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Preview: Matthew Buchanan

Matthew Buchanan



I’m a designer and practitioner of fine typography in Auckland, New Zealand. I co-founded a design and development studio, Cactuslab, in 2001, and a social network for film fans, Letterboxd, in 2011. I design themes for Tumblr, speak occasionally about



 



Two terrific posters for Darren Aronofsky’s forthcoming film...

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 10:50:43 +1200

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Two terrific posters for Darren Aronofsky’s forthcoming film mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem—the first by artist James Jean (shared by the director on Mother’s Day), and the second credited to powerhouse agency LA.




Thrillist has a list of the 100 greatest film props, and the...

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:06:39 +1200

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Thrillist has a list of the 100 greatest film props, and the stories behind them, edited by Matt Patches and illustrated by Jason Hoffman. No costumes or vehicles allowed, just real, physical props—and pretty hard to argue with that number one. From the introduction:

They are sketched out, improvised, or placed in scenes by the fate of logic, existing to serve the performances or action around them. But while iconic movie props make us laugh, gasp, scream, and/or sit in absolute silence, they rarely start iconic; as a property master will tell you, the best on-screen objects go unnoticed, silently winning you over with truth.




I thought Brad Silberling did a pretty commendable job of...

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:30:57 +1300

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I thought Brad Silberling did a pretty commendable job of remixing Daniel Handler’s first few books for his 2004 film adaptation—and I suspect Jim Carrey will be hard to beat in the Count Olaf role—but the trailer looks solid, so count me in as cautiously optimistic for this next month.

Here’s Handler answering one of a series of unfortunate questions for Boing Boing, this one on the necessity of good story:

There is a wave of American fiction, ascendant now, with charms to which I am immune, in which all strangeness, in story and language, has been seemingly purposefully scrubbed. Nobody—author, character, reader—seems to be having any trace of fun. There is an overemphasis on character-building at the expense of plot or even incident, such that we know everything about a person to whom nothing is happening. This is boring. It is also not like life.




Straight talk from Zendesk’s chief creative officer Toke Nygaard...

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 22:55:24 +1300

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Straight talk from Zendesk’s chief creative officer Toke Nygaard on this week’s rebrand and accompanying design system:

Now, selling this crap internally is an art form in its own right. A lot of people joined [Zendesk] because they saw themselves in the bubbly buddha character and were not prepared to give that up for some artsy, faux mid-century Bauhaus shit. Luckily for us, all of our founding fathers agreed it was time for a radical change—working for a truly design-appreciative company sometimes does have its benefits!




Artist Kyle Lambert (well known for his 200-hour recreation of a...

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:56:48 +1200

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Artist Kyle Lambert (well known for his 200-hour recreation of a Morgan Freeman portrait) was commissioned by Netflix to produce the key art for its Stranger Things series, and asked to pay tribute to the great poster artists of the 1980s, including Drew Struzan. Lambert used Procreate on an iPad Pro to produce his initial compositions, final detail and colour blocking, completing the work in Photoshop. His digital paintings of the main characters were printed onto canvas and given to cast members at the completion of the shoot.




A short profile of Grace Rawson, a hand colourist at Whites...

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 23:09:15 +1200

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A short profile of Grace Rawson, a hand colourist at Whites Aviation during the 1950s, by directors Greg Wood and Peter Alsop.

The hand-tinted photographic landscapes of Whites Aviation have become celebrated icons of New Zealand’s mid-century culture. But few still know that each photograph was individually coloured by hand.

(via PetaPixel)




"Some time during the late 1800s, an adventurous L. humile crept away from the swamp where giant..."

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 17:10:42 +1200

Some time during the late 1800s, an adventurous L. humile crept away from the swamp where giant river otter played and capybaras cavorted.

She stowed away on a boat that sailed to New Orleans. And she went to war.



- Evolutionary biologist Suzanne Sadedin backgrounds the largest war ever to take place on this planet, currently being fought on six continents. (via David Cole)



Gary Hustwit (director of Helvetica and Objectified) is making...

Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:11:29 +1200

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Gary Hustwit (director of Helvetica and Objectified) is making the first feature-length documentary about the life and work of German industrial designer Dieter Rams. Equally important: part of the campaign total will be put towards preserving Rams’ design archive — a majority of which has never been seen by the public. The Kickstarter campaign has reached its goal, but there’s still 24 hours left to become a backer and contribute to this effort.

Dieter Rams at work at Braun in the 1970s, photographed by Abisag Tüllmann.




"We’re making a “book”. We’re printing — using a microscopic ion-etching process — the entire website..."

Fri, 13 May 2016 10:08:29 +1200

“We’re making a “book”. We’re printing — using a microscopic ion-etching process — the entire website upon a 2" × 2" nickel plate, giving it a fire- and saltwater-resistant shelf life of 10,000 years.”

- Craig Mod on his plans to archive location-aware publishing platform Hi.co.



Typographica has published its tenth-annual collection of...

