I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

So there used to be these neat designer hangouts back in the day when there weren’t all that many web people – places where people could show off their flash animations and argue about web typography. (I really miss k10k!) On one of them, the now-defunct Speak Up, amazing Canadian designer Marian Bantjes wowed everyone with her experiments and ramblings. At the time I didn’t realize she was really just beginning her career – a career that, some 15 years later, is beautifully archived and laid out in this enormous coffee-table monograph.


I’m crazy about her intricate, ornate calligraphic work, and I share her love of dense interwoven tiling patterns and bright colours – her work is totally attention-grabbing and very clever. She’s got an Escher-esque sense of pattern and translation and wraps her type in lovingly arranged swirls and swashes. Now and then she’s produced something so ornamented that it’s actually difficult to read, but I think it’s hard to find the limit of a piece sometimes until you’ve gone over it. Besides, a lot of her personal work explores the hidden and obscured – I know that there’s some intent there when I struggle to understand what’s going on in a piece.

I particularly liked her sometimes-hilarious little writeups about the projects – lots of gems produced under pressure. 🙂

Reading through her work was super inspirational, and it’s made me wonder what I’ve been doing with all my time while she’s knocking all of these amazing design projects out. Love this book, and I’m sad to bring it back to the library.


Baseline Station Tunnel

During the coldest days of winter, I often wonder why we wait for buses in drafty above-ground shelters, while deep below Baseline station there’s a nearly-finished underground rapid transit station waiting for visitors. I’m not sure why it’s so far off schedule, but it seems like they might have abandoned the project until the city is ready to run light rail south along the transitway. So it waits boarded up, even though the $16 Million budget the city asked for from the province to complete it showed up in 2012.


It’s interesting is that even though the tunnel is all fenced up and seemingly abandoned, someone left the lights on. The cinderblock walls are not very exciting, but there’s lots of room in there to do some interesting station design. There’s two more corridors along the left and right of the main thoroughfares, but I couldn’t see what’s down them just by peeking through the gates. (I suspect escalators or something will go there)

It would be a great place for a street hockey tournament! Look at the size of that concrete floor!



I try not to repost stuff I find around the internet, but this comic by way of Faith Erin Hicks (of “Adventures of Superhero Girl” fame) really resonates. I’m sure my artist friends will agree – nothing will shatter your drawing confidence more completely than teenagers drawing circles around you on their tumbler blogs. Has there always been this many talented kids, or are they feeding them talent-vitamins in their wonderbread?


Scummy scum scum

While I was down by the locks I was fascinated by the fingerprint whorls and swirls of foam that gather around the gates – lots of really neat shapes to follow. As a texture they’re really interesting, but I haven’t quite figured out what to do with the pictures yet. I’ve been thinking they might make neat bump maps for alien skin. They don’t seem like the kind of thing you’d frame and put on your wall.