Welcome to samarskaya.com, a gateway and accumulation of various projects and initiatives that I have been involved with. Am based in Brooklyn, NY where it is Generally, input exceeds output, but the latest updates on are Archer Hotel () and out beyond this site U.S. envoy to visit Seoul as deadline looms for stalled North Korea talks ().
Typographic wall art for Archer Hotel in Redmond, WA.
New wordmark based on for Marc Alt, equine photographer and design thinker based in Ojai, California. Lettering based on Lawrence of Arabia film titles.
Illustrations for this years Core 77 Good Design awards. Submit by April 1st!
Participated in the 30 Days / 30 Covers project for National Novel Writing Month, as organized by Debbie Millman. Felt good to roll my sleeves up and get back into design. Loose metaphors and my house typeface in use.
Happy to be leading a workshop, Friendshop Workship, at the Core77 Conference at A/D/O in Brooklyn.
While connection, friendship, and alliance-building are some of the most fundamental and intuitive things in life, we’re often uncomfortable engaging in them in a business setting. We’re too shy to approach strangers, we make small talk and walk away knowing little, we cringe at words like networking, and often try to mold ourselves to a rigid business-facade. In this workshop, via games and prompted conversations, we’re going to fast-track getting to know the person sitting next to you and find ways to collaboratively help each other in your endeavors going forward.
Refined logo for Depanneur in Williamsburg, NY.
A new digital video production company in Portland, OR. Linked here soon.
Human Resources, in collaboration with Young Professionals.
Samarskaya & Partners teams up with Young Professionals for this lil’ blackletter beauty.
Branding, and upcoming website launch for furniture studio Birnam Wood.
Occasionally partnering with brilliant strategist Kim Mackenzie as a design-strategy duo Cash Only.
Type assist for Intel’s #HackHarassment campaign.
A lovely, lingering conversation that I had with Angela Riechers got distilled into a Print Magazine feature on the work we do.
Farrah Sit is an industrial designer, that needed a sleek, minimal, lightly feminine site of her own. Click through below to peruse her work. Logo font from Commercial Type.
Another year, another round of holiday schwag. New Years Cards from Slonka Type Foundry & AIGA/NY. Pick up a set at our Pixel Ball if you’re in NYC.
Wyeth gets a lil’ write-up in Eye on Design, it’s been quietly serving in the background for a couple years, and we’re glad to shine a little light on what we do in our down-time.
Gettin’ to collaborate and extend the type for Warner Bros.’ Justice League.
Typography for R. Luke Dubois’ The Choice is Yours.
Janet Borden Inc., gets a cleaned up brand, a new website and a new gallery space in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
We made this site before the country reached the precipice of a civil rights garbage fire.
This resource was created for an audience of designers, UI/UX/PMs, and developers that have mostly lived with assumed freedoms, and were baffled by our fears and concerns regarding the tools they were building.
With digital platforms increasingly becoming the new town square, design decisions have profound ripple effects. Carefully considered name policies are a necessary measure for protecting human rights in the 21st century.
Honored to be invited to judget the Type Directors Club 2016 Typefae Design Competition.
In preparation for writing about gender in the context of type design, I first sifted the current state of gender in my circle. I texted friends in my recent call list and asked what gender they most identified with. The responses were numerous, unpredicted, and all over the place: Nerd. Girl who dabbles in boy. Homonym. Unforgivably male. If it’s a quesiton of identity then there’s no answer. 55% female, 45% male. Full beast. Possibly closet ennuch. And one that has a few different personas they identify with across the gender spectrum.
My final response folds in the company I keep, and the background from which I push forward my design. Click through the link below to read the final piece!
Where I select Kazimir as my favourite font of 2015 to write about, and add some context about it’s place and connotations in the world.
Blesk, your new fave typographic carrot spiralizer, is selected as part of Typographica’s favourite fonts for 2015.
Deleted scenes. As part of the questionaire, we were all asked to state our aternative reality career choices, which unfortunately got cut from the final piece. Some of the responses are as follows. Soskolne: anthropological linguistics. Dotin: either a research scientist, antiques dealer or information security professional. Burian: modern dancer. Chaccur: letterpress, or creative field in some other way. Lavi: speech therapist, amongst over a dozen other backup careers. Mine: micronation founder.
Logo, exhibition, print and a mini-website for the Stufff concept store, bringing Croatian industrial design into NYC.
S&P helps MCKL out with some Cyrillic furries.
Launching a year-long experiemnt, the Traffic Tide dinner series.
“Within, above and alongside the flux of people, ideas, traffic, and tide, we aspire to hold a certain temporary center, at table. The dinner series exploits agile collaborative partnerships, conjures inventive convivial gatherings, and will include readings, performances, book-binding, and celebrations.”
