Typography is a practice

Adobe's Typekit has just launched a new site dedicated to honing typographic skills, via a series of lessons and resources, under the name Typekit Practice...

"Typekit Practice is a collection of resources and a place to try things, hone your skills, and stay sharp," runs the site's introduction. "Everyone can practice typography."

On offer are featured lessons, including one on using shades for "eye-catching emphasis", a list of useful online references (blogs, articles, talks etc), and a reading list of books on typography. Of course, there are also links to Typekit's own fonts and its accompanying blog.

The Practice site is designed and maintainted by Elliot Jay Stocks, Tim Brown, Bram Stein and the Typekit team.

Aimed at both the type novice and expert, Typekit Practice is certainly informative – the lesson on shades offers some good pointers as to the various shading techniques available – from 'drop' and 'close' shades to 'offset' and 'printer's' iterations – while the site itself is clearly laid out and nicely written.

As Brown writes on the TK blog, " Lessons stand on a foundation of references to articles, blog posts, books, websites, talks, and other solid resources."

"For example, John Downer explains why sign painters shade letters to the lower left, Nick Cox reviews Typofonderie's Ambroise, and Typekit's own David Demaree ruminates on Hi-DPI typography. We're working hard to accurately cite the sources of references, so that readers have a starting point for further research."

It looks like Typekit Practice could evolve into a useful collection of hints and tips for those starting to play with typographic technique, and for others looking for some well-researched information on the discipline.

"We have lots of ideas for Typekit Practice," writes Brown, "plus an extraordinary group of authors and teachers helping us think up valuable lessons and make good references. Come practice with us."

See practice.typekit.com.

Harvey Nichols’ new website

Harvey Nichols has launched a new magazine-style website optimised for use on smartphones and tablets. It's an interesting approach to content marketing, but the site's design seems to have divided opinion...

The new website was designed in-house and built by agency Ampersand Commerce. It aims to offer a better and simpler user experience and new features include a 'MyHN' section where users can create a profile and shopping shortlists; a 'fashion emergency' button which takes them to a live chat with a stylist and a 'click and try' service, which orders products to store for a one-on-one appointment with an adviser.

The most noticeable change, however, is the emphasis placed on content. Users can still use drop down menus to browse products by department and category but the homepage is now a mix of editorial features and social content. Articles are grouped into six categories, including trends, editor's picks, inspiration and brand focus.

Features are identified by icons and hashtags and include a mix of full-screen photoshoots, scrapbook-style grids and more traditional product lists and written content. Colour coding and symbols are also used to group products, sections and services.

The site took around a year to build and five months was spent planning design and user experience. Harvey Nichols' multichannel director Sandrine Deveaux says designers were given a fairly open brief, but asked to "make products look stunning, ensure people find what they are looking for as quickly as possible and fuse content with product as seamlessly as possible."

The new site is the brand's first designed with smartphone and tablet users in mind, and Deveaux says the re-design was driven by a change in consumer behaviour. "We have heavy usage on tablet and mobile, and the move away from desktop looks inexorable,” she says.

"[This] creates its own unique challenges, especially given that the vast majority of our customers are iPhone users, where the screen size is significantly smaller than most android devices," she says. "One of the most striking changes is the shift from traditional left hand category navigation to persistent top level. We've been heavily influenced by tablet usage where long scrolls are the norm, and felt that left hand navigation isn't fit for purpose anymore," she adds.

Harvey Nichols isn't the first brand to adopt this kind of content marketing approach - Net-a-Porter, ASOS, Topshop and Urban Outfitters' websites all feature style guides and editorial features - but these are usually confined to a particular section of the site. Harvey Nichols' takes the idea a step further, putting equal emphasis on content and product.

This does encourage longer browsing and may lead to customers stumbling on new collections, but it won't be to everyone's tastes. While the magazine format has proved successful for high street brands, there's a careful balance to be struck by upmarket shops who want to offer more content and interaction while retaining a sense of luxury.

