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A Stopgap as Design Curiosities becomes Curiosity and Curiosities

curiosityandcuriosities

In an effort to bring more unique and thoughtful content to our site we’ve been discussing and working on what changes we need to make. As those changes are taking place behind the scenes, and to let you know that we are still here, you can find us at Curiosity and Curiosities. We are sharing visual content daily as a stopgap for this transition.

Design Curiosities: Vanessa Lam for Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

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Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty showcases some of Degas’ most experimental and radical works—notably 120 rarely seen monotypes. To accompany the exhibition, Vanessa Lam, senior graphic designer at MoMA, created a custom typeface inspired by a French type specimen from the same period as the work in the show. Simplifying aspects of the typeface that were too decorative, the result is historical for sure but unmistakably contemporary.

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty will be up at MoMA through July 24.

※ Photographs by Vanessa Lam and Andrew Toth

Design Curiosities: Objektiv by Bruno Mello

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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

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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
Melanocephalis
Flabellatus
Gemellata
Vesicatoria
Xyridaceae
Penguin
Der Penguin
Le Penguin

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

Design Curiosities: Mériva by NEW LETTERS

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NEW LETTERS is a German typography and graphic design studio founded by Armin Brenner and Markus John just last year. Their latest typeface, Mériva, is a contemporary and charming take on the Grotesque sans-serif. Remaining true to it’s lineage, Mériva is a bold family optimized for longer sizes and headlines. I can’t wait to see what these guys create next, I’m anticipating great things from their partnership.