Things happened.

September 1, 2016

Promotional posters for VCFA's MFA in Graphic Design

I designed and printed a new series of posters for the VCFA MFA in Graphic Design program.

Promotional posters for VCFA's MFA in Graphic Design

They come in 3 different color variations.

Promotional posters for VCFA's MFA in Graphic Design

They have some witty copywriting.

Promotional posters for VCFA's MFA in Graphic Design

I designed 97% of the type on them, as well. You can scoop them up in Vegas at the AIGA National Conference, but I wholeheartedly recommend talking to my VCFA comrades Nikki Juen and David Markow while doing that scooping!

On the off chance that a human who will be reading this is actually going, seriously seek out Nikki—she is an amazing educator, the most warm of humans, and she will kick your ass around the block at any table you play at.

Custom type design for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong

I designed a custom Vietnamese/English typeface for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong in July for a recent show in Hanoi.

Custom type design for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong

The font is called XJ Bold, named for Hong-An’s daughter.

Custom type design for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong

The exhibition was called “Nói trong bóng tối / Speaking in the dark – triển lãm của hai nghệ sĩ Trương Hồng-Ân và Ngô Ngọc Hương“.

Custom type design for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong

I am extremely pleased with how the collaboration turned out.

Custom type design for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong

Hong-An is an artist whose work I devoutly believe in. It is powerful.

Custom type design for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong

Giant thanks to Hong-An and the Nhà Sàn Collective

Custom type design for Vietnamese American artist Hong-An Truong

In a final bit of news that is utterly unrelated to the image above, my book Parting It Out just received a great review from the magazine Communication Arts.

STA 100

August 26, 2016

Ian Lynam wins STA 100

I was one of the winners of the Society of Typographic Arts’ STA100 design competition for the design of my book Parting It Out. I was in good company—VCFA alumni Jason Alejandro and Laura Rossi Garcia and current students Chad Miller and Luke Dorman were all selected by judges Neville Brody, Denise Gonzales Crisp and Martin Venezky as having created some of top 100 graphic design projects of 2016.

Surprise: new font releases and a logo design.

August 6, 2016

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian LynamSmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

I just released two new typeface families. The first is SmytheSans Pro.

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

SmytheSoft Pro is a contemporary workhorse sans serif family that is eminently readable on-screen and in print. It is an updated display version of our popular family Smythe Sans with custom rounded terminals, rigorously spaced and kerned. SmytheSoft Pro includes Western, Central and Eastern European and Vietnamese character sets and is offered in five Roman and Italic weights: thin, ultra light, light, regular and bold.

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

SmythSoft Pro features a large x-height, ample yet economic spacing for capitals, and subtle ink traps for less-than-perfect printing conditions (which can be exploited as design features at large scale). All of the capitals from the old Smythe Sans Display family are folded in to SmytheSoft Pro as OpenType accessible stylistic alternates—NASA-inspired space age alternate caps galore! The original Smythe Sans family featured Italic and Oblique cuts—in SmytheSoft Pro, the more calligraphic italic characters are available via OpenType-accessible stylistic sets. Each weight of SmytheSoft Pro features a bespoke paragraph mark which varies from weight-to-weight and includes over 100 ornaments, kinetic rules, symbols and pattern-making glyphs so that one might use SmytheSoft Pro as a complete design kit.

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

The members of the SmytheSoft Pro family:
SmytheSoft Pro Thin
SmytheSoft Pro Thin Italic
SmytheSoft Pro ExtraLight
SmytheSoft Pro ExtraLight Italic
SmytheSoft Pro Light
SmytheSoft Pro Light Italic
SmytheSoft Pro Regular
SmytheSoft Pro Italic
SmytheSoft Pro Bold
SmytheSoft Pro Bold Italic

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

The lighter weights are slightly slimmer than the regular and bold weights to give the typeface more of a vertical feel, inviting readers’ to rapidly read typeset text with a maximum of contrast and a minimum of optical dazzle. All work well on-screen as webfonts and in print as book type. Each is hinted with accuracy and kerned with precision.

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

SmytheSoft Pro is an eminently readable typeface, particularly at small sizes on-screen. The strokes throughout are modulated to enhance humanist expression, with high-contrast horizontal slices taken out of certain letterforms to keep readers’ eyes moving forward in text. The typeface’s tendency toward a tall x-height was carried through the single-storied font with more horizontal characteristics for enhanced readability while being super-friendly and bright in appearance.