Tue, 10 May 2016 09:12:54 +1200

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Typographica has published its tenth-annual collection of typeface writing covering 2015’s notable releases, and among the selections is my review of Commercial Type’s Sanomat Sans. Stephen Coles explains how the selections are made:

Who decides what meets that standard? No single writer. No editorial board. No consensus by committee. No superstar-studded jury (though there are some luminaries in this bunch). Those formats all have value. But what makes this list different — and maybe a little weird but, to me, always insightful — is that each contributor makes their own pick.




The Decemberists covered Hoodoo Gurus’ “Death Defying” on their...

Sat, 16 Apr 2016 13:54:26 +1200

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The Decemberists covered Hoodoo Gurus’ “Death Defying” on their recent Australian tour. I saw the Sydney Opera House show where it preceded an epic rendition of “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” in the second of three encores. Perfect choice.




The new brand system for the Sydney Opera House is a...

Fri, 25 Mar 2016 12:24:15 +1300

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The new brand system for the Sydney Opera House is a collaboration between Interbrand, Collider (for motion work) and Studio Laurenz Brunner (for typography), and includes an InDesign plugin for turning regular text into Utzon, a custom dimensional typeface developed as part of the project. Brand New takes a look at the process, including motion tests and plenty of example applications.




New book coming in the (northern hemisphere) fall from James...

Tue, 15 Mar 2016 11:32:32 +1300

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New book coming in the (northern hemisphere) fall from James Gleick. Great cover.




Art of the Title interviews Dan Perri, creator of the iconic...

Thu, 17 Dec 2015 01:32:08 +1300

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Art of the Title interviews Dan Perri, creator of the iconic opening title crawl for George Lucas’s Star Wars. Dan talks about how he came to be involved, the technical details of the sequence, and this small financial detail:

Somewhere in the middle of all this, while I was still putting it together, Jimmy Nelson called me up and said, George wants me to ask you: Would you be willing to take a half a point of the movie instead of your fee? And I said, “Are you crazy, no way in hell! No way!”




Wired takes a look at the visual effects work for Ridley Scott’s...

Fri, 16 Oct 2015 23:49:51 +1300

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Wired takes a look at the visual effects work for Ridley Scott’s The Martian performed by MPC and Framestore. See also: FXGuide’s comprehensive write-up and Territory Studio’s graphics for all of the screens and terminals (they also worked on Ex Machina).




"Well-adjusted kids from stable two-parent homes don’t go on hero quests."

Wed, 14 Oct 2015 16:38:18 +1300

“Well-adjusted kids from stable two-parent homes don’t go on hero quests.”

- From Lynn Messina’s NY Times piece on child-proofing the Harry Potter books. At the rate we’re reading them to Ms. 7 and Ms. 6 they’ll almost be teenagers before we get to the really pointy stuff, but some good suggestions here nonetheless.



Korean artist Chang Gun Lee sculpts and paints 1:6 scale figures...

Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:38:20 +1200

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Korean artist Chang Gun Lee sculpts and paints 1:6 scale figures of popular-culture characters, including several from The Shining that sell for thousands of dollars (and sell out). Incredible work. (via Lee Unkrich)




The first review of Andy Weir’s The Martian I read was Jez...

Tue, 16 Jun 2015 00:32:23 +1200

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The first review of Andy Weir’s The Martian I read was Jez Burrows’ earlier this year. Despite his misgivings concerning the protagonist’s tone, I couldn’t resist the setup and read it the following week. It’s an engrossing, exhaustively researched tale of resourcefulness whose genesis as a self-published serial is well documented. I’m pretty sure you’ve already read it.

If you have, and you’re counting the days till Ridley Scott’s adaptation hits theatres in October (trailer, featurette), here’s a few items of interest:

The Talking Room with Adam Savage covers moments from the book and related topics, including Andy’s fear of flying, John W. Young’s resting heart rate and this scene from Apollo 13 (it made XKCD this week too).

A talk at Google, in which Andy demos the software he wrote to calculate the orbital dynamics described in the book.

Andy Weir’s Reddit AMA.

Tom Horn’s mission map.

How The Martian may have saved NASA.




Species in Pieces, a personal tribute to 30 endangered species...

Thu, 04 Jun 2015 23:04:23 +1200

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Species in Pieces, a personal tribute to 30 endangered species by Bryan James. It’s a simple, clever use of CSS polygons and therefore best experienced in a Webkit browser (works in most mobile browsers too). Bryan explains:

In essence, each shape is being morphed, moved and toyed with by a new set of co-ordinates, and as they are maintained as triangles throughout, this means 3 points, with CSS transitions to link up the movements. No tricks or tools have been used to get the illustrated results, code-wise or graphically. Point by point, shape by shape, each one has been handcrafted via a personally-created tracing JS function after illustration.




"The airlock’s on its side, and I can hear a steady hiss. So either it’s leaking or there are snakes..."

Wed, 08 Apr 2015 09:30:41 +1200

“The airlock’s on its side, and I can hear a steady hiss. So either it’s leaking or there are snakes in here. Either way, I’m in trouble.”

- The Martian just got good. Indiana Jones would be proud.