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News

Getting to know Norm Chambers (AKA Panabrite)

Briar Levit

We are really excited about working with Norm Chambers, AKA Panabrite, for the score of Graphic Means. Emerging from a love of early electronic, concrete and tape music, soundtracks and early new age, Norm attempts to create worlds of sound that touch on many elements and moods, from more spatially motivated ambient to aspects of cosmic synth, minimalist composition and improvisation. 

For Graphic Means, Norm will work with his array of vintage synthesizers and drum machines to create a soundtrack to the Cold Type Era and then the transition to the Digital Revolution. 

What is your favorite pre-computer age production tool/method? Probably the 4-track cassette recorder. I used it on some of my early releases. Not only is the quality of the sound very distinct (that grainy hiss and overall warm sound), but there are also the limitations imposed on the musician that force them to make hard decisions, unlike the computer where there are endless options. 


What other projects are you working on right now, or have you just finished up? I recently finished a remix for Max Richter for one of his long piano and string pieces. It was fun to run all that through a synth and rearrange the parts. I've also been slowly trying to start work on a new Panabrite album, although incorporating new synth equipment always holds the process up bit. Also putting together a couple of archival tape releases and a duo collaboration with my friend Daryl Groetsch (AKA Pulse Emitter).

Check out some of Norm's work here.

In the office

Briar Levit

Because I couldn't stand having the artifacts I've been collecting in the process of making Graphic Means hidden away, I made a wee display of them in my office. Have a look!
—Briar

Tons Of Great Interviews 'In The Can' (Or The Drive)!

Briar Levit

Letraset Art Sheets courtesy of Dan Rhatigan's personal collection.

Letraset Art Sheets courtesy of Dan Rhatigan's personal collection.

 

We’ve concluded the last interviewfor the film, and we are excited about the results. From British design legend, Ken Garland, to a slew of former phototypesetters in Manhattan, to the always insightful writer/designer, Adrian Shaughnessy, we’ve gotten a major window into the brief, but critical era of cold type and paste-up. To get a sense of who and what we captured, check out the images below!

Now begins the process of reviewing material to prepare for editing. It’s a big job, but one I’m thoroughly going to relish.

Remember you can follow along with the more immediate updates on the various social media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/graphicmeans
Twitter: @graphic_means
Instagram: @graphicmeans

 

Our Kickstarter was funded!

Briar Levit

In all the excitement, I forgot to post here that we made our Kickstarter goal on April 2nd! Thank you all for helping us get there!

If you missed the campaign, you can still pre-order Graphic Means, here on the site. The film is expected to come out in June 2017. By pre-ordering (instead of purchasing when we're done), you help us when we need it the most—during the filmmaking process.


Meet A–Z of Graphic Means illustrator, Kate Giambrone

Briar Levit

So who is behind all these wonderful illustrations? It's the wonderful Kate Giambrone! I asked her a few questions so Graphic Means supporters could get to know her a little.

How did you get involved with Graphic Means? 
I had been watching Graphic Means coming to life in the studio* and realized that there was so much I didn't know about how design was produced prior to the computer. Essentially, I invited myself onto the Graphic Means team in order to fill the giant black hole in my knowledge of design history. 

Follow  Graphic Means  on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to see the rest of the alphabet unfold.

Follow Graphic Means on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to see the rest of the alphabet unfold.

What is your favorite pre-computer age production tool/method? 
There is something pretty fascinating about punched tape. I think many designers are (understandably) control freaks about their type. It must have been challenging having to let go and hope that punched paper ultimately translated into what you envisioned for a layout. Your type could literally be destroyed by a hanging chad.

What other projects are you working on right now? 
When I'm not forcing my way onto other people's Kickstarter teams, I do design and illustration work for my studio, Bologna Sandwich. My business partner, Julianna Johnson, and I work with a variety of clients including CrowdCompass, Cloudability, Bitch Media, and Women's Foundation of Oregon. We are also Adjunct Faculty in the Portland State design department. 