A long rambling behind-the-font process interview for the Talking Paper Interview Series with Nomadic Press.
“Among other clients, the company has worked with brick-and-mortar businesses on finding just the right style of typeface for lettering that appears on signs, windows, menus, business cards, and other written material seen by potential customers. Such fonts are often designed in-house by Samarskaya herself, with the S&P website trumpeting their, ‘prowess in sleek and clean designs, hand-drawn charm, decorative embellishments, adapting for different use cases and drawing in extended Latin (including Vietnamese), Cyrillic, and Greek.’”
A behind-the-scenes peek of what went into AIGA/NY’s Wrapping Paper this year, featuring Ro and Co., Small Stuff, MGMT, and a peek at our upcoming font releases.
“We make all of our fonts from scratch, with a deeply held belief that it’s the ingredients that make the meal. For the holiday wrapping paper, we looked in our cupboards to see what we already had to work with. The font showcased on the left is Wyeth, a condensed sans serif in nine weights that is currently in pre-release. The close-up in the middle and the main type used is Diote, a large sprawling serif family that’s meant to seamlessly travel between screen and print display settings. Making brief appearances are also Blesk, a show pony we released earlier this year, and Messenger, a quirky sans coming in early 2016.”
An alphabet of typographic samples from New York’s Broadway Ave, from tip to tip. Traveled with Hopes & Fears Magazine.
“Starting out at Broadway and W 181st St, the team, together with typography expert Ksenya Samarskaya, traveled by bicycle down Broadway to Bowling Green on the lookout for outstanding lettering, documenting around 200 samples. We then worked to identify and classify each specimen. With Samarskaya’s help, we narrowed our choices to 26 images, focusing on exhibiting as diverse a range of type category, classification and method of production as possible, while showcasing a distinct letter or digit for each in the alphabet. While the vast majority of samples we found are one-off designs, we also identified similar or influential typefaces.”
Sweets of NYC noticed the hard work we poured into the Sweethaus design.
“Written in cursive neon, the logo hangs upon a perfectly and newly built retro pastel green facade. On the inside is a long white and grey marble countertop, extending down to the back where a wall of pick and mix sweets line the back. Even though the sign says cupcake cafe, Sweethaus have made sure to offer more things on the menu–which is beautifully designed with grey and red condensed all-caps type.”
Such the honour working with Matthew Carter, and now, Miller has proper Cyrillics to support all your extended mat vocabulary.
Proud to participate in Pangrammar, at P! Gallery.
“Like the quick brown fox that jumps over a lazy dog, PANGRAMMAR is a group exhibition of over 26 works that each depict a single letter. These objects include pieces of art and design ranging from contemporary to historical, mass-produced to unique, in two-, three-, and four-dimensions. Over the course of the show’s run, PANGRAMMAR will rearrange itself periodically to spell different sentences and create new meaning. Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.”
Honored to be selected by AIGA/NY to serve on their Board of Directors. Serving as the secretary, while also revving up a publication initiative. Thus, if you do any interesting writing-thinking on design of any kind, get in touch.
Quantcast brand sprint with Jaeger Sloan, and the wonderful team leading this audience-measurment and real-time advertising company.
Typographica has released their round-up of 2014 font release favourites. Follow the link to read what I think of Štorm’s St. Croce.
“I’ve always been fascinated with design tha embraces use and aging (Bethan Wood’s coffee cups), in contrast to design that goads us with geometric precision (the iPhone, with a fragile shell that loses its sleek futuristic appeal after the first inevitable fall to my concrete floor). There’s honesty and humanity in celebrating imperfection.”
Collab’, a typeface used amidst YouTube’s 2015 Music Awards.
Blesk is featured on Working Not Working.
“For those of us unversed in the annals of typeface design, we can sometimes take lettering for granted. WNW Member Ksenya Samarskaya is not one of those people. She can hold court for hours on the subject of typography, expounding on the intricacies of a glyph and teaching us new vocabulary. Though Ksenya has made dozens of typefaces before, they were always for clients. Now, Blesk is out and it's all her.”
So happy and proud to be working with Light+Ladder, with new elements coming out all the time. Tags, branding irons, printed ephemera, fold-out-poster-booklets, their new website, as well as some product collaborations in the works. Look around their wares, and support this home goods company full of heart.
Full round of branding for Sweethaus Cafe. We’ve had so much fun working on neon signage, sign painting inside and outside, consulting on spatial design, custom tailoring uniforms, ceramics, and a whole range of other elements for the cafe’s Williamsburg locale. Logo selected for LogoLounge Book 9.
Môtô, a rice spirit inspired from the rural villages and drinking habits in Vietnam. We’ve done a full-round of branding, packaging, copywriting… and a misty foggy new website going public soon.
