Posts Tagged 'publications'

The Regional Assembly of Text | Vancouver

One of my favorite stores in Vancouver, B.C. is The Regional Assembly of Text, a sweet sliver of a shop dedicated to handcrafted type. My daughter, Kate, lives in Vancouver (she’s a student at UBC) and thinks shopping for typography is a good time. Other moms take their daughters shopping for clothes, we buy paper.


Our bi-annual trip, and our bounty, a few weeks ago.

Kate and her friend, Brendan, stopped in for the monthly letter writing club last week, and I convinced them that guest blogging would be a good use of their talents. Here’s a chance to be a vicarious Vancouverite, and hang out with the cool, creative kids.


On a sweltering evening in Vancouver, (okay, it was probably only about 85 degrees, but combined with extended use of public transit and a tremendous lack of air conditioning, the city becomes an oven) my roommate Brendan and I trooped eastwards to Main Street. We arrived about thirty minutes late to the Regional Assembly of Text, a stationary/crafting store nestled behind an inconspicuous doorway and just past the terribly trendy part of town.

The Regional Assembly hosts a letter writing club on the first Thursday evening of every month.  They clear out the center display racks, lay out tables end-to-end, and line up scads (scads, I tell you!) of typewriters for people to use. The place was packed with crafters.


We took pieces of astrobright paper (mine was an appalling highlighter-orange) and old cut up maps of Vancouver to hand write our letters on. Later, as people (locals who had far more experience in letter-writing and had showed up on time) cleared out, we grabbed seats at the coveted typewriters. Sipping lemonade out of teacups and busily hen pecking away, occasionally going way past the page’s edge, I think the place charmed the pants right off of me.

My finished letters bore very little resemblance to the chatty emails and quick one-offs I send every day, or the stupid press releases I receive en masse as the culture editor of a university newspaper. There are horrendous typographic errors, words running off the page, and margins which fail completely to line up with one another. Phrases have to be held carefully in your mind, nursed from beginning to end, because the typing is so much slower. If you forget and let your fingers fly as they would on a computer keyboard, your writing is rendered incomprehensible because you can’t hit the keys hard enough to leave a mark.


There is just something about taking an efficient step backwards that can make us more careful about the words we use and where we send them. A little sweat, a little more attention, and a few drawings in the margins make the messages we give people just a bit sweeter.


Story by Kate Barbaria. Photos by Brendan Albano.


buy:design | ReForm School

It’s been a serious week here at re:design, so it’s time for a little Friday shopping therapy. Headed straight to ReForm School, and I confess, I want it all.

The website is a treat, like hanging out with the cool-clever-nerdy-arty-vintage-kids, drinking espresso, listening to obscure jazz, and smoking clove cigarettes. But without the cigarettes (because that really isn’t cool).

My picks:

The Non-Planner Datebook by Keri Smith. It promises me a sense of framework, without feeling constricted or bound by predictability. That’s good, I think.


The Skateboard Clutch by Beck(y)


Polite Cards by Bob and Roberta Smith


And in a lovely full circle moment, the 1000 Journals book (Voyeuristic. Inspirational. Entertaining.), chronicling a project I wrote about here (and reminding me to order my 1000 Journals film from Andrea Kreuzhage).


Easy to get into trouble here. And I didn’t even touch the hammock made from seatbelts. Honest.

Yes, I am a publication junkie…but in a good way

You can never have too much type or print in your home. My idea of a fun Friday night is dinner, drinks and hanging out at  Newsbeat, our local magazine stand.  And it’s not just for the design magazines. I am an equal-opportunity magazine lover.  Words, images, ink, that’s all it takes to give me a thrill.

Of course, magazines have been in trouble for a long time, and this recession is about to put a nail in the coffin. Over 500 magazines folded in 2008, and 47 have already closed in 2009. That’s bad for information, entertainment, enlightenment, beauty and humor–not to mention designers, writers, illustrators, photographers and printers. It’s bad for my Friday nights, that’s for sure.

Even though I know that it’s the advertising dollars that count, the advertisers will count me–so I have been subscribing to as many magazines as my pocketbook can muster. ReadyMade, Utne Reader, Good, More, Real Simple, Cook’s Illustrated. Plenty more to choose from, and I just might add Mad Magazine, Rolling Stone,  Mental Floss, Bark and Dwell to round out my stash.

My new favorite magazine, and the one I really want to protect, is  GOOD Magazine.  It manages to combines good design with good content that makes us better thinkers and therefore, more thoughtful designers.  The stories are smart, but not so seriously-self-important. They do a brilliant job with information graphics, making them accessible and really interesting. Anytime someone can make information fun, I am in.

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Here’s the deal. They honor design. They even give designers pages and pages to muse on. What are they thinking?

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And the goodness doesn’t stop there.  You choose the cost of your subscription. Then, choose a nonprofit, and 100% of your subscription payment is donated.

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Publications, especially alternatives, give us texture and insight and a new point of view. It takes courage, and a ton of energy,  to keep creating and producing month after month. Show and tell when done this well, isn’t easy. As an appreciative reader, pushing Good is the least I can do.