Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bauhaus, Modernism & the Illustrated Book

Marie bought me this book for X-Mas. I always get awesome books from my wife. She has some great finds.

The title of this book couldn't be simpler. You know exactly what it's about. Alan Bartram walks the reader through a myriad examples of how modernist design principles have been applied to the printed book. He focuses on English and mainland European designers. As an Englishman he can't help but reflect upon how Swiss theory has impacted British design. He gets into some US designers, too, but doesn't really touch upon Modernism's impact on Asia, Africa or South America. That's fine. You can't be all things to everyone all the time.

This tome is definitely scholarly. But Bartram writes with a certain English wit to temper the highbrow theory behind the content. There's a certain duality that British authors (and British people in general) can strike that consists of both heady academic discourse and down-to-earth familiar dialogue. If you lean too far to one side you can come off boring as fuck and difficult to read. If you lean too far on the other side then your credibility gets questioned because you're far too informal. I find most British designers know how to straddle that bridge very well. Bartram has a very subtle sense of humor about his work. But it may get lost if you're not paying close attention.

Having said all that, I certainly didn't fly through this book. It's not a gripping, page-turner. "ooh, I can't wait to find out what example of modern book design he shows next! I just can't sleep without knowing!" But it's a good coffee table book to read. It's good for future reference. It's good to have.

The main thing I took away from it was the brilliance of the Swiss grid. I really need to employ that system at work if I can. So that was my big take-away. Work on the grid.

This is by a Nazi-like Modern typographer and it's for people of like minds. If the cover doesn't move you then you're not the target audience. I find it fucking awesome and very provocative.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Hadn't heard of this movie until last night. Marie asked me to go see it at the Maple with her sister and brother-in-law. Good thing she asked, cuz it was fucking good.

Jon Favreau writes, directs, and stars in this film. I love the guy; he's funny as hell. He has a keen eye for style and editing, knows how to pen witty dialogue, and has a sharp ear for the perfect soundtrack. All his movies have these traits. He's a true auteur.

Oh yeah, and he knows how to cast a good film to boot. I've always dug John Leguizamo. So pair him up with Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara and GOD DAMN you've got a good movie on your hands. Who cares what it's about when you're watching this for 90 minutes:

We also see Russell Peters, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Downey Jr. making appearances. C'mon, what's not to love?

The movie...yeah, it's about food, a father, and a son. Bonding, marriage, divorce, and friendship. Yup. It's feel-good stuff. But it's funny, man. And it makes you want to eat. Marie got home and made this incredible fucking sandwich after watching the film. Fried tofu with mozzarella, strawberry jam, orange marmalade, and capers on thick white bread. She slathered it in butter and threw the whole concoction on the skillet for a minute. It was amazing. Like a warm sweet and savory jelly donut! Totally inspired brilliance.

I can't overstate how good the soundtrack to this movie is. And how prominent music is featured. It's HUGE.

This movie ruled. Go see it.