Tag Archives: calligraphy

Vintage Japanese New Years postcards

t kills me that I live in Boston and haven’t been to the Museum of Fine Arts in, let’s see… three years, I think? Ridiculous. We have a new Institute of Contemporary Art as well, but I haven’t been there either. WTF? You’d think I have a dissertation and teaching and tutoring and Etsy and design blog stalking to do or something!

Anyway, so I was just checking out the MFA online, doing a virtual visit (since I’m pretty sure the physical building is closed at 10:59pm), and I came across their fabulous collection of New Year’s Japanese Postcards, some of which I absolutely must share with you:

New Year’s Card: Dog on a Blackboard Offers Congratulations
年賀状:黒板の犬
Japanese, Late Meiji era, 1910
Artist Unidentified, Japanese

New Year’s Card
年賀状;のむらや
Japanese, Showa era, 1930
Artist Unknown, Japanese
Publisher: Nomuraya

New Year’s Card: Goat in a Heart
年賀状:山羊
Japanese, Late Meiji era, 1907
Maruyama Banka, Japanese, 1867–1942

New Year’s Card: Penguins
年賀状:ペンギン
Japanese, Taishô era, 1921
Sugiura Hisui, Japanese, 1876–1965

New Year’s Card: Bull and a Woman
年賀状:牛
Japanese, Taisho era, 1925
Artist Unknown, Japanese

New Year’s Card: Going to Shimonoseki
Original Title: Shimonoseki yuki
年賀状:下関へ
Japanese, Taishô-early Shôwa era
S. Riyo, Japanese, dates unknown
Publisher: Tanaka & Co.

New Year’s Card: Goat
年賀状:羊-1931
Japanese, Early Shôwa era, 1931
Takahashi Haruka, Japanese, dates unknown
Publisher: Seikyokudô

New Year’s Card with Airplane
年賀状:空中旋回
Japanese, Taisho- early Showa era
Takahashi Haruka, Japanese, dates unknown
Publisher: Seikyokudô

New Year’s Card: The Monkey Celebrating with Ozoni (from an unidentified series) of New Year’s cards
Original Title: Ozoni iwau osaru
「おぞうに祝ふ猿」
Japanese, Showa era, 1932
Artist Unidentified, Japanese
Publisher: Tanaka & Co.

New Year’s Card: Dragon
年賀状:龍
Japanese, Early Shôwa era, 1928
Takahashi Haruka, Japanese, dates unknown
Publisher: Yamaguchi Seikyokudô

New Year’s Card: Mouse at the Piano
年賀状:ねずみのピアノ
Japanese, Taisho era, 1912
Artist Unknown, Japanese
Publisher: Naniwaya
Printed by: Tokyo Design Printing Company (Tokyo zuan insatsu sha)

New Year’s Card: Seahorses
年賀状:龍の落とし子
Japanese, Early Shôwa era, 1928
Takahashi Haruka, Japanese, dates unknown
Publisher: Yamaguchi Seikyokudô

{ All images above borrowed from the MFA’s online New Year’s Japanese Postcard collection,
which you should visit HERE. }

Aren’t they great? Yeah, I thought so, too. Japan’s pretty awesome.

I really need to get back to that museum.


(Initial “I” found HERE)

Iranian children’s books from the 1970s

Unbelievably beautiful children’s books were produced in Iran in the 1970s. I just wish that I could read them.

The images below are courtesy of A Journey Round My Skull’s “Iran” collection, which I strongly encourage you to visit. Such great use of color, brilliant illustrations, and gorgeous calligraphy… I’m kind of drooling right now. In fact, I should probably go fetch a hankie.

OK. All better. Anyway, please enjoy, and please also take a moment to visit the International Children’s Digital Library HERE.

All images below kindly borrowed from A Journey Round My Skull, a stellar blog of under-appreciated (old) books that you should visit at any and all times.

The birdies might be my favorite, despite the lack of calligraphy/text.

Follow A Journey Round My Skull on Twitter HERE and visit the blog HERE.

Enamo(RED)

V intage and modern typography designs that glorify the color red blanket me in holiday warmth. All drool-inducing images below have been graciously borrowed from the always fabulous WeLoveTypography.com, where you can search typographic images by color. Which is how I found these little gems.

(The Ohioan in me couldn’t resist this one)


Doodle-doodle-dee: sketchbook scribblings.

Some images from the Creative Journal that I started last year. My original goal was to take Paper Source’s slogan literally and “do something creative everyday” (I got the journal from Paper Source). Umm, it didn’t actually end up working. So, some days I’d fill a bunch of pages and hope that it made up for the days of extreme void.

What these pages primarily reveal is my obsession with decorative letters. And with some anny-mals. Some pages are merely exercises: trying to capture line and ornamentation design techniques, trying to capture lettering styles offered in the variety of calligraphy/hand type books that I own, etc.

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Some additional samples of my lettering can be found in my Etsy shop, where I offer up my services for custom designs, lettering on family trees, and envelope addressing! Check them out HERE.

Throwback Thursday: Notgeld, German Emergency Currency

If all money looked this pretty, I’d definitely be more apt to save it.

The images presented below represent a selection from Lliazd’s unbelievably expansive Flickr set of Notgeld, which was German emergency currency used during the post-WWI years. Lliazd’s provides us with an in-depth look into the personal, political, and aesthetic significance of these images on his Flickr page:

walter-muller-notgeld_skaliertAfter 800 years of life in the same region, my wife’s family left Germany. In 1935 Nazism had become unbearable. They were lucky enough to understand the risk it posed for Jews living in Germany and they left. Until then, her family was part of a comfortable and prosperous middle class, involved in the tobacco business in the city of Karlsruhe.

At the end of the First World War her grandfather started collecting Notgeld produced by many German and Austrian towns and companies to make front to deflation first and inflation later with the objective of providing stability to workers and residents. Notgeld (emergency currency) was issued by cities, boroughs, even private companies while there was a shortage of official coins and bills. Nobody would pay in coins while their nominal value was less than the value of the metal. And when inflation went on, the state was just unable to print bills fast enough. Some companies couldn’t pay their workers because the Reichsbank just couldn’t provide enough bills. So they started to print their own money – they even asked the Reichsbank beforehand. As long as the Notgeld was accepted, no real harm was done and it just was a certificate of debt. Often it was even a more stable currency than real money, as sometimes the denomination was a certain amount of gold, dollars, corn, meat, etc.

They made it very pretty on purpose: many people collected the bills, and the debt would never have to be paid. It was printed on all kinds of materials: leather, fabric, porcelain, silk, tin foil. (Read more HERE)

Behold, the beauty of Notgeld:

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From my sketchbook…

Some of these are old. Like, from 2002. I’ve never publicly shared the pages of my sketchbook before. Be gentle with me.

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The Calligraphy of Marina Marjina

I discovered the unbelievably mind-blowingly beautiful calligraphy and illustration of Marina Marjina the other day via an image on We Love Typography. I might have a new hero.

The following images are taken from Marina’s Flickr stream:

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Love the reds.