“Top this!” is pretty much the theme of this week’s “Cool Designs” as we tackle three projects that pushed the envelope right out the door and down the block. This week we savor a well-made volume on a dying tradition, “squee” over wedding invitations and collateral that celebrate the happy couple’s passion for design, and delight in a take on a Chinese tradition that very nearly burned out our corneas. (Previous Cool Designs of the Week can be found here.)
‘Typewriter’ Book Design
Whether you have a soft spot for typewriters, enjoy looking at advertising of the past, or simply like to thumb through a well-designed volume, chances are you’ll adore this book. Written and designed (!) by Uppercase Magazine founder Janine Vangool, “The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine” is a cornucopia of words and images about that workhorse of yesteryear, covering the machine’s history from its first iterations to today. Gorgeous photography of the machines themselves (many from the author’s own collection) is cleverly blended with print ads, brochures and other ephemera into something we’ve never before seen pulled off this tastefully. The cherry on the sundae: an inserted reproduction of a pamphlet called “How to be a Good Secretary” originally published by typewriter maker Remington Rand in 1951. (One of the joys of paging through this book is seeing the subtle ways Vangool allows the sexist typewriter ads of the day to essentially comment on themselves.) We simply can’t recommend this volume highly enough.
A&J Wedding Invitation Suite Design
When print producer Anna Dinh and designer Joshua Breidenbach of Saigon studio Unite, well, united, the invitations they designed were exquisite examples of what you can achieve when you take a chance. According to UnderConsideration,
“…hot stamping large areas created 500 unique representations of their design—with imperfections and uneven coverage each invitation turned out to be as unique as each guest.”
The accompanying “Beetle” notebooks with their company logo was a nice touch.
Red Packet Design
In Asian countries such as China, money is often presented as a gift in little red envelopes during holidays and to celebrate life achievements such as graduation or weddings. Singapore designer Tay Chen Gim jazzed up the traditional envelope with these gorgeous, ultra-colorful creations. The red envelope itself is die cut in the form of a monkey (2016 being The Year of the Monkey) and accented it with delicate foil stamping work. You can then slide a separate, highly colorful packet inside the envelope, bringing the die cut monkey to life. Just a stunning, stunning series of pieces.