Sexy, Bold And Experimental Typography

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Sometimes typography is all you need to communicate your ideas effectively. Graphics can support the type or type can support the graphics, but to deliver the message precisely, you need to make sure your type is expressive enough, your design is distinctive enough and the composition is strong enough. The results are sometimes crazy, sometimes artsy, sometimes beautiful, but often just different from things we’re used to. Thus designers explore new horizons and we explore new viewing perspectives which is what inspiration is all about.

This post showcases over 70 examples of sexy, bold and experimental typography. Some examples are typographic posters, some are typographic illustrations and some are just sketches with type. In any case, you will hopefully find some inspiration for your future works.

Feel free to check out our previous typography-related posts:

  • Breathtaking Typographic Posters with over 50 typographic posters designed by artists across the globe. We feature Oriental, Iranian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese and Russian typographic posters as well as a number of further references,
  • Typography In Motion presents some excellent examples of typography embedded into movies and videos,
  • The Showcase of BIG Typography with over 35 examples of big, “loud” and yet elegant typography in web design.

So what can be achieved out of simple letters and symbols? Please be patient, some screenshots are huge.

Sweet and Cute Type

Sweet Sixteen
Typography with a sweet taste of sugar. A nice composition, an excellent execution. Sometimes not that much is needed to make the type look tasty. The typeface used below is Cutiful.

Beauty of Typography - This Day in Type — Participate! - am besten bewertet/Horton -- July 16, 2007 -- Cutiful

Dive Deep
Hand lettering by Ray Fenwick, cutting out by Dan Mogford.

Beauty of Typography - DIVE DEEP

Scarlett
An illustration created by Nik Ainley. Notice how well every single letter (e.g. “l” and “s”) fits in the composition.

Beauty of Typography - Shinybinary v2.1 - Art and designs of Nik Ainley

Newstand Cover for Computer Arts issue 139
Alejandro Paul’s Affair typography from Argentina: typography dominates in the composition, the swirly headline is just breathtaking.

Beauty of Typography - Newstand Cover for Computer Arts issue 139

17.06.2007
Created by Michael van Laar using Freebooter Script.

Beauty of Typography - This Day in Type — Participate! - am besten bewertet/Michael van Laar — June 17, 2007 — Freebooter Script

Aphrodisiac Dessert
Dessert type for a dessert announcement.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

FitzGerald Album (Extended Play)
Nothing can beat old-style-typography. Nothing.

Beauty of Typography - FitzGerald Album (Extended Play)

Rally
Apparently, typography can be used for a number of purposes. Typographical Motorsports: simple yet interesting.

Beauty of Typography - Rally

Tina Colada
It is worth a discussion if “overlettering” actually helps to deliver a message, but the type looks nicely. And the choice of colors is impressive.

Beauty of Typography -

More ink is coming
Impressive lettering by Ale Paul.

Beauty of Typography - more ink is coming.jpg

cim_organic
Sunny, flourish motif for a fresh typographic composition. Designed by Ryan Katrina.

Beauty of Typography - cim_organic

Empire
The attention to detail is remarkable. Designed by Theo Aartsma.

Beauty of Typography - Empire

Eichholtz

Beauty of Typography - Eichholtz

Arabic Typography

Beauty of Typography - 4039-555-638

Elegant and Sexy Type

Climate Change ‘Co2′ ideas
Simple idea which uses only the power of typography. Impressive posters do not need to be colorful.

Beauty of Typography - Climate Change 'Co2' ideas

Αnapodi Klosti Poster
Poster for a experimental performance installation. The main lettering is based on PF Beau Sans. Unusual: thin font transform into a thin thread.

Beauty of Typography - Αnapodi Klosti Poster

qp logo
In this logo “q” and “p” belong together. Nice concept, nice colors.

Beauty of Typography - qp logo

Tony Rohr
Similar idea as in the previous one, but a different execution.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

JG3!
Slick and sexy, colorful and strong. Notice how beautifully both letters intersect in the middle of the image.

Beauty of Typography - JG3!

CMYK Lovers
Well, that’s A LOT of letters. Vibrant colors meet 3D-typography. Available as a desktop wallpaper. Designed by Guilherme Marconi.

Beauty of Typography - Wallpaper of the Week #1 | Abduzeedo - graphic design | design inspiration | design tutorials

Poster in the city of Amsterdam
Dutch graphic design at its best. Interesting typographic construction which captures attention by its structure and attracts by its vibrant colors.

Beauty of Typography - poster in the city of Amsterdam

Requiem
Strong, dirty and grungy typography is also possible. Craig Shields manages to get impressive results combining grunge and type.

