A Dog-Gone Good Campaign

For years, I’ve been a fan of illustrator Mark Ulriksen. Over the last several months, I received several emails from him seeking donations to his Kickstarter campaign for a new book. To find out the how and why, I spoke to him at his San Francisco studio.Q: Mark, I know your work from years of...

Arabic and Iranian Typography Show Unites Middle East

A woman who grew up in Syria and a man with Persian roots walk into CalArts. Jump ahead six years: They’re now passionately united in their goal to inspire a widespread design movement. Maece Seirafi is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer with an avid interest in both Latin and non-Latin type. She developed her love...

The New Maya Language of Frida Larios

Until the Spanish Conquistadores plundered Mesoamerica in the 16th century, Maya civilization flourished for more than 3000 years. The Maya created monumental architecture and highly developed systems of mathematics, astronomy, and picto-syllabic writing. If you’ve visited archeological sites in Mexico or Central America—say, Chichén Itzá, Tulum or Palenque—you’ve seen the hieroglyphs carved into the ancient...

LACMA’s New Graphic Design Collection Plans

The West Coast became the center of America’s graphic design universe in the mid-1980s. Naturally, it began with April Greiman and Emigre and their California Apples. And it expanded with Katherine McCoy’s Cranbrook vision invading CalArts. This fact’s not that apparent from examining entrenched attitudes, and even advisor lists, of prominent East Coast museums: It’s...

Roasting Robbie Conal: Eerie, Irascible Poster “Poseur”

Robbie Conal, infamous street graphics rabble-rouser, was recently broadsided on his home turf by a sneak-attack art exhibition. It was meant to honor—and ridicule—him. And so it did, quite cleverly and often quite hilariously. The show was titled “Poster Roast.” It was curated by a couple of his students and held at the art gallery...

Massimo Vignelli: Creator of Timeless Design and Fearless Critic of “Junk”

The design world mourns Massimo Vignelli, who died on Tuesday, May 27, at age 83. The Print community sends condolences to his wife and creative partner Lella Vignelli and their children Luca and Valentina.Massimo Vignelli with the program, designed by Michael Bierut, for the Architectural League President’s Medal event, which he and his wife and...

Art for Comics and Storyboards: What’s the Difference?

Aaron Sowd and Trevor Goring have a lot to say about the art of narrative storytelling. Aaron’s worked on movie storyboarding and concepting for Steven Soderbergh and Michael Bay, comics for Marvel and DC, art for Apple and Netflix, designs for theme parks and video games, and illustrations for the New York Times and People Magazine. Trevor’s...

Elwood Smith: From Famous Artists School to Becoming a (Real) Famous Artist

Do you remember the Famous Artists School ads on matchbook covers and in the back of magazines like Life and Look and The Saturday Evening Post? If you’re over a certain age and your scribbles and paint dabs had been selected to be on school bulletin boards since kindergarten, you might have been intrigued, as...

Famous Graphic Novelists Discuss Inspiration, Education, and Digitization

When a panel of four esteemed graphic novelists have only an hour to address an auditorium packed with eager fans, it’s unlikely they can cover very much in very great depth. And thus it was when Ben Katchor, Mimi Pond, Anders Nilsen, and Vanessa Davis gathered at USC for “Illustrating the Point” at the L.A...

Collage Artist Justin Lieberman Cuts to the Chase

For designers who find imaginative, experimental publications sexy, Printed Matter’s second L.A. Art Book Fair was an orgy of visual delights. An international array of over 250 exhibitors displayed thousands of books — from the handprinted to the mass produced — throughout MOCA’s labyrinthian Geffen Contemporary. The four-day event attracted 25,000 visitors and garnered critical...

When Designer Becomes Client

When you write a book, generally speaking, you don’t get to design the cover. That’s up to the marketing department at the publishing house. Chip Kidd has given great talks about all the unhappy authors who didn’t trust their publishers’—and his—vision.If you’re a graphic designer, you’re often invited to design the cover of your own...

New Jersey’s Got Talent, Ya Know!

Those of us who reside east of the Hudson and west of the East rivers are grateful we don’t live anywhere else. Yet, despite all the Jersey put downs, it’s not such a bad place. In fact, aside from bridge lane closings and the incredible number of Jersey mayors on trial or in prison for...

The Pleasures of Pattern Design: Lotta Kühlhorn Q&A

Pattern-lovers, you’ll want to gobble this up. Gestalten Verlag’s new Designing Patterns by Lotta Kühlhorn gives a smart, candid, rollicking tour through one illustrator’s life-long fascination with everything pattern-related. The book skips effortlessly between pragmatic tips on pattern-making  and pattern design to a personal imaginarium of sorts, in which Kühlhorn reveals how thinking in patterns...

Bradbury Thompson’s Ga Ga Moment

With all Bradbury Thompson‘s (1911- 1995) typographic accomplishments as editor/designer of Westvaco Inspirations, design of the “Washburn Bible” and countless other works, it’s easy to forget he was art director of Mademoiselle magazine.This 1952 issue is an important example of how he steered this magazine for young women into the calm waters of economical typography,...

The Winter Brothers v. DC Comics: Parody and Monsters

Censorship of printed material just keeps on coming. Even as “Sex and Design,” Print’s February issue that included my 12-page feature about banning comic books, was at the printer Apple Inc. was rejecting Image Comics’ acclaimed Sex Criminals from in-app purchase. This brought the computer giant’s 2013 list of forbidden comics to nearly 60. It...

Hooray for Twisted, Filthy, Disgusting Comic Books!

When Imprint began back in 2010, my first contribution was an interview with the entrepreneurial Craig Yoe, in which he wondered whether cartoonists these days ever get laid. Yoe is a cartoonist himself, as well as a designer, historian and publisher of popular comic art books. His catalog line ranges from Archie and Veronica, Felix...

The Enduring Power of Posters to Promote and Provoke

As Carol A. Wells sees it, “The best posters are powerful and influential. The worst are quickly forgotten.” Wells is an art historian and curator who also oversees the largest collection of socially engaged post-WWII graphics in the U.S. And she’s one of seven design experts who curated Serigrafía, a survey of posters that focus...

Italo Lupi Sees All, Does All, Shows All

Italo Lupi and Italian Graphic Design are synonymous. Born in Cagliari in 1934, he lived in various places in Italy before residing in Milan, where he graduated from the faculty of architecture at the Polytechnic University. His design career began in concert with Mario Bellini and Roberto Jewelers as three co-art directors for the Office...

FHK Henrion Remembered, Revisited, Regaled

My nominee for the best design monograph of 2013 is FHK Henrion: The Complete Designer (Unit Editions). Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook started Unit Editions a couple of years ago. Since then their business model, to sell only online through their own website, has proven extremely successful. They have also an excellent list of titles that...

A Life in Books: A Typography and Design Tour de Force

Warren Lehrer, a founding faculty member of the Designer as Author MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and head of the graphic design program at Purchase College, SUNY, has spent a decade writing and designing a book that is way more than a book. A Life in Books: The...