Observed: Eric Lacombe

Curiosities: Notes Left with Children at the NY Foundlings Hospital

Daughter of Mr. Keefee - 00

Edward - 00

Harry Oliver - 00

Reginald - 00

William - 00

Due to hardship and poverty, the abandonment of infants in New York in the late 1860′s was unfortunately not a noteworthy occurrence. The beginnings of the New York Foundling Asylum of the Sisters of Charity was brought by the need of mothers and fathers with no options left. Response was immediate, a baby was left with Sister Irene and her two companions before their preparations were even completed. A large number of babies followed, and their institution grew to support them over time.

Pinned notes often accompanied these infants and offered a glimpse of the heartbreak the parents or custodians must have felt when leaving their child behind. The New York Historical Society has a small collection of these notes from the Foundling Asylum which they have shared in a few albums on their Flickr page.


Design Curiosities: Objektiv by Bruno Mello

Objektiv 1

Objektiv 2

Objektiv 4

Objektiv 3

Geometric sans serif typefaces first appeared in the early 1920s with the rise of modernism and the machine age. As design and architecture moved towards purity and simplicity, typography sought unity and rationality. The original grotesque typefaces of the 19th century would no longer suffice, formal purity demanded that the circle, triangle, and square be celebrated. The resulting letterforms were characterized by this geometric construction, owing more to mathematical forms than to the calligraphic letter.

In 1927, Paul Renner defined the genre with Futura, arguably the most popular sans serif of the mid 20th century. Futura was not alone though—Rudolf Koch’s Kabel (1927), Wilhelm Pischner’s Neuzeit Grotesk (1928), Dick Dooijes’ Nobel (1929), and Herb Lubalin’s Avant Garde (1968) all became broadly used standards of geometric type design.

In recent years there has been renewed interest geometric letterforms. A number of robust geometric interpretations have been designed that are better suited to handle contemporary typographic demands. LL Circular and FF Mark come to mind. Dalton Maag’s Objektiv by Bruno Mello is a welcome addition to this short list—it comes in 7 weights with three style variants.

Curiosities: Examples of Penmanship & Typography from the BHL









A consortium of botanical and natural history libraries, the Biodiviersity Heritage Library is working towards digitizing their collections of public domain journals and books. It is an endless resource of images and information that can be used freely, depending on its copyright status. Delving through the collection led to an unexpected discovery of many beautiful examples of penmanship and typography.

※ The images above were edited for DC, originals are below.

Purple Magnolia
Der Penguin
Le Penguin

Biol. bentr.Am
Wild Sweet Pea
Field Museum
The Sea
The Goosebeek’d Whale
Pigeon Blondinette Noir
Noir Pigeon Satinette

Design Curiosities: Book Covers by Daniel Benneworth-Gray

Gray 1

Gray 2

I love it when designers focus, but Daniel Benneworth-Gray is honing an aesthetic that really inspires me. He has figured out how to imbue the most minimalist of compositions with warmth and surprise. In addition to his prolific book cover output, he also writes regularly for Creative Review and his own newsletter, Meanwhile.

Observed: Eric Lacombe









Graphic designer and artist Eric Lacombe’s work focuses on the melancholy that goes along with feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness. Something about his style reminds me of Stephen Gammell’s illustrations for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but Lacombe’s work is decidedly different. His portraits are dark and rich, and have depth and feel dimensional. The dour-looking subjects of his latest exhibition, The Weight of Silence, are tormented hybrids and creatures dealing with the, ” indefinable perceptions anticipating death.” It is currently on view at the Last Rites Gallery in NYC until the 16th of April.