Irresistible Trump Scrabble

08.02.17

All you need to protest Donald Trump is, well, Donald Trump. It goes for his character as well as his name. Download the kit here.

trumpun O Street against Trump

So we drew DONALD TRUMP! in a typeface inspired by old-school civil rights signs and uploaded it here for you to download. If your Sharpies have gone dry just keep these files on hand and print, cut, protest.

O Street against Trumptrumpun2O Street against Trump O Street against Trump O Street against Trump

We’ll also make requests of any digital posters, so hit us up with your best Trump scrabble job and we’ll send it to you!

Disclaimer: this post was written by a natural-born American citizen. Please post any complaints here.

Advertising Wasteland — photography by Adam Frint

04.01.17

Chicago-based photographer and designer Adam Frint has an amazing eye for geometry in urban spaces. We’re particularly drawn to his photographs of empty billboards; a not-so-subtle visual allegory for our times.

7_11_Chicago_North+Ave+Near+Central_White+Square+&+Shadow_Neg_4_edit6_10_Chicago_IL_Grand+&+North+Ave_Billboard+Series_Neg_3_edit2_12_Chicago_IL_Elston+&+Chicago_White+Double+Billboard_Neg_3_edit

We asked Adam about his series. “For me, these images represent a moment in time that have now become an ongoing obsession. In Chicago, like most big cities, billboards have always been a big part of visual “white noise”. And as a designer, I have also contributed to that white noise throughout my career.

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, I saw more of these blank billboards appear overnight, changing up the morning commute; bold geometric shapes captured my attention. Stark white, black and sometimes grey voids beautifully contrasted the busy, ornate and sometimes dirty facades or sides of buildings. I noticed the correlation between less advertising spending at work, and through conversations with friends in the advertising industry.

As a photographer, I was compelled to explore the Chicagoland area and venture further out into different neighborhoods. The Billboard Series started in 2008 and grew between 2009–2010 when advertising budgets started to fall. Only time will tell how the series will evolve as social media and digital advertising change the way companies advertise.”

5_12_Chicago_IL_Webster+Place_Vacant+Billboard_R1_Neg_1_edit 5_10_Chicago_IL_Grand+Halsted+&+Milwaukee_Billboard+Series_Neg_1_edit

If you ask us, white rectangles beat out ugly ads for dogfood and toothpaste. See the full project here.

Season’s Greetings from Nunraw (and O Street)

12.12.16

ostreet-nunraw3

A graphic scavenge through a curious old bookshop yielded this treasure: bits of 1980s Christmas programmes from the Sancta Maria Abbey in Nunraw.

ostreet-christmas-greetings2

From a graphic standpoint, it’s a goldmine: digitised black letter typography (which we redrew for our Christmas letters, printed by Risotto), forgotten photography and lo-fi print techniques we tend to drool over these days.

The best this find has to offer though, are the stories. There’s a bookie who became a prior. In 1985, the guesthouse received a dish wash-up unit. Best (or worst) of all, there’s the story of Father Gerr Lynch.

ostreet-nunraw4

“Fr Lynch of the Cathedral stayed at the guesthouse while waiting for a place in the a retirement home. He was celebrating his farewell Mass. In the introduction said it was his ‘swan song’, he asked pardon of everyone for his short-comings, gave a homily concluding with a short consecration to Our Lady and at the Communion carefully placed the chalice back on the altar and collapsed and died. He was indeed prepared and could not have asked for a better re-routing of that day’s journey to his new home.”

This Christmas, we’re raising a glass to Father Lynch. If only we’d be so lucky as to drop dead moving type around a screen. Season’s Greetings and lots of love from the O Street family.

GDFS Live 2–day Project

10.11.16

Graphic Design Festival Scotland is a week-long programme of talks, learning and making. O Street took part as mentors and led a group of young designers in taking on a two day competitive brief.

IMG_7079 Graphic Design Festival Scotland

After introducing O Street using every available facial expression, Josh represented the studio as a mentor for the two-day project. The competitive brief, set in the context of autonomy, was dangerously simple: start something.

Such an open brief is a scary one for designers. We live by rules, grids and guides. Designers fancy themselves problem solvers, but with an open brief, you need to FIND problems that need solving.

So how did Josh and his gang tackle the brief? We took a walk.

Graphic Design Festival Scotland, The Lighthouse, Glasgow. Photo By Stephen Hughes

IMG_7005

In a busy, bustling room buzzing with creatives, things were feeling claustrophobic. And so, we read the brief, read it again, then left for a walk and a chat.

A chat about the brief? No! We talked films, politics, colonising Mars, chocolate covered pretzels, skinny jeans; we talked about everything under the sun that wasn’t the brief. After a while, after talking openly about things they cared about, our designers had come to find problems that needed solving. They identified problems in this world that could be helped by starting something.

Graphic Design Festival Scotland

While the team were given direction on graphic design—the theme of the festival, after all—Josh made it clear that they wouldn’t be spending hours upon hours picking over fonts, colours and crafting tidy little logos. We were going to challenge ourselves.

Throughout the two days, we emphasised getting out of our comfort zones; getting out into the street and talking to people; challenging our perceptions of what design really was; working in a way we’d never worked before.

Graphic Design Festival ScotlandGraphic Design Festival Scotland

Our group came up with some amazing projects; one of which even won second place in the overall competition. Lisa and Lorna started The Walk Up, a non-profit focused on supporting sex workers in the UK. They were intensely informed on the subject and created a powerful brand toolkit to represent the idea.