Beauty of Typography - Requiem

BBB
Designed by Stefan Lucut. The loog looks very modern and powerful, however, at the first glance it is not clear what the red thread stands for. Nevertheless, very original composition.

Beauty of Typography - BBB

Strong and Bold Type

Typography
Nicolas Alexander combines typography and retro. Notice how elegant the line starting in the letter “G” goes through “R”.

Beauty of Typography - Typography

2008 Calendar
Expressing feelings via colors and type. A very clean and beautiful design by Jonathan Davies.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

Bckyrdflw Promo
Well, this one is hard to overlook. Andrew Dyjak’s poster can be read without vocals vowels. Lovely colors, cropping and, of course, type.

Beauty of Typography - Bckyrdflw Promo

Statistics Table
Strong, bold and extremely expressive. And it is just a table!

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

The Well of the Saints A1 poster
A1 Graphic poster produced by John McDermott. Simple, strong and sexy. Sometimes two colors and a bold typeface are enough.

Beauty of Typography - The Well of the Saints A1 poster

Breaks logo
A distinctive treatmeant of letters which perfectly fits to the message a poster wants to convey. Designed by Zoltan Szalay.

Beauty of Typography - Breaks logo

Nik Ainley
Nik Ainley strikes again. Lovely typographic work where letters don’t just convey the message, but are also functional: their form suggests the second message which is transported with the artwork.

Beauty of Typography - Shiny Binary

Benno Wissing
Dutch Typography by Benno Wissing. It looks very modern, but it was created in 1963.

Beauty of Typography - Benno Wissing

Film Poster
Colorful and distinctive. Each color stands for a different movie which participated in the festival.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

Experiments with type

A2

Beauty of Typography - A2

Crumpler – ABC

Beauty of Typography - Crumpler - ABC

American Graphic Design

Beauty of Typography - American Graphic Design

The Make Lounge

Beauty of Typography - The Make Lounge

Moctezuma: James Brown

Beauty of Typography - Moctezuma: James Brown

Dog Type
Sometimes typography is used to deliver a message in a quite, well, unusual way.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

Lead Us Not Into The Future

Beauty of Typography - Lead Us Not Into The Future

»R« letter sketches

Beauty of Typography -

Blik x Drez

Beauty of Typography - Blik x Drez

A Stitch Up – Corktown Tavern – Base

Beauty of Typography - A Stitch Up - Corktown Tavern - Base

Cubix Rube

Beauty of Typography - Cubix Rube

supervision

Beauty of Typography - supervision

Palawa Poster

Beauty of Typography - Palawa Poster

seis [cartel]

Beauty of Typography - seis [cartel]

Wishes
Unusual type treatment which makes the wishes quite distinctive from the “usual” crowd.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

Rasterfeld Event Poster

Beauty of Typography - Rasterfeld Event Poster

Personal Geocode

Beauty of Typography - Personal Geocode

Cubix Rube Soft

Beauty of Typography - Cubix Rube Soft

font_code

Beauty of Typography - font_code

Experimenting with s

Beauty of Typography - s

accept | adapt | evolve

Beauty of Typography - accept | adapt | evolve

fac04_flyer_a

Beauty of Typography - fac04_flyer_a

Doblette – Taller Tipografia (uy)

Beauty of Typography - Doblette - Taller Tipografia (uy)

Bold type
These letters are really hard to read. Is it the purpose of typography? Well, it’s definitely an experiment. Cute, fat and bold type in use.

Beauty of Typography -

Extraverage x The KDU
Pattern is used to create letters.

Beauty of Typography - Extraverage x The KDU

Visual Lexicon v 2.1 Metamorphosis

Beauty of Typography - Visual Lexicon v 2.1 Metamorphosis

Type Area

Beauty of Typography - Type Area

Wim Crouwel: New Alphabet book

Beauty of Typography - Wim Crouwel – New Alphabet book

Nederlandse Postzegels 1971

Beauty of Typography - Nederlandse Postzegels 1971

Askul

Beauty of Typography - TheDieline.com: The Leading Package Design Blog: Askul

Experimental Jetset: SMCS Invitations

Beauty of Typography - Experimental Jetset: SMCS Invitations

Triple O’s
Sometimes type doesn’t look like type at all.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

TypeNeu

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

88. Geometric Type
This type is quite freaky. Dutch Graphic Design.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

89. YOLO
A (really) striking poster designed by Martin Fewell from Manchester, UK.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

100. Best time of my life
Disturbing yet powerful. This poster delivers the message effectively.

Beauty of Typography - FFFFOUND!

