Last week I went to Lake Louise, Alberta, for a storybook winter wedding. Chateau Lake Louise is a picturesque, dream location to host a wedding. The venue is so historic, so luxurious, so iconic, so… Canadian, that you just can’t go wrong. The glorious Rocky Mountains, ice castles, horse drawn sleighs, lake ice skating, skiing, snow shoeing, the list goes on and on.
But this was just not just anyone’s winter wedding… it was my only Sister’s winter wedding. So when she asked me to design her wedding invitations (and everything else that goes with it, there are so many other pieces that are needed for the event), how could I even consider saying “no”?
My sister (and her fiancé) were tough customers. They knew what they wanted, and there was a lot of pressure to live up to the aesthetic of the venue. In the end, we kept the graphic design simple, tried not to compete with the elements that were already in place, and capitalize on the “Canadiana” of the wedding.
Hopefully you’ll agree with my Sister (and her guests) that everything turned out perfect.
Over the years I have had the good fortune to spend many summer days at various beach communities throughout North America. I’ve splashed in countless lakes across Canada; from Lake Muskoka, to Lake Winnipeg, to Sylvan Lake. I’ve lounged on beaches up and down the Pacific Coast; from San Diego, to Pacific City, to Tofino. I’ve strolled along the Coney Island Boardwalk, and Seaside’s Promenade.
One thing that impressed me about all these waterside communities is their common graphic design aesthetic. Maybe it is with nostalgia that I look back on all those lazy summer days and ice-cream induced comas, but there is a very rich sense of innocents and honesty about the graphic language utilized within those neighbourhoods. The tone and style of the roadside visuals shift the further you move away from the city, and take on a different voice the closer you get to the water. The signage that designates the regions of these small communities is often imperfect and unpretentious (sometimes even dilapidated). However, that isn’t to say that effort and attention hasn’t been put into making the visual messages communicate. Honestly, if the pieces are too “good”, pristine, or refined, they wouldn’t work. The charm would be lost. It is almost as if the inhabitants of these communities are compelled to “brand” their summer properties and family run businesses, to let others know that they belong there. The typographic efforts are a joy to behold, and the variety of materials used to house these messages are a refreshing change from the vinyl and plastic found in common contemporary signage.
Unfortunately, it looks as if more and more of the imaginative signs that I appreciate in these communities are being replaced by the easier, uninspired plastic and vinyl that I’m not a big fan of. Not that plastic and vinyl letters don’t have their place, it just feels like much of the personality is lost when those elements are introduced to these character rich communities. Next time you are off the beaten path, and in a community near a large body of water, look around at the graphics on display… chances are you’ll get that “beach town” feeling before you even see the water.
Click on the “read more” link below to enjoy a few images from my collection of signs that display beach vernacular. Maybe they will help warm you up on this chilly winter day.
Pennants of Canada produces custom, vintage inspired felt pennants. Manufactured in Canada, they work with some of our country’s best artists to produce their designs.
Initiated by Bob Kronbauer, founder of the Vancouver Is Awesome network, Pennants of Canada is all about celebrating the people, places and things that make us all proud to be Canadian. Bob stumbled across our Adanac icon font and immediately knew that it was a great fit with what he was striving for with his new venture. We agree! We couldn’t be happier to be involved with Pennants of Canada and are aiming to release more designs with them in the near future. In the meantime, this Adanac Pennant is the perfect gift for the Canadians on your holiday list.
The exhibit the we spent the summer designing; Vancouver in the Seventies, is now on display at the Museum of Vancouver. The exhibit features ’70s artefacts from the Museum’s collection, and is bursting with over 400 photographic gems from the Vancouver Sun newspaper collection. The images are organized around themes of protesting, building, performing, being, and playing in Vancouver.
Open to the public from Thursday, October 13, 2016 to Sunday, February 26, 2017. We would be very honoured if you visited before it closes forever.
UPDATE: Now held over by popular demand until July 16, 2017!
Neon signage that we designed for the CityScape Community ArtSpace is now lighting up Lonsdale Ave in North Vancouver! You can’t miss it. Very exciting to see our custom letterforms created specifically for the signage rendered in Neon.
Finally finished our Millwright typeface, a display typeface family inspired by spunky DIY attitude and Industrial era hardware… an exercise in rendering glyphs with a rudimentary, hand-cut flavour. A typeface with a quirky personality and plenty of Open Type features allowing for easy substitution of glyphs… creating plenty of diversification for letter combinations, and multiple glyph variations.
Available today in four styles (Regular, Black, Inline, and Inside) via MyFonts. 50% off for a limited time… Enjoy!
I was meaning to post a book review as a follow up to the one I put up a while back, but we got busy, and didn’t have time to read as much as I would have liked (aside from the typical weekly haul of comic books). Luckily, the Christmas holidays rolled around again, and I was able to find some free time to lay on the couch with a stack of books. As usual, I got some good ones as gifts over the holidays, some arrived from the local library, and others finally found their way into my hands after gathering dust on the office shelf. Here is a recap of what I spent time with over the holidays and into January;
The Exhibit we recently designed for for the West Vancouver Museum opened this past weekend. From The Inside Out explores the legacy of several influential artists and architects by showcasing their extraordinary projects alongside artworks and photographs that capture their new forms of architecture and design.
Included in the exhibition are architectural projects by Ned Pratt, B.C. Binning, Fred Hollingsworth, Arthur Erickson, Bruno Freschi, and Zoltan Kiss, as well as works by Jack Shadbolt, Gordon Smith, Bill Reid, Len Norris, Egon Eppich, Wayne Ngan, Kawai Kanjiro, and Shoji Hamada, and furniture designed by Ned Pratt, Fred Hollingsworth, and Francisco Kripacz.
It runs throughout the summer until August 29th. Don’t miss out!
UPDATE: Now extended until September 19th, 2015!
photos courtesy of urbanpictures.com
I’m raving about Fonts at Nerd Nite Vancouver next Tuesday. Come join me at the Fox Cabaret for beers, and watch me get tongue-tied about my love for Letters! More info about my talk, 26 Letters = Unlimited Possibilities, along with ticket info, can be found here. Should be a lot of fun… hope you can make it!
The daily commute and pay parking was taking its toll, so we moved the office of our graphic design studio (again).
We found the perfect space in Vancouver’s historic Cedar Cottage neighbourhood on the corner of Commercial Street and East 20th. Built in 2013, the building was inspired by the newly restored 105 year old Gow Block building which is adjacent to us.
The neighbourhood hosts a variety of shops and services including the Commercial Street Café, The Tool Library, World Cycles, Style Council Hair and a great doggie spa (Loki would have loved it).
Our office is NEW and the perfect size (for us) complete with vaulted ceilings, lots of natural light and a rose bush right outside our window. We’re amazed at just how many people actually stop and smell the roses.
Come by for a visit. We always have treats on hand and time to chat, not to mention Adanac T-shirts for five bucks.