Blesk, a new typeface from Samarskaya & Partners, is available for pre-sale. Blesk is a chromatic font, with four styles, that make up to seven different combinations.
Participating with a baseball cap & a layout in Letters, an exhibition at Northern-Southern. Type used in Corsair, initially created for Best Made Co.
Happy to help out Mulilo, a company making portable gas stoves to distribut in Zambia as an alternative household cooking fuel to the current unhealthy and unsafe charcoal methods commonly used.
475 Kent Avenue is a building located in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Built in the 1920′s to be the new La Rosa & Sons macaroni production facility, it currently exists as a live/work space for many artists, photographers and creatives that have transformed and taken ownership of both the physical and the quintessence of the space.
A new logotype for the Brooklyn-based Lanscaping Co.
Logo for Arcana Metals, an alchemy inspired welding shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The famed Interstate Font Family now now has Cyrillic ofshoots.
Typographica has released their round-up of 2013 font release favourites, including m’ write-up on Ross Mills’ Huronia.
“Across the writing systems, the Huronia drawings are a beautiful post-individual-tool rendering: somewhere between brush strokes (the Inuktitut italics!) and paper cut-outs (the Latin Capitals!) with their mix of smoothly wavering curves and scissor-turning corners. The sometimes cockeyed angles and decisions of the individual glyphs, when viewed at a macro scale, explain themselves as they blend seamlessly in text — a warmer Dwiggins, not to overuse the reference.”
Samarskaya & Partners has official, if limited, web presence. Complete with interactive type and a web form.
A typeface pre-release made for, and in conjunction with, R. Luke DuBois’ video playbill project at The Ringling / Circus Sarasota.
Where I describe how to get into the Communication Arts Typography Annual without submitting anything, and you can read me rambling! And my opinions! Abridged histories!
“Q: What’s one typeface that should be banished for eternity, and why?
A: Oh, nothing deserves banishment, but perhaps all typefaces could come with a usage counter. Just a meter. The use would become more restricted the higher the count. I feel as though many people still choose typefaces for the sole reason that someone else did first. They go with things that are ubiquitous because it feels safe, thinking that it’s possible to choose something so common it becomes invisible, and that if so many other people have chosen it, it has to be good. But it’s not necessarily best for them, and ultimately, it’s incredibly boring.”
Cyrillic now has Agency. Wait, no, Agency now has Cyrillic. Though you can only get it by emailing FontBureau and asking very politely.
Episode II of “Perchance” features actress Parker Posey, who amongst countless film roles starred in 1995’s Party Girl; Alexander Provan, editor of online magazine Triple Canopy and a participant in the 2014 Whitney Biennial; and Ksenya Samarskaya, a.k.a. ’Postrophe, who may or may not speak about letters such as Pe, Pi, and P.
Hosted by Prem Krishnamurthy of Project Projects, Paper Monument, and P!, “Perchance” is a talk show with a single organizing principle: all guests’ names (or pseudonyms) must start with the letter “P”.
Like a hijacked episode of Sesame Street or a linguistically-challenged late night show, “Perchance” dedicates itself to the letter P by presenting a polyphony of people within its performative program.
whrw.hn, an event highlighting calendar, is back up and running. I’ve been curating my selections of type, design and other events that pique my interest, and the system is open for all to add and share events as well.
Matchstick, a partial-font with several combined weights-in-one. Suitable for display uses.
Spent the past year consulting on an orchard-worth of typefaces for Apple, with a focus on Latin, Cyrillic & Greek typography for both iOS and OSX. The specific work is mostly shrouded in secrecy, so instead of looking at the type I invite you to read this unrelated post on Apple Tattooing from Nicola’s Edible Geography blog.
Lettering for It’s Not You, It’s Brie: a blog of America’s unique culture of cheese, a monthly cheese club & all sorts of other things pressed milk curd related.
Matériel Magazine, the Bad Issue.
Logotype variations for Пятница (friday.ru), created in conjunction with Trollbäck + Co.
I might be here or there otherwise, but I’m usually on Instagram.
AI Software typeface system, created in conjunction with DESIGN:MW.
Officially announcing the fact that I’m now biiiiiicoastal. Jetting back and forth between the bay area and the Brooklyn, so if you are out west and you need me for anything, I am now ever more accessible.
Made In Chinatown is a furniture design studio right here in the heart of Chinatown, New York City. For their branding, we made Made In Chinatown stickers and embossing to place on the back of all their collateral material.
Exploring issues of Detroit’s history, fortresses, barriers, inside and outside, three nights of dinners were held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit.