Recycle
Usually typography is used as a foundation for symbols. In this artwork it is the other way around. The yellow circle in the middle of the composition may be too striking, but it may be the designer’s intention. Designed by Satoboy.

Beauty of Typography - RECYCLE

Chaumont, festival international de l’affiche, version longue – Etienne Mineur archives

Beauty of Typography - Chaumont, festival international de l'affiche, version longue - Etienne Mineur archives

Last Click

Colours Clock
Designed with the sole intention of not over complicating the design. Designed by Richard Shed.

Beauty of Typography - Reloj Richard Shed

Holding type
These flocked magnets looks pretty sweet.

Beauty of Typography - M

Spaghetti Dinner Poster
Beautiful integration of type into a photo.

Beauty of Typography - Spaghetti Dinner Poster

Matias Ignacio en crema
Ok, now it’s time for a coffee break.

Beauty of Typography - Matias Ignacio en crema

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    This is one of your best type post yet smashing mag! Thank you.

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  2. 2

    In the Bckyrdflw Promo description you say “vocal” but I think you mean “vowel”.

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  3. 3

    Ahhh, nothing like some typography to get one going on a Monday :D.

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  4. 4

    Some really great, inspirational typography there! Especially like the simple Ozfam poster.

    PixelSnobbery

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  5. 5

    Please, stop to write answers like: “wow! it’s so cool! Thx! ” It’s so stupid.

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  6. 6

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 12, 2008 3:28 am

    @Greg: thanks, you are right. Corrected.

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  7. 7

    This a long post.. I suggest you to split into some pages inside the single post.

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  8. 8

    @Ben: it’s not so hard to scroll down.

    Excellent article, though some of the designs are way too cluttered and legibility becomes an issue. In my book that can’t happen in typography, even if it’s experimental.

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  9. 9

    YOLO was my fav. so touching and striking !

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  10. 10

    Yes, I liked Yolo too. It’s very remarkable.

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  11. 11

    “Dutch Typography by Benno Wissing. It looks very modern, but it was created in 1963″
    Something is missing nowadays: swiss design was in fact a reaction against the classic rules… what happens today with all these Helvetica–Frutiger–Müller-Brockmann copycats is terrifying. Knowing the basic principles of design is a must to break them. Remember: using Helvetica doesn’t make you a great designer.
    Yours sincerely,
    G

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  12. 12

    look the attractive prices campaign of british airways. It´s a great show about how tipography can do with a good idea behind. Grate post, I luv tipos….

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  13. 13

    Absolutely fantastic and inspirational post – one of the best so far!

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  14. 14

    Vinícius Fragoso

    May 12, 2008 5:53 am

    The first entry on Strong and Bold Type, the “Good Morning Stranger” one was inspired on a brazilian local novel, I guess, or at least it looks like. I just cant remember the novel’s name, since I was a little boy at the time, but i’ll look for the name with my older friends, and then I post a video or image with the novel’s logo ;D

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  15. 15

    This list is incomplete without Si Scott’s work, so here’s his website:

    http://www.siscottstudio.com/

    Great list here! Great work smashingmagazine!

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  16. 16

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 12, 2008 6:25 am

    @Joanne: thank you; Si Scott has been featured twice in our previous posts.

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  17. 17

    beautiful article

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  18. 18

    You guys should also check out Alex Trochut, a Spanish designer. Saw him at OFFF Lisbon last week, incredible detail on his typography.

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  19. 19

    awesome post.. you should get all this in PDF format..

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  20. 20

    Love ‘em!

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  21. 21

    Eric Shoemaker

    May 12, 2008 7:36 am

    Very cool!!

    Check out Typography Friday! http://typographyfriday.com

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  22. 22

    that’s very cool … i like it …!

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  23. 23

    I love MONDAYS

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  24. 24

    Amazing

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  25. 25

    can anyone identify the font in the spaghetti example, good morning stranger and “stay fresh”?

    Typography is by far my weakest point!

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  26. 26

    Damn meeeeen!!!!!! Nothing is ugly… they’re all beauty. Really inspired me…

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  27. 27

    Modern experimental typography and you don’t mention Marian Bantjes? Pfft!

    bantjes.com

    Or even Sagmeister…

    What’s going on?!

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  28. 28

    I agree, Ben. Sagmeister, Bantjes, and Scher are right there.

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  29. 29

    Oh. I love that. A few of them were absolutely brilliant. Extremely inspiring collection. Thanks for that!