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

Features of SmytheSoft Pro:
– complete Western, Central and Eastern European characters sets optimized for text typesetting
– radically improved spacing guaranteeing beautiful results in print and on screen for the Czech, English, Hungarian, Croatian, Esperanto, Maltese, Romanian, Turkish, Albanian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Basque, Bulgarian, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Vietnamese languages

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

– all lowercase characters have an enlarged x-height, creating less optical dazzle than typefaces like Futura, Neutra or Avant Garde
– ink traps to enhance smooth printing when using less-than-optimum production processes like Risograph or if a press is overloaded with ink
– retro-futuristic alternate characters for most capitals
– 100+ ornament, kinetic rules, forms, symbols and pattern-making glyphs

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

SmytheSoft Pro is available most affordably from Wordshape—$100 for all ten weights. Check it out here.

SmytheSoft Pro by Ian Lynam

The family is also available from YouWorkForThem, Creative Market and soon, MyFonts.

SmytheSans Pro by Ian Lynam

The second family of type is SmytheSans Pro. Essentially, SmytheSoft Pro is SmytheSans Pro with rounded terminals.

SmytheSans Pro by Ian Lynam

SmytheSans Pro is an updated version of our popular family Smythe Sans — we extended the characters sets, redrew most of the characters, rigorously spaced and kerned the entire family, and added a bunch of new features.

SmytheSans Pro by Ian Lynam

Smythe Sans Pro includes Western, Central and Eastern European and Vietnamese character sets and is offered in five weights: thin, ultra light, light, regular and bold.

SmytheSans Pro by Ian Lynam

The members of the SmytheSans Pro family:
SmytheSans Pro Thin
SmytheSans Pro Thin Italic
SmytheSans Pro ExtraLight
SmytheSans Pro ExtraLight Italic
SmytheSans Pro Light
SmytheSans Pro Light Italic
SmytheSans Pro Regular
SmytheSans Pro Italic
SmytheSans Pro Bold
SmytheSans Pro Bold Italic

SmytheSans Pro by Ian Lynam

Features of Smythe Sans Pro:
– complete Western, Central and Eastern European characters sets optimized for text typesetting
– radically improved spacing guaranteeing beautiful results in print and on screen for the Czech, English, Hungarian, Croatian, Esperanto, Maltese, Romanian, Turkish, Albanian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Basque, Bulgarian, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Vietnamese languages
– all lowercase characters have an enlarged x-height, creating less optical dazzle than typefaces like Futura, Neutra or Avant Garde
– ink traps to enhance smooth printing when using less-than-optimum production processes like Risograph or if a press is overloaded with ink
– retro-futuristic alternate characters for most capitals
– 100+ ornament, kinetic rule, form, symbol and pattern-making glyphs

SmytheSans Pro by Ian Lynam

SmytheSans Pro is available directly from my type foundry Wordshape, as well as YouWorkForThem, Creative Market and MyFonts soon.

Hannah Smith Photo logo by Ian Lynam

Why the name “Smythe”, anyway? Here’s the backstory: my dear friend Hannah Smith lived in Tokyo for many years and we are insanely close. The Smythe families are named after her. “Smythe” is my annoying nickname for her. I just designed the logo for Hannah’s photo studio in Sydney, Australia. She does amazing work (like many of the photos on this website) and is one of the best humans on this planet.

Plux Quba

June 27, 2016

cannibals6

I just published my new essay “Plux Quba: the Era of Neoliberal Design”. You can read it in print in Slanted #27 or online here. The subhead for this essay is “Cannibals in the cloud, or understanding design today”. Within: mobile devices, the cloud, the present and the future.

Weddings & Not Weddings

June 27, 2016

MoC1-Weddings1

My essay “Weddings” is now available to read in full-length format over at Modes of Criticism.


Thomas Jockin was kind enough to interview me for his TypeThursday series of interviews. Read it here.


I will be giving a lecture called “The Tokyo Olympics’ Visual Identity and Japanese Graphic Design History” at Lakeland College in Shinjuku on July 14th. You can find out more about the lecture here.

The Road to Brno

June 8, 2016

Ian Lynam and Kiyonori Muroga of Idea Magazine at Brno Biennial

I’m taking off in a few days to head to Brno in the Czech Republic for the 27th Brno Biennial. Kiyonori Muroga and I will be speaking on June 18 alongside design luminaries like Jon Sueda, Wayne Daly, Emily King and Manuel Raeder. You can see details here.

As mentioned earlier, Muroga-san and I are curating The Study Room at the Biennial.

The Study Room is organized into nine different thematic ‘islands’, loose groupings that explode national boundaries and general Orientalizing tendencies – instead unifying collections of publications under intuitive rubrics of expression.

