Twenty-two years is a long period of time. Styles evolve, trends come and go, and even tastes change—all fascinating material for any career retrospective. Even more so when your subject is Björk, the critically acclaimed Icelandic composer, musician and singer. Not only has she won countless music awards (nominated 13 times for the Grammys, but yet to win), but Björk has also produced over eight full-length albums of tunes, music videos and performances where she has reinvented herself time and again. As a robot or a geisha, living underwater or with a cat as a partner—Björk has built an utterly fascinating universe of signs and symbols around her music in collaboration with a stellar cast of creatives ranging from the innovative film directors Michel Gondry and Spike Jones to edgy fashion designers including the late Alexander McQueen, and more recently, Iris Van Herpen. So when the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City announced it was organizing her retrospective—coming after its stagings of German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk and performance artist Marina Abramovic —it seemed like a dream exhibition come through for her legions of fans.
It’s a dream playground for lovers of graphic design: rare periodicals like Massimo Vignelli’s brand manual for the New York City subway, drawers of catalogues and brochures that Lou Dorfsman art directed for CBS, and close to everything—from logo sketches to magazines like U&lc—that Herb Lubalin designed in his lifetime.
What’s even better than seeing these design classics in real life? At the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, you get to touch them all. Located at the basement of The Cooper Union’s newest shiny stainless steel complex is this archive of some of the most significant pieces of mid-century graphic design from the United States and Europe.
From discovering type on a Letraset poster to directing typefaces as a graphic designer, Barbara Glauber has had a long and deep love affair with typography. The principal of New York-based Heavy Meta has built up an impressive portfolio of designs defined by an expressive use of typography rooted in the CalArts tradition where she graduated from in 1990. We caught up with the design educator, mom, and also co-founder of celebrity dirt website The Smoking Gun (she designed the original website for her husband Bill Bastone) for a quick interview about her latest projects, type wish list, and her upcoming Typographics talk, “Crashing Vernaculars.”