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  30. 30

    Love it. They are all good pieces of work. I was thinking as I went down how cool it would be to make a color blind test… and there it was half way down. doh!

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  31. 31

    I love this post and I love smashing magazine… The best website of all the Internet !

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  32. 32

    Awesome post but you guys should spell check (I don’t)

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  33. 33

    It’s 1978-1982 all over again. Old ideas never die, they just linger in Library back-catalogs until someone digs them up again.

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  34. 34

    INCREIBLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

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  35. 35

    Brilliant post, it’s stuff like this that keeps me back again and again. Keep it up lads, love this site!

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  36. 36

    Very nice selection.
    Also try looking at the David Lance Goines collections. I bet you will like his creative use of typography.
    Kind Regards

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  37. 37

    100. Best time of my life

    If you look at it through a red and blue filter (like the ones found in 3D glasses) you’ll be able to read two different texts!

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  38. 38

    Actually, those who use Helvetica always strike me as the laziest — default font in Quark Xpress (get off my lawn). Come on, there are far more interesting typefaces out there — let the face die a quiet death. I loathe Helvetica only. Hell, I’ll take a Futura-only ad before anything with straight Helv.

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  39. 39

    journal.marisaduma.net

    May 13, 2008 1:18 am

    Amazing! Smashing Magazine’s editorial team is just amazing.
    Where did you people find these stuffs!?

    Anyways, the Anapodi Klosti poster’s typography looks like the one used for Bjork’s book cover, the book titled Bjork if you’d like to look it up.

    PS: Sorry for the URL name. Just gotta do it!, it itches when I don’t. :D

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  40. 40

    excuse me but the “R” logo RECYCLE it’s my design :)

    tnx for the post.

    Satoboy

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  41. 41

    excuse me but the “R” logo (recycle) is designed by SATOBOY

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  42. 42

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 13, 2008 2:33 am

    @SATOBOY, Lord Gyas: thank you, corrected.

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  43. 43

    tnx you too!

    :D

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  44. 44

    Fantastic article! I love everything about type!

    :)

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  45. 45

    Superb collection, thanks a lot smashing mag. :)

    heres a picture i found yesterday, maybe for the next type collection.
    Creation Graphique

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  46. 46

    Hello smashmag…
    Thanks for linking me up :-)

    I’ve always been a big fan of this blog and it’s an honor to appear in it :-)
    Cheers!

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  47. 47

    I worked with Ryan Katrinawho made that CIM logo, he is a very talented graphic artist.

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  48. 48

    I have a question…is typography meant to be downloaded as a font? I would LOVE to download any of these as a font!

    1
  49. 49

    “wow! it’s so cool! Thx! “. It really is inspiring.

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  50. 50

    Doesn’t it bother you, though, that many of these examples, beautiful as they may be, are nearly unreadable?

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  51. 51

    Costas / Cubic_ds

    May 13, 2008 5:51 am

    Thanks a lot Smashing Magazine for linking my works.

    @ journal.marisaduma.net : The typography on Bjork’s book is by M/M Paris and is a custom font that looks like a thread. There are many fonts that look like this. On Anapodi Klosti poster ( “klosti” in greek language, means thread) , the outlines of PF BeauSans has been transform to a thread…

    Thanks…

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  52. 52

    Awesome inspiration! some really insane tyopgraphy work!

    Thanks!

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  53. 53

    Michael Durwin

    May 13, 2008 7:42 am

    Except in a few cases I wouldn’t call this typography as much as I’d call it illustration. The images are certainly elegant and beautifully composed but it is not necessarily a study in typography because it uses a letter or word.

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  54. 54

    Does anyone know the font used in Nik Ainley’s typographic piece? He uses it in several pieces, but I can’t seem to figure it out.

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  55. 55

    Good stuff!

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  56. 56

    This is the best website ever.

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  57. 57

    @AxE – why are you worried about what other people are leaving as comments on a blog you don’t own? I mean really, what are you the freakin’ comment police?

    Anyway – What font is that used in the CO2 image?

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  58. 58

    Some fantastic examples in here. I really must experiment more with fonts.

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  59. 59

    You have unveiled some incredible resources in this post. Thank you.

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  60. 60

    @Lindsey

    That font is Helvetica Neue Thin or Ultra Thin

    Anyone want to take a guess on the font in Nik Ainley’s piece?

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  61. 61

    beautiful

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  62. 62

    beautiful. inspirational. well done. wow.

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  63. 63

    Stephen Meehan

    May 14, 2008 3:02 am

    Absolutely amazing – stunning work on show here.