The Islands:

  • Ordering the World
  • Connecting Cultures
  • Configuration of Space
  • Gesture
  • Symbolism & Culture-building
  • Space & Texture
  • Modernity-building
  • Poesis
  • Organizing Contemporary Culture
  • Visualizing Language
  • Analysis

Each island is populated by publications proposed by designers with some connection to Asia chosen by Muroga-san and I. The contributors to the Study Room include:

  • Aaron Nieh, Taipei
  • Åbäke, London
  • Kyungsun Kymn, Seoul
  • Yah-Leng Yu / Foreign Policy Design Group, Singapore
  • Yukimasa Matsuda, Tokyo
  • Javin Mo, Hong Kong
  • Leonard Koren, San Francisco
  • Philippe Egger, Villars-sur-Glâne
  • Daijiro Ohara, Tokyo
  • Caryn Aono, Los Angeles
  • Shutaro Mukai, Tokyo
  • Yoshihisa Shirai, Tokyo
  • Guang Yu, Beijing
  • Fumio Tachibana, Tokyo
  • Kohei Sugiura, Tokyo
  • Kenya Hara, Tokyo
  • Helmut Schmid, Osaka
  • Nobuhiro Yamaguchi, Tokyo
  • HeiQuiti Harata, Tokyo
  • Jens Müller, Düsseldorf
  • Xiao Mage & Cheng Zi, Beijing
  • Shin Akiyama, Niigata
  • Wang Zhi-Hong, Taipei
  • Tetsuya Goto, Osaka
  • John Warwicker, Melbourne
  • so+ba / Alex Sonderegger + Susanna Baer, Zurich & Tokyo
  • Peter Biľak, The Hague
  • Ryan Hageman, Chicago
  • Hattori Kazunari, Tokyo
  • Na Kim, Seoul
  • Kirti Trivedi, Mumbai
  • Lu Jingren, Beijing
  • Santi Lawrachawee, Bangkok
  • Chris Ro, Seoul
  • Randy Nakamura, Los Angeles
  • Sulki and Min Choi, Seoul

Muroga-san and I each contributed one book each to particular islands, and you know, I’m pretty damn excited about the Study Room collection. It’s got some really exciting, super-rare books—some are super-strange, others are more sober, and many explode our ideas of what books might or might not be. As a collection, it is not overly academic, nor is it overly pedestrian. It will surprise and delight, and *that* is the best.

Okojo Pro extended family

June 8, 2016

Okojo Slab Pro and Okojo Pro font family by Ian Lynam

We had three major font family releases this week. The first is the Okojo Pro family of typefaces.

The Okojo Pro Complete family is a reworking of Wordshape’s immensely popular Okojo family of typefaces. It includes Okojo Pro, a semi-geometric sans serif, Okojo Slab Pro, a semi-geometric slab serif, Okojo Pro Display, a round-cornered sans serif variation, and Okojo Slab Pro Display, a round-cornered slab serif.

The entire Okojo Pro family looks great at small or large sizes. The Okojo Pro family is designed for readability in long texts while simultaneously functioning as effective display type.

Features of Okojo Pro Display:
– all lowercase characters have an enlarged x-height, creating less optical dazzle than typefaces like Futura, Neutra or Avant Garde
– more humanist numerals and punctuation for enhanced readability
– complete Western, Central and Eastern European characters sets
– radically improved spacing guaranteeing beautiful results in print and on screen for the Czech, English, Hungarian, Croatian, Esperanto, Maltese, Romanian, Turkish, Albanian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Basque, Bulgarian, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian languages

The Okojo Pro Display family is influenced by the type designs of Paul Renner and Herb Lubalin, but smoothed over with more than a bit of Americana.

Both work well on-screen as webfonts and in print as book type. Each is hinted with accuracy and kerned with precision.The lighter weights are slightly slimmer than the regular and bold weights to give the typeface more of a vertical feel, inviting readers’ to rapidly read typeset text with a maximum of contrast and a minimum of optical distortion.

Okojo: it’s a little bit country and a little bit rock’n’roll.

Okojo Pro is available from Wordshape, YouWorkForThem, Creative Market, Fontspring and MyFonts.

OkojoPro Stack font family by Ian Lynam

Once upon a time, a young man with scribbles on his face rapped the words, “Stacks on stacks on stacks”. Prophetic. Engaging. And more than anything―*inspiring*!

Our second major release lately, OkojoPro Stack is a family of six stackable sans serif typefaces: three layers of extrusion, a solid face, and two ornamental stepped layers―Sunset and Sunrise.

You can use the different type faces together to create ornamental headline typography with thousands of different possible combinations. Bonus: The face layer is a rugged bold typeface that has been spaced and kerned for text typesetting.

