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On August 15th 1969 Woodstock music festival started. It featured some of the greatest musicians of the era and became a legend of the counterculture of the 1960s. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the festival and we already celebrated it with a poster. But because we like the subject matter so much, we also created a series of small illustrations depicting some of our favorite Woodstock musicians.

Day 1.

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Richie Havens opened the festival and played for almost three hours, waiting for other performers stuck in traffic to arrive. The performance built his career.

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Melanie Safka is known for her energetic, lighthearted music and enthusiasm. Woodstock performance inspired her to write a song “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” because people lit candles during her set.

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Currently famous mostly for her cooperation with Bob Dylan, Baez has been a great folk musician and one of the most significant female voices to appear at Woodstock.

Day 2.

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Not yet well-known, the band Santana with its front man Carlos Santana became huge after their Woodstock performance and went on to be one of the biggest names of the ones that appeared then.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival performed late at night but still managed to energize the crowd with their catchy, powerful music.

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One of the greatest legends of the 60s music, Janis Joplin was a star of the festival. A wonderful performer and an icon of her era, Joplin died tragically a year later.

Day 3.

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A huge band at the time, Jefferson Airplane performed on Sunday morning. The band epitomized the philosophy and lifestyle of a 60s rock’n’roll band.

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Like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix would burn bright but short – he also died a year later. His Woodstock show was the last of the lineup and technically took place on Monday.

Who are your favorite Woodstock musicians?

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50 years ago in Woodstock a legendary music festival took place and some of the most exciting artists of the time performed. We always loved the music of the time and the very myth of Woodstock, with its celebration of love and peace and rock’n’roll, and we’re celebrating the anniversary with a poster.

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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.

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Project Doolittle continues today with “Hey.” As this is the shortest of the titles, we could choose a material that wouldn’t work with a long word. We have a whole collection of small empty syringes used during pregnancies. We kept them precisely to use for a future project. We filled them with colored inks and arranged into letters. This looks better up close because the result turned out quite delicate but the subtlety contrasts interestingly with the sort of emotional punch that the sight of a syringe gives many people.

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Three designs to go and we’re getting there.