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  64. 64

    like wow… it’s sooooooo cool…

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  65. 65

    I have a question…is typography meant to be downloaded as a font? I would LOVE to download any of these as a font!

    sorry for the repost…just hoped someone would answer!

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  66. 66

    Nicolas Alexander

    May 14, 2008 10:46 am

    Vinícius: I made the goodmorningstranger and didn’t know about such a book. if you can track it and post a link i’d really like to see it ! thanks for your post

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  67. 67

    Nicolas Alexander

    May 14, 2008 11:01 am

    @TekServer
    The font I used for good morningstranger is originally “avant garde” and I added custom serif to mimic “Lubalin Graph” because lubalin graph with ligatures isn’t avaible as a digital version.

    thanks for your comment & thank you smashin mag.

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  68. 68

    really cool stuff, but I really miss any typo work from ALEX TROCHUT here!!

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  69. 69

    this is really great!!
    i like this post! :P

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  70. 70

    Wow! Another great smashing list, as usual quality equals quantity.

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  71. 71

    amazing and so graphic article, thanks -_-

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  72. 72

    Excellent article ! Thank you !

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  73. 73

    The first time I find myself so hate English…so many in English for reading~~~without any professional knowledge about website building…

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  74. 74

    555…pity girl…

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  75. 75

    Some inspiring work here, particularly “Spaghetti Dinner Poster” and “Moctezuma: James Brown” among others. Great collection, cheers Gareth

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  76. 76

    “Aphrodisiac Dessert – Dessert type for a dessert announcement.” is actually from a Veer slideshow of Alejandro Paul’s lovely Feel Script.

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  77. 77

    Smashingmagazine is the best website.

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  78. 78

    Actually, the Computer Arts 139 Cover was designed by Mopa, a brazilian design studio. The type is Affair from Alejandro Paul, the exquisite argentinian typedesigner from Sudtipos. The “Stay Fresh” is specially designed with unusual ligatures that aren’t in the original open type file. The subtitle is handmade from the Saul Bass style.

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  79. 79

    The red on the bread and butter seems to be the butter on top of the bbb “bread”.

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  80. 80

    Thank you for this blog, I’m going to study Design and it comes in very handy.
    I’ts inspiring, thank you.

    0
  81. 81

    Smashing Mag is the best site ever, period. My scope of design is expanded by every single inspiration article I read on here :)

    0
  82. 82

    So many beautiful ideas, so little time!

    1
  83. 83

    hi,

    verry nice article

    0
  84. 84

    Yeah, this post frigging rocks!

    There are some pretty talented people out there – some all of these kick major butt, but my favourite has to be the stuff that carries with it an old world, vintage flavour; maybe I’m just getting old, but the vintage/retro stuff is really floating my boat at the moment.

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  85. 85

    I have to agree with most of the posts. This is one of your better posts to-date. Great stuff, keep on scouring.

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  86. 86

    ibrahim abu touq

    October 9, 2008 2:09 am

    very nice works, mainly creative

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  87. 87

    Amazing & creative

    -Jim
    wordbywordhut.com

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  88. 88

    really cool… u guys rock!

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  89. 89

    You may also want to include the typography work Luca ionescu

    found here

    http://www.likemindedstudio.com

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  90. 90

    Sugeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!1

    I got good god designs.Thanks (^o^)/

    0
  91. 91

    Awesome stuff!

    1
  92. 92

    Ashely Adams : Sticker Printing

    July 21, 2009 3:46 am

    Typography is no-doubt an essential tool to communicate your ideas. But I believe there must be a balance between the graphics and the text. For example, I would like to go for a simple picture of a candy or a bowl of candy with the “sweet taste of sugar” text. On the other hand, “scarlet” created by Nik Ainley is too flowery to go with any additional graphic. Well, my favorite is FitzGerald Album.

    1
  93. 93

    I agree that they are beautiful but true to many of them, NOT READABLE!

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  94. 94

    How can stuff be so mind blowing? Question still remains.

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  95. 95

    JotiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiL Sundor……………………..
    truly all are awesome typography

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  96. 96

    amazing… it is so innovative…

    thank you.

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  97. 97

    i jst lovd it.

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  98. 98

    excellente trabajo.

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  99. 99

    To all the boneheads who have moaned about legibility, it seems that you’ve missed the point.

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  100. 100

    So cool!!! Thanks :)

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  101. 101

    cesarrendon2009

    June 1, 2011 6:51 pm

    FaNtAsTiC aMaZiNg !!!!

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  102. 102

    cool n amazing!!

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