What Type of Stuff Do You Own?

desktop's picture

Stephen King once said (I believe it was in On Writing) that he could tell a lot about a person by what books they own. There's quite a bit of truth in this statement. I can tell a lot about people just by examining the odds and ends they keep around their home. People will usually buy things that reflect their particular tastes.

As a designer this fascinates me. Thinking about this I happened to glance at my coffee cup and an idea hit me; I should start a thread here on Typophile where everyone could share something from their own life that reflects their love of typography.

For me it has always been anything old and ornate. Last year about this time I had the opportunity to participate in a Photoshop Design contest. The challenge was to design a billboard ad for Photoshop in the past or future. I had no idea what I was going to make until I visited Leterheadfonts and spotted Tom Kennedy's gorgeous Billhead font. Looking at the old letterhead samples he had made (to display the font) I was inspired to create an early 1900's billboard advertising Photoshop. The challenge was to conceive of how this ad would present the program during that time period; what terminology would they use to describe the program? what pictures (if any) could I use to convey the message?

It took me about three weeks to come up with my final billboard design. Unfortunately, I did not even place in the finals, but Denise Buyers of Letterheadfonts offered to display my design in their Gallery section. I was honored. If you're curious you can see the design there or visit it here on the PhotoshopCafe design challenge page.

So began my love of old typography and a more devoted search for "old things" to display around my home, including this great old coffee mug that I found one day when me and my mom were visiting an antique shop here in town.

So do you own anything that communicates your deep, abiding love of typography/design? Show it off here :)

pattyfab's picture

Wasn't there a thread just like this kinda recently?

desktop's picture

*shrugs* I don't know. I just thought this could be fun. Break out your digital camera and show of your typographic treasures :)

Si_Daniels's picture

> Break out your digital camera and show of your typographic treasures :)

Make sure you have adequate insurance - the typo-burglars may be reading this ;-)

HaleyFiege's picture

Japanese Lucky Cats and Dominican cigar box.

desktop's picture

Ha! Haley those are great :) Lot of personality and I love the bright cheerful colors. What do the Japanese symbols stand for on the cats?

akira1975's picture

Doug, do you mean the Japanese words on the cats?

The word, ‘祝’, on the collar of the right cat means ‘to congratulate’, ‘to wish’ or ‘to pray’ and the word, ‘開運’, on the legs of the right cat means ‘to have a better luck’. ‘開’ means ‘open’, and ‘運’ means ‘luck’.

The cat on the right is a good-luck charm.

The word, ‘千万両’, on the legs of the left cat means ten million ryo’s (‘ryo’ is an old Japanese currency). In other words, it means a great deal of money.

The cat on the left is an amulet which gives you money.

Nick Shinn's picture

I have several collections which, now that you mention it, do seem to contain quite a bit of type. A lot of old vinyl, magazines, postcards, printed ephemera etc. For a while (early 1970s), I collected cigarette packages and cigarette cards.
This animation shows the evolution of the British Park Drive 10-pack from the 1920s through the 1970s.

desktop's picture

Akira, thank you for that explanation on the cats. Nick that's awesome stuff! I've heard of cigarette cards before. My mom is a walking talking wealth of antique knowledge. I probably heard about them from her. Do you have any photos of your card collection?

This is great!

akira1975's picture

Doug, you’re welcome.

But I read a word by mistake.

The word on the collar of the right cat might not be ‘祝’. It could be ‘福’ that means happiness. The letter is so distorted that I had a error. Sorry.

fredo's picture

An A5-sized postcard in one of the windows at my workplace. A deliberate misspelling of "Shut up" by Swedish artist elis eriksson.

KenBessie's picture

Akira, thanks for the info on the cats. I got a cat as a house-warming gift and displayed it in my kitchen. Now I realize it's a money-making cat. So I moved it to my office.

Nick Shinn's picture

Here's a Wills card from c.1913.
Probably from a Wild Woodbine package.
1 3/8" wide.


nora g's picture

Nick: Oh, how wonderful cards, and also the packaging development is a pleasure to see ... please don't show us more ... it's addictive stuff ... Where are these cards from? Have they been in the cigarette packages for use of collecting them?

desktop's picture

fredo, what is the significance of the misspelling? What an awesome view from that window. What kind of work do you do?

Nick those are awesome cards. I did a little researching on cigarette cards and found this interesting tidbit on the Wikipedia site:

"One notable cigarette card is the example of Honus Wagner from the American Tobacco Company's T206 set. Sometimes referred to as the Holy Grail one such example sold for over $2 million."

John Hudson's picture

I own the graver that Christian Paput, last punchcutter of the Imprimerie nationale, is shown holding in this photograph. It lives on my desk, next to my cricket ball.

fredo's picture

- what is the significance of the misspelling?

elis died last year, at 99 years of age, angry until the end. He said he had been born three times as an artist. I'm most familiar with his two last incarnations, characterized by his both childish and aggressive onomatopoetic works, of which this is one. The significance is perhaps better explained by Karl Nyberg, who wrote this for an exhibition at the Modern Museum in Stockholm:

His classic phrase “HÅLL TJEFTEN” (SHUT YOUR GAB!) incites revolt and represents a refusal to submit to repressive norms, both linguistic and social. A peculiar writing style is one of the most characteristic features of Eriksson’s art. By making his own dyslexia a distinctive and individual form of expression, he turns accepted values on their head. What is normally seen as a restriction becomes instead his strength.

More pictures of his work here and the rest of the quoted text here.

Let's just say that everytime I look at it I can feel a tiny bit subversive when everything I do is not.

- What an awesome view from that window. What kind of work do you do?

I'm a (typo)graphic designer, and as the myth goes, we must have inspiring work environments to be "creative".

desktop's picture

I wouldn't even know how to act if I had a creative job. All the creative jobs I ever had ended in bizarre circumstances. elis reminds me of Escher for some odd reason.

Zennie's picture

A beautiful record cover by Designers Republic
(apologies for the poor quality photo)

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