Monday, September 2, 2013

Summer's End

What's the point of going on vacation if you can't bore folks with your vacation photos?

Here are a few from Duckpin's summer vacation in Colorado and New Mexico. (Noisy slide projector not included.)

Click on an image for a larger version.

Stations of the Cross, San Luis, CO

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Cemetery, Taos, NM

Balloons, Taos, NM
Balloon, above Taos, NM

Earthship Biotecture compound, outside Taos, NM

Desert, outside Taos

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wardrobe Update

It's time to spiff up your wardrobe for the fall season. Why not enjoy some type t-shirts? (Middle-distance upward stare in optional.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bob Ross in GQ

Hat tip to Brother James for peeping Bob Ross in a recent issue of GQ. With the unveiling of Geo. W. Bush's oil paintings, GQ whipped up a comparison between the color palette of the Commander in Chief with the Afro in Chief. Our favorite: Heckuva-Job Brownie. You can't paint happy trees with that color.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Travelin' Man

What better way to gear up for the summer printing season than a little escapism? While slaving away at our C&P Pilot in the ol' basement, our thoughts often drift to far-off lands....

Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013 Paint Schemes

With the Daytona 500 just around the corner, we've been eagerly watching as each teams' paint schemes are unveiled for the upcoming NASCAR season. With marquee sponsors paying as much as $20 million a year to sponsor a ride, a lot of effort is put into each design. Longtime readers of this blog will know that we've shared some of our favorite paint schemes in past posts.

So far, Richard Childress Racing will be sporting a pair of the sharpest schemes this year. Austin Dillon will kick off the season with a Daytona paint scheme featuring Honey Nut Cheerios, and Jeff Burton will run six races with regular ol' Cheerios on the hood:

Do you have a favorite of the two?

Personally, we still have a soft spot for our previous favorite Cheerios paint job, seen here on Johnny Benson's '98 Taurus:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Fairs Fare

For the past 150 years world's fairs and expos have provided us with product introductions large and small: the elevator, motion pictures, and squished pennies (large); ice cream cones, the Ferris Wheel, and television (small). But what happens when the wiz-bang newness of a world's fair packs up shop and leaves town? Left behind is a legacy not just of product innovations, but of innovative buildings and grand plans.

Photographer Jade Doskow has been revisiting past world's fair sites and capturing how those sites have fared. Her photos are usually stark and unpopulated, a far cry from the bustling days of the fair. But they remind us that such fairs aren't just fleeting glimpses into what the future holds, but they're also lasting legacies that bear testament to where we've been.

Pictured is Jade Doskow's photo of the U.S. Pavilion from the 1976 Montreal Expo

Saturday, October 27, 2012

GPO in the 21st Century

We've written several times about the Government Printing Office, the behoemeth print operation just down the road from us. Though it isn't humming at quite the same rate it did in its heyday, an article in today's Washington Post talks about how the GPO is preparing for its future:
"Pressmen are being trained to operate digital presses designed for shorter runs. When they retire, their jobs will move to a new generation schooled in building e-book partnerships and designing iPhone apps."

Though the GPO is going digital to stay relevant, paper lovers needn't get themselves too dogeared:
"For whose who fear the end of the printed word, there is good news. GPO officials, working with librarians in the federal depository system, have come up with a canon of about 160 titles that will continue be printed by the GPO indefinitely, from the Economic Report of the President to the Internal Revenue Bulletin."
Personally, I can't think of better bedtime reading than the Internal Revenue Bulletin. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The piece also features an historic photo gallery.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Duckpin's apprentice-for-life, Christine, just returned from Wildwood, New Jersey. She was there as part of the Society for Commercial Archeology's "Wildwood Daze" conference. (Christine moonlights as a preservationist when she's not slinging ink.) According to their mission statement, SCA is "the nation’s oldest organization devoted to the buildings, artifacts, structures, signs, and symbols of the 20th-century commercial landscape. The SCA recognizes the historical significance the automobile has had in shaping our landscape and culture."  

