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.

Slanted #27

May 11, 2016

Slanted_Portugal_02

I have a new essay in Slanted #27, the Portugal issue. The essay is called “Plux Qubaa: the Era of Neoliberal Design”. The essay is an examination of global labor structures through the lens of a dinner party.

The subhead for the essay reads, “Cannibals in the cloud, or understanding design today.”

An excerpt:

This is where we are: in a new era. I am giving it a name and staking the claim that we have entered into a new era of design history: the Era of Neoliberal Design. What Keedy calls “The Global Style” is just the skin, the ‘landlord paint’ of a world unloosed from obvious structures—both visual and economic. Design, particularly graphic design, looks the way it does now because the grab-bag of history is the ’52 pickup’ of technocratic plutocracy. Understanding graphic design today through the lens of political economy gives context and semantic space for subservient theories of post-postmodernism and metamodernism. Efficiency and flexibility in the market opens up a porousness that we can use to understand our desire to oscillate between the past and the present and the future.

Slanted_Portugal_40

This is the reality we have dwelled in since the death of grunge (a.k.a. postmodernism with the intellectualism neutered). A landscape of sans serif typefaces used in a centered axis composition overprinted with tetrahedral, futuristic ornament and browser-like images with varied dimensions and aspect ratios—and why so much design looks like the Internet printed out… and why so much design looks like different eras of the internet printed out. Locale and class bely the ‘appropriate’ aesthetic.

We cannot further deny an understanding of the synthesis of these varied aesthetics and their reason for being. We live in an age where a technology corporation has more cash than the leading economy of the world. With the opening of Cuba and the continued ascendance of Apple, an important concept has come home to roost (again)—late market capitalism is the only way forward in terms of global economies, a la Francis Fukuyama’s The End of Humanity. In a world bereft of options other than the rush to the bottom of market goods and services provided, we are forced to efficiency—it makes sense that the Internet of Things and the Design of Things look so similar. This sameness—it is the function of a market economy. It is the evidence of the pervasiveness of results/evidence-based policy, practice, design, and education.

You can pick up a copy of Slanted #27 here.

VCFA at TypeCon!

April 30, 2016

VCFA at TypeCon!

VCFA will be well-represented at TypeCon, North America’s premier type design and typography conference, to be held in Seattle from August 24 to 28!

Co-chair Dave Peacock and Chair Emeritus Silas Munro will be giving a presentation and Co-Chair Ian Lynam (a.k.a. ME!)  is on the board of judges for this year’s SOTA Typography Award. VCFA friends like John Downer, Subylle Hagmann, Alice Lee, and many others will be giving amazing presentations and showing new work.

Join us in Seattle!

O, Chicago! O, Vermont! Oh, Tokyo…

April 24, 2016

Ian Lynam in Chicago

I just got back from a whirlwind 4 days in Chicago. I gave a lecture about the work of Oz Cooper called “Heft, Gravy and Swing” for the Chicago Design Museum/ÄKTA, a lecture on how the Olympics fits into the history of Japanese graphic design for Chicago’s Society of Typographic Arts, and a lecture about marrying the divide between practice and theory for the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. All were great, and I made a ton of new friends, as well as seeing some old ones.

A giant round of thanks to my dear friend and patron Paul Gehl of the Newberry Library, VCFA alums and amazing friends Bill Kaminski and Margaret Gonzalez for making it down to hang out, the one-of-a-kind Julie Sittler, my girl Heather Snyder Quinn, Ryan Hageman of Gurafiku for introducing me at the Design Museum event and for being a total mensch, Bud Rodecker, Kiyomi Negi-Tran, Heather Anderson, Karley Schimpf, Tanner Woodford, Jacob Ristau, Renate Gokl, James Goggin and so many others for making it all happen. I am honored.

VCFA

Prior to my Midwest adventures, we had our Spring residency at VCFA. It was amazing, as usual. Our Guest Designer/Critic was the esteemed Kenneth FitzGerald who gave a lecture titled “Singing the Surface” and a workshop called “Music for Metaphors”. Both were amazing.

Congratulations to our latest graduating class: Dick Schellens, Addison Landers, Carl Julien, Deb Kline, Erin Beckloff, Jason Alejandro, Laura Rossi Garcia, Lisa Williams and Ru Jurow.

It was amazing to welcome our massive incoming class: Beth Adams, Mike Berrell, Corey Brabham, Danny Cardenas, Colleen Clark, Le, Suzette Cozzens, Adam DelMarcelle, Luke Dorman, Sam Flora, Jeremey Forsberg, Jason Fowler, Gareth Fry, Katie Krcmarik, Edna Pedroza, Rosemary Rae, Heather Snyder Quinn, Anna Spool and Wendy Strasolla.

As usual, residency was transformative for all—a massive thanks to the students, faculty and staff at VCFA. And speaking of transformations, I am excited to be Co-Chairing the program for the upcoming year with my dear friend and colleague David Peacock.

Lithuanian Design Awards

April 19, 2016

lithuanian_design_week

I just finished up judging the Lithuanian Design Awards 2016, weighing in on Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design and Fashion. So much great work!!!

Lecture for STA Chicago

April 4, 2016

chicago_ian_lynam_tokyo_olympics_lecture

I will be giving a lecture for Chicago’s Society of Typographic Arts on Tuesday April 19th at 6:30pm.

Morningstar
22 West Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Directions

More information here.

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