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AIGA New Orleans and Loyola University New Orleans will hold its second annual Green Salon on March 14th at Loyola. The all-day event will feature presentations and panel discussions about the nature of sustainability and what the New Orleans community can do to become more sustainable.

This event will be webcast in real time!!

Salon will focus on the question “How can I make a difference?” Keynote speaker, Elllen Lupton.

The day will address these issues:

What can I do to act in a sustainable manner in my use of energy?

What can I do to act in a sustainable manner in my use of materials and construction?

How do I act in a sustainable manner when thinking about issues pertaining to social justice?

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View the Real Mad Men (circa 1962)

Premier the digitally converted 1962 slide show and reel-to-reel tape production commissioned by the Ad Club of New Orleans:

Art Director and Designers Association (ADDA chartered in 1961) became AIGA New Orleans (chartered in 1998.)

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The Real "Mad Men"

We all know what south Louisiana sounds and tastes like through jazz, Mardi Gras and great food! But what does it look like in terms of visual culture?

Join us to honor the fathers and daughters of pop culture. If you've watched the popular TV show, "Mad Men" we've found the real thing:

The golden age of local commercial art in south Louisiana is being honored:

AIGA New Orleans Birthday Bash & Member's Party

Saturday, January 31, 2009 7pm - 11pm Musee Conti Wax Museum
917 Conti St.
(504) 525-2605
New Orleans, LA

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Does Paper Impact Type?

I have a lot of old paper, printing paper, some art paper. I own an old manual typewriter or two as well, and some type specifying books and catalogs from typesetters and foundries long gone.

Recently I heard about a font that was developed to use less ink making it more "sustainable".

Remember when Bell Gothic was developed?

Do you remember when we went from hot to cold type?

How does the substrate impact our types? Now that we spend at least as much time reading on a TV screen, what's happening to the words we print on paper?

Louisiana State University Special Collections in the Hill Memorial Library, Baton Rouge, took possession of the Dameron-Pierson monogram die collection last month. Read the story here:

Read more articles on my Wordpress blog as well:

Everyone in the "allied arts" as they used to be called must read the book,


It explains how trade schools trained anyone who could draw with skills to job the burgeoning industries that hallmarked the era about which it is written.

I've worked with commercial engraving and engravers for decades and was under the impression that the same die used for engraving with ink can also suffice for a nice blind embossing.

Not so.

And this makes sense, once I think it through without assumptions.

It took three years, almost to the day, but yesterday I delivered the steel cabinets containing eight drawers filled with lovely old dowagers of hand engraved type to the Hill Memorial Library Special Collections at Louisiana State University.

Most of these are personal monograms, family crests and seals from local New Orlean private social clubs and organizations. One drawer is filled with monograms that would be identical were it not that each has a different combination of initials.

Some look as if they were engraved in the 1930s.

And others look just a little bit older.

View the rough cut created from 13 interviews of graphic artists, type setters and designers in the deep south for the 2008 Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC). These craft and trades folk range in age from 21 to 96 and live in south Louisiana in an area flanked by Pineville to the north, Thibodaux to the south west and Covington to the east including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

This is a work-in-progress trailer for a feature-length version of revisionist history of type and graphic design focusing on the American south.

Engraving is the highest form of printmaking known, some of the shapes in letterforms today originated with the restrictions and idiosyncrasies of engraved lines. The contemporary font "Burin" is based on engraver's lettering styles.

But what has become of this noble art, now relegated to museums, art history books and sometimes, wedding invitations.

This is the story of a 5-year journey in search of an engraving proofing press. These presses have not been made since before the 1950s. Once ubiquitous as the many small print shops in any decent-size town, these little presses proofed engraving dies or were used for deep impressions in blind embossing work.

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This article was brought to my attention:

(SEE ARTICLES AT BOTTOM OF PAGE, "A Side Note on Macintosh Computers and Text Readability" and "Zooming Reid Reviews With Macintosh OSX")

So I turned to my favorite type guru for his expert opinion, Steve Matteson, Ascender, Corp. He was gracious enough to answer and allow me to post his response:

"Hi Nancy,

Boy you've really stepped in it with this one! :-) The skinny on this
link is that type on screen is truly a big fat mess. There's a lot of
bad speculation on this blog but a grain of truth. The variation of
rasterizers is much deeper than the author initially suggests.... he
doesn't even mention Adobe applications which override Apple and

1. Displaced Designer, a website, data base created durin Hurricane Katrina which has been re-activated for Gustav. It is more like a clearing-house of information and resources.

2. Forms you might want to fill-out and keep with you during evacuation, they list all of the vital information you will need in case of emergency (like contact information, insurance, software licenses, and etc.) This was prepared by AIGA New Orleans post-Katrina.

(SEE RUReadyTools.pdf BELOW)

3. This document was prepared by AIGA after Katrina. It is available to board members of AIGA chapters, but I am attaching a copy here. It is filled with usefull informaiton about evacuating and restoring your business should a disaster strike.