SIEGE: AT TABLE, WITHIN + WITHOUT, a collaboration with Leon Johnson and Justin Novak. A sequence of three meals, Siege traces the original footprint of the city and offers it as a sustained allegory. The dinners bring together a culinary history drawn from the ribbon farms with formal echoes of the fortification of occupied land, tactical posture, and the ethos of retrenchment, withdrawal and attrition.
Every now and again, it’s important to take a reprieve and a retreat to re-engage with the world, discuss creative practice, and come back refreshed and with a new outlook on the creative process. This year, with a charming group of fellow explorers, we set out upstate for a long weekend of ice fishing, cabin wonderment, and cross-lake off-road ice skating.
Wash, Look Away. A typeface for Steve Lambert and his Capitalism Sign tour.
Working on a re-brand for The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, the largest auction house specializing in Western and American artwork. In figuring out their branding I’ve been negotiating the terrain between fine art and true Americana ruggedness, developing a type that resonates as strong, classic yet distinctly unique. Based on American type speciments around the turn of the century.
whrw.hn is a social network for events, meant to catch all the droplists of postings that flickr on twitter and in conversations and putting them into a neatly organized calendar listing.
Symmetrically down to the day, and exactly four years later, I am satisfied to announce that I have officially concluded my tenure at Hoefler & Frere-Jones. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the microscopic intricacies of letters, the spaces between them, and contribute to the drawing and success of a number of typefaces. Some already public, some still waiting in their pens to be released.
The list of typefaces that I've worked on include the design of Exchange, Ideal Sans, Retina, Sentinel, Sterling, Unnamed № L and Verlag. I’ve additionally contributed to the development of typefaces such as Archer, Forza, Gotham, Historical Allsorts, Numbers, Shades, Tungsten, Vitesse and Whitney.
By popular appeal, I am working on recreating in real, physical, edible space a concept dinner that’s existed mostly as a one-liner for the past year and a half. That dinner is FIRST DATE.
Because, what’s a first date if not a chance to truly, scrupulously assess the person you’re sitting across from? And, isn’t the better opportunity to do that a situation where neither of you is exactly sure how to act, where the protocol hasn’t been laid out as a passive groove? With that in mind, comes a dinner inspired by all of the delicious platters I’ve been presented and confounded by. The udon noodle that wraps itself entirely throughout the oversized bowl and never stops. The whole crab goading me with it’s shell and flashbacks of eighties movies with it flying across the room. The four-tier sandwiches that are at least twice as big as my mouth. The unwieldy lettuce leafs that landed from the likes of James and the Giant Peach. All absolutely delicious, and all an adventure in eating.
Planned as an intimate dinner for twelve. Scheduled for early February 2012.
Always planning away for a potential, unprecedented apocalyptic decline, at fourteen I negotiated a series of contracts with my friends for their souls. These were kept merely as tokens in my back pocket. An extra layer of protection in case I ever needed to untangle myself out of a proverbial, or literal, deal with the devil. Some of them are water damaged, but all that I've found are here, scanned in as much of their entirety as possible.
Just picked up three slots in the For Print Only design awards: for Mio Tokida, Eighties Bangs & I Ruv Ru cards. With thanks to the wonderful printers that worked with me on these projects for doing such a stellar job, IST Printing & the ACU-Line Corporation.
For pickling aficionados in the Brooklyn area, I’m starting a pickling social for the exchange of jarred goods and recipes. We'll meet a couple times per season, barter our various batches, sip on well-garnished martinis and chat about whatever vinegar-infused secrets we've discovered. If you’re interested in participating, shoot me a note to get on the e-mail list for our next meeting.
Pickled Pink is a Kent Pickle Them All™ Production. Selected for LogoLounge Book 10.
In a lovely repeat of 2009, H&FJ was once again selected as a honoree for the National Design Awards. In addition, fellow colleague in the field and type maestro Matthew Carter was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations to all selected and involved, it is a very fine group. Check out the National Design Awards site for details.
H&FJ Released Ideal Sans this morning. A handmade typeface for a machine-made age, Ideal Sans is a Humanist sans twenty-one years in the making. Drawn with almost no straight lines, very few symmetries, and every opportunity to resist formulaic rules, Ideal Sans projects warmth, craftsmanship and humanity.
Because creativity oft flourishes when at rest, I’ve organized a retreat held in upstate New York. Housed in a converted 1913 cider mill, which was itself converted from a much earlier cotton mill, the location was inspiration enough on its own. To add to the charm, spent the long weekend engaging in masterly mealmaking, across-the-border fireworks, polar bear style swimming and skeet shooting at the Orvis shooting grounds.
