Thursday, April 21, 2011

Typography of Rome & A Happy Birthday to You!

Offset Type Stand near the Pantheon, 2009
Buon compleanno Roma!!! Happy Birthday Rome!!! Dear gosh look at how many wonderful birthdays we are celebrating this year! We have the twins to thank for finding this city over 2, 763 years ago today! If you don't know the story, here's a little synopsis of the ancient drama: Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Rhea (the daughter of Numitor/ niece of Amulius -- the latter wanted her to become a Vestal Virgin in order to attain the family wealth). After the twins were born, Amulius left them to drown in the river. The two little tots were soon found by a she-wolf who cared for them (hence the she-wolf is the emblem of the city). Once older, they eventually killed Amulius so that their grandfather Numitor can restore the throne. Wanting to find a new city of their own -- that's when all the real drama began. Romulus favored to build on the Palatine Hill while Remus the Aventine Hill. Well, now there's no other way to put it -- bang bang, Remus is dead. Now you know why it's named ROME and not REM. Got it? Yikes.

 Now back to type....

: It consumes the world we live, without us even knowing it. Look around you, besides you, even under you -- you'll find it. It's everywhere. It's beautiful. Please appreciate it? I'm not sure why I'm so emotional these days, but it really breaks my heart knowing that some, well actually most people (dare I say it) -- do not care about type.  My duty to the world from here on in is: TO CONVINCE THEM OTHERWISE!

I begin with Rome: where everything is more beautiful (partially bias oops). It by no means, is a design city -- but there is a personable quality about the signages that is quite remarkable. What am I talking about? Okay for instance, the local restaurants who still have their menus in hand written type and it somehow, in some strange way -- remains lovely.  Or what about the graffiti you hate to love? But it's so prevalent you cannot let it go unnoticed, like I said, even if you hate it.  Or better yet, the small time shops whose daily specials are hand written on the chalkboard near the store front? Am I the only person getting emotional right now? Does anyone find these treasures as sweet and beautiful as I?  If not, then everything in this gosh damn society is devalued.

Below are some photographs I took and have selected for this entry from my "Let's remember how happy I was in Rome" file. Sorry in advance if you feel like you are experiencing, first hand, my weekly Roman nostalgia sessions.


Ponte Regina Margherita, 2009


Piazza del Popolo, 2009

"Il futuro non e' piu' quello di una volta" -- "The future is not what it once was" 2009

Villa Borghese, 2009

A presto!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Said It Alright?....We're Graduating....

Fellow classmates -- this may be the bluest few weeks of my life so pardon my sad face around campus. Why so serious? It's getting closer and closer to that month I once used to adore! May...Not only is it May...But May 2011. Do you want to know what I feel about May now? MAY THE DAY NEVER COME! Do you remember being a freshman? Convinced you had all the time in the world? That four years would never pass? That you already had it put together - that there was nothing else  you could learn? Now— all I can do is laugh and look back while asking if anyone, ANYONE, has a time machine I can borrow? No cash in return but I can make a mean tiramisu...What do ya say? Yah yah?

The point I'm trying to make is: I am not prepared to graduate and I'm not sure if you are either. I began to research a book called "Never Sleep: Graduating to Graphic Design" by G. Dan Covert and Andre Andreev -- and it seems to be pretty helpful while coping with graduation; along with little tips and advice to help you get along the way.

Let's be strong, together.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Move it!

Outside the museum looking extremely dorkish as usual!

This weekend was the first time I've stepped foot into the Museum of the Moving Image since kindergarten (also since it's renovation). I'm sure the only condition that has changed since 1995 is haven grown sufficiently taller -- otherwise, the experience was quite the same. I WAS LEFT IN COMPLETE AND UTTER AWE. In moments like these, I am proud to be an Astorian -- home to diversity, good eats, wonderful parks and lookey here -- the arts!

"The Museum of the Moving Image is currently the country's only museum dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms." Located right in the heart of Astoria (Nearby locations: Silvercup Studios, Studio Square, Kauffman Theaters, Frank Sinatra School & etc.) the museum has attracted an audience from all over the city and boroughs. It is perhaps the most unique space I have ever visited. Prestine white walls, tall ceilings and mini theaters all throughout make you feel as though you are part of another universe -- precisely how a film makes you feel. On the second floor you'll find everything from the real live mask used on Ms. Doubtfire, small films by Charle Chaplin, miniature Star Wars action figures and eighteenth century costume design garments -- it truly is a place where everyone can enjoy. "It offers an engaging, highly interactive core exhibition, programs of contemporary and classic films from around the world, discussions with leading figures in film and television, a unique collection, inspiring educational programs for learners of all ages, stimulating changing exhibitions, and groundbreaking online projects."

18th century costume design, snapshot with my mobile phone

Find out more for yourself by visiting

36-01 35 Avenue
Astoria, NY 11106
718 777 6888
Tue-Thu: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fri: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat-Sun: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mon: Closed

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Favorite Font Alert: Pistilli Roman

ATTENTION TYPE LOVERS: I know you categorize people according to typefaces -- I just know you do. I have wonderful news for you, with a simple quiz you can figure out which typeface actually suits you best. (Come on it's fun...) The website is pretty legitimate and well -- it's made by Pentagram. We just learned about Pentagram in class and if you recall anything at all about Pentagram then you remember Paula Scher is a partner at Pentagram. Now who doesn't trust Paula Scher? Only Fools.

Take the quiz yourself -- you'll get a kick out of it.

