Art and Design

Read tat*

Read tat* – Inspirational Graphic Ephemera – Andy Altmann by Andy Altmann

Tat* is a bit of a graph­ic designer’s curse. Walk into any design stu­dio and you’ll see bits and pieces of graph­ic ephemera pinned to the walls or taped to a com­put­er screen. Even the purist will have a secret cache hid­den away some­where. Design­er Andy Alt­mann has been col­lect­ing tat for more than 30 years. He finds inspi­ra­tion in the ordi­nary, and mag­ic in the mun­dane. Final­ly he has decid­ed to share his col­lec­tion with the world. Con­ceived and edit­ed by Andy, this is the apoth­e­o­sis of tat. A visu­al trea­sure trove, full of sur­pris­es, it should find a place on every graph­ic designer’s desk.

Tat: anything that looks cheap, is of low quality, or in bad condition; junk, rubbish, debris

This book was a delight to wander through. A good bit of the appeal is wonderment at what someone else has decided was worth saving – and his delight in his own collection is evident throughout. It’s playfully designed, creating collages out of ephemera and commentary.

It’s also an exercise in seeing what you’re looking at. It’s lowbrow, finding art in the untrained and accidental and utilitarian.

I think the author would be tickled that I’m saving my favorites on what’s basically my online scrapbook.

Bush milk bottle cap in black and red
I like the stacked words on the black vertical stripe

Babyfat – font by Milton Glaser, 1964

Cool black shading on the MOORE lettering – look how many fonts they used in this thing 👀
Commiting to that concept 😎 How often now do you see companies go all in on type designs?

Bingo lingo – slang phrases to represent various numbers

Dig those S’s


Saucy, there’s a word you don’t hear much anymore
Ugh, Victorians “helpless, hopeless, homeless”
Art and Design Getting Shit Done Horror

Your life in checkboxes

Bookmarked 4k Weeks Poster™ (4KWEEKS)

Each box corresponds to one week in an average 88-year lifespan, and every filled-in box is one that you have already lived. Seeing it on a daily basis will push you to take action, enjoy every moment, and focus on the things that matter.

Not sure if this would be inspiring or horrifyingly depressing.

Art and Design

Graphic Design Before Graphic Designers

Read Graphic Design before Graphic Designers

Graphic design existed long before there were any graphic designers and this lavish volume is a vibrant tribute to beautifully crafted printed ephemera from the past. The art of combining text and pictures has been at the heart of the printer’s craft for hundreds of years. While early pioneers focused on books, others began using their presses for more humble uses, from handbills to games, advertisements and packaging. This so-called ‘jobbing’ work grew rapidly in importance, yet has been overlooked in histories of both print and graphic design.

A few things I liked from a skim through this book:

The Girlie matchbox with illustration of sickly looking woman with big eyes
London, early 1900s
Folio cover with concentric circles of color in black, red and gold, with golden Sundays
1880. Designed by Paul E. Werner in Ohio

I recently bought a poster that’s vaguely reminiscent of this. 

Red cover with black numeral befinf all caps yellow type

    1928. Published by Charles Peignot of Paris
1920s. Paris

I like the dashed outlines of the clouds, kinda Aubrey Beardsley style, adding decoration to fill the empty sky but not distracting from the grand hotel illustration. I suspect hotels today wouldn’t want a red association, but it looks striking in this.

Art and Design

Doorways, black and white


The SIGNAL A project features original artwork by designer Xtian Miller.

Pilgrim’s Progress sworn allegiance

Love this imagery. It’s like the inverse of this Paul Strand photo of Wall Street in 1915. Doorways into light versus windows into darkness. Also get a bit of a Shaun Tan vibe with the exaggerated scale and single figure.