The response to Harvey Nichols' new site was largely positive on Twitter but on retail and marketing blogs, it has divided opinion. Some likened the layout to low-cost templates, while others felt the focus on content was distracting.

But perhaps some of this criticism is a little unfair. There is still a widespread expectation that luxury brand sites should focus on white space and full-screen photos, but Harvey Nichols aim is to do more than showcase products. As Deveaux points out, Harvey Nichols is a brand that's known for its cheeky sense of humour, and the new website clearly reflects this.

“Harvey Nichols positions itself as...being exclusive but accessible. One of the joys of the brand is that it differentiates itself with humour and wit. Our challenge is to ensure that the core values are communicated to the existing customer base at the same time as offering an online customer experience that appeals to the next generation of customers," she explains.

Aesop’s identity for Toastits toasties

Aesop has created a playful pastel identity system for new Camden street food outlet, Toastits.

Toastits opens on Monday at Camden Lock Market and will serve a range of gourmet toasties, including the intriguingly named Bloody Mary. Owner Phillie Kenyon Shutes asked Aesop to create an identity that would convey an artisanal feel, but with a little added personality.

The brand logo features a 'T' in a slice of bread marked with grill lines. As Aesop designer Danii Maltman explains, it had to be simple, versatile and instantly recognisable.

The marque has so far been applied to coffee cups, napkins, wrapping paper, stationery and loyalty cards, which also feature a series of graphic patterns. Napkins and stationery play on the brand's name, with phrases such as 'nice raclette' and 'you're drooling', while cups are marked 'D cup' and 'C cup'.

"The brief was very open – there were no limitations – which was great as we managed to put in a few discoverables that play on the Toastits name…[to] keep it playful and cheeky whilst still looking contemporary," explains Maltman.

The pastel palette may seem an unusual choice for a sandwich stall, but Maltman says the aim was to stand out from the brightly coloured, hand written signs found around Camden Lock.

"The colour palette was [also] inspired by chalk colours from market chalk boards, but is ultimately young and fresh, which reflects the personality of the owner," Maltman adds.

It's a simple scheme but a distinctive one, and Maltman says the idea was to create "a scalable design that could start a bit more lo-fi and easily expand and grow as the business grows."

Penguin to unveil new covers on WeTransfer

Iain Sinclair, American Smoke. Cover by Nathan Burton

Penguin Books has launched a partnership with WeTransfer where selected book covers for new titles will be showcased via the full screen backgrounds to the file transfer website...

The first series to be shown via the website is for the publisher's Street Art Series of novels which feature covers by artists: ROA, gray318, Nathan Burton, Sickboy and 45rpm. The series actually launched last year – details on the ten participating artists are here – but today's launch will pilot what looks to be an ongoing collaboration between the publisher and WeTransfer.

Zadie Smith, Embassy of Cambodia. Cover by gray318

For the Street Art series the covers are photographed as still lives, surrounded by objects which reflect the subject of the books. If users click on the image they are taken to Penguin's online store.

While the project isn't launching with an entire set of brand new cover designs (three from this series were released in June last year), the tie-up is an interesting way of promoting forthcoming editions. WeTransfer has 20m monthly users so the cover artwork – and the book, of course – has the potential to reach a wide audience. The next series of covers will be premiered on WeTransfer later this summer.

Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel. Cover by ROA

Zoë Heller, The Believers. Cover by Sickboy

Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End. Cover by 45RPM

WeTransfer have also recently collaborated with the British Fashion Council, designer Nelly Ben and Where's Wally.

The art of bank note design

The Bank of England Museum's latest exhibition offers a look at some fascinating items from its archives, including bank note test prints and sketches by designer Harry Ecclestone.

Curiosities from the Vaults: A Bank Miscellany is open until July 11 and features items collected by the bank since it was founded in 1694. Alongside paintings, rare ceramics and an 18th century sculpture of its emblem are a series of illustrations and tests for notes created by Ecclestone, who was the bank's first in-house designer.

