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(First of all, this post is so late – sorry about that. Our son is back to preschool and this means back to the onslaught of all sorts of cold viruses like you wouldn’t believe. But we’re powering through.)

A long time ago we started Project Doolittle: both a tribute to the Pixies’ great album and an experiment in tangible type. By the time we finished the project, that is designed all 15 covers for all the songs, it is (already a bit past) the 30th anniversary of the release of Doolittle so the project becomes even more of a celebration of this record.

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Each cover is a different attempt at tangible typography: letters made of various materials, crafted by hand, sometimes designed by us and sometimes based on existing typefaces. We didn’t mainly focus on the connection between the material and the song, going more for an impressionistic, poetic if you will, relation between them (though in some cases the connection is more obvious than in others). We wanted to experiment with 3D typography to see how much using actual, physical objects rather than a computer adds to typographic designs.

This project started as one of our very first forays into handmade type and in the period between its beginning and ending we managed to do quite a few such projects (including a PhD thesis) but we are happy that we chose to return to this series and finished it because it’s one of those string-free projects that are very fun to work at. Hope you enjoy it as well.

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And so we come to the final Project Doolittle cover, this one for possibly our favorite song from the album: “Debaser.”

The title is relatively short, which always allows for a more complicated (and in this case more expensive) material than the longer titles. In fact, we had some discussions about what to use for this one, one of us squeamishly opposed to meat typography. We’re not exactly vegetarian (yet, anyway) but we don’t like preparing meat ourselves and we wondered if this wouldn’t be too much to handle. However, in the end it proved, well, manageable (and a rather delicious dinner because we don’t like wasting food).

Fair warning: if you don’t like looking at close-ups of meat, you might want to skip some of the images.

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Back cover.

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So this ends “Project Doolittle”: despite a longish break between two halves of the project, in the end we managed to do all the covers. Next week we’ll show you all of them together, just in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album’s release (we hope so anyway, because whenever we promise to do something on time, we tend to be late).

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We’ve reached homestretch of Project Doolittle: today last but one design for “There Goes My Gun.” (Also, we know nothing about sports.)

For a metallic effect the song suggested to us, we chose to play with aluminum foil. It is one of materials we like to return to every now and then because of how flexible it is. We used the foil in three different ways to render letters, going from more three-dimensional to deconstructed.

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One to go! Homestretch (or not)!

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With uncommon (for us) consistency we push on to the finish line with Project Doolittle. This week it’s “Mr. Grieves” with script lettering made of – not really hair. But it sure looks like hair. What it really is is tow (and boy did I have to look up the English name).

We put off this project for a while, expecting the material to be hard to work with, but it surprised us with its relatively pleasant point between flexibility and stiffness. It only took minimum amount of cursing and re-shaping the letters: I imagine it would be much harder to work with actual hair.

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Two to go but we’re still deciding upon the last materials.

in-her-garden-redesign-poster_01Today we have finally gotten down to cleaning up all the post-Christmas decorations (which we know is late-ish but we just love having Christmas lights around) and decided to do some creative recycling of the dried up holly leaves littering our room because we found them quite pretty and intriguing. What precisely we decided to do is another typographic poster to include in the Theatre of Literature series.

Unlike with the previous posters, we didn’t have a selected novel title to use and couldn’t think of one so we actually resorted to Google once we came up with the ideas that this book should include. We wanted something about old age and nature, nostalgic and on the serious side, and found a seemingly perfect match. In Her Garden by Jon Godden is a 1981 novel about an elderly widow who falls in love with her young gardener and dies under suspicious circumstances, a cross between a psychological and a gothic story – at least according to the Internet sources as we’ve yet to read it. (Again, this is not how we normally work but since the perishable material was ready, we seized the opportunity.)

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We built simple, cursive-like letters from the leaves so that the leaves’ curves reinforce those of the letters. We used the rest of the leaves to make an ornament, the kind whose structure can be found on a wallpaper in an old house. We picked a somber color that does not contrast strongly with the design to create a rather melancholy atmosphere.

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in-her-garden-redesign-poster_05With the Christmas decorations gone, at least we have the satisfaction of having turned a part of the chore into more enjoyable work.

Gilmore Girls, that long gone (long in TV terms) already-classic show about what looked like two teenagers, except one was a mother and one a daughter and they lived in a totally unrealistic idealized town – is the kind of show I like to have on during ironing: I follow the stories as background noise but don’t really watch watch what’s happening. But as there wasn’t much ironing this week, we did this instead:

Of course, this is another in the series of hand-made typography and yes, it was all done manually, dot by dot by dot, you get the idea, to the accompaniment of fast-discussed Gilmore love troubles. It did take quite a few episodes, too.