THE WALK-UP._Page_04 THE WALK-UP._Page_01THE WALK-UP._Page_03Graphic Design Festival ScotlandTHE WALK-UP._Page_02 THE WALK-UP._Page_10

This video features explicit language and references sexual violence—to watch, enter the password ‘ostreet’.

Other projects from the O group included a campaign to reverse the law banning gay people from donating blood in the UK, an organisation to facilitate apprenticeships in the digital age, and a daring, abstract series of happenings centred on personal empowerment.

We’re proud of the quality of work from all our troops and the massive success of GDFS.

Ladies, Wine & Design / Here come the girls

08.11.16

Last week, our studio was taken over by the conversation series Ladies, Wine & Design. Facilitated by ilka, the series brings together a small group of women every month to drink wine and chat design, creativity, business, stuff, life and kind of everything in between… It’s basically the WI. But for design.

sign-paint-1

This month the talented Rachel Millar ran a workshop on sign-painting—taking over the studio to allow seven fellow lady designers and myself to get covered in paint and wine. All whilst trying to teach us a crash-course in hand lettering.

sign-paint-3jpg

Rachel threw us in at the deep end, as she recommend it was the best way to learn. Despite the evening passing in a blur of wine and popcorn—helped along by some heady enamel paints—I managed to pick up a few things along the way. Here’s what I learnt:

sign-paint-4

1. Draw more letters.

Free-hand drawing letters was something some of the group had never tried before. Rachel was amazed. We are all designers and know our favourite typefaces and fonts—but it was necessary to work with our own set spacing and forms to create our signs, instead of drawing from an existing typeface. Really thinking about letter forms with only one reference sheet was a new kind of challenge; something that I think is good for all designers to do more of (it turns out free-form typography is pretty liberating).

sign-paint-5

2. Practise your lines.

We were started off using One-Shot paints to do some basic lines to get a feel for the consistency of the paint. We learnt how important it is to palette your brush properly before trying a stroke. The trick is to make sure you get just the right amount of paint loaded onto your brush. Too much means uneven strokes that bleed out; too little means irregular strokes with rough edges.

sign-paint-gif2

3. The lift and twist

Rachel showed us a specific corner stroke technique to really nail getting crisp sharp corners on your letter forms. It involves a delicate lift and twist stroke that sounded oh-so-simple when she explained and deftly demonstrated it… Turns out it takes a wee bit of practise to really grasp the movement naturally. But we all gave it a good shot, making sure we had the straight even lines pinned down first.

sign-paint-6

4. Set squares are extremely useful.

Being as anti-maths/measuring stuff as I am, I had previously thought set-squares were about as useful as a chocolate teapot. How wrong I was; I’m now on the hunt for a good adjustable one for the express purpose of drawing big letters on pieces of wood.

sign-paint-gif1

5. Sign painting is freakin’ hard.

I already had a pretty healthy amount of respect and admiration for sign-painters—but having dabbled in the craft for an evening, its about doubled ten-fold. Huge props to those out there with the patience and skill to create beautiful and complex hand-painted signs. It’s bloody difficult, but very rewarding when you do get it. Plus, just look how cool it is >

sign-paint-2

All in all, it was a bloody brilliant night and I’ll be keeping an eye out for Rachel’s next workshop—in the meantime you can see some of her work exhibited alongside a bunch of other lovely typographers in Navarah’s exhibition Good Type, held at Old Hairdressers, Glasgow on 27th November.

A Chicago Cubs visual primer

04.11.16

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series this week for the first time since 1908. O Street’s Chicago native has a few gems to school you on the team’s graphic history.

  1. Logo
cubs-logos

As a team that’s been known as the Cubs since 1903, they’ve seen some dandies when it comes to logos.

2. Wrigley Field

wrigley-field

The Cubs are a constant reminder of a better time. A time when the powerful corporations that bought sports stadiums made bubble gum. The beautiful sign outside the field is a Chicago landmark.

3. The Scoreboard & ivy

wrigley-field-clock wrigley-field-ivy.vresize.1200.675.high.60

In the outfield of Wrigley is a rare analogue scoreboard, operated by hand from within by very sweaty people. Below is a famous thicket of lush green ivy notorious for eating up baseballs.

4. These guys.

Chicago Cubs baseball players Douglas, Hendrix, Tyler, and Vaughn

Look at these guys!

5. The W flag

Chicago-Cubs-W-flag-has-long-history

Since 1937 the Cubs have flown a flag a simple white flag adorned with a blue W after every home victory to let commuters know the result of the game. The flag has become the universal symbol for Cubdom.

6. Pop culture

19-wrigley-on-location

Ferris Bueller spends his days with the Cubs when we plays hooky. They’re Bill Murray’s team. Even while enduring a 108-year championship drought, the Lovable Losers were omnipresent in American pop culture.

7. The Ghost of Harry Caray

BS98_Harry_Caray

Long-time Cubs play-by-play announcer Harry Caray was famous for his tag lines (‘hey, hey!’), sputtering nonsense and being a late-night comedy victim. Shortly after his death in 1998, contemporary artist Ben Stone haunted a crowd of over 50,000 by floating his likeness over the field.

See you for another blog post when the Cubs win again in the year 2124. Hey, hey!