Monthly Archives: February 2013

2012-Gravity Glue

Thanks to a friend for e-mailing me Michael Grab’s work, Gravity Glue. The video below is a little long but just shows how much time and effort goes into Grab’s work. In a similar way to the lengthy process that occurs in Michele Provosts piece ‘Its Only Rock and Roll’ (previous post), its clear that there must a be an immense sense of satisifaction once Grab completes a piece. In the video I find it really interesting watching the technique he uses to sample the rocks, checking to see f they’ve got a good pivoting point and therefore easier to balance. Nevertheless the skill he uses to manipulate the postion of the rock employees the visual aspect as well as the tangible in order to gauge the stones weight and relation to the other balanced stones. Really inspirational stuff, it opens the door for balanced typography, I tend to do that attribute a lot of things typography ‘oh that would like great as a typeface’; maybe with Grab’s work you need to keep it literally as balancing act.


Michele Provost sewing type


Just casually trawling through the internet, as you do, and I came across Michele Provost (sorry but this is an awful website) and this piece in particular “It’s Only Rock and Roll” 2005 – 2007 comprised of 44 framed embroidered textiles. Geoff the course leader had mentioned a Graphic Design agency in Sweden the other week who create hand knitted jumpers which have typographic elements embroidered into them. So of course once I’d seen Provost I thought I need to make a note of her work. The amount of time and dedication that must of gone into the piece above shows she has a real eye for typography as well her use of type and content/language is paired really well.


The other night I visited the Design Museum for a rather interesting talk on the design of the London Tube Map. The talk was given by Dr.Maxwell Roberts, a professor of Psychology at the University of Essex, which was rather strange considering this was a talk at the Design Museum. He mentioned this straight away, ‘its unusual for someone who has a none design orientated background to be talking at the Design Museum‘.

After outlining his background in cognitive theory and psychology he showed some of his designs, all of which were adaptations of Henry Beck’s original 1934 Underground Tube Map whose same structure (but more vast as a result of the natural expansion of London) we see today. There were some rather technical elements he mentioned like the use of an ‘octangular’ (UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, DIAGONAL TOP LEFT, TOP RIGHT, BOTTOM LEFT, BOTTOM RIGHT = 8 angles) line structure which works well and is used today. He then went on to talk about a ‘hex-angular’ (6 angles) line structure which produced some strange results. The highlight for me, which apparently in testing and in many designers opinions is still split 50/50, a tube map that employed curved lines (see image below). Personally I think it looks really smart, and definitely the future for London. All his work is speculative so he is urging people to comment and propose new maps to help strengthen his already 80 strong designs. The video below give some of Roberts’ opinions and reasoning.

Curvy_UG_2nd update.cvx


Another great topic on TED, Klaus Stadlmann discuss his pride and joy, the worlds smallest 3D printer. 3D printing along with the touch screen are two of the 21st centuries greatest inventions, both have brought so many new realms of digital manipulation to our fingertips.

Just as it happened a few weeks back we had a demonstration of a 3D printer and scanner (see videos below, apologies for the glare) in the laser cutting workshop at Uni’. It’s such an amazing mechanical process, and as Stadlmann comments in the start of his video an extremely difficult machine to build and programme. The most amazing thing with Stadlmann’s machine is the scale at which he can now print 3D objects. He shows a couple examples, one of which is Tower Bridge and highlights its size,

‘…if you look you will see the scale, Tower Bridge being 100µm [microns, 1000µm = 1mm), and for comparison the diameter of a human hair is 50µm…’ 

This is amazing to think Human beings can now construct objects that are roughly the size of a dust particle. Next thing they’ll be able to start putting tiny machines inside us, well the future is already here, well the concept certainly. The image below is from a book I bought a few weeks back called ‘Microcosmos’ and it visually documents dozens of different materials and substances that have all been electronically magnified. Magnification varies from around 40x to 22,000,000x! In one section of the book, their is the image below, a Microsub a form of nanobot, which would be ingested into the human body and would carry out immensely small and intricate operations within the patients blood vessels.

The amount of data and further understanding about the human body and the natural world that can be unlocked by this amazing leap in technology is fascinating. Personally I can’t wait to get my hands on one and hope that Uni’ pull their finger out and get one bought. For now I’ll just have to keep my eye on what people like Stadlmann are up to, but in the near future I’m sure I’ll get my chance to explore this inspiring technology.


3D printer demo at Chelsea College of Art & Design 2013.


Another experiment for my Collections project, this time using soil and mould. After my crit’ yesterday, the feedback was ok, a tutor said that the use of type was ‘crude’, and I can kind of appreciate this. The type is rather generic and doesn’t really say anything about the material, or doesn’t have any relationship to its surroundings. I think I was quite caught it on the fact I had actually made these and even managing to do that was rather tedious. The content (use of language) needs looking at too.

This morning I’ve been trying to seriously up my game, so I’ve already started to look at getting materials laser cut/engraved to really up the quality and diversity of the type at my disposable. Furthermore placing the work in a more atmospheric and intriguing location and far less sterile than the white background above. Plenty to be getting on with.