Illustration by  Kate Giambrone and Juliana Johnson (Bologna Sandwich)

Illustration by Kate Giambrone and Juliana Johnson (Bologna Sandwich)

Infographic by  Kate Giambrone and Juliana Johnson (Bologna Sandwich)

Infographic by Kate Giambrone and Juliana Johnson (Bologna Sandwich)

Mural by  Kate Giambrone and Juliana Johnson (Bologna Sandwich)

Mural by Kate Giambrone and Juliana Johnson (Bologna Sandwich)

*Ed Note: Kate and Briar share a studio space, which also includes Graphic Means motion designer, Emily Dekovich, and two other designers.

The sounds of Graphic Means, are the sounds of The BBC's Radiophonic Workshop

Briar Levit

Some of you have noticed the soundtrack to the Kickstarter trailer is made by none other than John Baker of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop. For those are unfamiliar, here’s a little background.

The Radiophonic Workshop was a department of the BBC, started in 1958, tasked with making music and sound effects for radio and TV. Perhaps the best known member of the Workshop was Delia Derbyshire who is responsible for the classic theme song to Dr. Who.

John Baker arrived at The Radiophonic Workshop in 1960. With a background in jazz, brought his own unique sound into the fold.

The thing that makes The Radiophonic Workshop so incredible and beloved to this day, is the experimentation, and groundbreaking sounds and techniques they employed. While they certainly weren’t the first electronic musicians (technically that started as early the late 19th century), they brought the music to the masses, and inspired generations of electronic musicians after them.

So why did I choose this music for Graphic Means? Well, I'm a longtime electronic music lover, and worshiper of the Radiophonic Workshop. Because this music was made in the era that much of Graphic Means will focus on, it seemed like the perfect soundtrack.

Additionally, the relationship of early electronic music, to the electronic music today felt like a really lovely parallel to the early electronic methods of design production and their progression to digital as we know it today.

If you’re a fan of the tracks, you can check out some of these collections (click the link to buy).


Getting to know Emily Skaer, Motion Designer for Graphic Means

Briar Levit

How did you get involved with Graphic Means?
I was referred by two former professors of mine at PSU, Julianna Johnson and Kate Giambrone, off Instagram oddly enough. The funny thing was I ended up taking a class with Briar while working on part of the intro to the film. Back in the midwest I worked at an art supply store and used to dig into the old inventory, playing with Rapidographs and paste up lettering. So when Briar shared her collection of vintage supplies, it definitely hit a bit of nostalgia and got me all giddy to explore the history of design production even more.

I've since become a studio mate with Briar, Julianna and Kate + one other, at Same Page Studio—where you can often hear Whitney Houston belting out some ballads to cheer on our working day.

What is your favorite pre-computer age production tool/method?
The Koh-I-Noor lead holder with non-photo blue lead is my absolute favorite tool, it's rare when I don't have it on me. It's quite a bit heavier than a standard pencil which makes a heavy hand gentler on the lead. 

What other projects are you working on right now?
Right now I am wrapping up a series of science videos for children, and helping a nonprofit with their branding. I've become freelance within the last year and am loving the diversity of projects it brings.

Check out more of her work at emjanedesign.com

Meet Director of Photography, Dawn Jones Redstone!

Briar Levit

Dawn  (otherwise known as Hearts + Sparks Productions) is passionate about film—and about using it to help people and organizations tell their stories in the best way possible. In fact, Briar and Dawn met years ago through Bitch Media (publishers of the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture), where Briar was the Art Director, and Dawn was on the Board. They collaborated for the first time on a promo video about the Bitch Media offices. 

Since then Dawn has worked on music videos, ads, and fun Portlandia-like sketch shorts. She is currently undertaking her own major work-to-date—a film called Sista in the Brotherhood. This is a "short film about a young black tradeswoman who struggles to prove herself on the jobsite. Loosely based on a doctoral thesis written by Dr. Roberta Hunte, the film reflects the experience of many tradeswomen who struggle to be accepted in a male-dominated workforce."

Sista in the Brotherhood  is now in production!

Sista in the Brotherhood is now in production!

From the director's Library: Complete Guide to Pasteup

Briar Levit

This is one of the most informative books I've found about paste-up. I adore the cloth cover with deboss. 

I've had the pleasure of corresponding with Walter Graham, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. I hope Dawn (Director of Photography) and I can get out to meet and interview him for the film.