Top and above: Paste-up of Ecclestone's Series D £10 note; the complete note (front and reverse)

Ecclestone worked for the bank for 25 years and was responsible for designing the 'D' series of notes, issued in 1970. A president of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, he was awarded an OBE for his services in 1979, and he died in 2010.

Designing and printing notes is a complex process: to make counterfeiting as difficult as possible, specialised inks are produced on site and some images are engraved by hand onto metal plates, while others are created digitally and laser etched on to film. Watermarks are engraved using wax and, like the metal foil in bank notes, are embedded during the paper manufacturing process.

Intaglio and obverse litho test prints of the £10 note

Tests on display at the museum demonstrate the various stages of the printing process, which uses a mix of intaglio, letterpress and litho printing, while Ecclestone's character sketches offer a rare glimpse at the early stages of bank note design.

Original sketch of Nightingale and a master drawing of the Scutari Barracks

Other items in the collection include high value notes signed by Nelson Mandela and George Eliot, a ballot box designed by architect John Soane and a leather trunk used for 'carrying gold across deserts', which is thought to have belonged to army officer TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Lawrence was offered a job by the bank in 1934, a record of which is also on display.

Curiosities from the Vaults: A Bank Miscellany is open at the Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH until July 11. For details see bankofengland.co.uk

Maclise Britannia £5 note

A thousand pound note signed by the Chosu Five, a group of Japanese nobility who studied at UCL in the 1800s after illegally leaving their home country.

Thousand pound bank note signed by author George Eliot

Wally Olins, a tribute

Wally Olins, co-founder of Wolff Olins and chairman of Saffron Brand Consultants, has died aged 83. CR editor Patrick Burgoyne pays tribute

The Financial Times once described Wally Olins as "the world's leading practitioner of branding and identity" and it's hard to disagree with that assessment. Certainly Wally didn't as, in typical style, he placed it in a prominent position on his website.

Under the What I'm Like heading, he described himself thus: "I try to be direct and clear. I simply tell my clients the truth as I see it, without too much gloss or varnish because that's what I'm there for. Of course it's nice to be nice. But it's also nice to be straight. I can't stand people who don't return phone calls and are generally sloppy, but apart from that I'm told I'm reasonable to work with. And I like having a bit of a laugh."

Direct, intelligent and with a wickedly mischievous sense of humour, I'd say that sums Wally up to a T. He was one of those people with whom spending time was an absolute joy. He always had an opinion and would always let you know it. But he would do so with huge charm.



Wally began his working life in advertising. In the early 60s, he ran Ogilvy & Mather in what was then Bombay, living there for five years. It was the start of a life-long attachment to India, a country he loved and where he worked and taught extensively. In fact, the first I heard of his passing was from Rajesh Kejriwal, the founder of the design conference Design Yatra, who was his great friend and business partner.

In 1965, Wally co-founded Wolff Olins with Michael Wolff. The two of them would change not just the design industry but industry itself. Wolff Olins was perhaps the first design consultancy in Britain, in the sense that we now understand that term. It introduced the idea to UK corporate life that this thing called ‘brand' was vitally important and that it influenced everything that organisations did and said about themselves.

Wolff and Olins' relationship was likened to a marriage and like many marriages it would eventually break down with Wolff leaving the consultancy in 1983. In 2001, Wally also left and set up Saffron with a former Wolff Olins colleague, Jacob Benbunan. There, he continued to work with many of the world's largest companies on branding and identity.

He also began to explore an interest in place branding, a field in which he was a pioneer and which he expounded on in his many books. Indeed, he became a prolific author on branding: his latest book, Brand New: The Shape of Brands to Come, launched last week.

