type design


Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by akiley No Comments

The Service Bureau, with MFA students from the CalArts Graphic Design program, designed and produced the exhibition ‘2d/3d’ as the culmination of an elective course by the same name.

The course set out to investigate translation between two and three dimensions, as practical technique, as rhetorical device, and as subject for critical inquiry. Responding 
to a series of readings and viewings, students were challenged to create work that questions or expands the way we conceive of, articulate, and work with space in graphic design.

The design of the exhibition took inspiration from Jorge Luis Borges’ imagining of a map the same size as the territory it maps, and by the split nature of the gallery space. Physical work was presented in one of the two identical rooms, and a two-dimensional graphic and textual map of that work, constructed from vinyl and dry transfer typography, was presented in the other.





Katie Barger (BFA 2016), ‘Gradient Zoetrope’


Margaret Andersen (MFA 2016), ‘Minimal Construction’


Iris Chung (MFA 2016), ‘Erased Horizons’



Posted on: February 6th, 2015 by Colin Frazer No Comments

Introduced in 1961, the IBM Selectric typewriter existed at the crossroads of the mechanical and digital. Key-strokes were encoded digitally and then translated into mechanics. The type baskets of earlier typewriters were replaced by interchangeable ‘type elements;’ for the first time, users could switch typefaces.

In the 1960s and 70s, Selectrics accounted for 70% of business typewriters sold in the US. The typefaces designed for them were the Verdanas and Georgias of their time, ubiquitous workhorses of records, forms, and correspondences. Under the leadership of Howard ‘Budd’ Kettler and others, IBM’s Lexington Kentucky type design office produced hundreds of typefaces for the Selectric and its siblings. These designs are now largely forgotten.

Messenger, the product of careful historical research, is a tribute to the typefaces of this time. The mono version borrows its unabashed eccentricities from IBM Artisan—un-serifed ‘i,’ ‘I,’ and ‘r,’ stacked fractions, and quasi-old-style figures. The proportionally spaced text version smooths out the mono’s more exaggerated features, preserving its spirit in a text face that is even, open, and contemporary.

Both Messenger and Messenger Text include alternate characters, discretionary ligatures, full European language support, two styles of numerals, fractions, superiors and inferiors, and mathematical symbols.







Messenger used for Arlene Shechet show identity

Posted on: December 17th, 2014 by akiley No Comments

Our typeface Messenger has been used by the RISD museum in the visual identity for the show ‘Arlene Shechet: Miessen Recast.’ The typeface appears on labels, vinyl wall text, promotional materials, a gallery guide, and a mini-catalogue. Museum designers Derek Schusterbauer and Brendan Campbell have made great use of the complementary mono
and proportional versions.


Wall text set by Derek Schusterbauer and Brendan Campbell