News

Jan 31, 2019

Letterform Archive in Oklahoma

Our collection offers the opportunity to tell a thorough history of type. Last month we took that story on the road.

Opening day reception at The Garvey Center’s gallery.
Jan 7, 2019

Designing the Online Archive

We’re building a virtual discovery machine for letter lovers. Meet the designers who put you in the driver’s seat.

Designers and Archive staff discuss features, prototypes, and user flows during the development of the Online Archive.

The Online Archive beta is running and members are taking it for a test drive. Meanwhile, we’re taking a peek under the hood and introducing you to the people who built it.

Dec 18, 2018

The Online Archive: Describing Design

Established library vocabularies aren’t right for our unique collection of type, lettering, and graphic design. So we’re creating a new one.

Letterform Archive’s catalog search function
A powerful search function surfaces our design-specific vocabulary and supports multiple filter terms.
Nov 29, 2018

Now Live: The Online Archive Beta

Experience Letterform Archive from anywhere in the world.

When guests visit the Archive our goal is to inspire them through radical access to our collection of graphic design and typography artifacts. The aim is to encourage discovery through visual exploration. Now we’re making that experience available to everyone everywhere with the new Online Archive. Charter members will receive exclusive access to the beta before we officially go live in 2020.

Nov 29, 2018

Letterform Archive Belongs to You: Become a Member Today

Philip Grushkin, book jacket (detail) for The Generous Heart, 1954

You are the heart of Letterform Archive.

Whether you follow us on Instagram, volunteer every week in the stacks, joined us for a tour or research visit, donated $10 or donated your own work — you make the Archive possible.

Nov 12, 2018

Susan Kare and Louise Sandhaus Join Our Board of Directors

We welcome two design icons with the experience and vision to help shape Letterform Archive’s future.

We are pleased and humbled to announce two new members of our Board of Directors. Beyond their impactful professional resumes, Susan Kare and Louise Sandhaus exemplify the range of background and engagement with the design community that will help guide the Archive in our pivotal early years.

Nov 9, 2018

This Just In: Tézzo Suzuki, Calendar 19

From Tokyo, an annual carnival of numerals in every form imaginable — and many forms never before imagined.

Tézzo Suzuki, Calendar 19, published in 2018.

Every year, since 2012, Tézzo Suzuki makes a calendar. It’s a personal project, an opportunity to work without clients. It’s also a chance to “pursue new graphical vocabulary”. With each year he dreams up new ways to render numbers one through 31, each limited only by color (one) and canvas (square). Suzuki graciously donated the 2018 and 2019 editions of the calendar to the Archive, and Calendar 19 just arrived.

Nov 5, 2018

This Just In: Mark Fox and Angie Wang

The San Francisco duo demonstrate the impact of the designer’s voice in politics and graphic design.

Mark Fox
Mark Fox / BlackDog, Patriotism, screen print, 2002. This work responds to George W. Bush’s suggestion in the aftermath of 9/11 that patriotic Americans should go shopping.

Mark Fox and Angie Wang do not shy away from deploying design as critique. Together they are Design is Play, a studio practice formed in 2008 recognized for award-winning branding and identity work in addition to political graphics. They are educators of design and typography at California College of the Arts, as well as advocates of issues they care about. Fox and Wang’s collection at the Archive is worthy of attention — for both its aesthetic merit and its cultural relevance in our current political moment. Many have debated the designer’s role in politics, and Fox and Wang set an example of how design can pull back the curtain to describe how the world is, or even imagine how it could be.

Oct 8, 2018

My Internship at Letterform Archive

Joyce Yin reflects on her time as our 2018 intern.

Joyce Yin
Joyce Yin in the type reference library. Some of her favorite objects from the Archive are pictured below. Photo by Florence Fu.
Oct 1, 2018

This Just In: Martin Venezky

The San Francisco designer reminds us about the beauty of not knowing how things will turn out.

Original artwork (detail) and poster (detail) for Weird America, 2016. Full images in gallery below.

On paper, Martin Venezky is an artist, designer, photographer, and educator. He is also a collector, and some might even consider him a sort of curator. He often plays these roles all at the same time, whether he’s working on a project or not. In both his life and in his practice, he tells stories by combining and recontextualizing images and objects found in the world to create new worlds. His process reveals a lot about his own story too — one of imperfection, surprise, and patience.

“To design a poster and do the whole thing digitally? That gets boring. You’re just sitting there hitting keys, but you kinda wanna get in and see the scale of it.”

Sep 17, 2018

This Just In: Jacob Jongert for Van Nelle

A large collection of objects by an under-appreciated Dutch modernist demonstrates the branding power of lettering and color.

Our holdings of packaging design recently got a significant boost with the addition of several hundred objects created by Jacob (commonly signed “Jac.”) Jongert in the 1920s and ’30s for Van Nelle, a Rotterdam-based manufacturer of coffee, tea, and tobacco. The extensive and varied collection includes labels, boxes, tins, in-store displays, posters, advertising, and other collateral, like pocket notebooks and calendars.

Aug 31, 2018

Shaped Text: An Aesthetic Whole

From ancient practice to contemporary children’s books, the endeavor to form text into image is found throughout the Archive.

Christoph Weigel, Schreib-Kunst (detail), 1716
Christoph Weigel, Schreib-Kunst, 1716.
Jul 5, 2018

This Just In: Jennifer Morla

The AIGA Medalist, AGI Member, and National Design Award Recipient to donate her archive.

Left to Right: AIGA for SFMOMA Lecture Series; Morla Design Lecture for AIGA Los Angeles (cropped); Environmental Poster for AIGA
Left to Right: AIGA for SFMOMA Lecture Series; Morla Design Lecture for AIGA Los Angeles (cropped); Environmental Poster for AIGA.
Jun 26, 2018

This Just In: Amos Kennedy Jr.

We’re honored to share the wit and wisdom of the humble but powerful provocateur. Dozens of his prints are now at the Archive.

Left to Right: Someone Died for Your Right to Vote...; Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand...; Everyday I Dream of Black Freedom and Pride
Left to Right: Someone Died for Your Right to Vote...; Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand...; Fresh Food for the People.
Jun 13, 2018

From the Collection: Blissymbolics

If the “Father of Semantography” had his way with written language, we’d all be #blissed.

Books from the reference library of Aaron Marcus and Associates:
Blissymbols for Use, Barbara Hehner, Blissymbols Communication Institute, Ontario, 1980. Design: Jack Steiner. Illustrations: Alan Daniel. Symbol Drawings: Jim Grice.
The Book to the Film ‘Mr. Symbol Man', Charles K. Bliss with contributions by Shirley McNaughton, Semantography-Blissymbolics Publications, 1975.
Apr 17, 2018

This Just In: Posters of May ’68

We commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Paris uprising with a collection of posters by the Atelier Populaire (Popular Workshop).

Lutte Contre Le Cancer Gaulliste (Struggle Against the Gaullist Cancer)

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