Cern fonts

Our new typeface family Cern is now available via YouWorkForThem – on sale for the next month – 40 typefaces for $49!


I organized an exhibition at VCFA called “Plenty For All: Recent Work from CalArts” in April. The exhibition consisted of printed matter and posters from CalArts including both printed posters from the past few years and the printed booklets and ephemera that comprised the results of my and Kiyonori Muroga’s recent workshop with the BFA4 and MFA students at CalArts.

Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

The exhibition was very well-received. The students, faculty, administration and general public truly enjoyed the exhibition.

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

Exhibition participants:

MFA2: Izaak Berenson  Nate Blowers   Kat Dickinson  Christine Do   Amanda Gartman   Stefano Giustiniani   Sarah Faith Gottesdiener   Tom Kracauer   Catherine Lee   Thea Lorentzen   Alex Pines   Tara Tannenbaum   Ben Woodlock

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

MFA1: Edwin Alvarenga  Kat Catmur  SoYun Cho  Colomba Cruz  Ryan Hines  Juyoung Kim  David Robinson  Calvin Rye  Sajad Salehi  Sarah Shoemake

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

PMFA: Cassandra Cisneros  Jacob Halpern  Sarah Honeth  Jessica Kao  Dili Osuhor  Jenny Song

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

BFA4: Pierre Nguyen Sally Alvarado Dasom Kim Jenee Jernigan Dawoon Jeung  Nikki Lee Edvin Lynch Christina Rodriguez Chris Burnett Hyunsoo Kim Bijan Berahimi  Pedro Lavin Armando Martinez Celis David M. Davis  Taylor Giali Mitch Cox Crystal Yi Nathalie Sehee Kim Hyoseon Kim

Faculty member Ed Fella also contributed a large number of his legendary posters to the exhibition.

Thanks to all of the workshop participants who donated posters and printed ephemera to the exhibition, as well as the workshop participants. Special thanks to Aaron Winters, Silas Munro, Rachel Ramsay, Troy Patterson, Randy Nakamura, Thea Lorentzen, David Matthew Davis, Michael Worthington, Lorraine Wild, Jeff Keedy, Ed Fella, Gail Swanlund and Caryn Aono.

Small Books From Small Countries: An Impromptu Exhibition at VCFA

Simultaneously, I put together a mini-book exhibition titled “Small Books from Small Countries: A Vaguely Impromptu Exhibition” at VCFA. The criteria for work included was that the books were small in scale and that the countries that the books were from was fairly small in terms of land mass. Each book was accompanied by a text description, as many of the books were not in English. The term “book” is used loosely in the exhibition, as the corpus of works included design journals, magazines, type specimens alongisde actual bound books.

Small Books From Small Countries: An Impromptu Exhibition at VCFA

Descriptions of the books:

文字のカ | The Persistence of Letterforms
平野甲 | Kouga Hirano
Kouga Hirano is a Japanese graphic designer who is known for creating book designs using his unique handwritten letters. Since the 1960s, he has designed more than 6,000 books and worked consistently and closely with an assortment of publishers.  This book is an overview of his highly unique approach to creating custom lettering.

円盤物語 |  Hi-story of the Flying Objects
松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
Matsuda’s Yukimasa is a graphic designer, publisher and writer. He runs the small publishing house Ushiwakamaru, dedicated to publishing his own editorial initiatives. This book is a document of assorted shapes of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) from individual sightings, group sightings and popular culture.

眼球譚 | 月球譚 | Tales of omniscient eyes and moonshining
松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
An index of all-seeing eyes from works of art from history.

松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
An examination of assorted symbols, analphabetic characters and alphabetic characters. Includes physical and historical analyses.

松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
A compendium of dead languages, mythic languages, ciphers, attempts at orthographic reform, codes and utopian symbologies. (Incidentally, my favorite book in the world.)

千社札 | Senjyafuda
Senjyafuda are stickers or scraps of paper posted on the gates of shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. The stickers bear the name of the worshipper, and can be purchased pre-printed with common names at temples and shrines throughout Japan, as well as at stationery stores and video game centres. Senjyafuda were originally made from wooden slats, but have been made of paper since the Edo period. Senjyafuda are made from printed paper and are rarely made traditional by wood block prints or ukiyo-e.

This book is an excellent overview of senjyafuda from history, notably the use of color (contemporary ones tends to be monochromatic).

Typographic Suite
白井敬尚 | Yoshihisa Shirai
Acting art directors and designers of Idea Magazine, Shirai Yoshihisa’s studio team are typographically rigorous, formally evocative, and gentle in treatment of ornament. Projects for Robundo, Ryobi, Seibundo Shinkosha and many other private concerns make up their body of work, celebrated in the recent booklet Typography Suite and the accompanying exhibition of the past two decades of graphic design work. Shirai is faculty at Musashino Art University.

