mili's blog

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120 kg of letters

Had a fantastic weekend in a course organised by Grafia, the Finnish Graphic Designer's organisation. It was a letterpress course, where the teacher Mikko Keski-Vähälä had brought a selection of his woodblock and lead fonts for us to use as we pleased. There was one graphic press, and we also used spoon or bone to rub the text in (good method for thinner paper). It was my first time to actually use those letters, and a fantastic experience.

Some pictures can be seen here:

In Ali Smith's first novel, Like, there is a chapter where a 7-year-old girl is reading a book called "One Hundred And One Great Wonders Of The World". It's rare to have descriptions of letters or fonts in fiction, so I enjoyed these little observations:

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Look at those counters!

An interesting approach to vowels:

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The writing's on the wall in Naples

Some interesting letter forms on the walls of Naples, Italy

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Earrings for those who like letters

I got these nice copper earrings for Christmas. They are by a Russian jewellery artist Nikolai Balabin, who lives in FInland. Apparently he presses old metal letters in sand.

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Sunday walks, house numbers and more

Some pictures taken within 6 km radius from my home during Sunday walks this autumn.

This has a light inside in the evenings:

The new style of Helsinki street signs (this one is worn out)

and the old style

A day care center:

And then something totally different

And one more, but I took a bus there yesterday

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Clutterbuck of Utley

This fine sign has been up for at least 50 years. The former clothes shop in Yorkshire hasn't been open for some 25 years, but the sign is still there for some reason. I believe I photographed it in the nick of time, as the space behind the facade is empty now.

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Venice type

I spent some time in Venice this Summer, and found some interesting type here and there.

We stayed in the hotel Bologna in Mestre, which had some type dotted about:

the bathroom window (or half of them):

this was on the corridor wall:

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Nice Wine

…and nice label. It must be hand lettered. Unfortunately it was glued so hard it didn't want to come off the bottle, so I scanned the bottle.

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1930's Ex Libris

I found this Ex Libris in a book I bought from a high quality second hand bookshop in Helsinki. It's in an apparently second edition J. B. Priestley's Angel Pavement from 1930, published by William Heinemann Ltd, London. It was obviously purchased by Mr. Starck in 1932, and it was no. 604 in his library.

Mr. Starck seemed to have been Karelia minded, as the two swords suggest – eastern and western. The same theme is in a label of a popular Finnish beer, Karjala (Karelia).
Karelia is in the border of Finland and Russia, in 1930 it was still totally in Finland, now part of it belongs to Russia.

The K in Starck is pretty interesting as well as the Ö without proper umlauts.

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Domus Pompeiana

I went to this Pompeji exhibition in Helsinki today. The font used, Apollonia, was specially designed by Anna Väänänen for the event as part of a school project (schools were involved with putting up the exhibition). Just thought I'd share it with you.

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An accidental A

My son was having a cup of cocoa, when he called me to see this. He knows how to get my attention.

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Typographical brand film

I went to see an exhibition on best of Finnish advertising and graphic design in 2007, and this was shown there

About the competition:

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Unadopted Emu

Finally got some photos developed. These were taken in a small Northern English town.

This first one puzzles me, how can an old street be unadopted? The street sign was on a wall of a pretty old building.

This old shop sign was on a wall of a side street building. Got some funny looks when I took the photo.

This one is from Milan: Fonts galore in Corso Buenos Aires

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Helvetica psychology

From Rhymes With Orange comic today:

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Here's a typical Helsinki taxi sign from the front. At the back there's an individual number, usually in Helvetica or Futura. On Friday I was sitting in a tram when I spotted one with the number in Cooper Black. Now, that was refreshing... Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me.

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Memories of Summer, part two

To finish off Summer me and Spouse went for a long weekend to Rome. There's a lot of type there, and here's some samples:

Trajan, of course (under scaffolding)

From the historical center

And some more modern ones

An one without type, the compulsory cat photo (like all the postcards)

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Memories of Summer, part one

I spent some time with my in-laws in England this Summer. As usual, I was on the lookout for interesting signs and type

These gems were found in the pantry

This bread bin is at least 50 years old. I think the type treatment is quite modern, or is it?

I believe this little bottle is about half a century old, too

The old street signs are interesting, too

Note the pointing hand!

a close up

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Selfish Jean

One of my favorite bands, Travis, has just released a new album (The Boy With No Name) and a single, Selfish Jean.
With Selfish Jean comes a website (, where one can confess acts of selfishness, donate for a good cause and download a free font. Design credits of the font go to Martin Demetri, but my guess is, it's based on his handwriting.

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