Currently preparing a presentation on TYPE vs. LETTERING, as well as some assignments on working with type for my upcoming trip up to Bennington, Vermont as a visiting-typographer. I’ll be discussing what goes into a typeface, how one goes about designing from start to finish, the different approaches I take when I’m designing a font versus when I’m working on a lettering job, and the questions that good type & lettering answer.
Update: Having just returned, I now want to do my undergrad all over again. I was completely seduced by the the beautiful facilities, vista and architecture of the Bennington campus. Especially the design of the VACA building(s), which were all of a Scandinavian modernist air assembled out of cement, charred wood and Futura. Simultaneously, I’d love to be teaching more again and am looking forward to future opportunities. The students that I had the fortune of interacting with were all absolutely delightful, inquisitive and well-informed. It was a privilege to impart whatever letter knowledge I could in a four hour period.
Just completed the identity for video editing & mastering unit Eighties Bangs.
The first objective in designing these cards was to illustrate the company name, Eighties Bangs, in a style that was true to form, reminiscent and memorable. Simultaneously it needed to remain restrained enough to be suitable and professional in contemporary settings. After sifting through type of the era, a custom fatface was designed that would resonate with the decade without aligning the firm to any one specific product of the past. In the printing, the light reflective holographic foil served the dual purpose of cueing the eighties and connoting video light emitting from a black screen.
Printed in the UK using holographic & white foils on GF Smith Colorplan’s Ebony.
Having just participated in a script workshop with Richard Lipton, as organized by Type@Cooper, I’m now sufficiently closer and more adept at writing roundhand, using fat markers and keeping my wrist moving for eight hours at a time. In addition, it was fascinating learning more about what went into the production of Bickham Script, and glancing at all of the beautiful specimens that were brought in.
I Ruv Ru is the creative playspace and upcoming portfolio of an enigmatic Russophile & graphic designer. Primarily residing online, the founder of I Ruv Ru was nevertheless interested in a brand and a card that could pique the interest of those he meets. We went with a thick brush lettering for the name, with a dot between the Ruv and the Ru to signify that it doubles as a url. For the production we wanted something with a hint of valentine, amplifying the cutesey-love theme, without toeing over the line into kitsch.
Printed in white foil on GF Smith Colorplan’s Candy Pink with a gravure quilted pattern underneath.
H&FJ floated up to the top of the crop in this year’s list of most innovative companies by Fast Company. Flattered & looking forward to striving ever further, here’s what they had to say in summation of their list: “That world (of 2025) will be ruled by the kinds of companies on this list. They’re nondogmatic, willing to scrap conventional ideas. They’re willing to fail. They know what they stand for.” Thanks, Fast Company!
Mio’s upcoming jewelry line was composed out of strands of chain, delicately and precisely linked together. In working out her identity design, I was excited about the possibility of having her card be an inverse of her final product, as if the chains could've been gathered from the missing punches of the card. The lettering treatment was hand arranged out of 318 2pt dots, which were then die-cut out of polished thin steel.
These cards are at their best backlit, or with the cityscape showing through the perforations. Or, perhaps hovering or leaning, leaving elongated shadows of the type underneath. We've gotten amazing response back for them so far, and am looking forward to extending the design to the rest of her branding and packaging.
Four H&FJ fonts were amongst the twenty-three selected into the MoMa archives. As always, exceptionally proud of the work of H&FJ and my colleagues there, with an extended congratulations to everyone else selected.
The design for a series of ten artists’ catalogs and an accompanying website for the Churchill Arts Council in Fallon, Nevada has been progressing steadily. The site just went live, and the first three catalogs are available to order. Re-visit as additional artists and works are added throughout the year, featuring such west-coast artists as Mary Ann Bonjorni, Robert Brady, Lee Brumbaugh, Linda Flemming, Elaine Jason, Christine Pinney Karkow, Walter McNamara, Michael Moore, Bob Morrison, Elaine Parks and Harry Reese. Designed in collaboration with MES. Funded by the Andy Warhol grant for the arts.
My new calling cards just came in fresh off the print line. Foiled in white and black on GF Smith Colorplan’s Smooth Cool Blue, in extra thick 540gsm and set in a custom-drawn modular seven-segment type. Simple and unpretentious, these are easy to hand out in any situation, with an extra kick for those that remember using pager codes from the nineties.
With Alex Livingston, the challenge was to create a card that could function for someone with two positions within the film and television world. Designed as a thaumatrope (akin to a rudimentary flip-book) and visually referencing both film posters and blackscreen end credits, the card spins on its horizontal axis to sequentially play the roles our hero is available for.
Typeset in Univers and H&FJ’s Gotham, the card was printed in white foil on GF Smith Colorplan’s Ebony stock, and hand-assembled at the studio.
