Diggin’ in the Crates, Volume 2

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


1. National Portfolio Day at Cal Arts, Designer: Ed Fella, 1999

A rare bit of more-than-one-color printing from a living legend. I love everything about this—that it screams “Ed Fella” (which is great because it advertises Cal Arts by virtue of advertising Fella), the new photography created in a mode associated with Fella’s (and spouse Lucy Bates’) Polaroid obsessions, the color palette and its surprising use of metallic silver ink. But what’s best about it is that you get to see how Fella works in functional context rather than his usual “gig posters”-type model where he produces posters for his own events after the fact and they are actually more like product design and souvenirs than communications design.

Credits. Interesting detail where you can see some traces of the process. Most likely, Edward Fella laid this poster about by hand before employing another designer to help him build a digital file. Fella’s and Lucy Bates’ glitchy, worn credits are from the original hand-made mock-up while the printer’s credit is a piece of info added during the digital production phase.

2. Insights Lecture Series, Designers: Linda Byrne,  2001

A forward-thinking piece from 2001 that acknowledges the silliness of printing a poster that has almost no publics that it can be hung in. Instead the designers imagine the poster as a publication with pages, indexes and multiple uses. This was published around the time that the Walker Art Center was going nuts with visual mapping of content. Fantastic color, too—black and pink on light pink paper.

3. Insights Lecture Series, Designer: Chad Kloepfer, 2003

A restrained and simple poster for a lecture series about teams. I haven’t seen his work in a year or so but Kloepfer’s been one of my favorite designers for years.

4. MECA Summer Institutes in Graphic Design, Designers: The Apollo Program, 2x4, Lorraine Wild, Melle Hammer, Mark Jamra, 2002

Clever idea for a series of workshops: have each teacher designer their own flyer and then put all of them together as one poster. Each flyer is perforated allowing a user to promote or save only that which they care about.

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5. MECA Summer Institutes in Graphic Design, Designer: Wigger Bierma, 2000 

A deceptively complex piece of typography. At first glance its quite simple—the designer’s initials in yellow caps and then a description of their workshop over-printed on top. In reality its one of the most anal-retentive things I’ve ever seen. Each initial is tied into the body copy with baselines aligning and different structural details in the initials used as sight-lines for lining up the body text. It could easily be called constructivist in that its structure and lay-out is entirely about building up form relationships based on what’s in front of you.