Not everyone agreed with Wally on the positive contribution of brands to our world - Eye magazine, for example, ran a famously withering review of On Brand by academic Terry Eagleton. On our part, the March issue of CR featured a review of the new book by Nick Asbury which took issue with several of his key arguments. But Wally relished an argument and he was more than happy to engage with his critics. And he was not afraid to criticise the design industry either, referring to the larger design consultancies as "machines devised to produce mediocre rubbish" and calling some of their actions "despicable" in an interview in 2009 (see Design Yatra videos below)

I suspect that, for most of our readers, it is as co-founder of Wolff Olins that Wally will mostly be remembered, and rightly so. Anyone who currently earns a living advising or designing for brands owes Wally a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work in establishing the credibility and value of brand identity design.

From a personal point of view, I will always treasure the conversations I enjoyed with this brilliant and charming man. And I can thank both Wally and Michael for one of the highlights of my time at CR. In 2009, the pair were reunited for the first time since their split on stage at Design Yatra in Mumbai. I was fortunate enough to be asked to compere. Here's what happened.






Olins in CR

Wally Olins, the Grand Old Man of Brand, by Nick Asbury, from CR April 2014

Wally Olins debates the branding 'turf war' between ad agencies and design consultancies with CHI+Partners' Dan Beckett from our December 2011 issue


Statement from Saffron

"With immense sadness we announce the passing of our Chairman Wally Olins, who died on the 14th April after a short illness.

Anyone who ever met Wally will remember him well and those of us who knew him well will remember him forever. A man who lived four lifetimes in one, he was insatiably curious, infectiously charming and occasionally infuriatingly impatient!

A genuine pioneer, Wally was one of the leading individuals that helped carve out the business of branding - he would always say he did it ‘with colleagues' but those of us that were lucky enough to have been his colleagues know that this is only partly true.

Oddly for a man who was so defined by his prolific talent, he will perhaps be remembered most for his incredible generosity and optimism. Whether advising a young student looking for advice on getting ahead in branding or advising presidents on ways to enhance their nation's brand, Wally was always willing to give more than he expected to receive.

Incredibly, at 83 Wally was still able to manage to go out on a high with the release of his latest book ‘Brand New, published by Thames & Hudson' only last week. Full of his characteristic wit, insight and humanity it's arguably his best yet.

We miss him tremendously. And will continue to be inspired by him every day."



We'd like to encourage CR readers to use the comment space below to share their memories of Wally Olins


Inside the world of Jean Paul Gaultier

Fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier comes to London with a new major retrospective at the Barbican and an additional exhibition of ephemera at the Fashion Space Gallery. It's a rare and fascinating opportunity to get inside the creative mind of one of fashion's most daring designers, whose work celebrates the pleasure of looking, sexual empowerment and the diversity of real beauty...

"The exhibition is a study in pure creativity," says Jane Alison, head of visual arts at the Barbican. "All that he does is infused with a genuine love of life, which I find deeply infectious. But the humanity and humour which are his trademarks are also underpinned by discipline, professionalism, and a skill that is second to none."

The Barbican show, entitled The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, explores Gaultier's exuberant inventiveness, his long-standing reputation as fashion's enfant terrible, and his embrace of cultural and sexual difference and beauty in all its shapes and sizes.

The show is split into eight thematic sections - The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier, Punk Cancan, Muses, The Boudoir, Metropolis, Eurotrash, Skin Deep and Urban Jungle. Each features a series of mannequins dressed in Gaultier's dazzling apparel. Some have faces projected onto their heads, unnervingly bringing the figures to life, as they blink, sing, chat and appear to make eye contact with visitors. Originally touring from Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the Barbican show also includes three new rooms for London, devoted to Gaultier's muses, including Kylie, Madonna, Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse.

Alongside these haute couture living dolls, there's a mechanical catwalk; archive video footage from the shows; some beautiful fashion photography, from the likes of Stéphane Sednaoui, David LaChapelle, Pierre et Gilles, and Sølve Sundsbø amongst others; Eurotrash memorabilia; and even the spitting image Gaultier puppet, on show for the first time.

