San Francisco’s Letterform Archive recently acquired a range of printed ephemera from the Design is Play and BlackDog archives. Stationery systems include those designed for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Architecture + Design Forum (1998); California College of the Arts (CCA) (2003); Design Play (2008); and BlackDog (2008).
The most recently designed acquisition is the 6th Amendment poster we designed for the “We the People” exhibit held at The Cooper Union (2017); the oldest is Mark’s “End Pollution: Bomb the Pentagon” poster (1991). The body of work encompasses a range of printing processes on a wide variety of substrates, including offset lithography, engraving, letterpress, blind embossing, foil stamping, and screen printing.
One of the acquisitions is a full deck of playing cards we foil stamped to announce the launch of our original website in 2011. (The cards were used for a mailing based on the idea of “play.”) Card backs are overprinted with an LCD grid to suggest infinite possibilities: depending on which portions of the grid are “lit,” any letter or number can be constructed. The LCD grid as a programmable system is an apt analogy for our studio as well as the web.
Card fronts are overprinted with a “window” which reframes the original design, forcing the viewer to reconsider the familiar schema. Like the LCD grid, the window suggests a larger idea: a screen with an infinite number of views. Foil stamping by Oscar Printing, San Francisco; photography © Mark Serr.