Good crikey, just look at this poster for Alien: Covenant. I've actually been working on a little Alien-related personal project of my own recently, and just when I think I'm halfway happy with it … this appears. How am I supposed to compete with this? It's as if Rodin took the afternoon off and asked HR Giger to finish off The Gates of Hell in his absence. Stunning/infuriating.
"If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting."
— David Bowie
Tula Lotay's poster for Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper is rather lovely, isn't it? Love that lettering. As if being a bit good with a pen wasn't enough, it turns out that Lotay is also the brains behind Thought Bubble (Leeds' excellent annual comic art festival) and creative director of splendid comic shop Travelling Man. Lord only knows when she finds time to sleep. Check out her shop for more of this sort of thing.
This poster forBruce McDonald's Weirdos is quite something – a careful balance of boldness and restraint. It looks like it could be from the sixties, and yet it isn't some nostalgic rehash. In summary: wonderful. It's designed by Midnight Marauder, who currently owns film poster design and MUST BE STOPPED AT ALL COSTS. Seriously, check out the rest of his stuff, it's fab.
I've just noticed that Douglas Coupland has a new website. It might be new. It certainly looks new, and I don't remember it being there before, so … let's assume it's new. I'm a big fan of Coupland's writing – my faded pink edition of Generation X is never too far away – but I've only recently explored his art. It treads that big murky line between art and design; a blend of Mark Farrow, Peter Saville, Bill Drummond and Anthony Burrill. In summary: rather tasty.
This week's hypertext jamboree:
- Researchers at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York are capturing the smell of its old books to reconstruct the building’s original 1906 aroma.
- When I was a kid, Sunday wasn't about rest or church, it was about the top 40. It meant something. And now? In 2016 there were only 85 different songs in the UK top 40.
- Everything you (or rather, I) need to know about Risograph printing, courtesy of Hato Press.
- Turn your handwriting into a font.
- This month's Creative Review column: on the challenges of being self-employed and working from home. Self-employment can be liberating – but when you work from home there’s little respite when the demands and deadlines all come crashing in at once.
- Pandora's unboxing video.
- Romcom scientists Tess Morris and Billy Mernit have started a new podcast, You Had Us At Hello, all about discussing, defending and defining the genre.
- "Don't romanticise your 'vocation'. You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no 'writer's lifestyle'. All that matters is what you leave on the page." – Zadie Smith's ten good writing habits.
- Zak Kyes reflects upon ten years as Art Director of the Architectural Association.
- Sideways Dictionary is quite wonderful and genuinely useful – using pithy analogies, it explains all of that fiddly tech terminology that you pretend to already understand because you're scared of looking stupid and being overwhelmed by the future that is coming at you way to fast and how come everyone else seems to know this stuff already, etc.
- I've rediscovered Khoi Vinh's excellent design/technology/culture blog, Subtraction.com. You probably should too.
- Heinz has brought a fictional ad campaign from Mad Men into the real world. It's very nice but … why now? This would've been fantastic five years ago.
- The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant. Oooh. Aaah.
Jack Coggins' space-age illustrations – particularly these from Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles and Spaceships (1951) and By Spaceship to the Moon (1952) – depict the future from a very particular period, when the idea of manned space exploration was transitioning from pure fantasy to exciting possibility. And they're beautiful. Rather than fretting about pathetic little borders down here on Earth, maybe we should be embracing more of this kind of species-wide optimism and sense of adventure. Check out jackcoggins.info for more of Coggins' work.
So this happened. It came about because lovely copywriter chap Jon Ryder noticed some weird wording on a sign, and then equally lovely copywriter chap Jonny Cullen suggested it would make a good title for a horror movie (starring Jenny Agutter and Bernard Cribbins), and then original lovely copywriter chap Jon Ryder threw down the gauntlet for me to turn it into a cover (see twitter for the whole chain of events). I don't normally do covers on request like this, but this immediately struck me as a damn fine excuse to play with the Marber grid and pay homage to one of my all-time favourite Penguin covers, Penelope Mortimer's The Pumpkin Eater. Making up old-style paperback covers is a pretty futile exercise in nostalgism (I resisted artificially ageing it with the usual dog-ears and rips) but it's also rather fun.
"When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too."
— Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art
As part of the launch campaign for Monotype's Masqualero, I produced a number of book jackets to demonstrate the typeface in use. Mostly these were titles/authors I conjured up myself, but Ed Sanders' Tales of Beatnik Glory actually exists, and just so happens to be on David Bowie's list of 100 favourite books – a list that I've taken it upon myself to design covers for. This would be number eight (have a look at the others here). I'm particularly happy with this one – especially how the fluidity of the marbling and the curves of the letterforms seems to melt into each other.