The vast array of dramatically-lit couture, sits tantalizingly within arms reach, in this exciting chance for visitors to experience the work in the flesh."If you think about it, it's easier to see a Van Gogh or a Monet, than it is to see haute couture. You have the impression that you see haute couture because you see many illustrations, and great photos, but you don't have the opportunity to see the skills, to see the objects, the pieces," says Director of Montreal Museum of Fine Art Nathalie Bondil.

"It's not really about fashion, its about his humanist vision. And I want you to see it as a really open minded, tolerant vision of our society," she says, describing the "magical and meaningful" translation of his ethos into the exhibition. "And the animated mannequins, they pay tribute to the people who have inspired him, the people he loves, by making them human."

In conversation with the show's curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot prior to the preview, self-taught Gaultier traces his love for sketching glamourous women back to school-age, and describes his incredibly wide and diverse set of influences - seeing his grandmother's corsets at a young age, which he saw as "abstract" objects; the theatricality of the Rocky Horror Picture Show; and his Hasidic Jew inspired collection of men's skirts. He talks passionately about his long love affair with London and "its characters - the different and beautiful". First visiting the city in the 70s, he was inspired by the subversive spirit, humour and radical experimentation of the countercultures he discovered, particularly the punk scene.

Alongside the Barbican show, is another smaller exhibition of Gaultier's graphic design work, Be My Guest, at Fashion Space Gallery, part of the London College of Fashion, curated by Alison Moloney from LCF, alongside Loriot. Having worked with the Barbican in the past, LCF approached them about organizing a satellite show, which Fashion Space has put on before in collaboration with other major museums' fashion exhibitions, such as Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A in 2011. Working with the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, and Maison Jean Paul Gaultier Paris, the Fashion Space show was put together, on loan, from Gaultier's extensive archive.

"When you have an exhibition of such an intense and dense body of work, at the Barbican, how do you begin to tell a different story, because we didn't want to recreate a mini version of a major exhibition. We wanted to tell a different story about the same man and his work," says Moloney.

The show features iconic ad campaigns from throughout Gaultier's career, and invitations which have never been on show before, so it's a rare opportunity to access these usually unseen relics and often lost fragments of creative activity, from iconic moments in the history of fashion.

The work demonstrates how, from the outset, Gaultier translated his vision for his collections into all his creative work. "Its great for the students to see how from the beginning of his career, Gaultier developed his own advertising campaigns and invitations, so they can think about how they too can brand their own image," says Moloney. "And I think its nice for a wider public who never have access to seeing such material, because the invites were only ever sent to industry insiders."

Not all the invitations have survived over the years, but the exhibition includes ones from seminal shows, such as the Dada collection where he presented his corset bras and jumpsuits for the first time. Moloney's personal favourite is the ad campaign for A Wardrobe For Two, with a figure dressed in the classic blue and white Breton stripes, and a 'crack' down the middle of the image. "It's from when he was first talking about his ideas around androgyny. You need to look twice at the image and then you see that it's a man and a women. It's so simple but its genius," she says.

They decided to show ad campaigns from the 80s and early 90s because this was when Gaultier was photographing the campaigns himself, working closely with his collaborator, and former boyfriend, the late Francis Menuge, with whom he established the business.

"The concepts for the invitations to the catwalk shows were devised a month in advance and referenced the inspiration for the collection. The Constructivist or Russian Collection show invite perfectly captures the inspiration behind the collection which was based on this art movement." Moloney says. "The Frida Kahlo tribute collection ad campaign was illustrated by Fred Langlais who has worked with Gaultier in his atelier for many years and reflects the diverse approaches and styles which the designer adopted."