Christine was there to present her paper “A Need for Speed: The Cultural Landscape of Stock Car Racetracks” which examines the impact of race car culture on the built environment. But more importantly, she was there to tour the Wildwoods. While there, she captured some great signage from this mecca of Doo-Wop design. We'll be using it as inspiration in upcoming projects. Hope you can, too.

Click on images for the wicked big size

Sunday, September 30, 2012

When the Spirits Move You

Every designer hits the wall. You're working feverishly on a project and reach a dead end. Ideas stop flowing... you look with increasing disdain at the work you've done... you need fresh ideas, new inspiration. Soon you find yourself staring at a bottle of booze.

But instead of looking for the liquid to inspire fresh ideas, perhaps the bottle itself could. That's certainly the case with packaging from Stranger & Stranger. The bi-continental firm specializes in souping up the sauce. Their designs for beer, wine, and spirits are intricate, nuanced, and—like a smooth pour—timeless.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Duckpin Pale Ale

Just in time for the fall bowling season, Union Craft Brewing has rolled out Duckpin Pale Ale. And what fine city would produce such a beer? Why, Baltimore of course. Now you can celebrate Charm City's two favorite pastimes at once: duckpin bowling and getting drunk. Bottoms up!

h/t to Chris for the find

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sanborn Maps

Have you ever looked at a finished product and just know that its creator really put his or her soul into it? Think the KitchenAid mixer, the Scenicruiser bus, Sanborn maps. The last of these was a series of maps created from just after the Civil War to 2007 to assess fire insurance liabilities. Today, due to their exacting detail, they are used by historians and preservationists for insight into cities of the past. And to the typophile, their cover sheets continue to provide a dose of beauty and inspiration. Below are some examples of titling from Sanborn maps. Here are many more.

Click for larger view. H/T to map expert Michael Fry.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Past Future of Sports

One of the most talked about buildings at this summer's Olympics is the aquatics center. Er... centre. (We're talking about London, after all.)

There's something all Olympic cities share in common. While the organizing body of the games requires each venue to have a minimum seating capacity, that number is often far greater than what's needed once the athletes have left town. As a result, the buildings left standing are normally much outsized for the everyday use of the locals. It's reasonable to think that a college swim meet will not draw the same crowds as the world's best swimmers, right?

To solve this, Zaha Hadid Architects designed the aquatics building with two detachable seating wings. Capacity at the center can reach 17,500 for the Olympics (top rendering), while afterward it will drop to a more intimate 2,500 by removing the wings. Once removed, the construction material for the wings will be recycled for future projects, and the void in the facade will be sealed with a glass wall (bottom rendering). To facilitate removal, the steel components of the wings are bolted, not welded, to the main structure.

Below is a section showing the building in its Olympic configuration: the removable wings are shaded yellow; the pool is blue.

Funny thing is, while the planners of the venue are soaking in praise for their innovation, their basic ideas were presaged by a half century: behold the Mechanized Stadium of the Future, circa 1958.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Type Connection

If you created a Venn diagram of The Dating Game aficionados and type connoisseurs, you might find just a sliver of overlap. But that small overlap would go crazy for the the Type Connection website—and so should you. Type Connection encourages you to explore the compatibility of typefaces by creating combinations both harmonious and contrasting. The site combines choose-your-own-adventure pathways with insightful nuggets of type history. You'll come away laughing and learning something. Chuck Barris would be proud.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Movie Posters Reinvented

Reinterpreting classic movie posters is a popular pastime of designers. A collection of particularly great ones was done by Brandon Shaefer, a selection of which appear above. Buy your favorites here. (And while you're at it, buy us one, too.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Summer Olympic Emblems

With the games of the 30th Olympiad set to open in exactly three months, we're in full Olympic mode over here at Duckpin HQ. The hurdles are set up, the cauldron is lit, and we're giggling every time we hear the term "coxswain". Over the next three months, we're gearing up to provide both our readers with design-related Olympic coverage.

First things first. Below we've assembled the official emblems from the past 19 summer games, plus this year's London 2012 logo. Pretty much every design trend from the 20th century is represented here, from the heraldic '30s to the Op Art '70s to the abomination that was the '80s. Share your personal favorite(s) in the comments section.