Digging in the Crates, Volume 1

We keep filing bins, magazine boxes and 3-ring binders full of printed ephemera and scrap bits of paper, often for no other reason than “huh, weird”. Here’s 5 things from the crates.

1. MCAD Details magazine, Designer: Jan Jancourt, 2002

Why do I keep it around? Sure, there’s the nostalgia factor of keeping things from my time at MCAD but the real reason is the masterful post-Constructivist design. There’s an underlying structure that you can see best throughout the elements that have been centered to anchor each page but the magic is in the internal logic of how different chunks of typography and blocks of color interact. This is so good that there are parts of it that look bad (I’m not a fan of the cover or the Helvetica) but are undeniably working. Also, check out how the color overlays the photos to create this strange sense of depth. This is genius and I wish I had kept more of these.

2. Women With Vision: Amid Chaos program, Designer: Scott Ponik (Walker Art Center), 2005

Swiss Typography is like air. It’s still so prevalent that we take it for granted that it isn’t just basic graphic design. This catalog may not use a classic International Style typeface like Univers or Helvetica but its a masterclass in utilizing a grid, 2 colors and a minimalist type approach (1 typeface at 1 size) to create a dynamic, rhythmic read. The full floods of color work really well to create visual drama.

3. American Tableaux publications, Designer: Walkert Art Center, 2002

The Walker Art Center produced this series of publications during the American Tableaux exhibition. Each one had a theme based off a piece of art with a short story and a critical statement by a Walker curator. Apparently I have 2 of these, Fortune and Beauty.

4. Corbis mailer, Designer: Segura, Inc., 2005

Precise technical Modernist typography. That’s why I keep this.

5. MCAD/McKnight Artists 2004–2005 catalog, Designer: Emily CM Anderson, 2002

This thing is goddamn perfect. I’m still jealous of it. The informal collage style photo arrangements and over-printing are balanced by a delicate binding, bookish typography, metallic ink and the interplay of papers (images are printed on high-gloss coated stock and text on textured uncoated sheet).