Pitchfork   The Dissolve   Festivals: Chicago | Paris

Needles and Pens, opened in June of 2003 by founders Andrew Martin Scott and Breezy Culbertson, has accomplished a lot in the last ten years. As it curated 85 exhibits featuring artists all over the world, published half a dozen books, hosted musical performances, and sold some nifty stuff, the San Francisco based art space/shop established itself as a community hub for artists. To celebrate this success, Needles and Pens hosts an anniversary show at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco. The opening reception for the show is May 10, 6-9:30pm, includes work from 66 unique artists, as well as musical performances by Tara Jane O'Neil, Strawberry Smog, and WR/DS.

The show will be running until June 8, so make sure to stop by and celebrate a decade of Needle and Pens.

The geometric variety Alex Fuller achieves with just two colors and two letters at a time is pretty amazing. His new publication, Book of Two Letter Words, which he says was inspired by his Scrabble champion mother and English major father, abstracts simple words like "It," "No," and "At" by weaving the letterforms together and pitting the primary blue and red colors against one another. The result is elemental and visually striking. If you had any doubt how committed Fuller is to the two-color scheme, note that even the staples are red. 

The book is limited to 250 copies, some of which are available at 5x7

Is it really necessary to reissue the Kama Sutra at all? Used copies aren't exactly hard to find. But perhaps, the opportunity to update the looks of the classic sex manual was just too good to pass up for Penguin Classics. Malika Favre's cover illustration and typography is both erotic, slightly cheeky, and graphically bold.  With art direction from Paul Buckley, the deluxe edition will surely find its way into a many bedside tables.

See more Malika Favre online.




The group show at the Gestalten space in Berlin this month is a celebration of the new infusion of energy we're seeing in print, yes, print publication. It seems, perhaps in light of the Internet content explosion, that designers and publishers have gotten more inventive and creative with print. Gestalten thinks we've entered a new era in print publishing. The "Fully Booked" show celebrates the tactile experience of print and distinctiveness of design, materials, and technique. The show is broken up into roles that print can play: The Storyteller, The Teacher, The Collector, and so on. Featured designers among the 200 include Stefan Sagmeister, David Pearson, L2M3, Made Thought, and many more. Luckily for those that can't make it to Berlin, Gestalten has published Fully Booked: Ink on Paper, 272 pages of print design thrills.

Fully Booked is available at Gestalten.com

Sure NASA gets a lot of credit for, you know, landing on the moon, but their achievements in design and typography have been greatly understated. An auction on April 18 will showcase dozens of documents the space program produced, including public materials like booklets for the press and various brochures, but also a few formerly protected documents like a signed copy of the official "mission rules" of the Gemini IV. (via)

Originally drafted as part of a natural cure for insomnia, Tamara Shopin's new memoir, Mumbai New York Scranton, is part travelogue, part personal essay, and part creative journal. Naturally, Shopsin's day jobs enter the book in a big way. She spent formative time at her family's eponymous (and exclusive) Shopsin's store and restaurant, and received lessons in creative persistence and repetition while working in a printer repair shop. Shopsin keeps the photos in the book in the family as well: she sequenced the images which were shot by her husband Jason Fulford.

Grab a copy of Mumbai New York Scranton in the Nothing Major shop.

Raw Edges' offering for the upcoming Salone del Mobile puts a functional spin on the bookshelf. Booken switches the posture of book storage to expose spines horizontally, which creates an additional useable surface. Bibliophiles might worry about potential damage to the books, but small apartment dwellers will appreciate the the slim profile and extra storage in a smaller room or wide hallway. [via designboom]

Oddly enough, it was a Chicago-based firm which issued the official Graphics Standards Manual for the New York City Subway system in 1970. The visual identity presented by Massimo Vignelli of Unimark International is in many minds the most iconic visual identity for a transit system in the world. Thanks to the efforts of Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed, and Hamish Smyth the manual is now available to explore in digital form

The manual itself is small in stature, but exhaustive. It contains the elements you'd expect: the ubiquitous circular letters and numbers and nine chosen colors, but it also contains a few entries explaining Vignelli's beliefs about civic design. The best example is probably his "information tree," meant to simulate a rider's experience using the signage system. At the very top, Vignelli includes the surprisingly strict design guideline, "The subway rider should only be given information at the point of decision. Never before. Never after."

Learn more about Vignelli's vision at StandardsManual.com

Instruction manual for an obscure brand of personal computer. Slightly yellowed but completely unused, as the machine itself never worked.

A brilliant concept—If best-selling albums had been books instead—executed cleverly is one thing. But Christophe Gowans takes it one step further, writing clever synopses for the imagined tomes he's designed. We've excerpted some of those descriptions in our captions above. If the Record Book was a book, we'd buy it. We've only posted a select few from The Record Books series, there's many more at ceegworld.com and hopefully more to come.

Photo by: SHS Publishing | Type Compass

Founded by the Italians Luca Bendandi and Matteo Cossu, SHS Publishing has a deceptively nondescript name, a roving area of operation, and almost microscopic print-runs. The small publishing house/collective of authors based in Berlin specializes in art, graphic design, typography, and architecture books and believes making small books for niche markets makes it more likely to get to the trends first.

Small means nimble for the publishers, who have a passion for ink on paper. "We don't believe in flooding bookshelves with a million copies. Isn't it better to print less and get them all on the right bookshelves, where they can be read, lived, and consumed?" writes Cossu.

The company has an eclectic catalog. One Gear is about fixed gear bikes, while Studiospace is concerned with architecture practices, office space, and work in general. GrAphorisms features 59 insights set in innovative typography. And Totem shows off the handcut shapes of PIRO, an Italian artist favoring motifs inspired by the iconography of ancient religions. Printing methods vary by publication. "Depending on the printrun we'll either use conventional offset or resort to a low-fi Duplo that we have in-house," Cossu explains. Totem was made on the Duplo 63s printer (a "poor cousin" to the Risograph, he says) and handbound.

ToTeM from Roberto López Mélinchon on Vimeo.

It might be young and small, but SHS hasn't wasted time. Last year, it organized "Fahrenheit 39" in Barcelona, a mini-festival celebrating independent print culture featuring workshops and live music.

With "Fahrenheit 39"-type events in mind, SHS has advice for other would-be small publishers: The work isn't done when the books come off the press. "Once finished, we always try to take the book by the hand and accompany it out, organizing events, building a community, and including our readers in the discussion generated by the publication." 

SHS Publishing