Found Type and Graphics

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about keeping inspiration catalogs. In an effort to demonstrate that I practice what I preach, I thought I'd share some examples of typography that have recently caught my eye.

It's worth mentioning that these samples were all captured while away from the computer, whether I was out for a walk, in a store, making dinner, etcetera. As a web designer, I am constantly forcing myself to look for inspiration away from the web (it's not always as easy as it sounds).

Doing so can help you avoid stale web design trends, stay fresh and inspired, over come creative blocks and, if your lucky or particularly curious, remain in a constant state of discovery.

And though I do believe that inspiration can be gleaned from online sources, one must be careful. After awhile, I just find that it all begins to look the same.

Found…on store shelves

The tagline for this product is “Wake up call,” a notion which I think the layout, color and typography supports. As a man, I found the strength and upfront of nature of this design appealing. Perhaps the orange evokes an allusion to construction? Surely it would stand out among all of my wife’s beauty products.

Every Man Jack Body Wash
This container for body wash would stand out among all of my wife’s beauty products.

The simplicity and beauty of this wine label appealed to my typographic sense. I found the contrast between the bold, uppercase gothic lettering and the comparatively delicate, serifed small caps to be delightful.

Leese Fitch California Wine
The simplicity and beauty of this wine label appealed to my typographic sense.

I really appreciate simple, typographically sophisticated designs so it should come as no surprise that I found this tea packaging to be quite elegant. It effectively communicates its brand and purpose with 2 typefaces and few small, intelligently colored squares.

Notice how the saturation and color of each square aligns with the tea it's describing? Subtlety at its finest.

Les Essentiels De Kusmi Tea
I found this tea packaging to be quite elegant.

Found…in the kitchen

This happy accident occurred when I accidentally spilled water into a bowl of sesame oil. I think its appeal is self-explanatory.

This happy accident occurred when I accidentally spilled water into a bowl of sesame oil
A happy accident: water and sesame oil.

A playful amalgam of texture and type. I always do a double take whenever I see Archer Farms packaging, though I do feel this design could benefit slightly from a lightening of the green lace background pattern. There's a bit of 1+1 = 3 or more going on here.

Archer Farms Packaging
A playful amalgam of texture and type

This coffee packaging has always felt like a user interface to me. I'm always tempted to try and toggle the “Flavor Intensity” of the beans and/or the roast time. Graphically, I think the packaging is a nice demonstration of typographic hierarchy.

Starbuck's Bold Roast coffee packaging
Which phrases stand out the most to you? What do you think their relative importance is?

Found…while walking the dog

Way more sophisticated than your average construction company branding, I loved this sign from head to toe (typography, color, layout.) Given the level of its sophistication, I was not surprised to learn that it was placed on the building site of a future Leed Certified Library.

The Land Office
Way more sophisticated than your average construction company branding, I loved this sign from head to toe

This highly visible sign says: BOOM! Buy a fence! With the exception of some ill advised letter-spacing of the lower case, this design presents a sharp use of color with a clear, unmistakable visual hierarchy.

Cedar Rustic Fence Company Sign
BOOM! Buy a fence!

In an era where public service signage seems ubiquitously set in Helvetica, I was pleased to happen upon this fire hose sign which seems to be a holdout from a bygone era. Communicative without being brash, the humanist sans serif typeface the sign is set with has gentle, but alert, personality.

The repetition apparent in the fire hose graphic creates a visual oscillation that leads my eye to graphic focal point (the nozzle), which in turn points to the sign's text. This is simply good design.

Vintage Fire Hose Sign
The repetition apparent in the fire hose graphic creates a nice visual effect.

Billy Whited was an 8th Light UX Craftsman from March 2011 - April 2012.