Part of Gaultier's appeal is his relationship to visual culture; how he continues to work within a creative feedback loop drawing from a melting pot of high and low culture, religion, art movements, politics, and more, and in turn his work transcends the fashion world. As echoed in these shows, he has the power to inspire creative minds whatever your background, and remind us that humour and risk, alongside skill and discipline, are often what produce truly unforgettable work.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk runs until 25 August at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. Jean Paul Gaultier: Be My Guest runs until 31 March at Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion. See www.arts.ac.uk/fashion and www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery


Picture credits

Image 1: Ad campaign for the Tribute to Frida Kahlo collection, 1998 (Jean Paul Gaultier/LCF). Images 2-6: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition (Barbican). Image 7:Jean Paul Gaultier, 1990. Images 8-9: From the Barbican exhibtion. Image 10:Body corset worn by Madonna (Jean Paul Gaultier). Image 11: Tanel Bedrossiantz, by Paolo Roversi, 1992 (Jean Paul Gaultier). Image 12: By Miles Aldridge (Jean Paul Gaultier). Image 13: By Stéphane Sednaoui for The Face, 1989. Image 14: Advertising campaign for the fin de siècle collection, 1995 (Jean Paul Gaultier/LCF). Image 15-19: From the LCF exhibition. Image 20: Invite for Constructivist (or Russian) collection, 1986-1987 (Jean Paul Gaultier). Image 21:Advertising campaign for the Elegance Contest and Casanova at the Gym collections, 1992 (Jean Paul Gaultier/LCF). Image 22: The Concierge is in the Staircase collection, 1998 (Jean Paul Gaultier/LCF). Image 23: Advertising campaign for A Wardrobe for Two collection, 1985 (Jean Paul Gaultier/LCF). Image 24: The Virgin with the Serpents (Kylie Minogue), 2008, by Pierre et Giles (Jean Paul Gaultier). Image 25: "Aow Tou Dou Zat" single covers, design by Jean-Baptiste Mondino (Jean Paul Gaultier). Image 26: Invitation to the Dance with Elena Sudakova, Numéro, 2008, by Sølve Sundsbø (Jean Paul Gaultier)

Urban geometry: the colourful work of Yoni Alter

Graphic artist Yoni Alter's solo show at London's Kemistry Gallery presents a colourful series of artworks inspired by urban geometry. We spoke to Alter about the exhibition, his creative influences and his recent idents for TV channel London Live...

Yoni Alter likes interesting shapes. He is inspired by Heatherwick's new London buses, by skyscrapers that defy convention, and crowded cityscapes like London's and New York's that contain a mix of old and new.

This passion for urban architecture, and London's in particular, forms the basis of Alter's solo show at Kemistry Gallery. Through screen prints, sculpture and a striking mural, he explores some of the capital's most iconic structures in bold multicolour.

Exhibition photography by Sam Scott-Hunter

A creative at JWT, Alter studied visual communications in Jerusalem and worked as an intern at Barnbrook studio before completing an MA in graphic design at LCC. He moved to London permanently in 2006.

While working at JWT, Alter was struck by the view from nearby Hyde Park. "At a certain point, you can see the London Eye interesecting with the Shard, and you can see the BT tower. The geometry is very interesting, and I thought it would be fun to play around with it," he adds.

This gave Alter the idea for Shapes of Cities, a series of prints in which structures are reduced to simple shapes and overlaid on top of one another to give a sense of scale. He has created 35 prints so far, some of which are on display at the exhibition.

Some prints in the series depict cities that Alter knows well. For others, he researches skylines by finding photographs and blueprints, and asks residents about their favourite buildings.

"The research is one of the things that excites me most. It's like exploring a new city without actually going there," says Alter. "I gather all the interesting shapes I can find, then I contact people who live there and ask for their favourite buildings, or ask online.

"The next step is deciding on the most interesting arrangement - if you have too many skyscrapers it just looks like rectangular blocks, which is what I try to avoid," he adds.

Alter's work features a striking use of colour. Selecting them is an intuitive process, he says, as he often knows what shade a building will be before he is finished drawing it. Overlaying graphics creates some unusual combinations, a technique Alter previously experimented with for The World Coming Together, an artwork inspired by London 2012.