Today’s Elastic-City type walk takes place all the way out in Brighton Beach, and I will say that it’s definitely worth the subway trek or the bike ride out there. I picked that location as it uniquely allows me to talk about type in a cross-cultural and bi-lingual fashion.
As we stroll down a couple of the main strips, petrushka-pastries in hand, we’ll touch upon topics which include the history of western typography, the divergence of cyrillic and latin glyph forms, how cyrillic shapes have evolved and adjusted throughout the ages, and what happens from the view point of a type designer as the alphabets come back to sit alongside each other more and more in today’s world.
Am preparing my presentation and knowledge kit for a one-day type workshop to be held at MCA in Portland, Maine. The presentation will cover the theories behind type design and the issues that individual fonts came into place to address. Examples shown will include unique technological needs and the drawing solutions that were developed to accommodate them, practical layout issues that various type solutions simplify, as well as historical and stylistic connotations that certain typefaces carry. A lettering exercise and critique will follow. Only available to students registered in GD353 Design Issues & History.
Pia was looking for something that matched her hairstyling ways; A little bit disco, a little bit mod, and always with an eye towards the future.
Silkscreened reflective silver on Navy Blue Plike, these cards have the texture of super-smooth rubber, and shift their look for daywear and for going out at night. Set in Herb Lubalin’s Avant Garde with some custom tweaking and manual kerning. Contact info set in H&FJ’s Verlag.
Commissioned by Elastic-City, I’ve a series of Brooklyn-based type walks coming up later this autumn. The official description follows:
The ‘Swashbuckler Sashay’ explores the typographic elements suspended on the buildings, sidewalks and shelves surrounding us. As we walk, we’ll investigate architectural lettering; the embossed, the painted, the lit and the engraved. We'll stop to talk about the concerns that address someone constructing urban signage, the narratives that come up with time and super-imposition, and the clever or peculiar visage that results.
Taking my hand, and my eye-loupe, to the craft of micro-printing and rough newsprint with refinements and additions to a whole range (about 56 styles) of fonts serving the Wall Street Journal.
Today was my first day taking Advanced Russian Grammar & Composition at NYU, with thanks to Prof. Belodedova. In reviewing the accompanying reading matter, I’m looking forward to the combination of history, literature and poetry that the class weaves in, and, in a pique to my typographic sensibilities, re-exploring the divergent punctuation rules and symbols that the writing system adheres to.
Just signed a lease on 800 sq ft of raw industrial loft space to paint, construct, design and luxuriate in. As soon as I get a tub and a sink, I’m golden. Until then, you can find me lounging on the roof overlooking the 360° eight-bridge and infinite-cityscape vista.
H&FJ has been selected as a honoree in this year’s National Design Awards, the first typeface designers ever recognized by this prestige. Feel honored and privileged to be working there, per usual.
Sketches and installations for M. Created 2001 – 2011 Anno Domini.
Posters are fresh and hot off the press for BLUE HAMMER: A Trans-Historical-Burlesque Dinner Theater.
BLUE HAMMER is a performance project that unfolds in a late-night cable television studio, between two live broadcasts: a cooking show, HOT POT, and BLUE HAMMER, presented by a host named Vin Pays who professes to have toured Africa during the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya and the Belgian occupation of the Congo. A guest joins him, the former leading-lady of the African tour [and of Hammer Horror films] named Tabula Rasa, who appears only to disrupt and dispel, an angel of death whose memories of Africa are harder to maintain than Vin's nostalgia. The performance features three live video feeds, including GP S analysis, a prototype portable kitchen, and custom porcelain bowls.
The project is put together by the Creative Material Group. I want to send additional thanks to K-gun for being my model for the posters and perfectly channeling the vixen noir.
Completed the design work on Sterling Display, a calligraphic typeface with all sorts of beautiful new swashes and ligatures enclosed. Based on the lettering of Reynolds Stone, Sterling is a custom project for Tiffany & Co. from H&FJ. Not available for retail.
Am honored to be selected as one of the twenty four artists and curators around the city to partake in Anton Vidokle’s Night School. Night School is an artist’s project sponsored by the New Museum in the form of a temporary school. It consists of a yearlong program of monthly seminars and workshops, drawing upon a group of local and international artists, writers, and theorists to conceptualize and conduct the program.
Presentations and workshops will be held by: Boris Groys, Martha Rosler, Liam Gillick, Maria Lind, Tirdad Zolghadr, Carey Young, Okwui Enwezor, Hu Fang, Zhan Wei, Xu Tan, Paul Chan, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Thomas Keenan, Avery Gordon, Walid Raad, Jalal Toufic, Raqs Media Collective, Jan Verwoert.
In a continuation of my attempts to get at design by thoroughly learning all of its tool-tips and end-points, as aligned with serendipitous chance... I wanted to announce that I’ll now be abandoning my prior plans and will be joining Hoefler & Frere-Jones to learn the intricacies of type design.
