Category Archives: Archive of Interest

This Old House

Abandoned House Archive Richard Pilon

I came across the Abandoned House Archives on tumblr one day in 2010 and the images of residences in ruin have never left me. The photographs say it all, image after image of distressed wood, fallen bricks, and paint corrosion. The only information we’re given for each entry is it’s Flickr photo credit.

I am curious as to what compelled the photographers to capture these subjects and am even more fascinated by the young woman who compiled them together under the title of archive. The blog was created by Dani, then a teenager with a penchant for exploring her rural Ontario surroundings. Dani’s blog introduction sends a personal message to the decaying homes, “Your inhabitors may have left you, but i never will.”

Abandoned House Archive Kevin Bauman

Abandoned House Archive Kevin Bauman

Abandoned House Archive tklarts

Images borrowed from top to bottom: Richard Pilon, Kevin Bauman, and tklarts.

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Wanderlist #1: Pentagram Archives

Wanderlist #1Often, I’ll sit at work and dream of traveling to libraries and archives around the world. A savvy traveler would have much to gain by adding libraries and repositories to their itinerary. This series will introduce you to great collections, hopefully including more than a few hidden gems. As my dear archivist friend Taz said, Wanderlist will be the Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations of library travel. No book unturned, no artifact undusted… let’s wander!

Pentagram Archives: London

Pentagram London Archive

Whether you are a budding designer or aesthetic zealot, the Pentagram archives in London might be your dream destination. The renowned design firm Pentagram was founded in 1972 in the UK. The collection includes four decades of work in brand identity, architecture, interiors, and products for some of the most prestigious organizations in the world and the archives likely adhere to the same high standards. If I could be hanging out there as I type this, I would.

If you’re not familiar with Pentagram’s design work, I’d like to point out one project which involved the archives of the New York Times. In addition to this impressive building facade, Pentagram created a program of environmental graphics for The Times’ 42nd Street building near Times Square. (Times Square is so named because The New York Times resided there in days of yore.) Pentagram created 800 unique signs for the interior spaces. Designers culled the archives of The Times for imagery that appropriately fits the purpose of each room or office. The images remind staff and visitors of the historic value of the newspaper. This project is a great example of using signage and archives to cultivate a positive work environment, plus it’s just sort of fun.

NY Times Team Room

NY Times Copy Room

Pentagram’s 40 years in 3 minutes chronicles the history of the consultancy and was made by intertwining images from the London and New York Pentagram archives.

Photos borrowed from Ben and Pentagram.

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Notes from the Farm

Field Notes Archive

In the spirit of Independence Day, I’m sharing an archive that is a tribute to hard working farmers who are an important part of American heritage.  The Memo Book Archive from Field Notes is a gorgeous array of farmer’s notebooks collected by Aaron Draplin. Draplin is a designer and the creator of Field Notes memo books. In the video From Seed, Draplin jumps from book to book describing each more enthusiastically than the last. Draplin is fascinated by the people behind the chicken scratch writing. To him, he says, “[the books] mean regular people working really hard.” The memo books were advertisements for new farming products and technology and included agricultural tips and measurement charts. The value of one notebook on its own might be hard to see, but together the collection of pocket sized books provides insights into the lives of American farmers.

These pieces of Americana are a meeting of tremendous graphic design and function. Here are a couple of my favorites from the gallery.

Field Notes Archive


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