Sunday, March 25, 2012
Allyson likes: House Industries
Last week I went to a presentation given by Ken Barber, a type designer at House Industries. They make all sorts of awesome fonts and lettering (among other things). The presentation was totally exciting to me. I'll admit, I knew next to nothing about them before I heard Ken Talk, but I am now a raging fan. (Ok, maybe not 'raging' per se... just inspired- an inspired fan)
The designers at House, pull much of their inspiration from great design heros who came before them (like Alexander Girard, Ed Benguiat, and Ed Roth), and American cultural scenes (movies, hot rods, comics, hard-core music...). But I think the biggest factor in their success in being a straight-up gangbusters design group, was stated by Ken near the beginning of the presentation: "We just really love to make things" and as I listened to all his stories, that did seem to be the common thread.
When he spoke about their venture into the apparel industry, he mentioned that it was really just an excuse to design all kinds of stuff they don't normally do, or had never done before (embroidery, shoes, branding, advertising, and store design). "We love to overproduce everything" --and it's totally evident! All of their design work is just so juicy and oogally, and makes you want to just look and look and look.
Ken noted Ed Roth (among many others) as one of their design heroes, who's drive to "get things done" was a quality that they really admired about him. Ed wanted to make sweet hot rods, so he used whatever was within his reach to figure out how to build them. In the "Not So FAQ" section on the House website, they state, "...pens, brushes and pencils no more make an artist than an expensive computer or modern piece of software. The magic is in the execution, not the tool." Well put guys! I think that same Ed Roth ingenuity exists at House Industries, for sure.
Most of the designers at House, Ken mentioned, have no formal design training. They just design out of their love of designing, make out of their love of making. I think that love of designing and making is totally apparent in the fun and funky details in their "overproduced" work. That (almost obsessive) love, of whatever you're into, will go a long way in your work if you just do it (or make it, or sing it, or write it, etc....) <------ moral of the story.
And that's why I like House Industries.
Seriously, they rule!
Go check out their website and look at all the delicious fruits of their labors (so much more than I have mentioned in this little blog post). I don't think you'll be disappointed!
(all of the lovely pictures come from the House Industries Blog)