바른지원체 | The Making of a Hangul Typeface: Barun Jiwon
이지원 | Jiwon Lee
Korean design educator Jiwon Lee published this booklet about Barun Jiwon, his attempt at resolving the relationship between Korean Myung Jo structural typefaces and Western humanist typefaces. The resulting type specimen book shows Lee’s  adventurous spirit in attempting to infuse the Korean visual orthography with increased readability and legibility, simultaneously creating the world’s first truly humanist Korean typeface.

CCArt Sans
Eiichi Kono & Hilary Knight
Eiichi Kono is the designer of Johnston Underground Sans, the official typeface used for the iconic identity of London Transport. Within the CCArt Sans project, Kono extends his years of study of the lettering and typefaces and Edward Johnston and Eric Gill and balances them with the formal weight and poise of Meiryo, a typeface designed by Kono for Microsoft in conjunction with Matthew Carter. This specimen book shows the full range of Latin characters for CCArt Sans, the house typeface of the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu, Japan.

The Working Practices of Barney Bubbles
Paul Gorman
A look into the pre-digital design realm of Barney Bubbles (nee Colin Fulcher), one of the graphic designers who helped craft the aesthetic of British psychedelia, pub rock, proto-punk, punk and post-punk. A look into Bubbles’ melancholy world.

The National Grid #6, 7 & 8
Luke Wood & Jonty Valentine
Three issues of the self-published contemporary New Zealand graphic design journal The National Grid. Within, issues of Modernism, sovereignty, national identity, design history, design criticism and graphic design education research are neatly examined and discussed from a personal point of view. The National Grid is writing the history of New Zealand graphic design and is an immensely important publication.

Small Books From Small Countries: An Impromptu Exhibition at VCFA

UIデザインの手引 | University Identity Design Guide
東京農業大学(農大) | Tokyo University of Agriculture (Nodai)
A goofy booklet showing the wildly disparate identity of the renowned Tokyo University of Agriculture. Wonky, yet charming.

If It Could Love
Chris Ro
A self-published exhibition catalog/poetic text that examines the culture of self using expressive typography and an exploration space. Within are two double-sided posters that explore these notions further. Vital, sad and ruminating, Ro, a Korean American graphic designer and design educator, examines our collective obsession with representation in society today.

 Typographics Ti: #263 | Type Trip to Seoul
A small independent publication from Tokyo, this issue is an overview of typographic work from Seoul, Korea.

온돌 | A Few Warm Stones (Ondol) #1 & #2
Better Days Institute
Led by Chris Ro, Ondol is a contemporary examination of Korean graphic design culture in journal form. The writers, designer and editors are students of Kookmin University in Seoul. The Ondol team is helping to write the history of Korean graphic design, as well as how contemporary Korean design practice is taking form.

Too Much: Magazine of Romantic Geography #2
Yoshi Tsujimura, Audrey Fondecave & Cameron McKean
Too Much is a publication dedicated to exploring contemporary notions of fine art, design and architecture. It is odd, as it is a small-run magazine from Tokyo published in English.

The text descriptions were accompanied by a number of essays by and about assorted publications included in the exhibition.



Cern by Ian Lynam

Cern is a family of 40 weights of neutral, yet formally nuanced grotesk typefaces that takes inspiration from Helvetica, Akzidenz Grotesk, Univers and the original metal types from Switzerland, yet had a slightly larger x-height for more pronounced legibility.

Cern font family

Each weight is designed to be highly readable in print and on-screen. The italic variations are true italics, having a single-storied italic a and have been designed for smooth, fluid reading and text-setting. Lovingly spaced and kerned, the Cern family works equally well for text typesetting and for display design work.

Cern typeface family by Ian Lynam

Sans serif fonts, no matter how neutral they feel, are ultimately formally nuanced. I wanted to add to this legacy, but bring in elements of the grotesks of the Stephenson Blake foundry to add humanizing features, creating a formal and conceptual interplay to delight the senses.

Cern digital typeface

Cern is the second family of typefaces that explores notions of nuanced neutrality and a Barthesian exploration of a fictional Switzerland that pervades contemporary design, disconnecting sign, symbol and meaning. Cern is the second family of typefaces in this larger project, following the release of the Vaud family.

The entire Cern family, 40 fonts, is available for a limited time for $49.00 from Wordshape and Creative Market.


idea 359 Karel Martens X Ian Lynam

I edited an interview with Dutch designer and design educator Karel Martens for issue #359 of Idea.

