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Erik Spiekermann Explains It All

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hello I am erikLike most beings who can have their day ruined by a sign set in Comic Sans, we’ve long admired the typographic genius of Erik Spiekermann, but who knew he was also a master of similes? “Having a color copier in ’77 was like having your own nuclear reactor in the basement,” he told a rapt audience earlier this week at Parsons The New School for Design, where he appeared with designer Johannes Erler to promote Hello I am Erik (Gestalten). Edited, written, and designed by Erler in close cooperation with Spiekermann (who designed the book’s lone typeface, “and whose son, Dylan, provided the English translation), the biography-cum-pictorial history documents the self-described typomaniac’s projects, traces milestones in his life, and offers his perspectives on design alongside essays by the likes of Neville Brody and Stefan Sagmeister. Below are some of the most illuminating Spiekermann-isms of the evening, which was organized and sponsored by the Type Directors Club.

On Hello I am Erik:
I had nothing to do with this book except I employed somebody to go through what little archives I have—because I had this big fire in ’77 and then a couple of floods, and my ex-partners threw away all my archives, so there was very little there. Poor Inga had to spend a year finding stuff, which was impossible.

On the typeface he created for the book:
I kept out of the design [of the book] because I was the subject, not the doer. The one requirement I had was that I’ve always wanted to do this particular typeface that is based on the weight of Akzidenz-Grotesk. There’s a specific weight that only existed in very large wooden or resin letters, and I’ve always liked it…and this was the opportunity to do it. So I said to Johannes, OK, I’m going to design this typeface—one weight only—and you will only use one weight in this whole book.

On the fluorescent cover:
We both happen to like dayglo. I’m not much of a color person. I’m very black and white. But I’ve always liked orange dayglo.
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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on Janaury 27  at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media compaies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Mark Your Calendar: Beautiful Users

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The countdown continues to the December 12th reopening of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Among the exhibitions that will welcome visitors to the freshly renovated Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue, which has gained 60% more gallery space in the overhaul, is Beautiful Users. Located in the sparkling new first-floor “Design Process Galleries,” the show will explore the shift toward designs that are based on observations of human anatomy and behavior, from Henry Dreyfuss‘s “human factors” to hacking. Get a sneak peek on Friday, November 21, when curator Ellen Lupton visits New York’s 92nd Street Y (tickets here) to discuss the exhibition and how users are increasingly affecting the design of objects.

Editions/Artists’ Books Fair Returns

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As you bid Archtober adieu with a Halloween-themed candy binge weekend, ready your sturdiest tote bag and a swath of shelf space for New York’s Editions/Artists Books Fair. The extravaganza of contemporary art publishers and dealers gets underway Thursday evening with a festive preview (tickets here) and then runs through Sunday, November 9, at the newly-renovated Art Beam building in Chelsea. Back after a brief hiatus (see also: “Sandy, Hurricane”), this marks the sixteenth installment of the fair, which has lined up 44 exhibitors, from Michael Steinberg Fine Art and the paper maestros at Dieu Donné to Bartleby & Co. and Purgatory Pie Press (“a sanctuary for artists, designers and typographers who are seduced by the kiss of type and the touch of metal”), presenting works by hundreds of emerging and established artists. Speaking of the latter category, Enoc Perez has whipped up a limited-edition benefit print for the fair—Fontainebleau, Miami—that looks ahead to the next big event on the global art calendar: Art Basel Miami Beach.

Don’t Miss Storefront for Art and Architecture’s Irrelevant Yet Critical Halloween Party

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Costumes from Storefront’s 2013 “corporate avant-garde”-themed Critical Halloween included, from left: Christian Wasmmann as “The Idea Man,” and Hayes Slade and friends as “Jeff Koons Retrospective.” (Photos: Cameron Blaylock)

Mere days stand between you and Storefront for Art and Architecture’s Critical Halloween—do you know where your costume is? The theme of this year’s highly anticipated art and architecture costume party, set for Friday night at 80 Greenwich Street in downtown Manhattan, is irrelevance (but if you interpret it as “i-relevance,” you can totally shave your head, throw on a well-fitted t-shirt, and go as Jony Ive).

“Considering the dark powers of our increasingly digital world and an online culture that propels banality to stardom, this year’s event asks artists, architects, writers, and citizens to address the concepts of ‘irrelevance’ and ‘relevance’ within contemporary culture and contemporary digital platforms,” say the Storefront spooks, who have lined up live music by Hessismore, DJ sets by Sergio Rebelo and DJ N-Ron, and a photo booth for costumed critical thinkers.
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Ready the Creamed Corn! Canstruction Returns to New York

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“Polarized Against Hunger,” the Canstruction NY 2013 entry by GACE Consulting Engineers

Ever dreamed of recreating a Richard Serra sculpture with tomatoes from the pantry? Erecting a monumental tribute to Alexander McQueen’s armadillo heel using only canned peas and elbow grease? What about constructing a truly giant giant panda that can feed hundreds? Teams from top architecture and engineering firms will prove that they can do it, and for a good cause. The international charity competition that is Canstruction returns to New York City next month and with it the opportunity for teams of architects, engineers, and students they mentor to design and build giant structures made entirely from unopened cans of food—all of which are ultimately donated to City Harvest. The competing teams’ carefully stacked creations will be judged in categories that include Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity, and Most Cans. The works will be on view from November 6 through November 20 in the Winter Garden and lobby of Brookfield Place. Bring non-perishable foods when you visit, and they’ll be donated along with the cans used in the competition.

