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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.

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Continuing Project Doolittle, which honors the Pixies’ amazing album, we tackled “Crackity Jones” this week.

During Christmas clean-up of the house we found three jars of colored stones which were probably intended for plant pots but we had bought them with some unspecified future design project in mind. And this turned out to be the perfect opportunity to try them. (Also our older son had so much fun with helping that this turned out to be a perfect family activity, too.)

And yes, we designed the letters digitally before we made them tangible.

Front cover of the single.

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Back cover.

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The stencil.

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Four more songs to go – and we’re working on it.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

This year we are celebrating by returning to our old project which we never got to finish: Project Doolittle. Back when we started experimenting with tangible typography, we started a series of vinyl covers for songs from the Pixies’ album Doolittle. Life happened then and we only did a little over the half of those but as this years marks the 30th anniversary of the album, we decided to finish that work.

And we’re starting with “La La Love You” made from cookies and honey.

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Front cover.

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Back cover.

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Making of (sticky work it was).

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Did you know that Ikea cookies submerged in honey will float up? Now you do.

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Lots of St. Valentine-y love, guys.