Karel Martens X Ian Lynam

The feature has a swank halftone pattern printed on transparent mylar overlaying another halftone pattern printed on the paper underneath, creating a dynamic, tactile moiré pattern.

Le Pigeon Cookbook from Ten Speed Press

Gabe Rucker, Lauren and Andy Fortgang and Meredith Erickson of Le Pigeon have a new cookbook coming out on Ten Speed Press, the cover of which bears the logo I designed for them nearly a decade ago.

Vaud by Ian Lynam

Our 40 member sans serif family Vaud is on sale for the next month over at Creative Market – all 40 fonts for $49!

Troy Patterson VCFA

I gave a presentation at PechaKucha Night in Tokyo last week about the amazing educational setting and experiences at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  It is now online over at the PeckaKucha website.


This great book just came out which uses Kirimomi Swash Italic for the cover and display titling.

Scratching the Tiger’s Belly is published by Eberhardt Press, one of our favorite printing companies and publishers, situated in lovely Portland, Oregon!

TypeCon 2013

Speaking of Portland, we are pleased to announce that Ian Lynam Design is one of the sponsors for this year’s TypeCon, America’s biggest and most fun typography and type design conference. The conference will be help in Portland from August 21st to 25th this year. With luck, we’ll see you there!

SideCore Tokyo exhibition

We just finished up a hybrid poster/publication for SideCore, a series of fine art exhibitions curated by Egaitsu Hiroshi for Young Art Taipei, on sale at the festival now.


Also hot off the press is a redux of an old poster for KnowYourCity and the Portland Art Museum.

The Vine, Tokyo Wine Distributor

We just launched the new website for The Vine, a Tokyo-based wine importer and distributor. No mere website, The Vine’s new system is bilingual, handles inventory, shipping, ordering, invoicing and a ton of other fancy stuff under the hood!

More projects for The Vine are underway and will be appearing on shelves of Japan’s finest wine shops shortly!

Ian Lynam at PechaKucha Night Tokyo!

Finally, I will be speaking at PechaKucha Night Tokyo next week. Details here! I’ll be speaking about design education now. Like, right now. (I’m also going to be doing my usual schtick of giving away a ton of free stuff.)


Slanted at Centre Pompidou

There will be a launch exhibition and lecture regarding the new issue of Slanted at Paris’ Centre Pompidou on Saturday April 13th at 4pm.

Further info:
Librairie Flammarion
Centre Pompidou
19, rue Beaubourg
75004 Paris


Slanted Magazine 21

I have a new essay in Slanted #21 about Cuba and Cuban graphic design, as well as a feature of Cuban street photography by myself and Andrea Tinnes shot in Havana and Trinidad.


Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lynam

We just released the new Vaud family of typefaces.

Vaud is a family of 40 weights of neutral, yet formally nuanced grotesk typefaces that takes inspiration from Helvetica, Akzidenz Grotesk, Univers and the original metal types from Switzerland, yet had a slightly larger x-height for more pronounced legibility.

Each weight is designed to be highly readable in print and on-screen. The italic variations are true italics, having a single-storied italic a and have been designed for smooth, fluid reading and text-setting. Lovingly spaced and kerned, the Vaud family works equally well for text typesetting and for display design work.

For a limited time, the entire family of typefaces is available for $49 via YouWorkForThem.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lyman

The entire family is comprised of a range of weights and a matching display family that features rounded terminals for large-scale display work.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lynam

Sans serif fonts, no matter how neutral they feel, are ultimately formally nuanced. I wanted to add to this legacy, but bring in elements of the grotesks of the Stephenson Blake foundry to add humanizing features, creating a formal and conceptual interplay to delight the senses.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lynam

Vaud appears neutral in tone, has an enlarged x-height, works great on-screen and in print.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces 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.

The entire family was given rigorous testing using Craig Mod’s Bibliotype html-based book layout system for on-screen rendering checks and innumerable print proofs using actual text (not Greek) in InDesign.

The Vaud family is hugely diverse and will work well in a variety of contexts and media.

The complete family is on sale now at YouWorkForThem.


There’s been a date, time and location change:
Idea Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Kiyonori Muroga and I will be giving a lecture and week-long workshop at CalArts. The lecture will be on Thursday April 11th at 7pm in the C-Art classroom.


Be Bespoke Tokyo

We recently finished up a redesign of BeBespoke’s website – webfonts, some snazzy javascript and a bunch of wonderful imagery.


Idea Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Kiyonori Muroga and I will be giving a lecture and week-long workshop at CalArts. The lecture will be on Thursday April 11th at 7pm in the C-Art classroom.


