Slanted 40: Experimental Type

October 27, 2022

I have a new essay in Slanted no. 40. The issue’s theme is “Experimental Type”. My essay is called “My body isn’t a temple. It’s a laboratory. With salad.” It’s about experimental typing instead of experimental typography or type design. An excerpt:

“Type” has many meanings, but “type“ is also a verb, as in “to type”. The verb form is what I’d like to invoke in this piece of writing.

To summon.
To conjure.
To project.
To call forth.
To harness.
And hopefully, with which to *coalesce*.

Slanted 39

May 6, 2022

I wrote a new essay called “Very Mercenary” for the newest issue of Slanted, devoted to Stockholm, Sweden. The essay is about Stockholm Syndrome and how graphic designers often develop a variation of this condition when working with clients. The intro:

It had been a real homewrecker of a day.

I was holed up in my garret on Svartesgatan, looking down on Södermalm splayed out below me, calculating my next steps. I had the tools. I had the optics. I had everything I needed… except for that one particular, very, very tricky piece: a target.

Clients had been easy to come by the past few decades, but then things got weird—the clients started outsourcing their hits to cheaper labor elsewhere. It didn’t matter that I had a perfect kill rate, not to mention that my “Hotness” rating online was 4 out of 5 chili peppers. For the clients, it was all about what they were spending… good clean hits were out. Working alongside the elite culled from the best of the best was out. No jungle action. No desert heat… No stormed embassies… No ghost platoons…

Given the context of this essay, it is obvious that I am writing about freelance graphic design, though if we turned the clocks back a few decades, this would’ve been a pitch-perfect introduction to one of your typical super-shitty novels about a mercenary.

Get Slanted 39 here:

Impossibility of Silence talk recording

April 3, 2022

You can view the recording of the 2022 AIGA talk I gave recently here:

I Got Something to Say — Poster Inventory, 2013–2021

March 10, 2022

I have a new essay called “Press Darlings” in the new book I Got Something to Say from Draw Down Books.

The book is an inventory of posters produced by Draw Down Books for art book fairs, workshops, and lectures between 2013 and 2021. Documenting Draw Down’s activities throughout the period, the publication also graphically maps the contours of the artist book publishing world during the second decade of the 21st century. A series of reflections and essays by prominent graphic designers provides context and insights, providing readers with new ways of considering their own poster-making and event documentation.

You can grab a copy here.

IDEA #397

March 10, 2022

I have a new feature in IDEA #397, the first in a four-part series called “Critique & Context” about the role of critique, criticism, semiotics, and cultural context that will roll out over the year. You can obtain a copy here.

AIGA Design Future

March 3, 2022

Design Future Live with Ian Lynam
Wednesday, March 9
8:00 p.m. ET | 5:00 p.m. PT
(Thursday, March 10 at 10 a.m. JST)

Join host Lee-Sean Huang for Design Future Live, an interview show about how the design industry is changing as a discipline and opportunities this creates for the design community. In this episode, we will be talking with VCFA MFA in Graphic Design faculty member Ian Lynam about his book, The Impossibility of Silence: Writing for Designers, Artists & Photographers. The presentation and interview will be livestreamed  (via YouTube) and on AIGA’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. You can catch the replay after the livestream on AIGA’s podcast feed.

Slanted “Colours”

October 27, 2021

I have an essay in the 38th issue of Slanted, which you can obtain here. The essay is called “Other Processes” and examines process printing as an analogue for systematic racial representation in Japanese popular culture.

Which Mirror Do You Want to Lick?

October 22, 2021

30 or so Minor Objects: Japanese Graphic Design History is a new 130-page bilingual E/J book on pre-WW2 design history that I put together with the students in my Japanese Graphic Design History class at Temple University Japan for the exhibition “Which Mirror Do You Want to Lick?” at Geidai (Tokyo University of Fine Arts).

I participated in a panel discussion with fellow curators Kiyonori Muroga, Tezzo Suzuki, So Hashizume, and Tetsuya Goto on October 22 where we discussed the exhibition. The “talkshow” was broadcast online.

“Design & Consumerism of Modern Japan”

October 22, 2021

I gave a talk with Sakura Nomiyama called “Design & Consumerism of Modern Japan” at Hong Kong’s CHAT @mill6chat on Oct. 19. Within, we looked at the emergence of the department store as a site of consumption in Japan and offered up one particular narrative about the emergence of Westernization.

TypeCon 2021

October 22, 2021

I presented at TypeCon 2021 on October 21st. A bit about what I presented:

Ghost Story / Love Story (or How I Learned to Love the Dead)
We have all been told that there are things that we are “not supposed to do” regarding design. This is a story about denying that, and both a love story and a ghost story. Or rather, multiple love stories and multiple ghost stories … with surprising outcomes.

This hybrid presentation looks at rare, forgotten, lost, and deceased punctuation marks, then segues into a short jaunt in a time machine back to the 1990s, another hop back to the 1920s, and finishes in the present day in Tokyo.

This presentation will delight those interested in rarified typography, type/design history, the odd romantic, and anyone yearning for a cheeky mystery solved in front of them.