Female Screen Printing Action Hero

We live in a celebrity culture where the media often dictate our preferences. And maybe our “choice” is less ours than that of some marketing team who triggered our interest in a certain celebrity, a pop star, or a big-screen action hero. That way, sadly, real heroes often remain unknown to the broader public.

The Danish textile designer Marie Gudme Leth (1895-1997) was a real life hero. She was a pioneer in screen printing on fabric. Being a female designer in the first half of the 20th century was a major achievement on its own. But on top of that, her delicate patterns, inspired by Asian block printing and Indonesian ethnic motives, reflected an extraordinary level of talent and fresh thinking.

More about Marie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Gudme_Leth

Photo by Patricia Greve

Photo by Patricia Greve

The Duke of Austria and His Bloody Belt

Today, storytelling has become just another buzzword. But if we look past the social media fluff, telling stories is really one of the most beautiful traits humans possess.

Stories live along with our symbols, rituals, and beliefs. One of my favorites is the legend behind the Austrian flag.

Once up on a time, the Duke of Austria came home from battle covered in blood. His surcoat (originally white) and his sword belt were all red. When he took off his belt, a white stripe appeared. He was so struck by the symbolic power of red and white that he decided to use it as his banner.

Photos by Philipp Haderer

Photos by Philipp Haderer

Half-A-Century-Old Typo

When we think about old cultures, we often idealize their achievements. Ancient symbols engraved in stone or glyphs drawn on parchment arouse our imagination. We tend to forget that they were created by people like us – human beings who are prone to make things up or to make mistakes.

A nice example of this is the story behind the old seal of the medieval city of Stochulm (Stockholm). The words around the symbol are misspelled: They read “Stochum” instead of Stochulm, and “cicicum” instead of civium (council). There is no hidden meaning, no mystery to be solved; it’s just a simple typo. What is more, it took almost 50 years to be corrected! The first mention of the seal in wax was in 1281 (the oldest visual is dated to 1296), but the new seal with the correct spelling didn’t appear until 1326. Apparently all for a lack of funds.

Obviously, back then spell-checking was a big deal. Think about that next time you're mad at your smart phone’s autocorrect.

Brexit in Print 1976-1980

I found these ads in a book called “Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-1980”. 

There’s a strange colour inversion: leftist ads with predominantly black colour, and the right-wing NF all in red. 

Yet, what is truly remarkable, is the content. The ads were designed in 1978, but the messages seem to be strangely up-to-date: Replace the Common Market with EU, and IRA with ISIS, and you’ll see what I mean.