Lynam Lost Words

I contributed to Karen To’s Dead Words project recently. I was asked to typographically illustrate the  term “ebaptization” – a retired word declaring that someone has not been properly baptized from 1659.

Within, I used Queen Mary’s secret cipher to spell out the word – the language of a woman who changed a church, and in a sense, both de- and un-baptize it.

A dead word rendered in a dead language.

SketchCaslon Italic

We released a new typeface this week – SketchCaslon Italic – a hand-rendered display typeface with its formal base in the structure of the types of William Caslon.

One can obtain SketchCaslon Italic from MyFonts and YouWorkForThem.


Hifana logo

I found some unused/underused logos I designed for Tokyo hiphop duo Hifana lurking in the crates yesterday – here, a decorative, imperial take on Henk Krijger’s Raffia.

Hifana Logo variation

A Thai ornament-inflected logo using a Charles Burns shading treatment.


An unused logo variation for Hifana’s “Connect” LP – the best of the bunch.



Frame Magazine

You can see our recent work in the latest issue of Frame Magazine.


A collaboration with Klein Dytham architecture. Ian Lynam Design created the interior graphic design scheme for Google’s new floor of offices in Roppongi.

Hundreds of meters of custom wallpapers with bespoke graphics were designed that crossed six complementary graphic themes:

• a stylized koi pond for the office entrance

• an abstracted, hyper-pop alternate Tokyo for meeting rooms

• garden brickwork with emphasized decorative elements revealing the hidden gardens of Tokyo for hallways and common areas

• sedate gardens for the relaxation and wellness area

• a modular Tokyo for the technical services area

• windows into the Tokyo of the future created in a psychedelic take on 60s and 70s science fiction book covers

We also designed a trilingual room signage system using an alternate, but complementary graphic language.

Thanks to everyone at KDa and Google for making it such a terrific finished project!

All photos © Koichi Torimura & Toshiki Senoue.

Read more about it in the new “Spaces + Places” section of our website, along with another recent project for Google.


Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen and our logo for LePigeon in Episode 1 of Season 3 of the TV show Portlandia.

Chef/partner Gabe Rucker makes a brief appearance, as well!


Asia Pacific Design Awards

I just received the catalog for the 2012 Asia Pacific Design Awards in the mail from Sandu Media in China. It’s a mammoth tome – over 500 pages, gilt-edged with blind debossed covers.

Asia Pacific Design Awards

I would like to give a shout-out to all of the folks in Japan that I selected as a judge for the Asia Pacific Design Awards this year…

Asia Pacific Design Awards

… but none more than Yuki Masuko, one of the hardest-working graphic designers out there and a fabulous, inspiring individual.

APD 2012 Ian Lynam

I wrote an essay for the book and am including it here. It expounds on certain themes from recent pieces I’ve written, as well as taking aim at certain trends within graphic design which I find problematic. You can read it in full here.



Our type foundry Wordshape is currently doing a massive promotion via YouWorkForThem – 25% off all fonts across the board!


Above is a new tee shirt design for CalArts Graphic Design Department‘s upcoming tee shirt exhibition and sale. This one’s a shoutout to the assorted folks who have taught at the school throughout the years (as well as design educators everywhere) who constantly catch shit from students while simultaneously whipping them into some of the best designers out there. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I am delighted to pay my student loan bill every month. My time earning my MFA at CalArts was some of the best of my life. The folks I studied under taught me so much.

This shirt, coupled with a new essay on Japanese public art for UK publishing house Quarto’s upcoming book on global public art that I banged out today, made for a great way to round out the year. Yuki, Paul and I send our best wishes to all of our clients, collaborators and friends for 2013 – we hope this upcoming year is your best yet!!



Literally just launched: the brand spanking new website for Upswell, one of our absolute favorite clients. Period. The site is a database-driven, javascript-snazzy portfolio for this amazing up-and-coming Portland design firm. We believe in them.


John Fluevog is using our typeface Kirimomi Swash Italic for its national holiday campaign.


Kiyoshi Awazu

An older essay just got a digital reprint over at Néojaponisme.


I wrote and designed a ton for the latest issue of Idea – approximately half of the issue. Click here to read all about it!



TUJ video lecture

I did a lecture at Temple University Japan in Amanda Kaiser’s Journalism class on the use of video in editorial contexts. Fun stuff! The above slide was a cautionary notice for thinking about video and sound in the Japanese urban environment.


Doodle 4 Google Japan

The Doodle 4 Google event we designed went off surprisingly well!

40 happy kids won awards for their visions of the world 100 years from now.

The kids filing in…

Getting briefed prior…

and winning stuff!

Thanks so much to the kids, the amazing folks at Google and all of our friends who helped support this initiative!

