Matthew Buchanan portrait by Photobooth SF

About the author

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 web techniques and typography, and think up reasons to visit New York City.

Matthew Buchanan

From Massimo I learned never to give up. He was able to bring enthusiasm, joy and intensity to the smallest design challenge. Even after fifty years, he could delight in designing something like a business card as if he had never done one before.

Michael Bierut farewells his mentor, former boss and friend, Massimo Vignelli, one of the true greats.

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I said we wanted to make houses that did not look like buildings. We wanted to make houses that had the silent potency of the unfamiliar. We wanted abstraction and tension and fear and love and hope and darkness and humility and the scent of burnt wood and anything but indoor-outdoor fucking flow.

Architect Nat Cheshire spoke eloquently at this year’s Semi Permanent conference about modernism, bravery, his father, the rise of Britomart and the “exquisite future” that has emerged in the city of Auckland over the past four years. The houses in question, on the edge of the Kaipara Harbour, won Home magazine’s Home of the Year award for 2014. Impassioned cussing indeed.

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We shot the service at the National Cathedral, and during rehearsals there were a number of clergy standing around watching. I walked up to a priest who was standing nearby and said, “Excuse me, Father? I think you should know that in the scene we’re about to do Martin Sheen is going to curse at God.” He smiled and said, “I know, it’s gonna be great.”

The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin reminisces candidly for The Hollywood Reporter — along with other cast and crew — about the show’s inner workings and eventual demise.

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RIP H.R. Giger, creator of the original Alien creature concept. From his obituary in The Independent:


  In an era before the widespread adoption of CGI the design work was done with paintings, drawings and three-dimensional models. Giger’s concept for the eponymous monster was based on his 1976 painting Necronom IV, which Scott had seen. “I wanted to make something that would be somehow human, and yet, would also be robot-like,” Giger said, “that is to say a kind of human being that is protected from all kinds of alien influences, be they weapons, or from radiation or from all kinds of things.” This need for protection, he suggested, came from his own feelings of vulnerability, on which he had worked through during a period of self-analysis in the late 1960s.

RIP H.R. Giger, creator of the original Alien creature concept. From his obituary in The Independent:

In an era before the widespread adoption of CGI the design work was done with paintings, drawings and three-dimensional models. Giger’s concept for the eponymous monster was based on his 1976 painting Necronom IV, which Scott had seen. “I wanted to make something that would be somehow human, and yet, would also be robot-like,” Giger said, “that is to say a kind of human being that is protected from all kinds of alien influences, be they weapons, or from radiation or from all kinds of things.” This need for protection, he suggested, came from his own feelings of vulnerability, on which he had worked through during a period of self-analysis in the late 1960s.

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