Not Nice is the first promotional magazine produced by Coy! Communications for the (real) animation company A Large Evil Corporation, and their (fictitious) subsidiary, Evil Farms. It features a stack of tongue-in-cheek and innuendo-filled pages which were launched alongside an exhibition of photography and prints, all directed by Coy’s Mark Denton Esq.
We were invited along to one of the photo shoots to create a series of shocards for Evil Farms’ new supermarket, promoting everything from humongous melons to popped cherries. Mike Meyer took the brief and ran with it across a fun-packed day in the studio. Thank you to Coy! for getting us involved, a run-down of the whole team and more photos can be found on their blog about the project.
In October I visited Austria for the launch of Ghostletters Vienna by Tom Koch. While there I was taken on many trips across the city (see 36 Viennese Signs), and also on a visit to the Schildermalermuseum (Sign Painter Museum). It is a little-known gem which should be a place of pilgrimage for anyone in the sign and lettering world.
The museum is housed in the former workshop of Josef Samuel, the last in four generations of Viennese sign painters. The business was originally set up in 1882 by Josef’s Great Grandfather and the museum contains material gathered across the 130 years that elapsed between then and the recent closure of the shop.
Signage for the Samuel business
Starting with the founder successive generations realised the value of keeping their work, and other materials connected with it. A number of pieces advertising the business itself were on display.
Gold & Glass Pieces
The business was highly versatile, able to work in a variety of techniques, including gilding and glass work.
One of my favourite parts of the museum were the two dozen or so small sample panels, typically painted in the slower winter months as examples to show prospective clients of the type of work that could be commissioned.
Firmaschilder Ladenaufschriften, Wien 1899-1900
Josef brought out a number of books from the turn of the century, including this one which was a series of photographs documenting Viennese signage between 1899-1900.
Der Praktische Schildermaler by Hans J. Jedlitschka
A second book comprised a series of signs and layouts. (Damon Styer of New Bohemian Signs has written about this book here.)
A trade directory featured a mixture of sign painter listings, and advertisements for them and their suppliers.
Final Apprenticeship Piece
Arnold Samuel (junior) completed this piece at the end of his apprenticeship, with sketches on display alongside the finished work.
Sketches & Cards
In addition to finished pieces and samples, a large collection of noteworthy and other sketches and pieces on paper and card have been saved.
Entrance & Artefacts
As you would expect, the entrance is well signed. Once inside it is possible to see some of the antique equipment that still sits where it was once used.
Other Work & Museum Founder
Finally, some samples of other signage, pictorials, and a portrait of museum founder, Josef Samuel. I highly recommend making an appointment to visit if you are travelling to Austria, or any of the neighbouring countries. There is no direct charge, but voluntary donations are welcomed. To arrange an appointment, Contact Josef (German only).
This year Better Letters has run over 40 workshops in 19 cities across three continents. These, and the events from previous years, means that there are hundreds of people out there that have learned something through a Better Letters workshop. We want to celebrate this, and reconnect, so have created the Better Letters New Year Challenge.
The idea is simple, create a piece of lettering to welcome in 2017, making use of the skills you’ve learned at a Better Letters workshop. This can be a panel, shocard, blackboard, or anything else that you feel like working on. The wording can be as simple as ‘Happy New Year’, ‘Hello 2017’, ‘Better Letters New Year’, or get creative and surprise us!
Last month saw over 150 letterheads from five continents (25+ countries) descend on the beautiful city of Amsterdam for three days of learning, lettering and networking. Hosted by the Amsterdam Sign Painters, it was an incredible event with over 20 workshops covering everything from window splashes, to chrome lettering, to distressed signs. These were followed by a free for all on the final day where all sorts of vehicles and other blank canvasses were provided for people to let their brushes loose on.
The Morgue File brings together clippings and other ephemera gathered by Mike Meyer over the years as inspiration for signs and lettering. The book is a collaboration between Mike Meyer, Better Letters, designer Alice Mazzilli, printers 12–B and paper merchants G.F Smith. Printed by Risograph on Munken (main pages) and Colorplan (cover and section dividers), each cover has been hand stamped by Mike Meyer.