You know you’re cool when…

To answer this question, it’s when the thing that you love most is picked up by one of the most major and influential brands in the world: Target. I was perusing Twitter, trying to see if the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum tweeted. While I don’t believe they do, someone had posted a video about wood type and Target. Now I thought perhaps it was just that Target was using a few pieces type in their commercials like the Dodge Ram commercial (see below), but no! It’s so much better than that!

One of my favorite professors, Paul Brown, would always talk about going up to the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum and would actually take a field trip with students there each year. Sadly, I never had enough time to go, but always thought of a trip in the future with wistfulness. He would bring that wonderful prints and he even made a specimen book of decorative borders. It was truly staggering to see so many variations and the sheer artistry that I know each took to create. The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, was originally the Hamilton Type Foundry, once the largest wood type maker in the country, which was founded in 1880.

This video is so great! It speaks of letterpress and the museum itself representing authenticity, being a leader of their craft, and being something fresh, even though it’s been around for a very long time. In many ways Taking an extra step, by describing the museum, Target is really describing their own brand. What a great way of informing your audience but working on a nice conceptual level. Talk about strategy!

While part of me is selfish and doesn’t want to share my love with anyone else that might not understand it, I’m glad that Hamilton is getting the attention it deserves. It should be considered a national heirloom. It represents a large part of America’s visual past, which is not something that should be lost. Perhaps now, thanks to Target, the funds will continue to roll into the museum and it can stay open for future generations, and at least stay open until I can actually make it up there!

Target and Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum

Dodge Ram Letterpress Commercial

Let’s try this on for size…

Collaboration. It’s been around since the beginning of time and its results have varied greatly. Some people get prickly about the idea, thinking that it means that the best solution is not arrived at, simply the one that the most people agree upon. Often times this is the case. But I have a fine example of collaboration recently where we played off of each other’s strengths and capabilities and came up with a fabulous solution.

My fabulous design collaborator and best friend is none other than Daniela Panigada. She is also a graphic designer and we completed (literally back-to-back in the studio) the BFA program at Indiana University. Her website and portfolio can be viewed here.

Daniela and I have been collaborating for a long time, so we have a rhythm we tend to fall into. We needed a card for a baby shower what was taking place in 15 minutes. Not a lot of time to come up with something, but we knew we had no choice. We had computer paper and a ton of construction paper. So we got to cutting and pasting. We were able to easily bounce ideas off of each other and take one person’s idea and grow it into an even better idea. Daniela has great skills in the hand-drawn arena so we made sure to utilize that skill as well.

All in all I think we came up with a great card that our work colleague ended up loving! We called it “French Baby.” So collaboration can have it’s ups and downs, but sometimes you find that right person where collaboration goes great and everyone is heard and ideas are respected. Always keep those people in you back pocket. You never know when a collaborative effort will present itself!