In non- Google news, I’ve been given the honor of judging this year’s Typodarium along with type design & lettering legend Ed Benguiat, wünderkind Lucas de Groot, designer Boris Kochan and type design extraordinaire Veronika Burian.

Also, an interview I did five years ago or so with type designer Akira Kobayashi for the late PingMag is up over at Type Is Beautiful, translated into Chinese.


We have created the full experience (set design, stage design, animations, lighting design, print design and sound design) for Google’s Doodle 4 Google event in Tokyo, happening on Sunday December 2. Check it out on Google+ here!


I have a piece of writing in the latest issue of Slanted, out now.

We also did a bit of custom font work for the lovely folks at Mistress this month.


I have some work in the latest issue of RRR.


My essay “With A Spatula in Her Hand” was just published on the website for Modes of Criticism, a new design criticism magazine. I will have another essay in the inaugural print issue, out soon.


Ian Lynam PechaKucha Night

PechaKucha Night Tokyo X Tokyo Design Week just finished up a few days ago – one of the biggest PechaKucha events ever! 1,000 folks hanging out and listening to presentations by designers from all over the world.

Ian Lynam Pecha Kucha Night

For us, one of the most exciting things was seeing our logo design for PechaKucha Night projected h-u-u-u-u-ge across the interior of a geodesic dome.

Ian Lynam Pecha Kucha Night

R. Buckminster Fuller is one of our heroes and the geodesic dome one of the most appealing structures in architecture, so to have our design applied to one, even a temporary one, was fantasic.

Photos by the amazing Michael Holmes Photo.


YACHT wireframe logo

I designed a new “wire” variant on the YACHT logo for Jona and Claire today for the band’s tenth anniversary, oddly enough occuring on my 40th birthday. Flyer below not by me.

YACHT: Jona & Claire


NASA Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe

Our new ad campaign for NASA and The Washington County Museum launched this month. Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe opens on November 17.

Michael Holmes Photo

We’ve been knee deep in a fair amount of identity work lately, as well. We crafted up a logo and identity system for Michael Holmes Photo of Tokyo.

Le Comptoir Occitan

Just finished, as well, is the identity and environmental design for Le Comptoir Occitan, a new Basque restaurant in Daikanyama within Hillside Terrace. More photos coming soon.



I won an Asia Pacific Design Award again. Whoo! And I didn’t even pick myself!


VCFA - Vermont College of Fine Arts

Some exciting news: I am joining the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaching in their MFA graphic design program as of October. The university is a low-residency program and I’ll be teaching both in Vermont and from home base in Tokyo.


Japanese Graphic Design: Not in Production, a new piece of design criticism I wrote has been posted at Néojaponisme. It will be followed by six supplementary posts showing the best that Japanese contemporary graphic design has to offer.


Now bilingual!

One small, subtle design change has been added to our website, but one that is huge and took a whole lot of work: ianlynam.com is now bilingual in English and Japanese.

Giant thanks to Yamane-san for plowing through miles of project translations, consulting with us on arcane typographic terms and just generally being amazing. Equally gigantic thanks to Yuki for collecting project text, editing through the sweaty summer, coordinating the whole project and making it all go smoothly. Go team!!!



One of the most exciting projects we’ve been working on as of late is developing the identity and user interface/user experience for Videogram, a brand spanking new integrated iOS app and web app created by the amazing team at Cinemacraft.

Videogram allows you to convert your personal iOS video, YouTube and Vimeo videos to interactive sequential art (comics!). Videos become sequences of still which you can click through to view video.

Revolutionary stuff, debuting this weekend at TechCrunch in San Francisco!

Working on Videogram has been an amazing iterative process – nothing is written in stone and everything is up for grabs!


I will be lecturing on October 17 and doing a workshop on October 19 at the Vermont College of Fine Art for their MFA program in Graphic Design.


I have a new essay up on Néojaponisme called “Candid Thoughts on the 2020 Olympic Logo”.


Korea! I’m going to be lecturing on September 25 at Hongik University and on September 26 at Kookmin University, both in Seoul. More info soon!


I contributed a 14-page standalone section to the latest issue of Germany’s Slanted  magazine called Japanese Graphic Design: Not In Production. This feature stands as a critical response the current graphic design retrospective of the past ten years Graphic Design: Now In Production, Zombie Modernism 2.0 and my desire for ambiguity and contradiction in graphic design, not simplistic formula-based design.


Washington County Museum

We have a couple of awesome new clients – notably the Washington County Museum…


and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)!


Hype For Type

Our fonts are now being distributed by the UK’s Hype For Type.


