The Marginalian
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The 3D Type Book: A Typographic Treasure

What wire fences have to do with noodle soup and the male reproductive system.

After months of anticipation, The 3D Type Book by London-based design studio [email protected] is finally here. Dubbed “the most comprehensive showcase of three-dimensional letterforms ever written,” the book is nothing short of stellar: With more than 1,300 images by over 160 emerging artists and iconic designers alike, it spans an incredible spectrum of eras, styles and mediums. From icons like Milton Glaser and Alvin Lustig to contemporary Brain Pickings favorites like Stefan Sagmeister, Marian Bantjes, Ji Lee, Stefan G. Bucher and Marion Bataille, it’s a treasure trove of typographic treasures.

From toothpaste typography to sperm alphabet to typonoodles, the book’s typographic specimens both make us see with new eyes the seemingly mundane building blocks of language and reconsider ordinary objects, materials and media as extraordinary conduits of self-expression.

For a fine companion to The 3D Type Book, don’t forget David Sacks’ excellent Alphabets.


5 Quirky Coloring Books for The Eternal Kid

What gangsta rap has to do with children’s healthcare and mid-century illustration.

We love coloring books and genre-benders of kinds, so today we’re turning to five favorite coloring books that transcend the genre’s typical numerical age range and instead reach out, with quirk, humor and inspiration, to the eternal kid in all of us.


British illustrator Andy J. Miller and Montreal-based creative nonprofit Yellow Bird Project capture the true pride point of indie music — quirky, colorful character — in the lovely Indie Rock Coloring Book — a wonderful collection of hand-illustrated activity pages, mazes, connect-the-dots, and coloring pages for indie icons like Bloc Party, The Shins, Iron & Wine, Broken Social Scene, Devendra Banhart, MGMT, The New Pornographers, The National, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

All proceeds from the book, which we originally reviewed in 2009, go towards Yellow Bird’s inspired mission to raise awareness and funds for meaningful charities and help independent artists find their audience.


From illustrator Anthony “Aye Jay” Morano comes Gangsta Rap Coloring Book — a witty line-drawn hall of fame of gansta rap, featuring 48 pages of the genre’s superstars, from Notorious B.I.G. to Compton and just about everyone who’s anyone in between.

It’s also worth noting that Morano self-published the book, an admirable feat as we continue to contemplate the future of publishing models.

The book is part of a trilogy, including Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book and Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book.


Nonprofit RxArt is out to harness the healing power of art in helping sick children feel better by placing work by leading contemporary artists, from Jeff Koons to Will Cotton to Jason Middlebrook, in children’s healthcare facilities. Every year, they publish Between The Lines — a lovely coloring book 100% of proceeds from which go towards funding these inspired hospital projects. The latest edition of the book features over 50 original line drawings by some of today’s most celebrated contemporary artists, including Takashi Murakami, Ed Ruscha and Cynthia Rowley, plus a series of delightfully vibrant stickers designed by Nate Lowman and Mickalene Thomas.

Catch our full review, with background on RxArt’s phenomenal work, here.


We love the Tim-Burtonesque work of prolific midcentury illustrator Edward Gorey (1925-2010). There’s something darkly delightful about the mismatch between his grim aesthetic and his proclivity for “children’s” books. We recently gushed over his fantastic alphabet book, but it doesn’t end there: The Wuggly Ump and Other Delights Coloring Book is an eclectic menagerie of 22 beasts and creatures from Gorey’s most beloved books. The title comes from on of Gorey’s best-known monsters, an Ump renowned for its Wuggliness.


The Sneaker Coloring Book for grown-ups invites you to reimagine the 100 most popular sneaker designs from 1916 to the present by 18 major brands, including Adidas, Converse, New Balance, Nike, Onitsuka Tiger, Puma, Reebok, and Vans. Each full-page silhouette is removable for framing, and a fascinating introduction traces the history of the “sport shoe” from Charles Goodyear’s 1840s invention of vulcanization to its pivotal role in skate and hip-hop culture.

The Sneaker Coloring Book is the work of Daniel Jarosch and Henrik Klingel of Berlin-based design studio PKNTS.


PICKED: Macro Kingdom

We’re longtime fans of Austrian filmmaker and multimedia artist Clemens Wirth, better-known as Clemento, whose magnificent Macro Kingdom series looks at ordinary phenomena, from water bubbles to dripping honey to icicle formation, with an extraordinary lens of visceral curiosity and otherworldly whimsy.

After releasing the first film a year ago and a sequel a few months later, he is back with the third and arguably most breathtaking installment. Gathered here are all three parts, for your jaw-dropping pleasure. Enjoy.

If this ongoing visual poem doesn’t give you pause about the remarkable world we inhabit, we don’t know what would.

And if you enjoyed this, you won’t be disappointed by Refraction: The Alphabet.


David Carter’s Pop-Up Books for Children of All Ages

Given my spot for all things pop-up and unrelenting belief in lifelong childhood, I absolutely adore David Carter’s wonderful series of pop-up books for children of all ages.

One Red Dot is a graphically ambitous gem that invites you to find one red dot hidden in each of 18 paper sculptures.

One Red Dot pop-up book

One Red Dot pop-up book

Blue 2 pairs Carter’s tenderly architectural paper sculptures fragmented text stringing together words in alphabetical order, asking the reader to look for a hidden “Blue-2” on each of nine stunning spreads. Though arguably far too abstract for the recommended 4-8 age range, with vocabulary that might make even an MBA stumble, the book is so aesthetically mesmerizing that it sparks a visceral, intuitive understanding of the words.

Blue 2 pop-up book

600 Black Spots is another brilliant scavenger hunt of a pop-up, spanning across 20 gloriously engineered, endlessly entertaining pages to hide — and invite you to seek — 600 black dots.

600 Black Spots pop-up book

Yellow Square takes Carter’s signature paper sculptures to a new level by incorporating unusual, unexpected found materials like yarn, netting, and beautiful translucent waxy paper. A yellow square is hidden on each marvelously engineered page, tucked between stunning illustrations in primary colors that invite you to probe and interact, inevitably extracting a well-deserved “wow.”

White Noise is Carter’s latest gem, concluding his phenomenal series with an interactive pop-up book that plays with multiple senses: Touching, seeing and, now, hearing. Vibrant and poetic as ever, his beautifully engineered paper creations are accompanied by subtle yet rich sound effects produced as you touch the sculptural marvels — an absolute sensory treat, whether you’re 4 or 104.

White Noise pop-up book

White Noise pop-up book

Playful and poetic, Carter’s books are a three-dimensional manifesto for perpetual curiosity and the eternal child within.


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