Alongside his cityscapes at Kemistry are prints depicting various modes of London transport, including the Routemaster buses and London Underground cars. "I travel on the Picadilly Line everyday and the cars are so iconic. Like the Routemaster, the front is almost flat so they work perfectly for posters," he says.

There is also a perspex sculpture featuring models of the Shard, the Gherkin, Big Ben and Battersea Power Station which can be taken apart and re-arranged. The structure has been lit from underneath to show etchings on each model.

It is Alter's fascination for urban architecture and his distinct visual style that first caught the attention of Kemistry's Graham McCallum and Ricky Churchill. As well as hosting his work at the agency's gallery, the pair recently commissioned Alter to design a series of idents for London Live, a TV channel launched last month by newspaper the Evening Standard.

The channel itself has received mixed reviews but Alter's cityscapes have featured in cover wraps, on the walls of the channel's office and on London buses, as well as in the idents. Five have been released so far, and another five will launch later this year.

"Both Kemistry and the client had seen a lot of my work and really liked it, like my aerial and isometric views of New York. It was really a case of 'just do your stuff'," he explains. "I went about finding interesting compositions in different London areas, and the client picked the most recognisable ones. It had to be immediately obvious which area it is," he adds.

Alter is now working on a project for the Tate group, which will see his art used on merchandise and shop installations. He is still working on his Shapes of Cities series, but says the list of requests he's received is growing by the day.

"I'm not able to do it so often now but I add to it once a while and I'm always on the lookout for unique buildings. In London and New York especially, there seems to be a growing awareness that new additions to the skyline need to be original - that's why we're seeing things like the Cheesegrater, the Shard and the Walkie Talkie - and it's exciting, because I can make new versions of my work."

City is on display at Kemistry Gallery, 43 Charlotte Road London EC2A 3PD until May 3. See kemistrygallery.co.uk for details or see more of Alter's work at yoniishappy.com


Mucho Typo

Mucho, the design studio with partners working in seven different cities in Europe and the US, is the subject of the next Typo Talk at the Typographic Circle

The original members of Mucho met while working at Pentagram in London. Eventually, they all went their separate ways but now work together in a mini-network spanning offices in Barcelona, Berlin, Newark (Nottinghamshire not New Jersey), Paris, San Francisco, London and New York.

John, Loran, Marc, Pablo, Rob and Tilman will be explaining how they make this unusual arrangement work in practice at Typo Circle's regular venue, the offices of ad agency JWT in Knightsbridge, London SW1, on May 1.

Ticket details here



Carl Andre cover art

The minimalist cover of Yale University Press' new catalogue for artist Carl Andre uses a version of one of his text-based artworks from the 1960s to introduce the larger body of work inside...

Designed by Purtill Family Business, Sculpture as Place – 1958-2010, accompanies the first retrospective Andre has had since 1970 which opens at the Dia Art Foundation in May.

On the cover, the words that appear in the five line Preface to My Work Itself (1963) are simply arranged by length – from "in" to "interchangable" – and offer a playful way into Andre's work.

The piece itself treats the words as objects of different sizes and – as a cover device – lets the reader arrange them into statements which may, or may not, be relevant to his wider body of work in abstract sculpture.

So "my art is made of the same stacked broken pieces; the work piled, interchangable" could be one way of ordering half of the words, for example.

It's an interesting way of getting the reader to categorise Andre's work – much of it having garnered its fair share of both positive and negative reaction over the fifty years he has been working (the controversy generated by The Sunday Times over the Tate's acquisition of Andre's firebrick piece, Equivalent VIII, in the 1970s being an infamous case in point).

In addition to ten essays, the book includes images of many of Andre's sculptural pieces made from materials such as timber planks, concrete blocks and plates of metal, alongside concrete poetry, postcards, letters and documents relating to the installation of many of the artworks.

Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958-2010 by Philippe Vergne and Yasmil Raymond is published by Yale University Press; £45. See yalebooks.co.uk. Details on the Dia Art Foundation exhibition in New York are here.