Numbers and letters are hot off the press this season in decorative items, dishware and soft furnishings.
Typographic decor spans a variety of styles, from vintage — in the form of letterpress or old correspondence imagery — to clean-lined modern graphics, often using bold text or individual symbols.
Before designing dinnerware, Christopher Jagmin was a graphic designer. “I love and appreciate the art of typography,” he says. “We’re all surrounded by it every day. We type on computers, we’re aware of it on advertising, billboards, magazines and on television.”
His numbered plates are creating a lot of buzz — there’s something really artsy about these symbols on a crisp white ceramic plate. Jagmin agrees: “I think that breaking down words to the simplicity of a letter or a number, we see the true beauty and art of a font, and its basic elements.”
San Francisco designer Rae Dunn stamps clay cups and plaques with the sparest of phrases; the result is both charming and evocative. “Tres Bien” and “Oui,” say sweet little cups. “C’est la vie,” shrugs a plate. And the homespun phrase “Home Sweet Home” becomes something special when pressed into creamy clay and embellished with a little bee.
Textual decor can add a touch of drama. John Derian was given an envelope of correspondence between two former lovers; throughout the letters, written in 1919, a young lady is trying to recover some personal items. She becomes more impatient with each missive: “Sorry to appear insistent. But I must have my trinkets back.”
Derian has decoupaged several of the letters onto beautiful glass trays for a collection he calls “Relationships.”
Samuel Ho, Nathan Tremblay and Ian Campana comprise the Calgary design firm Palette Industries. Their limited-edition Dharma lounge chair has a seat formed of the laser-cut words “Stand, Forget, Breathe, Acknowledge and Observe,” atop sleek chrome legs. Their Camus floor lamp has a veneer shade laser-cut with Albert Camus’ quote, “You cannot create experience, you must undergo it.”
Walls can support a variety of strong graphics, and are a perfect place to play with numbers and letters. Cafe Press has the simple yet striking Helvetica wall clock. Ikea’s Olunda Typeface wall art depicts the alphabet in bold black, white and red.
Flamboyant, innovative fashion designers Chris Brooke and Bruno Basso have ventured successfully into wall coverings with “Alphabet,” a lacy, intricate pattern of Greek letters in a palette of sophisticated tone-on-tone and softly contrasting hues.
Inspired by layers of advertising on New York City billboards, Megan Meagher created collages of fonts on two canvases; find them at Crate & Barrel.
The retailer also has a kicky collection of cocktail-oriented serveware with chatty, multi-font words forming drink pitcher and martini glass shapes on slivers of white porcelain.
For the floor, consider Peacock Park Design’s wildly popular Tattoo mat, an antiquarian-style set of inky fonts printed on bamboo. CB2’s Club Red rug is a plush and punchy rendition of a London club poster.
Ikea’s Vitaminer Siffra duvet set is a peppy pop of colours and numbers.
And finally, Donna Wilson plays with the whole concept by scripting “Blah Blah” across a soft, cosy blanket. Well said, Ms. Wilson.
www.ikea.com — Vitaminer Siffra bedding set, $14.99; Olunda wall art, $39.99
www.cb2.com — Club Red rug, $229
www.crateandbarrel.com — Chill plate, $3.95; Megan Meagher’s “Neutral Type” prints I & II, $199 each
www.etsy.com — Rae Dunn’s “Home Sweet Home” plaque, $42; “Oui,” “Tres Bien” cups, $36; “C’est la Vie” plate, $42
www.christopherjagmin.com — Numbered dinner plates, some sold in sets of four, various configurations of single and multiple numbers on porcelain (check website for stocklists)
www.cafepress.com — Helvetica clock, $15
www.donnawilson.com — “Blah Blah” lambswool blanket and pillow (check website for U.S. stocklists or order from her British site)
www.paletteindustries.com — Dharma lounge chair, Camus floor lamp (contact for order information)
www.johnderian.com — antique correspondence placemats, $55; Things I Like tray, $88; Trinkets tray, $165
www.grahambrown.com — “Alphabet” wall covering by Basso & Brown (32.8-foot roll, $60)