Hello, and welcome to this week’s Design Diary, a collection of five projects from across the world that have impressed us this week.
London’s Soho is one of those areas that, despite the hideousness of its busiest shopping thoroughfare (Oxford Street), the ubiquity of certain coffee chains, and what feels like years of constant building works, it still maintains a sense of wonder and character that makes it feel like Francis Bacon never really left. Yet much of Soho’s history has been worn away—not least of all, its typefaces. That’s something that homelessness social enterprise The House of St. Barnabas, ad agency M&C Saatchi, and font foundry Fontsmith looks to help restore.
The Lost and Foundry campaign “sees the crumbling typefaces of Soho recovered to be sold online as a collection of fonts, to fund its vital work with London’s homeless,” says Fontsmith, which worked with M&C Saatchi London to develop fonts from crumbling signs around Soho. Each takes its name from the location or sign that inspired it, such as Berwick (as in Berwick Street, home to a bustling fruit and veg market) and Cattle, a reference to a ghost sign left behind from R.N. Cattle & Son in Portland Mews. Seven examples of Soho’s “forgotten lettering” were collected by M&C Saatchi and Fontsmith before being hand-drawn and turned into a fully functioning font by the latter. “This involved adapting and extending the missing characters to make useful and crafted designs out of them. It took three months to digitize and design a workable series of fonts,” Fontsmith explains.
The fonts are available for purchase via the Fontsmith website, with all proceeds to be donated to The House of St. Barnabas.
Baffled by Bitcoin? Disconcerted by Dogecoin? Confused by cryptocurrency in general? London-based designer and animator Joseph Lattimer has come to the rescue with this cute and actually very helpful animated guide, Cryptocurrency Slang For Beginners, which was produced by Fancy Lamp with music from Paul Orwell. “In November 2017, I was lured into the world of cryptocurrency,” Lattimer says. “I’d obviously heard of Bitcoin a few years back, but suddenly everyone was talking about it and I became hooked on the ins and outs of the world of digital currency and its possibilities for the future.
“Once you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of crypto, you realise there’s a huge community that’s been developing their own global trading slang, which I’ve had fun trying to explain in this series. I hope it offers some help and entertainment to anyone that dares to join me in these speculative markets.”
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and this is superbly realized in a gorgeous new book published by graphic designer Patrick Fry’s new publishing venture Centre Centre. Great British Rubbish is described as a “visual history of Britain’s love affair with the throw away,” and presents a selection of beguiling imagery from collector Stella Mitchell’s “vast and bizarre ephemera collection, the Land of Lost Content.” More than 120 items photographed by Inge Clemente are shown, with RCA professor Teal Triggs providing the introduction to the book. In a rather lovely little twist, the publication is case bound and wrapped in GF Smith Extract, a stock made from discarded coffee cups.
Students from Italian design school ISIA Urbino—Luca Longobardi, Fabio Bacchini, Gianluca Ciancaglini, Giacomo Dal Prà, and Alessandro Latela—have created a fiery project titled The Book That Exploded, inspired by William S. Burroughs. According to the bunch, the project “investigates the relationship between communication and code, between message and contamination,” and explores the “theory of language as a virus.”
They add: “The Book That Exploded presents itself as an subject of reflection, emphasizing the fragility of the written form and its rules, examining the possibilities of deconstruction and recontextualization of the messages that each written text carries, highlighting the consequences generated by external processes in relation with the original and linear communication.” We’re not sure what it all means, but it looks great, and slightly dangerous.