expanse of white—up until I realized that it was an eye, and then it was ominously creepy, but still stunning.

That eye is creepy.


An awesome title would be a waste if it can’t be seen from a few meters away. The creative use of typography can capitalize on a word such as Swerve or Blindness, and make the book all the more grab-able.

Cover design by Adam Laszczuk

Here are a few other striking book covers I found around the web.

Image from the author's website

Cover design by Samantha Wall

Design by Lucy Ruth Cummins, photography by James Porto

A zombified portrait by William Beechley makes for a quirky, irreverent cover for a quirky, irreverent book. Cover design by Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd., and Doogie Horner.

Cover art by W.H. Chong

Cover design by Jon Gray

Tribute to Type

Classic alphatic cubes

Image from Blueberry Forest Toys

I’m pretty sure there was a time when those alphabet blocks were to me the most fascinating, most intriguing things ever! The letter E must have been mysterious, and distinguishing it from F challenging. And learning to spell C-A-T, well, that must have been a proud moment. But I can’t remember. I’m now so immersed in the day-to-day sea of words that I often take the letters for granted and hardly pay attention to them.

And so it’s just awesome to (re)discover that childhood wonder and be reminded of the beauty of every single letter in the alphabet–thanks to the artists and designers who come up with typefaces and the different products and art forms inspired by type.

Words convey meaning, but there’s tons of meaning too–non-verbal, emotional, and sometimes purely aesthetic–contained in the individual characters themselves, expressed eloquently through serifs, lines, curves, and flourishes–or lack of them. There’s subtext in the use of block type or script, bold or italic, grungy or kiddy.

I get a little tingly when I see type in places I don’t expect to find it, or where they’re used in strange new ways. And when they’re as fabulously executed as the typography in these images, I get a lot thrilled.

Alphabet chest of drawers

Alphabet drawers from Kent and London

Letter A for adecoration

From stephaninja.wordpress.com

Typography in a child's room

Image from snullemor.blogspot.com

Sans serif fonts

Sans Serif Typography Wood Wall Art by peppersprouts on Etsy

Lovely Aarabic typography necklace

This gorgeous necklace says “Eat Life / Shine Bright / Create Contradiction” in Arabic. From Stereo.type collection, a typographic jewelry collaboration of jewelry designer Mona Ibrahim & graphic designer Ebon Heath

This one says “Once upon a time in a land far far away.” also from Stereo.type

Typography in bar furniture

From Set 26

Typography poster depicting a hand

"White Hand Type" by DryBones90 at deviantart.com

Soap with letters

Typography Soap Bar from The Soap Lab

Eames chairs with quotes from the designers. From ilovedust.com

Typography lamp casting lettered shadows

Memento lamp designed by Hiroshi Yoneya and Yumi Masuko for tonerico-inc.com

Suede scarf from Little Factory

And now for a little comic relief… Watch some fonts duke it out in these videos.

Font Conference
Font Fight