Sound and Vision by Masayoshi Sukita

I pitched in on the writing and editing of the definitive monograph of Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita, along with Kiyonori Muroga of Idea. Sukita’s work chronicles much of rock and roll history from the late 1960s through today, with a heavy focus on the work of David Bowie, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Joe Strummer and the circle of friends surrounding Jim Jarmusch.

Lovingly designed by HeQuiti Harata, it’s a must-get.


Ian Lynam at TypeCon 2012

I would like to extend a giant round of thanks to all of the attendees of our lecture on the work of Oswald Bruce “Oz” Cooper at TypeCon in Milwaukee. It was such a tremendous response and so appreciated.

If you’d like a copy of the text that the lecture was based on, you can order a copy of Idea #339 here from Wordshape.

Our studio has created revivals of many of the typefaces covered in the lecture. You can check them out here from Wordshape, here from MyFonts and here from YouWorkFromThem.

Thanks to the Society of Typographic Aficionados and the TypeCon board for having us come present. TypeCon2012 was amazing!



I have a ton of work in the new book Logolicious from HarperCollins.


Ian Lynam X Ecopop

My recent poster series with Chad Rea for Electricity Showroom is now available via Ecopop.


Ian Lynam in Eye Magazine

Got a nice little shoutout in Eye Magazine’s blog today. Whoot!


Ian Lynam lecture at Otis College or Art & Design

I’ll be doing a piped-in lecture at Otis College of Design on Wednesday at 3pm PST. (Bum rush the show!)


While watching Season Three of Futurama, we discovered that the folks who made the show used a handful of Wordshape fonts, most noticeably Cooper Black Swash Italic here and there throughout. Exciting to find your work out in the televised world!


Ian Lynam in Slanted Magazine

I have a new feature in the latest issue of Slanted Magazine– an essay about wayfinding and mortality.

I also edited Toshiaki Koga’s new feature about the work of Zak Kyes in the latest issue of Idea.


WebInk from Extensis

Our fonts are featured over at WebInk this month.


You Work For Them

Our Wordshape fonts are now being distributed by YouWorkForThem- the first typeface offerings are available here.


We’d like to extend a giant round of thanks to all of the individuals we have had the opportunity to work with throughout 2012 so far. It’s been a really, really exciting first two quarters and we’re working on some of the most engaging projects of our careers, both large and small. Thanks, one and all!


We just created a new website and identity for BeBespoke, a new experience atelier business in Tokyo.


Ed Fella

I’m currently working on a collaborative poster series with master of disaster Ed Fella in which we make visual form go head-to-head. Exciting times!


Bang your head! Some of Wordshape’s most popular fonts are available at a 50% discount this month from MyFonts! Perfect for music packaging, identity work and movie packaging/titling, the “Metal Militia” packs the visual equivalent of a Marshall stack! Check out the sale here!


We’ve undertaken an exciting new project with our pal Jared Braiterman PhD of Tokyo Green Space that catalogs over 500 Japanese gardens outside of Japan for Nodai, the Tokyo University of Agriculture.

We’re really excited to be working with Jared. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Tokyo University. Jared is a Harvard and Stanford trained design anthropologist who has worked in university education, start-up consulting, social media, and urban planning in Japan, the Americas, and Europe.


OPEN Skateboards

Open Skateboards has a few team decks out now on sale.


I’ll be presenting tonight at the Magazine Library special edition of PechaKucha Night in Daikanyama. The topic: A Dozen Publications That Changed My Life.



We’ve relaunched our web journal Néojaponisme with @font-face integration, a bespoke mobile theme and enhanced readability.


Cameron McKean and I did a lengthy cross interview for the latest issue of 360 magazine from China- out soon.


We put up a small mobile-friendly site redesign for our pals Upswell in Portland recently.


We just finished up an identity for the P.INC Patio, a new summer restaurant in Penticton, British Columbia in Canada that will open in a few scant months…


Smythe Sans and a whole bunch of other new Wordshape fonts are now available via Fontspring, the indie webfont provider alternative.


Kirimomi Swash Regular & Italic

Last year we released the font Kirimomi Swash Italic, which was a runaway smash hit- it’s a free font whose creation was sponsored by Onitsuka Tiger. We just reached 35,000 downloads from our assorted distributors, which, in my book, is total brutality. So, to celebrate, I put together an accompanying Jannon-inspired Roman serif that is available now from MyFonts.com.

More here!


I’ll be giving a presentation on the secret life of American type designer Oswald Bruce Cooper at TypeCon 2012 in Milwaukee this year. The conference is from July 31st through August 5th. Yuki and I will both be in attendance. Come hang out with us!
More at the Typecon website.


