amusements, sketches, experiments, etc.

B is for Bad and possibly Badass

Example of embroidery typography in Book three

This post may or may not wind up sounding like a mini-confessional, but I’m going to dive right in and admit that when I was younger one of the things I loved to do was cross-stitch embroidery. It’s now been over a decade since I’ve last had time to do anything like that, however, at a used book sale several years ago I came across Book three: 20 designed alphabets, one large set of numerals, 35 Borders (©1974 Rose Anne Hobbs, apparently out of print) and I found my childhood-d*ro and designer-d*ro simultaneously and instantly snagged.

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I know, this book cover pretty much screams buy me this instant!

Yes the cover is worn, the plastic binding is cracked and broken, and the inside has neither glossy pages nor colored ink. And what, you may ask, in God’s sweet font creation is that checkered B pretending to be anyway?

Who the heck cares!

For $2 I suddenly found myself the master of flouncy pixelated type before type even knew what “pixelated” was. I immediately understood this sad book held a key to future awfully bad or awesomely badass projects, one painstakingly plotted criss or cross at a time. Its potential was so great, in fact, that I even debated its sister book: Book two, but alas I had $2 in the guilt-free zone of my mind, and any dollar (or book) beyond that in the “Thou Couldst Be Gravely Ill In The Mind” zone.

Years later, The Moment I had been waiting for finally arrived. I had an opportunity to test-drive this baby with a small fun birthday project for a newly married friend:

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printed on Moab canvas paper to give it the fabric backing look, and finished with a matching floral dark wood frame

I had to improvise a bit on the letterforms, borders and capital scripts, and kerning was especially challenging (read: fail). However, despite the type-purists and pro-embroidering old ladies rallying together in riot right about now, it was interesting to explore how much distortion a letter could take before breaking down completely.

I can’t wait til I can try out some of the more elaborate letters in a future project just to see how they turn out. What do you think? Is embroidered type bad, or badass? Can you foresee any potentially good uses for this sort of type treatment?

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1 Comment to B is for Bad and possibly Badass

  1. Lis's Gravatar Lis
    March 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I thought this project was awesome then and now, even though somehow I’d missed the post about it! Your coolness factor is off the charts, using old art skills in new ways.

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