The Hot Retro Design of the “Burly Q”

The Hot Retro Design of the “Burly Q”

When I go browsing in our local vintage shops I always check out the racks of flyers and promotional cards for various local bands and businesses. Sometimes I find a graphic design treasure, and last weekend that treasure was a half-page, two-sided promo card for a movie called Behind the Burly Q which is coming out on DVD next spring. …


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Beehive Collective

So I’m on vacation with the kids and we happened to stop in to Finelli’s Pizza in Ellsworth, Maine. On the wall in Finelli’s is a mural-style poster of a banner opposing the Free Trade Area of the Ameircas from Beehive Collective, which reminded me that I had intended to give them a plug after seeing their work displayed at …


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The Colors of Tiny Wings

Now this is an odd thing to cover here, but nothing interesting should be off limits. There’s a popular game for the iPhone and iPad which caught my eye because it has the most remarkable use of color. The designer is Andreas Illiger and in addition to being able to design a fun, playable game, he has a real eye …


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The Art of Sideshow Banners

A couple of weeks ago I took my daughter to the Travis County Rodeo, not so much for the animals and shows, as for the accompanying carnival run by Crabtree Amusements. They have some excellent rides, but what always catches the eye is that for larger events they also bring along their classic sideshow. What draws your eye to the …


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Flatstock 29: A Plethora of Posters in Austin

For the second year in a row I braved the crowds and the chaos which is the South by Southwest festival in Austin to check out the Flatstock poster show at the Austin Convention Center. It was a great experience last year, and I was not disappointed to find much more of the same this year. As a graphic designer …


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New Austin Posters in Comic Book Style

As I roam restlessly through the coffee shops of Austin (and it’s wall to wall coffee shops), I can’t keep my eyes off the poster covered walls (everywhere but in the soulless corporate wasteland of Starbucks) where a remarkable and ever-changing selection of posters showcase some of the most interesting and creative art in the city. With all the theaters …


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Letterpress Poster Design for “Fight” in Austin

Austin has a rich and diverse artistic community and the different elements of it feed on each other. The many clubs and theatres provide great opportunities for graphic designers to produce unique show posters and all around town in restaurants and coffee houses and ice cream shops there are poster walls where the work of these designers is on view …


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The St. Nicholas Font Put to Good Use

Recently, one of our customers who goes by the nom de net of Ghostfire, contacted us about some minor improvements she had in mind for our St. Nicholas font. In the process, she brought to our attention an example of some work she had done with the font, and I thought that her work was worth sharing as a clever …


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The Jugend Tarot Deck

I recently came upon a rare and unexpected discovery in one of my favorite rare book stores, a set of tarot-style playing cards issued as a bonus insert in the 1892 edition of the classic German Art Nouveau magazine Munchner Jugend. The card set was designed by Julius Diez and features woodcut-style images with color highlights in red, green and …


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Political Signs: the Bold and the Baffling

In the next few weeks we’re all going to see an awful lot of political signs. Every candidate has them, from the lowliest office to the highest in the land, and based on the variety of designs there’s no absolute consensus on what makes one effective. I’ve thought about this before. I’ve even designed quite a few fonts specifically for …


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Daniel Martin Diaz and the Lowbrow Tarot

I started out researching some posters I’ve collected from shows at various Austin theaters over the past few months and then I got to riffing through google and chanced into something interesting, the Lowbrow Tarot project, a showcase for 23 illustrators and designers. What particularly caught my eye was the card back designed by Daniel Martin Diaz. It is exactly …


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Ken Featherston Posters from the Armadillo

This past weekend I attended an auction here in our little town just outside Austin. I was there to help work concessions, but as sometimes happens I also found something interesting to bid on. This time I hit the motherload. In among a variety of the usual household goods from someone’s estate was an envelope stuffed with classic show posters …


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Heidelberg Archive of Jugend Magazine

One of the great expressions of the Art Nouveau movement was the magazine Munchner Jugend which became the focus of an entire movement of German art known as Jugenstil. Copies of Jugend are getting expensive and far behind, but in a recent search for something else I stumbled on an archive of scans of issues of Munchner Jugend from 1896 …


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The Design World of Ross MacDonald

As sometimes happens, my teenage daughter the design maven, pointed my attention to a very interesting website, in this case showcasing the work of printer and designer Ross MacDonald (not to be confused with the pulp novelist who authored the Lew Archer series). His specialty is producing antique looking original printed works using old technology and clever tricks. He’s designed …


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Hatch Show Print Exhibit in Austin

Austin Museum of Art for a month to see the Hatch Show Print exhibit. It’s a collection of historical posters from one of the most famous poster printers in the world. Hatch has been producing show posters since the 19th century and is still printing using traditional letterpress and hand-cut woodblock art. Their posters are iconic in the history of …


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Review: Flatstock 24 at SXSW

As an Austinite, no amount of effort can keep me from being aware of the South by Southwest festival.  It takes over the city for almost two weeks, makes travel impossible, and fills every coffee shop with unkempt hipsters with man-purses and Zach Galifianakis beards. I manage to avoid most of the activities, mainly because I can't see paying thousands …


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