Ian Lynam identity design

We recently designed new business cards for the three of us, and were paid the ultimate print design compliment in return- our business cards are some of the featured items over at FPO this week. Huzzah!


We got a great huge package of zines in the mail from the intrepid Elly Blue of Taking The Lane zine fame this week. It’s so great to see our fonts put to such great use!


Redskins poster

New poster design for my band Redskins.


Also, I was recently interviewed by the nice folks over at ID Institute in Germany. Read it here.


I co-edited and contributed a few essays to Idea Magazine‘s new feature about New Wave/PostPunk independent publications, on newsstands any day now…

One is called “Dot Gain” and is an introduction to independent publications in the late 70s and the early 80s.

The second is a hybrid essay/interview with WET magazine founder Leonard Koren about WET and his life and times.

Special thanks to Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein for their assistance in researching the essay!


Tokyo Art Beat

Just did a quickie project for the notorious Tokyo Art Beat: some quick OpenType scripting to swap out lining numerals for non-lining numerals in their house font.


Rubber Vloeren Ian Lynam

An oldie but a goodie: my typeface Rubber Vloeren in use in a commercial by Brand New School for the American National Pork Board circa years ago. See it here.


I have a whole heap of writing in the new issue of Slanted Magazine. My dear friend and roomie Patrick Tsai is featured, as well.


Lesque Junichi Arahata Baby

My latest deck graphic for Lesque just came out- it’s Junichi Arahata’s latest pro model. In use: my font Pompeian Cursive.


I received a few samples of recent projects done by Bruce Brand of the fabulous Arthole in the mail- excellent examples of my Wordshape fonts in use! Bruce has done tons of great design work for folks like Wreckless Eric, The Whites Stripes, Thee Headcoats, The Darkness and others.


Ian Lynam for Joshu+Vela

Fancy new signage by Joshu+Vela.


Yutaka Tajima no Yukata

Ages ago I designed a tee shirt for the British clothing startup Yutaka Tajima and it just saw the light of day here.

Thanks to Bob and the team for making it happen.

Ian Lynam for myGengo

Also, we recently designed, animated and produced a small promotional screencast-based video for myGengo, an exciting Tokyo-based startup which has an exciting track record of providing really amazing human-based translation services. You can see the animation here.

Big thanks to Hiroto, Lisa, Matt and the myGengo team!

(And seriously, use them for translation.)


Ian Lyman Design

You can see a recent PechaKucha Night lecture I did about Cuban lettering here.


Smythe Sans

For the month of March, my new typeface family SmytheSans is on sale over at MyFonts- get the entire family for only $120 instead of the usual $300.


Yutaka Tajima Ian Lyman

I have some work in the new book chronicling the shifting identity of Yutaka Tajima, a small British apparel concern run by Sanderson Bob (ex-The Designers Republic) and friends.


Space Is The Place Ian Lynam

Do you enjoy reading about graphic design? Then, boy, do I have a treat for you!

Until they’re gone, essentially, I’ll send you a copy of The Space Is The Place Supplement – my 52-page booklet of writing about design, aesthetics and architecture for free- you just have to pony up the cost of postage (¥200 in Japan, $3.00 internationally via Paypal to ian@ianlynam.com).

The booklet was printed in an edition of 1,000 using a gradated split-fountain technique, creating gradated printing throughout. 500 were printed with fluorescent green cover stock and 500 with fluorescent yellow cover stock.

Within, you’ll find writing on the work of designer Kiyoshi Awazu, Japanese Modernism, Arcosanti and a fair amount of other concerns.


Trajan font sale

My new font Kommisar is on sale for the next month over at MyFonts! $16.25 only for March!


Ian Lynam Mini-Graphics II 2

I wrote the preface for the latest book of collected graphic design from Sandu Media/Gingko Press- it’s called Mini Graphics II and will be available from finer booksellers everywhere in a moment!


The latest video I directed for Onitsuka Tiger, “Genten Episode 2: Milestones / 軌跡” is out now. The Japanese version is here.


The SmytheSans font family is now available via MyFonts!


Ian Lynam font

My font Devil’s Advocate in use in the new CalArts newspaper, the CalArts Eye.


Ian Lyman design and video

I was recently interviewed at ID-Institute. Read it here.


Just released: my new typeface family SmytheSans.

SmytheSans is the result of a year-long inquiry into exploring a contemporary sans serif that is eminently readable on-screen and in print. It features a large x-height, ample yet economic spacing for capitals, small caps, a Central and Eastern European character set and is offered in five weights: thin, ultra light, light, regular and bold.

