The 2022 PRINT Typography Report – PRINT Magazine

Getting that perfect blend of California’s dreamy sunshine and unmatched street style came from blending each studio’s nostalgia trips. Fast Company reported that Fairey was “inspired by classic art deco, hand-painted signage, and Mexican restaurant scripts.” While, according to their Instagram feed, the “House kids devoured everything birthed from LA while growing up on the east coast. From hot rods to Hollywood, modernism to music, Los Angeles has embodied everything that inspired us to start our design studio. Still, we all knew that Ken’s [Barber] raw marker sketch captured that scriptural spirit we love about an Alva deck, a Kings snapback, and the Musso & Frank’s neon sign.”

Megan Bowker shares the same perspective. Despite growing up in one of America’s most desolate places, she found inspiration in the mundane. “I grew up in Alaska, which is so removed from visual culture,” she says. “There are just strip malls, so people make fun of me because I like the boring-est shit.

I love Times New Roman. It’s something you see every single day, but it’s timeless and well crafted.

Megan Bowker

She can even remember when she became aware of the designed world. “I was at Walmart when I was seven years old, and I asked my Mom who made the toothpaste packaging. I recognized that it was someone’s job.”

And that’s still what she finds most rewarding about design now. “I think the point of anything we make is to connect to someone. I am so inspired by making really accessible packaging for Target because we are creating artifacts that live in people’s homes. And things that live in people’s homes, people have memories of, and it makes up their lives. You make their life more delightful.”

It’s with this spirit she created the design of Target’s More Than Magic line, an inclusive brand for tweens that, according to the COLLINS’ case study, “says yes to magic, self-expression, and a sequence or two.” 

“I was designing for my young self,” Bowker says of her wistful longing. “We were inspired by our own nostalgia and thinking about Lisa Frank and the things that appealed to us. In thinking about the voice for this brand, I saw the assortment of products, and it was like unicorns and tutus.” 

The initial girliness of the brand was a challenge at first. But Bowker shared that Brian Collins encouraged her and the team to lean into it and not hide it. The final wordmark, which is as charming as meeting a tween with all the dreams in the world, gets supported by an all-embracing color palette. The magic of the illustrated wordmark is that the word “girly” now can have infinite meaning.  

“Someone actually unpacked in on Fonts in Use, and they figured it out! We blended two fonts to get the right characters we wanted,” she admits about the tye. The team used a modified version of Dave Rowland’s Quinella, sometimes with caps from Duckie (also his). The secondary packaging typeface is Armin Brenner’s Voltaire.

“You will always have a love for the things that you did when you were young, and now we are the ones informing visual culture,” she says.

Choosing type is an expression of your identity. You can’t pinpoint why you’re drawn to it, but it’s based on who you are, your experiences, the association that you had through time.

Megan Bowker

Even for Durham, some typography selections come with personal nostalgia and history. Take their branding for Cigar Club.

“I wanted it to look like something that could be in the Playboy Club back in the 70s,” says Austin Dunbar. Like if it was a matchbook on the table. From the A to the R, there was an oval drawn there to knock off the serifs, so you had this nice rounded nature that rounded you up to the C. To me, good is in the details.” So even for a type purist like Dunbar, who promises that his tombstone will say “Austin let the type do the talking,” typography is not unfettered from the associations a designer holds within memory and the nostalgia trips booked daily. 

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