Combine this family with the Okojo Pro Family of typefaces to create exquisite, eye-catching layouts for print or screen.

Okojo Pro Stack: Stack ’em up!

Okojo Pro Stack is available from Wordshape, YouWorkForThem, Creative Market, Fontspring and MyFonts.

Okojo Slab Pro Stack font family by Ian Lynam

Our third big release is Okojo Slab Pro Stack—another family of six stackable slab serif typefaces: three layers of extrusion, a solid face, and two ornamental stepped layers―Sunset and Sunrise.

Okojo Slab Pro Stack is available from Wordshape, YouWorkForThem, Creative Market, Fontspring and MyFonts.

All three families were designed in conjunction and work smashingly as an extended superfamily of clean workhorse fonts.

Scribble Guys!

June 1, 2016

Ian Lynam's Scribble Guys on YouWorkForThem

I just released a new collection of 24 different ultra-cute and expressive characters in vector form called “Scribble Guys” over at YouWorkForThem—check it out here.

Start Somewhere & Species Regret

May 31, 2016

Species Regret Ian Lynam

It’s been a weird couple of months—somehow I got the idea in my head that I was going to write a new book somewhere in Q1, plus have ‘an exhibition of writing’ associated with said book. The strangest thing is that it is not a book about graphic design at all, or it is only tangentially—this new book, titled Species Regret, is a collection of short fiction stories about mythology and contemporary culture.

I am having an exhibition at Goya Curtain in Nakameguro that is really short—only two days. And on those two days, I am going to read four bespoke pieces of writing explaining the ideas surrounding the book, a few stories from the book, a few stories that didn’t make it into the book and a few stories that I have written since the book was printed.

Exhibition info:

June 3rd – June 4th, 2016 (3PM – 7PM)
Readings:
Friday, June 3rd at 4PM & 6PM
Saturday June 4th at 4PM & 6PM

The blurb from Goya Curtain’s website:

Goya Curtain is pleased to present Species Regret, an exhibition of writing, sound, installation and prints by Ian Lynam. The exhibition is accompanied by the release of a new book of collect-ed fiction in a signed and numbered limited edition of 100, which will be available for sale for ¥2000 each.

In lieu of a traditional opening, there will be a series of 4 unique informal readings drawing from material within Species Regret’s greater cosmology, including unpublished writing.

Species Regret explores notions of what the world might be like if gods of the Hellenic and Norse tradition walked the earth today. Within the exhibition, the development of identity of self is examined through object relations study, mythology, projection, introjection and, ultimately, narrative.

Quoting the introduction to Lynam’s new book, “Today, we live in more or less a godless world—we look to the collapse of the Greek economy rather than to Hellenic tradition. This es-chewing of the past and what is culturally perceived as the basis of Western civilization offers up further identification with the gods and heroes of yore: if gods and their offspring walked the earth today, they would be irrelevant beings of tradition and immense might. Simultaneously, they would be losers of the sorest sort—defeated, withdrawn, aimless and immensely fucked-up.”

Drawing upon the narratives within his new book, Lynam has created a series of darkly resonant standalone typographic prints alongside a two-track cassette tape soundtrack that explores the concept of identificatory mimetism—the negotiation of the projected and introjected self in relation to mythology. Accompanying these elements are an installation of insidious found objects presented as seeming evidence as to the presence of the supernatural in our world.

Copies of Species Regret will be available at the exhibition, then later online.

Start Somewhere by Ian Lynam While I was writing Species Regret, I came up with the idea for another publication, titled Start Somewhere: A Handbook of Dubious Exercises, Tips and Rants About Becoming A Designer Who Writes. I had just returned home from teaching in Vermont and met with a ton of students who were having the hardest time generating their own content. Start Somewhere is my attempt at suggesting how designers might create work of their own—projects which involve design and writing, but that are fun, goofy, and insanely personal.

Start Somewhere is a 76-page handbook about how to become a designer who writes. Most designers grapple with generating their own content. This zine is full of writing about *how* to write and more importantly, how to get started. Start Somewhere includes 14 hybrid design/writing exercises, a number of helpful tips, and is copiously illustrated.

Within, I write about exactly *why* designers have a hard time making their own content, design theory, design research, guilty pleasures, shoe fetishes, design curation, and a number of other topics. The writing is as if we were hanging out and having a coffee. And then having a beer later. It is not textbook-y or pedantic. I wrote it from the heart and you can purchase a copy here.

Surface Magazine interview

May 23, 2016

Surface_Magazine_128_Cover

I was interviewed in the latest issue of Surface Magazine.

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