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Mark Making

Daniela Marx, my great collaborator and friend, and I are working on a paper for the upcoming SECAC (Southeastern College Art Conference) conference here in New Orleans.

Our "paper" is revisionist history of graphic design, specifically we are re-writing the notion that our history—the history of typography and, therefore, graphic design—was made on the fossils of dead, white, western European males. To do this we have video interviewed a dozen practitioners, ages 21 through 96, living and working in south Louisiana. We call this our "design giant" project, because, we believe there are so many unsung heros of type and design, someone should start to document them.

Periodically I am called upon to identify and re-use some family artifact that has lost its meaning. Usually this is a sweet, endearing gesture on the part of a family member to rekindle family ties or pride.

I do not do a lot of this type of work, primarily I deal directly with type. But, my clients are smart, articulate and inquisitive people so their wishes usually interest me.

This crest is from a client planning her wedding. It is the icon for women in her family—"loosely the meaning is [that] Kelly females [are like] busy bees [we] make [the] best honey...

...Or, Irish women pick the best men, do the best work, and raise the best children. or something like that."

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American Manufactory

I finished a fortnight of heavy going on the computer writing an article too thick with foot notes and citations to be fun. So, to get the old juices going again I turned to a job that had been sitting on the shelf waiting to be done, 300 envelopes needed lining with some of my vintage onion skin paper.

The onion skin for this job is what was called "Tuscan" but it is orange.

It was a joy to stand up at our work table, put on some Brahms, cut, paste, fold, count the exact quantity of envelopes.

I started to think, why is this so pleasurable and the tedium of mass production not? I made some notes before I went to bed and this is what I found:

Revlon Annual Report 1986

Close-up of "Bruce", a .jpg conversion from a hires .pdf saved from a hires scan of a 35mm transparency dupe.

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Bruce and Nick Shinn's Scotch Modern

I was reading the introduction in Nick Shinn's 'The Modern Suite' which talks about his new Scotch Modern and about George Bruce. At TypeCon I bought a little 1964 reprint of a specimen booklet from 'Geo. Bruce & Co.' c1848 in the hopes that I could find the origins for the type speciman below and above.

The sample is from the 1986 Revlon Annual Report which my (then) partner and I designed.* I recall that the type was Bruce something but have never found it since.

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How to Write a Personal Letter

Here is a .pdf of the instructions for writing a personal letter ("Writing Dictum") that I presented at TypeCon. It is written tongue-in-cheek but every word is true.

Pass it along.

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Etiquette at Typecon. Why?

I was delighted that my lecture, "Etiquette and Typography" was so well received at TypeCon 2008 in Buffalo this past weekend.

To my great satisfaction, a diverse number of individuals—old, young, male and female—so many people came up or wrote to thank me for my lecture that I began to think about why.

It was with great interest that I watched Ken Barber's presentation from House Industries; much of the iconography for the product they make comes from the time period that I discussed.

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There is an amazing book about dealing with illness and loss, “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, Vintage Books. In it she talks about how western culture has forgotten the rules by which we mourn. We used to have rigid codes for the passage through grief into morning and then return to everyday life (this process was allowed to take well over a year, sometimes two). We no longer have a prescribed method for mourning so every one of us is left on our own. Some mourn with grace, others less gracefully.

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Son of a Linotype Salesman

One of the subjects for the History of Graphic Design in South Louisiana project is James Gabour, 96, who still goes every day to his printing plant in Pineville, Louisiana.

For a while he was the local Linotype sales and service rep, his region around here was quite large.

James' son, Jim Gabour, Artist in Residence and Professor of Video Technology, Loyola University New Orleans told me about his dad and we have been corresponding about him ever since.

Following is the text from some of that correspondence while setting up my appointment to take James oral history:

"Sent: Date: Jun 21, 2008 9:43 AM
To: nancy sharon collins
Subject: Re: dad

Thanks, Nancy.

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When Manners Mattered

Selections from History in Small Spaces the upcoming exhibition of large format archival pigment prints July 17-21, TypeCon 2008, Buffalo, New York.

The desire for getting along in polite society have long tempted the fancy of aspiring souls, following are the musings of beautiful and enchanting young Undine Spragg, newcomer to the travails of the cosmopolitan dream:

"She went to the window, and drawing back its many layers of lace gazed eastward down the long brown-stone perspective. Beyond the Park lay Fifth Avenue–and Fifth Avenue was where she wanted to be!

We burned our bras and the traditions of polite society in the 1960s. Perhaps the post-Victorian, war-torn, Democracy-mongering notions of social form became outmoded, but, with the ruin of rules for civil engagement, how have three generations of Americans learned to get along.

By looking at examples of communication tools for written correspondence we can perhaps get a glimpse at what we have learned about polite society and what we have lost.

I will be presenting this engaging topic on Sunday, July 20 during the afternoon session of "Type in 20".

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As Cited in VOGUE

“Vogue Most Wanted: Week of 06.05.2008″
edited by Meredith Melling Burke

Hit item #9 after the Vera Wang perfume.

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