Join Jessica Hische for an in-depth discussion in this video Erik's magazine lettering projects, part of The Creative Spark: Title Case, Typographic Artisans.
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Erik Marinovich: My favorite project to date is for The Atlantic monthly. They were asking all these prolific creatives how they work behind the scene, so showing their sketchbooks, and they wanted me to kind of evoke that type of subject matter within the titling and also of course the cover design. So the art director, Jason Treat, was very conscientious that I use a lot of hand in my day-to-day work, especially regarding lettering. So he thought that it would be a perfect place to create this type of mastheads for each artist that just would work really well.
So the reason that this lettering works so well with the content is that if we look through the actual issue, you will just see all these rough sketches from Grant Achatz, especially these ones from Frank Gehry that really marries itself really well to the content. While I was working on this project, I had just left a pen out overnight on my desk and arriving to my desk the next day, it was completely dried out, and then when I started to go to town, I realized, oh my God, I am totally on to something. So it was one of those mishaps that ended up making it into the final cut.
So this is another really great fun project. New York magazine always has their Cheap Eat issue that they come out annually, and I was so thrilled when they asked me to participate in kind of the masthead for the opener of this feature. The brief that they had was wanting to evoke the type of sign painting that we all see in city life. Either it's an amateur person's painting a sign for a bodega, and they really wanted me to just take that idea and run with it. So I literally just came up with something that was definitely inspired, and it definitely motivated me to what we see here on the final product.
The way I get inspired, if the contents are really based on New York, it was New York Cheap Eats, that I started looking at all the different colorful bodegas that you see, especially the ones in which maybe you could tell that the owner was painting on the window himself, and I came across this color that I just really thought was appropriate. You get the reds that you would see in the Italian picnic tables and maybe even some more of the fast-food colors. But as a whole, it worked really well. So this is a really big issue from Metropolis, it being their 30th anniversary issue, and in this they contacted a lot of different contributors, of which I admire deeply, and Friends of Type, which is a blog that I contribute with three of my best friends.
We were given the problem to solve in which they have kind of the history of architecture in the span of twenty pages. And they wanted to keep their existing content heads that they have been using throughout the magazine for the last couple of years, and basically customize it in a way that fits the content. Although we can't necessarily show a bunch of pieces of wood and brick, we just thought it would be more interesting to see texture placed in different ways that would actually make it feel, or evoking the idea and the spirit of postmodernism.
So by not creating something new, but already using something that's existing, but in a way that obviously works with the content of the page, it's just something that I am fascinated by. For instance, deconstructivism: what's a better way than to cut up the letterforms in a way that obviously is still legible, but still working with the content. The reason that I love these projects so much is that there is definitely these boundaries you can't step outside of, which make it either very difficult or will yield an awesome result.
It's a love affair for sure.