Design is Play Morphs!

What did Angie do this summer? Redesign our site so that it is responsive! (Mark wisely watched from a safe distance.) Our heartfelt thanks to web developer Paul Davidson and designer (and CCA Alumna) Heidi Reifenstein for helping us bring Angie’s design to life. 

Our intern, Mystique, also provided invaluable assistance with this fluid medium.

Play Press: Graphis Design Annual 2015


We are proud to note that our trademark for Dogpatch Boulders in San Francisco will be included in the forthcoming Graphis Design Annual 2015, “a collection of the year’s best work from top designers in the industry.” Our mark is a conceptual no-brainer: dog + “eyepatch” = Dogpatch. The colored X behind the dog was created with climbing tape, and reinforces the cruciform design of the dog’s face. In effect, we created a visual mnemonic for the gym.

Of the nine rock climbing gyms that our client owns, this design has proved to be the most popular with the public. They sell more shirts with the Dogpatch identity on it than any of their other gyms. Woof!

Wang at Communication Arts


Angie recently served as a juror for Communication Arts’ 2014 Design Competition—thank you Patrick and Jean Coyne for this honor! Angie arm wrestled fellow designers Stefan G. Bucher, Jo Davison, Fritz Klaetke, and Eric Thoelke to cull the entries down to the glorious few. (CA’s safety notice notwithstanding, goggles were not required.)

Play Press: Design School Wisdom


We are pleased to have some of our “wisdom” anthologized in this new offering from Chronicle Books which is edited by Brooke Johnson and Jennifer Tolo Pierce. Angie recalls what she learned from her first graphic design instructor at CCA, Steve Reoutt; Mark offers some simple advice about hierarchy. You can read our comments (as well as others we shared with Brooke) in one of our earlier plog posts from 4 March, 2013.

The views of many of our colleagues from CCA are represented in Design School Wisdom, including Bob Aufuldish, Leslie Becker, Rachel Berger, Dennis Crowe, Melanie Doherty, Eric Heiman, Emily McVarish, and Michael Vanderbyl. (Co-editor Brooke Johnson has taught at CCA as well.)

René Knip at CCA, 4.10.2014


René at his Saturday workshop with CCA students, “The Architectural Letter.”

In town for the TYPO conference, we had the pleasure of bringing Dutch designer and typographer René Knip to California College of the Arts to give a lecture to CCA’s graphic design students and faculty. I had the honor of introducing René prior to his lecture; what follows are excerpts from my remarks:

René has a fierce love of typographic forms, and this love is most often expressed in a material—and spatial—context. In a 2011 interview, René said: “I use letters like a photographer does a camera: I use them to illustrate emotions.”

These emotions are evoked by a typography that is liberated from the page and screen and made manifest in the physical world. It joyfully inhabits this world, interacting with it: René’s letters move, cast shadows, get wet, and age. Whether formed of water cut steel, milled aluminum, sand-blasted stone, or ceramic tile, René consistently creates typography with a monumental presence that is nonetheless idiosyncratic and personal. His is a typography with a point of view.

René Knip studied graphic design at the Academy of Visual Arts St. Joost, Breda, where he worked under type designer Chris Brand, perhaps best known for the face Albertina. On graduation, Knip worked for three years as the assistant designer to Anthon Beeke. In 1992 he started his own studio, Atelier René Knip, or A.R.K.

In 2012 René launched the type foundry with Janno Hahn. Together they have released 25 typefaces specifically designed for use in architectural lettering and environmental graphics.

In an age in which graphic design is increasingly virtual and temporal, I take great pleasure in the work of a designer that is so concrete—and literally so. [MF]