Mark Your Calendar: Michael Graves ‘Past as Prologue’ Symposium

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Stock up on Peeps and reserve your ticket to “Past as Prologue,” a just-announced symposium that will be held “in honor of Michael Graves on the occasion of his fiftieth year in practice.” Organized by The Architectural League of New York and hosted by Parsons The New School for Design, the November 22nd confab will consider Graves’ deep influences on the disciplines of architecture and design. Tackling subjects such as architectural pedagogy, drawing, and the design of objects (fingers crossed for a session on “the Hitler teapot”!) will be the likes of Billie Tsien, Steven Holl, Paul Goldberger, and Museum of Arts and Design director Glenn Adamson, with a day-capping conversation among Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Adele Chatfield Taylor, the former director of the American Academy in Rome. Tickets are now available: they’re $25 each, but League members and students can attend gratis.

Dwell on Design Debuts in NYC

Dwell on Design has swapped coasts. Writer Nancy Lazarus visited the anti-tradeshow in its inaugural outing in Gotham.

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Architect Daniel Libeskind in conversation with Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron for yesterday’s Dwell on Design keynote. (Photos courtesy Dwell Media)

Dwell on Design has arrived in New York. The three-day event, a long-running hit in Los Angeles, runs through Saturday in SoHo. The design summit includes discussions on topics ‘du jour’ with industry leaders, an open mic forum for up-and-coming designers, a book fair, and installations of innovative products. But don’t call it a trade show.

“Dwell on Design NY has been a long time in the planning,” said Dwell president and CEO Michela O’Connor Abrams. “New York didn’t need another trade show, we needed to galvanize voices and use brands as a focal point of ongoing discussions on local topics, like post-Sandy design and the Freedom Tower,” she added. “We made sure no one brought a trade show booth. Instead, the installations here are meant to bring the brands to life by making art out of building products.”
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Nan Goldin, Martin Parr Among 2014 Lucie Award Honorees

(Nan Goldin) 1998
Nan Goldin, Guido on the dock, Venice (1998)

The Lucies, presented annually to honor statuette-worthy achievements in photography, turn twelve this year, and in the run-up to the glittering November 2 gala at Carnegie Hall (tickets now on sale), the Lucie Foundation has announced the 2014 honorees:

• Lifetime Achievement: Jane Bown
• Achievement in Fine Art: Carrie Mae Weems
• Achievement in Documentary: Martin Parr
• Achievement in Photojournalism: Nick Ut
• Achievement in Portraiture: Nan Goldin
• Visionary Award: Pedro Meyer

Top winners of the 2014 International Photography Awards juried competition will be announced at the gala, as will the winners of the Lucie Foundation’s Support Category Awards, including Print Advertising Campaign of the Year, Fashion Layout of the Year, and Picture Editor of the Year.

Parsons Adds Industrial Design MFA Program

(Alessio D' Aniello)Would-be undergraduates aren’t the only ones with innovative new educational opportunities at Parsons The New School for Design. There’s also a new Master of Fine Arts program in the works. Slated to launch in the fall of 2015, Parsons’ full-time Industrial Design MFA is geared to professionals who want to further develop their industrial design practice as well as those who are new to the field. As for the curriculum, developed by Rama Chorpash, expect well-crafted opportunities “to employ advanced making skills and critical inquiry to design products at various scales of production, from low- to high-volume, and from desktop manufacturing to systems involving global supply chains.” Students will cap off their two years of study with a thesis project “that develops innovative or provocative designs carrying forward or challenging industrial design theory and practice.” Excited? The program’s official kickoff will take the form of “Product City: Shortening the Supply Chain,” an October 30 panel discussion featuring Matthew Burnett and Tanya Menendez (founders of Makers Row) and Stephanie Schacht (head of responsible growth at Etsy), with Chorpash and Victoria Hattam (professor of politics at The New School for Social Research) moderating.

Saturday is Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live!

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Whether you’re in Manhattan or Muncie, this Saturday, September 27, is Museum Day Live! The annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine will see participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket, which are available at no charge here. Choose your participating venue wisely: one free ticket admits two and includes a free year-long subscription to the digital edition of Smithsonian.

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