Typography hits the right key in home decor

Numbers and letters are hot off the press this season in decorative items, dishware and soft furnishings.

By KIM COOK Published: November 11, 2010
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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, Alberta, 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.