These are offset by matching italic and oblique cuts of each weight to give designers more variation- the italic has flared, calligraphically-inspired terminals and is a true italic, while the oblique is more mechanical in appearance. (In reality, the “oblique” is actually an italic as well due to the single-storied nature of the the “a” of the typeface, though it’s just easier to call it an “oblique” rather than “italic 2”.)

The typeface also includes five weights of a retro-futuristic display face called SmytheSans Display that bring in more idiosyncratic characters for display setting- a NASA-inspired space age “A”, a decorative “double-V” treatment for the “W”, and a whole lot more.

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. The entire family was given rigorous testing using Craig Mod’s Bibliotype html-based book layout system for on-screen rendering checks and innumerable print proofs using actual text (not Greek) in InDesign.

For a very limited time, Wordshape alone is offering SmytheSans as an entire family in OpenType format for half-price: 20 fonts for only $200. Each weight of SmytheSans is offered at $20 per through other distributors, so licensing through Wordshape is the most affordable option out there! Go get ’em!


Ampersand Web Typography Conference

My font Clobber Grotesk in use for the upcoming Amersand Web Typography conference in the UK. (Scroll to the bottom and choose “Swiss” as your language).


Yacht Ian Lynam

Great new YACHT video!


One of my absolute favorite clients is the bag- and accessory-maker Joshu + Vela, a small shop based in San Francisco. Noah Guy, the man behind the magic, and his group of cohorts make amazing crafted leather goods by hand in their San Francisco workshop.

They’ve been having a fair amount of success as of late, their wares having been picked up by the Banana Republic for distribution, as well as having won over a number of new stockists. It’s all the well-earned result of years of hard labor, day jobs and having friends pitch in. It’s a hard-won success, but one that I am proud to have been a part of.

Joshu+Vela’s products are things that I not only “believe in” (“believe in” is the term trotted out by marketing types at the drop of a hat), but use every single damn day. One of their belts holds my pants up day-in and day-out and one of their wallets houses my cash.

The point? Rad stuff. Go check out their new collection.


PechaKucha Night Tokyo

New poster for PechaKucha Night Tokyo‘s upcoming event.


Bruno Monguzzi Swiss Graphic Design

I edited the interview and massive retrospective of the work of legendary Swiss graphic designer Bruno Monguzzi for the latest issue of Idea Magazine #351.

Idea Magazine #351

Available internationally from Wordshape.


Better late than never, I just gave Viewers Like You a little graphic facelift. Max Erdenberger and I started VLU in 2006. 50,000 viewers strong…



As mentioned recently, I served as a judge and on the editorial committee for this year’s Asia Pacific Design Awards. The books that serve as the repository of all of the winning work came in the other day and are currently being distributed to the prospective winners.

These books are massively heavy- if dropped from shoulder height, you could very easily crush a small mammal. If you were to do this, however, you’d stain the beautiful embossed fabric-bound hardcover binding and potentially mar the gleaming gold-leafed docked edges of the pages. This is decidedly not a modest book – it is a celebration of the best that Asian graphic design has to offer at present, and via page count, bespoke material choices and the sheer quality of work within, celebrates it in style.

The official blurb about the Awards:

As a top representative of graphic design in Asia-Pacific region, APD collects excellent graphic designs from Asian countries or regions and those along Pacific Ocean. APD aims at promoting design in Asia-Pacific Region and providing good opportunities for excellent designers to stand out. It is the seventh volume this year in 2011. APD No. 7 continuously follows the publishing concept of original design and collects more excellent graphic designs. Putting outstanding designs on display, APD forges an interactive platform for exchanges and communication within the circles. It covers seven categories, respectively, visual identity, orientation system, type, poster, packaging, print, logo and graphics & extended product.

My choices for some of the top Japanese graphic design projects of the year included work by:

Benjamin Thomas / Bentographics
HeiQuiti Harata
Yoshihisa Shirai

Congratulations to the Award winners this year. You all do such beautiful, thoughtful work.

You can read more about the awards and order the book here.


PK Global Cities

The new logo and identity for PechaKucha‘s Global Cities Week launched yesterday. It’s a week-long celebration of the cities that host PechaKucha Night events all over the world.


Cuban Vernacular Lettering

I’ll be doing a casual presentation on lettering that I spotted around Cuba during my recent trip to the place where Americans aren’t supposed to go this Wednesday at PechaKucha Night Tokyo.


Last year I collaborated with Dwayne Dixon on creating a video framework to be used for Duke University’s video modules for training students in ethnographic fieldwork. Dwayne has gone through and filled out all of the modules into a comprehensive series of training videos to help students understand the ethical conduct of research with human subjects. Giant thanks to Dwayne, Lorna and the rest of the Duke team!