On Thursday afternoon we visited The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography in the lower level of the Cooper Union. I was familiar with the center from their time-suck of a Flickr stream, so we called to make an appointment during our field trip. We received a guided tour, but all agreed we'd love to go back just to dig around by ourselves. Alexander Tochilovsky, curator of the collection, graciously spoke to us for a full two hours and showed us many of well known pieces, as well as some secret gems. As a crew of design history nerds, we couldn't believe we were able to interact (gloves free!) with pieces we'd long admired. Alexander shared with us that to them, the risk of damage is so minor compared to the opportunity for students and designers to actually interact with the ephemera, and they're delighted to share these resources with the public. While the collection has a catalog and the center is happy to pull specific designers 0r periods you're looking for, they're passionate about giving visitors the opportunity to discover things by shuffling through their flat files. About 25% of the collection is from Herb Lubalin's studio and personal archive, but there are more than 10,000 pieces to sift through.
Here are a few (just a few!) of our favorite things:>> The giant, comprehensive brand standards manual for the New York City subway system by Unimark. Originally produced in 1970 for implementation by sign shops, we loved this thing so much Riley's going to write a whole post on it. >> Some really excellent sketches and mechanicals Lubalin's studio. So crazy to be able see the serifs sliced and glued together, Lubalin's studio was known for tight, tight typesetting. We saw so many examples of typefaces drawn and redrawn to suit very specific purposes, and the level craft made us all feel like kindergartners. Another overwhelming favorite was an internal newsletter for Look by Alvin Lustig. Millions of thanks to Alexander for taking time to share so much with us! For anyone interested in taking a meaningful break from internet inspiration, I wholeheartedly encourage you to visit the Lubalin Center when you're in New York. The neighboring Lubalin Gallery's current exhibition Image of the Studio (highlighting the practices of over 75 design firms in New York City) will be hanging through the end of October. all photos by the exceptionally British Daniel Eden
For seven days, a handful of Lost Type's designers will live under one roof with a common goal; to source inspiration for type and lettering from the city of New York. We'll also be visiting with the local talent and journaling our adventures on this blog. Check back for live updates!