Monday, February 11, 2013

Byrom, Sagmeister, and Giving Your Mind a Healthy Dose of Freedom

For our blog entry in type this week, we were to look at two typographic designers who have taken a new perspective on typography as well as their careers.

Andrew Byrom (Watch him here: has been obsessed with finding faces and letters in random objects his entire career. When he came to the U.S. he could not get over how the electrical outlets look like a face. Completely understandable. No wonder I never wanted to stick my hand in one of those, that "face" was scary.

Byrom also has made some really creative typefaces out of objects out of our everyday lives. The typeface on the left is made out of those color blobs used to see if you're color blind. A plausible solution as long as you're not the one who's color blind. And the typeface on the left is made out of bendy straws. How cool is that?!

In his lecture, Byrom made the point that you can take a three dimensional object (like a bendy straw), make it flat, and then turn it into a typeface. When you stop your mind from only thinking in one direction or dimension, so many other opportunities arise. 

The typeface above was made entirely out of band aids. Holy toledo. 

Kites. Who would have thought of kites. 

And shower handles.

Byron said that if you allow yourself to go there, it'll (meaning letter forms and typefaces) will build themselves. It's just giving yourself permission to go there that's the toughie. 

We also watched a TED talk on Stephen Sagmeister (Watch him here:, he's a little shorter than Byrom). His stress was designing with slogans and having an impact on your environment and the world around you with simple, powerful phrases. 

Made entirely out of coat hangers. Boom.

So how do we take these huge ideas from Sagmesiter and Byrom and funnel that into inspiration for our book covers? I think the first step is a healthy dose of creative thinking. I think sometimes we are so used to thinking "within the lines" that coloring outside of them can seem scary, even dangerous. But we have to dare ourselves, as designers, to go that direction. Thinking creatively isn't easy, but in the end, it sure it worth the risk you take in the beginning.

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