Notes on the Type

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

Housing Works is charity in action. Founded 'to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS', the organization operates a flagship bookstore & cafe in SoHo, upscale thrift shops throughout the city, and online auctions, all of which support healthcare, shelter, and counseling. The bookstore's new branding, led by Meryl Friedman, makes hefty use of Peter Bilak's Fedra, our own Freight Micro, and a touch of Omnes. These type-driven designs appear everywhere, from storefronts and labels to totes and coffee mugs. Keep fighting the good fight, folks!

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

If there is a single most romantic restaurant in New York, it may be Il Buco on Bond Street. The food is both novel and traditional, and probably sufficient in itself to encourage a blind fury of marriage proposals, but the muted Mediterranean theatrics of the decor and well-rounded waitstaff make it an ideal environment in which to linger over such a meal. The 200-year old wine cellar with its own Edgar Allan Poe story is almost an afterthought. Almost.

How to exceed such mastery? Another venture in a different style, one block away: wine bar, bakery, salumeria, and restaurant. The waitstaff are equally composed, with a sunny open layout and well-edited decor that's all chic, no shabby. The tastiest item on the menu, designed by Mucca? Dapifer, of course!

Philip Taaffe: Works on Paper @ Gagosian Gallery New York

For the Gagosian Gallery New York's exhibit of Philip Taaffe's works on paper, Mucca designed a cracker-jack catalog. Taaffe employs a near-encyclopedic attention to symbols & elements in his constructions, and the choice of typography echoes this with a pleasant hodgepodge of designs, including Argent, Gardner, and Freight. The cover sports a dust jacket that unfolds into a poster for the show.

Virgin Mobile Australia

Virgin Mobile Australia are using Omnes extensively in their web presence. Note especially Sir Branston's whiter-than-white grin accompanying the company philosophy. Our fonts keep more august company than we do, it seems (cf. Omnes mugging with Bill Clinton).

Courrier International

Omnes and Freight go together like peas and carrots. We'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Girl Scouts of the USA

When Jennifer Kinon and Bobby C. Martin Jr. of OCD called about a project for the Girl Scouts, visions of a month's supply of Samoas danced in our heads. More sober minds prevailed, and while we were unable to achieve that goal, we're delighted to share that the Girl Scouts is now using Omnes, just in time for their 100th anniversary. The new design vision extends to posters, advertising, billboards, merit badges(!), and printed materials. Notably, Omnes is now on every Girl Scouts computer across the nation!

Picasso Linocuts at the Gagosian Gallery, Athens

The simplest solution is often the best. For an exhibition of Picasso linogravure at the Gagosian Gallery Athens, Jean-Marc Troadec designed a slim yet enormous white clothbound book set entirely in a single weight of Gardner, set elegantly and seamlessly in three optical sizes.


Where can you buy snuffboxes, baker's thread, live oysters, needle-etched tumblers, and a Boxster™? eBay, of course. Omnes has found a home in eBay's design system, where it supports eBay's international brand presence. We're gratified, as it justifies all of that time spent finessing diereses and circumflexes.

Polish Diacritics in the Wild

If you’re hankering for a plate of fried pierogi, or some suggestively named sausages, look no further than Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Our neighborhood is home to a vibrant Polish community that has been here for generations. Polish residents means Polish signage, a special boon for type designers. Latin Typefaces produced these days are expected to support a broad range of European languages. As designers, this means creating characters and accents for languages we don’t speak, and perhaps never come in contact with. Being surrounded by Polish in the street allows us to see how the written language behaves “in the wild”, revealing underlying structures as understood by native speakers.

For example, Polish uses an accent called a kreska. Most typefaces represent it with an acute accent. However, when properly rendered, the kreska is in fact angle higher and placed differently over the letter. Adam Twardoch has a very thorough treatment on the proper forms for this and other Polish diacritics. In handwriting, the difference is even more striking. The kreska is often drawn as a vertical stroke intersecting the top of the base character. Other times it is angled back like a grave accent.

Another prominent feature of Polish is the ogonek.  Twardoch stresses that the ogonek is an additional stroke of the base letter. Most improper representations of the ogonek by designers unfamiliar with Polish stem from treating the ogonek as a separate mark.This bears out in  handwritten signage, where the ogonek is usually a clear extension of a trailing stroke.

Lemon Candy Review #1: Streit’s Sugarfree

Welcome to Darden Studio's Lemon Candy Review. In this new blog feature, we'll be sharing findings from our never-ending quest for quality lemon-flavored confections. Rather infrequently, studio controller and lemon enthusiast Joyce Ketterer will offer a critique of the latest lemony treat to reach our studio. Junior draftsman and label junkie Noam Berg will weigh in on the packaging design and typography. Candies will be evaluated for overall flavor, lemonyness, sourness, and texture.

For our inaugural review, we sampled some sugar-free hard candies from New York's very own Aron Streit. Known to NYC Jews young and old for Streit's Matzos, these guys have been making kosher food products since 1925. These candies are not only sugar free, but kosher for Passover. Here's what Joyce has to say about 'em:

Flavor: I keep waiting for the flavor to show up. It starts, but never really develops. Jolly Rancher make a sugar free candy with a much fuller flavor, so it's not the sugarfree factor at work here.

Lemonyness, sourness: There's some citrus here, and potential for a good flavor, but again, it doesn't develop so it's not even worth evaluating. Not a complete flavor.

Texture: Classic hard candy, perfect form factor and consistency for throwing at a bar mitzvah.

Noam on the design:

“This is a re-packaging of an Israeli candy, so there's two different aesthetics going on here. The outside is a very safe, conventional candy package. Eye-catching yellow, informal font, and appropriate clip-art. It works.

The individual candies feature a Hebrew label, with a bit too much outline and shadow for such a small size. The manufacturer's logo looks like it hasn't changed in 30 years, which I like.”