“Collections and Collaborations” posters now available!

Typographic poster by Tom Etherington and Keith Houston featuring show-through text printed in reverse
Poster by Tom Etherington and Keith Houston. Buy one here! (Image courtesy of the St Bride Foundation.)

As I mentioned last time, last month I took part in an event at the St Bride Foundation in London called “Collections and Collaborations” at which Tom Etherington and I, along with six other pairs of collaborators, launched the poster on which we’d been working for the past few months.

You can see a digital reproduction of our poster here, but I suggest — nay, I urge — that you lay out the £15.00 for a printed copy. Not only will St Bride benefit from your generosity, but you’ll get to see Tom’s clever visual sleight of hand for yourself. That grey text isn’t grey at all: rather, it’s printed in black on the back of very fine paper called “Sixties”, available from Fenner Paper, so that it shows through to accompany the coloured text on the front. It looks great in person!

All seven posters, ours included, are now available for sale in limited editions of 60, and all proceeds go to St Bride. Take a look and order your favourites now!

“Collections and Collaborations” at the St Bride Foundation, London, on 14th May, 2019

On Tuesday the 14th of May I’ll be taking part in an event at the St Bride Foundation in London called “Collections and Collaborations”. It’s a showcase for a set of posters inspired by St Bride and its collections, and I was lucky enough to be paired with the talented Tom Etherington, a book designer at Penguin, to help produce one of those posters.

Here’s the official take:

In November 2018, we approached fourteen artists, designers, writers, illustrators and musicians to ask if they would collaborate in pairs to create a poster designed to celebrate and highlight the rich and varied collections held within the St Bride Library and the building itself.

This evening is being held to celebrate the culmination of their work and the items from the collections that inspired them. The event includes a drinks reception, private view and series of short lectures from some of the collaborators about the process behind their work.

There are seven posters in total, and each one has been printed in a limited edition of 60. They’ll be on sale during the event for £15 each, three for £40 or the complete set for £100. All profits go to the St Bride Library. Tickets for the event are a very reasonable £3–5.

See you there!

Emoji, part 6c: to infinity…and beyond‽

As we saw last time, Emoji 4.0 cemented the Unicode Consortium’s practice of annual emoji updates. In doing so it created the phenomenon of “emoji season”, in which commentators pick apart the new emoji that will soon arrive on smartphones and computers and then go back to their usual business. Emoji season has come to be defined by the major theme of the accompanying emoji update: 2015’s Emoji 1.0 added skin tone support, while 2016’s Emoji 4.0 brought a more equitable treatment of male and female emoji. Now, in May 2017, Emoji 5.0 added the concept of gender-neutral emoji.1

For all its attendant fanfare, Emoji 5.0 added only three new emoji in the service of gender inclusivity: CHILD (🧒), PERSON (🧑), and OLDER PERSON (🧓). Each one was intended to provide a gender-neutral alternative to its gendered counterparts: BOY (👦) or GIRL (👧), MAN (👨) or WOMAN (👩), and OLD MAN (👴) or OLD WOMAN (👵). But, as is often the way with emoji specifically, and with Unicode in general, things were a little more complicated than they seemed.

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Emoji, part 6b: steps in the right direction

The emoji enlightenment dawned in August 2015. As we saw last time, that was the month in which the Unicode Consortium published “Emoji 1.0”, a document that listed all available emoji characters and, crucially, described how to create new emoji by combining existing symbols.1 It was a big change to the status quo, and it was done with one overriding aim in mind: to allow emoji to become more representative of the people who used it. So what did Unicode do with that newfound freedom? We’ll find out over the next two parts as we follow emoji’s journey from Emoji 1.0 right up to the present day.

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The Book (書的大歷史) is now available in Chinese!

Cover of the Chinese (complex character) edition of The Book
The cover of the Chinese (complex characters) edition of The Book, as published by Rye Field Publications.

I’m happy to announce that The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time is now available in Chinese (complex characters), courtesy of Taiwan’s Rye Field Publications. It’s available now and is priced at NT$550. If you happen to buy a copy, please leave a comment below or drop me a line via the contact form to let me know what you think!