A New York City Raticorn. Typeset in Courier.
I’m excited to announce the upcoming opening of R.T.T.M.T.T.I.C.I.T.M.O.A., an installation art piece that I participated on in collaboration with the Flux Factory. Answering the question of “What would Tatlin’s Tower be like if it was an ongoing construction in a 1,500-square-foot room with 12-foot ceilings and was designed to be a nice place to spend a day in?” -- the installation features video, theater, a kafeteriaria, a radio station, and much much more. And, of course, with custom lettering in the Constructivist style. As quoted in NY Press: “Very clever. But also very fun.”
Back in New York, and enjoying partaking in all of the co-working experiments happening around the city. Sharing office space, internet and inspiration with brilliant tech nerds that are working on all their various projects has been completely inspiring. If you’re interested in sharing desk space, banter or projects... holla.
I’m off to Burbank to be a live-in designer working on Snoop Dogg brand rolling papers & associated paraphernalia. Please hold my mail, I’ll return in three months. Stories will follow.
Infix is a reverse-graffiti public art project selected to be part of this year’s Art in Odd Places (AiOP). The project aims to instill a two foot sense of reprieve into Manhattan’s Lower East Side by literally peeling away the commercial messages that we’re surrounded and bombarded by. Deconstructing the layers of the urban fabric, Infix reveals the area’s bygone visage by systematically digging down to uncover the origins of either twenty minutes ago or twenty years ago. In slicing through the city’s skin, it aims to offer a new keyhole to gaze through.
Pleased to have been selected to the shortlist-of-three finalists to work with Gaiker in the Basque Region recasting generational heirlooms. Residency as set up and organized by Disonancias.
Identity and website design for Still(e), a short narrative by Susan Schwarzwald about the Holocaust and disappearance. The identity uses the assumed ‘Jewish’ typeface of the time, and fades the German translation into the background.
The site in turn was engineered as a ruminative dark gray tableau, keeping with the silent and thoughtful feel of the movie. Either scroll horizontally or click through to view video excerpts, quotes and stills, and watch the hidden moments whirl by as if from a speeding train. Excited about the patchwork of ultra-simple code bits that came together to make this website happen, by far my best technological feat to date.
Update: Still(e) Site no longer live.
Conversations aren’t flat, they live in space. Are they whispered? Yelled? Are you leaning in as you talk or pivoting away? Exploring these dynamics is an infographic printed in the latest issue of Is/Not magazine. -- Asking the always pertinent question of “is bigger really better?”
The magazine initially intrigued me in its format, which is published as a 192 cm by 143 cm paste-up to be pasted up on walls throughout Australia. In this issue, a 192 cm chart at the bottom allows you to explore your conversations in real-space.
Extrapolating from Edward Hall’s study of Proxemics, the type-illustration charts the dialogue excerpted from Harlequin novels and plots them against catalogued intimate, personal and social distances, their varied significance, and the waning and waxing of our different receptors as categorized by vision, touch, sound, scent and heat.
Ask your friends and strangers to talk to you in front of the map, and gauge how you compare.
Sufferable Fragments is a short film on movement & relocation. Taking cues from packaging and shipping containers, the film employs label iconography and packing peanuts as an allegory to the disembodied and disheveled feelings that re-starting one's life can provoke.
Commissioned by the Creative Materials Group and filmed as a collaboration with Brendan Griffiths, the film will be screened in Portland, OR later this month.
Sarina’s website just went live. Designed as a simple showcase for a handful of biological illustrations, the site was drafted to resemble the book foldouts that the images are meant for.
+Rosebud’s 6th issue just came out, focusing on the concept of the IDEAL. Inside, you’ll find a set of my illustrations exploring the vast array of options and decisions we all encounter in this day and age.
Investigating the ever-expanding feeling of being in the hot seat of choosing (or the illusion of choosing) our fate, the illustrations present the reader with a fill-in-your-own flowchart of options, dead ends, consequences, and taxidermied housecats. Designed those that are no longer contempt with just one life, that want preemptive certainty of choosing the right options, or for those that simply want to live all nine lives simultaneously.
My site (2004.samarskaya.com) just got featured on Netdiver under “Portfolio's +++ ”. Super pleased to be selected amidst all of the other beauties on there, and thought I’d use this as an opportunity to talk a bit more about what I was thinking in its design.
