Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kolaj Magazine is a quarterly, printed magazine about contemporary collage.

“Kolaj” is the Turkish word for collage and the phonetic spelling of collage in French.  Kolaj was as the title chosen for the magazine to honor Montreal, the home base for the publication, and to express the desire to see and present a global view of collage.

Great magazine for those of us who are obsessed with collage. A small format 8x10 but full of great collage examples. Shown here is issue three. I can't wait to have a free minute to read it. If you are interested, visit their website:



Monday, December 17, 2012


The Type Directors Club in New York City has been holding an annual competition for the best in typography (that is, the use of type in graphic design) since the 1950s. In 1997, James Montalbano and Paul Shaw founded TDC2, a second competition that dealt specifically with the design of typefaces. Together, they chaired the first two TDC2 competitions, and they have remained closely involved with it ever since.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Specimen General: Tome1

This is probably one of the most elegant type specimen books ever published. It is the 1926 catalogue for Deberny & Peignot, a French type foundry. The company was headed by Charles Peignot, (1897-1983) who make connections with famous French commercial artists such as A.M. Cassandre and Jean Carlu. Cassandra would later design a font named after Charles Peignot.

The catalogue was designed by Maximillen Vox and is a mixture of his own illustrations a hand drawn lettering. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

 Damien Hirst’s Butterfly room on display at the Tate Modern delights and amazes. The walls are lined with large white canvases on which, butterfly pupae are glued, ready to hatch. Emerging butterflies fly around the room landing on spectator’s shoulders, heads or arms. Individuals stand quietly as they anxiously signal a guard for the creature to be carefully removed.  The room is humid and the smell of rotting fruit and flowers engulfs the room. Feeding butterflies light on bowls of oranges and apples for a quick snack. I have always loved butterflies and have several collections of the beautiful creatures. My reaction to Hirst’s room evokes an entirely different response from the life cycle of a fly shown in the same exhibit. I am fascinated by the abandoned pupa still attached to the walls as rarely do you get to see those delicate chrysalises at close range. Naturally colored in cream, gold and pink – they deposit fluids that drip down the boards. Some visitors wonder if this is butterfly blood. The only thing missing from the exhibit was a magnifying glass, as I would have loved to look closer at the intricate detail of each species. Not only was there variation in size and color, some seemed to be carefully dotted with gold leaf and glistened in the light. Hirst's butterflies are common tropical species, such as the owl butterfly and the heliconius, a family of striking broad-winged butterflies. These are supplied by Natural History Museum's butterfly house, and are chosen for their colors, longevity. The Butterflies die after a couple days and are carefully collected for the next stage of their life, which is to be carefully applied to Hirst’s butterfly paintings. Is it cruel to have spent the few days in a room to eventually become part of a painting? That can be debated but we do know that Hirst's butterflies encourage us to reflect on how ephemeral life is for every insect – and even for their human spectators. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One thing is certain, you are not likely to leave a Damien Hirst exhibit feeling ambivalent, indifferent or lacking in an opinion about his work. The Tate Modern’s exhibition of Hirst’s work leaves you with a spectrum of emotions and opinions. As I walked through the exhibit, I felt both repulsed and delighted. I saw nature at it’s best and at it’s worst. The exhibit challenges the idea what is of art? It also has you asking is Damien Hirst a genius or hoax? Damien Steven Hirst is an English artist, entrepreneur and art collector. He is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists, who dominated the art scene in Britain during the 1990s. If you watched the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London you saw his work. Hirst produced a 5,600 square meter spin-painting version of the Union Jack, which became a giant dance floor for athletes and 80,000 spectators during the performances of Liam Gallagher from Oasis, the Spice Girls and Monty Python’s icon Eric Idle. Indeed, a spectacle of significant magnitude. Leading us to ask the question is he an artist or entertainer? One thing we can say, he is a very successful businessman.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I have to admit I could never have imagined the sheer volume of brands and the fascinating evolution each brand has taken. The museum is a culmination of over 25 years' research and collecting by social historian Robert Opie. His collection, the largest of its type in the world, now numbers over 500,000 items relating to the history of our consumer society.  We all have grown to appreciate the value of packaging and the role it plays in consumer purchasing. However, Robert Opie began his collection in 1963 when the idea of appreciating packaging for it’s own sake was in its infancy. Legend has it that at 16 years old he saved a chocolate wrapper, which launched his obsession with packaging.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

If you are looking for a Museum in London that is “off the beaten track,” try a trip to the Brand Museum a few short blocks from Portobello Road. If you can tear yourself away from the famous antique market, all you need to do is walk just a few blocks east to find an amazing collection of advertising, packaging and identity evolution. It is a must for packaging geeks.

Not easy to find, as it is tucked away in a residential section but well worth the effort. For a modest entrance fee, you can truly take a trip back in time as you maneuver through a complex maze of displays. (Not recommended for those suffering from claustrophobia as once you enter, there is no immediate return.) You will snake through a tunnel, traveling decade by decade while viewing the vast collection. Arranged like supermarket shelves, the collection features a wide variety of products from Britain and the US. Starting at the Victorian age and continuing to present day, the visual display of historical branding is amazing. 



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