For the curious curiouser, my results came in as the following:
Maria Gambino is Pistilli Roman: Emotional, Assertive, Traditional, and Disciplined

Till next time

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Illy truck driving in Astoria, 2011
Illy  Coffee -- my favorite. Illy Packaging -- also my favorite. I know, I know....I too see the trend in Italian design: throw in a red box, slab in some text -- voila! Just hear me out: Italians really do have a way with slogans and well in the end, the products pretty much outweigh all! Illy is a quintessential example of this: good, clean, fresh and fun design! Walking to the subway this morning, I was taken back by the magnitude of this illy truck you see up top. I couldn't let it slip away so I waved to the driver, asked him to stop the truck and stole a picture from my phone! I'm a sucker for pretty things -- and this, this was a pretty little monster truck. 

Some other fun slogans/design from illy include:

Subway add downtown -- how can you not love this? Get it? "Rome" the streets of New York! Heee hee hee!

Subway, 2011

Miss illy -- Creative Director at Barney's New York, Simon Doonan, took the current food culture theme and worked with illy on their window display using recycled tin and coffee to create the greatest holiday showcase thus far! Miss illy -- you go girl!

Miss illy, 2010
Till next time,

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Boys of Type

Last night I attended a panel discussion sponsored by The Type Directors Club called TYPE RULES. The event was held at NYIT's Manhattan Campus where a lengthy discussion about oh I don't know -- this little critter called: TYPE -- seemed to raise eyebrows (or in Matteo's case, moustaches).

Amongst the panelist were the young fellows whom, after hearing them, I like to reference as The Boys of Type: Matteo Bologna, Roberto DeVicq, Jesse Ragan and Aaron Carambula. Each designer brought his own personality to the table expressing his process, thoughts and passion for typography. They are incredibly passionate but are equally different in their approach to design, aesthetic, process, theory, experience and personality -- especially personality, however. Let's just say these are the sort of spots that make the lady bug more beautiful. Essentially, the night truly was a remarkable one (when on the subject of type).

It was great to see and witness with my own eyes that people exist apart from our little type community here at school, who have made a career out of their interest in or -- relationship rather -- with type. These boys are extremely serious about their letters, if you know what I mean...I found that especially true with Jesse and Aaron -- in fact Jesse is a type tutor/professor and Aaron is one of his students in the program called  Type@Cooper. Matteo -- well Matteo began telling us that when designing, he works straight from the computer -- and never draws. Jokingly or not, this set the tone for his entire "demeanor" which constitutes of him being: funny as hell, blunt as hell and overall -- extremely Italian. Roberto, in the same likeness shared a bit of Matteo's lose ended approach to design (I found) but with a little more care and compassion to the work (rather than Matteo making most of the work seem like "oh this is just another business deal". Don't get me wrong, we all need that quality in us, it's what pays the bills -- thought what I am saying is that a healthy balance is more appropriate. Now on the subject of equilibrium: can you imagine if all their personalities were combined into one person -- HOLY SHERINS! (Name of my Typography Professor Sophmore year)...what a typographically beautiful world we would live in!

Video of the talk soon to come!

Till next time,

For more info check out:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Hi! Paula Scher right?...Um, Hey did You Know We Recently Became Friends on Facebook?"

My signed copy of Make it Bigger accompanied by espressolino

Freshman year of "art school" (sorry that always sounds so pretentious) -- I can remember Professor Frisco getting ready to tell us about our next assignment, the very same day we handed the previous one in. "Now for this next assignment, you're going to receive a name of an artist who I feel suits your style best. You will be required to design a book, d.v.d, case and..." As he went on about the topic -- I remembered thinking "Oh brother, none of these people do anything with their own hands anymore! I can't even open this Photoshop nonsense! What the heck am I going to do?!? " Another moment passed and Professor Frisco announces: "Maria - you'll be assigned Paula Scher -- she has a hand quality touch I think you'll appreciate".
Atlas of the World Maps & Paula Scher

Cigarette poster for AIGA Raleigh chapter, 1994

Bang! It was love at first "type". I was so happy to have a female designer. Not that it mattered, but at that time I was curious to know what kind of people the design world consisted of. From what I could observe, the answer seemed governed predominantly by men. Now why do I love Paula so much? Take a look at her maps of the world and cigarette poster. Her attention to detail, ability to marry fine art with design, along with her bold bad ass courage to put her name on a cigarette to tell you HEY WATCH OUT I"M COMIN' TO TOWN -- now that's why. What a tough cookie she is and I love it! Everything about her is admirable -- even her flaws. After watching a video on Paula recounting "the citi bank tale", I came home and told my parents about a designer who drew the logo on a napkin, walked into a meeting, and basically said "this is it".  My father's response was "Just eat your dinner". I knew early on, that I should aspire to be something like her -- whatever that means. Any who, I researched all I could, visited every Barnes and Nobles/Borders in he city in order to purchase her book Make it Bigger (which at that time, was only sold at the Borders in Columbus Circle), read it cover to cover,  spent most of my time trying to recreate whatever was in that book, and continued along with my days being forever influenced by Paula...

Copy of Make it Bigger on my bookshelf

Three years later -- On November 1st, 2010 I attended an AIGA event at FIT where Marian Bantjes presented her new book "I Wonder". The event began with an introduction by Paula Scher. Now don't get me wrong, Marian Banjtes is fantastic -- her work speaks for itself -- but to be honest, I was too overwhelmed from the idea of Paula being there. Ooops? I brought out my copy of Make It Bigger, left the doors at FIT and soon heard her voice directly in front of me (okay maybe this wasn't so coincidental, and your point?). I dragged my friends along until I built the courage to leap on over, tap her shoulder and say "Hi! Paula Scher right? Well I know this event was about Marian and all, but, well, I was hoping you would be here to sign my book. (While agreeing and signing)...Um, hey did you know we recently became friends on Facebook?" She laughed, we chatted, it was lovely....

Same deal -- Autographed copy of Make it Bigger with espressolino
I can now die happily.

Till next time,