The first wall that I kept running into amidst all my sketches was that I was making a site for work that was inherently impossible to truly showcase in two dimensions and seventy two dpi. With most of the features being installations, there was so much that went into it that was important: the projected video that was meant to get interrupted by shadows as part of “8”, the controlled humidity in the bathroom and the soundtracks propped behind locked doors as you walked down the hallway to get there as part of “...waking from the house”, the prepared curry and performances that were all a visceral part of “the gift”. All of the lowered ceilings, cold air vent depositories to nowhere, camouflaged entrances and interactive aspects, I didn’t know how to begin trying to shoehorn all of that into a browser.
With so many aspects of the original work being concealed, I thought I’d take it a step further and make the browser’s limitations a part of the design. The menu bar was going to be the centerpiece (easy to find and use!), placed atop of the content. It was aiming to expose the fact that you were viewing a barred experience, and hint that there was more there than meets the eye.
The site was then coded by hand, and skinned with my favorite overused office patterns of the 1990s. In the same way that the installations themselves were often a throwback and a contemplation of recent history, so the site would attempt to ruminate on the recent history within web and digital design.
After a couple of varied fits and starts (architecture agencies, nightclub interiors & retail exhibition design) I’ll be signing on to join Earth Pledge at their beautifully, sustainably remodeled headquarters in Murray Hill. As their designer, I’ll get to promote all the things I’m proud to advance out in the world: green roofs, sustainable materials for fashion and building, organic local farming & anaerobic digestion.
I’ve left Oregon. Now, post landing in La Guardia, I’ve been spending my time swimming through this New humid city of York, waiting for my gills to form. I’ve printed and showcased some resume parcels and as well as portfolio stacks to go along with them if needed. Hopefully there’ll be some interviews and big decisions coming up, but in the meantime, nothing but black and white and pink all over.
Dead Skin Press, a portfolio website featuring letterpress, tabletures & installation art. Stunning work from the artist Megan O'Connell.
The branding for the project takes its cues from the theme that went into it. 1950’s technology, digital optimism, and imprecise corruption into readable gibberish.
The project itself is a real-time translating machine, listening in to all that takes place in the gallery and spitting out its mis-interperted and biased version on an endless loop of official receipt tape.
Recluse is a computer program that is best exhibited amidst computer labs and cramped offices. The lil’ gumdrop-dudes tended to gather together and mill about on any given computer screen. But, if anyone was to try to approach, they’d run off the edges of the screen and seamlessly enter the screen next to it, engaging in a never-ending game of tag with the viewer. Created in collaboration with Charlie Olson.
Because I figured the best way to learn how to excel at designing for print was by going into the trenches, and because the owners of this offset press shoppe are so well-read, witty and activist, you’ll be able to find me this summer designing promotional wares and overall assisting at Pinball Publishing. If you’re in Portland, stop by and say hello.
A fundraiser done in conjunction with the Factory Studio and this year’s BFA group. Inspiration was taken from the group name of “Panacea”. Medical spittoon vessels were cast in porcelain, and adhered with the above logomark and fill line. Done in a run of 750.
Registry of Existence. Created in collaboration with Daniel Bissell and Britt Tvenge.
For a group installation exhibit of eight artists, reductively titled “8”, a tactile, archaeological eight was drawn-up. For the invitations, in a play on reversing the standard textures, a rough matte ink was laid atop a high-gloss reflective photo-paper.
For an installation that focused on themes of home, memory, quotidian matter and nostalgia entitled “...waking from the house”. The invitations were printed in an edition of eight, each quoting a different captured moment. Custom stamped with dark coffee cup rings. Designed in collaboration with Daniel Bissell.
Having moved into the flat of a recently deceased gentleman, for a period of time we were still receiving mail in his name. It was mostly government paperwork, Social Security statements, and other highly confidential yet equally impersonal data collection. Observing all these inhuman remnants, I wondered what it would be like if instead of documenting financial credits and debits, an organization jotted down people’s idiosyncrasies. Those glimmers of personality and memory, all that which makes us unique, an identity divergent from the simple fact that one has $82.19 left over in a checking account. Thus, later, as a part of the William Ryan installations, a fictional government entity entitled the Ministry of Observations was created. A entity which tracks all of those lost moments, habits, decisions and preferences that makes all of us uniquely us.
For a group photography exhibition entitled “Photography, Collections”. The branding was designed in reference to library collections, with library catalog card postcards. Printed in inkjet-printer-black on manilla, with a circular punch.
I felt it apt that the chronologically first, and linearly last, post on this site talk a bit about what was before and what exists elsewhere. While log.samarskaya.com is a written record on my work with an emphasis on branding, lettering and identity (with a smattering of design and print art here and there), the work that I was involved with directly prior was narrative installation art. Some of these early posts touch on the branding or print segments of an installation without going deeper into the work that was exhibited. If you’re curious in those works, an archive of an older site that covers them from a macro viewpoint still exists at 2004.samarskaya.com.