A Fresh Lick of Paint for the New Year
Newness from Hassan Rahim, wood sculptures, one hundred free fonts, creative subway station, and more.
It’s 2023 and we’re back at it. Slowly reacquainting myself to a normal schedule after 2 weeks of holiday. Though, I have made revisions to said schedule. So each year Kyle and I write out a number of goals we’d like to achieve, usually accomplishing around 50-70% of them. There’s no pressure involved, they act like guideposts on matters we want to change this year. One of my goals I want to share is “Grow The Fox Is Black.”
To that end, I wanted to give the newsletter an Osoji (meaning “big cleaning”). I started with some inspiration (below, left), a photo I took of my outfit while I was visiting the sea a couple weeks ago. The sense of warmth the photo exudes was something I wanted to capture. This newsletter is intended to feel like a letter from an old friend, so I felt like it hit the mark.
Substack is simple in terms of customization, so I really only needed to determine a couple of colors. Fresh Cream for the backgrounds, and Toasted Fig for the The Fox Is Black icon, buttons, and links. I find such joy in naming my colors. Most of the time I use the names of foods as it’s easy for most people to relate and have positive reactions.
Beyond that, I decided to introduce a wordmark for the header of the site. There has never really been a proper wordmark for The Fox Is Black as the Black Fox mark has always acted as the primary logo. That said, I’ve been trying to push myself to be a bit more playful in my design work. So in the spirit of worker smarter, not harder, I chose ED Lavonia by Eko Setiawan. This charming script font gives me a timeless feeling, neither old nor new.
Overall, really happy with how all the elements came together. It feels like I’ve set a strong foundation for how The Fox Is Black looks. I have some new ideas I’m toying around with for this, excited to start rolling those out in the next few months.
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📌 — Last week, Hassan Rahim dropped a new site/sizzle for his creative studio, 12:01. As expected, it’s a joy to visit. The work they produce is always so thorough and thoughtful. So much attention goes into all the details of the projects. The work done for BLKNWS® is some of the best of the last decade, and I hadn’t realized they were behind the identity for Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions. My favorite aspect is the music player on the site. You get the feeling like you’re hanging out in their studio, listening to records. Such a relatable touch.
📌 — Usually big lists of “47 free fonts” or whatever are pretty lame, though I came across this list of free fonts from 2022, and it’s honestly not bad! There are so many fonts on this list that I’ve only reached the end one time. Whatever style you’re carrying into 2023, there’s probably one or two gems on this list that you can add to your rotation.
📌 — Towards the end of last year, a branding project for Etis Living popped onto my radar and it ended up being one of my favorites of 2022. Designed by Nicole Belskaya, she’s embraced the multi-font approach with a very graceful solution, creating a brand that kinda feels like the coolest office supply store you’ve seen. Overall, it feels somewhat retro, somewhat trendy, yet has a timeless feeling that I’m really enjoying.
📌 — Jui-Lin Yen is a wood artist based in Taiwan who I’ve been enamored with for years now. I recently found his work again and was delighted to see how his style has transformed over the years. Previously, he was making these delightful small sculptures, creatures that looked like they could have come out of an absurd Miyazake film. That approach has shifted, and he’s started to work on these much larger pieces, many of which act as furniture or vases. Love the through-line in style with an evolution in form.
📌 — I recently rediscovered this piece from Christoph Niemann, a work he did in 2018. Niemann created a stunning pixel mural in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, depicting a beach scene along the shore of Wannsee lake. I love the color palette, I love the diversity of skin tones (!!), and I wish more cities would hire Niemann to plus up their own Metro stops.
📌 — I own way too many bags and totes and carryalls so I’m putting this into the universe for you to enjoy. Ölend is a Barcelona based bag company who are making some very offbeat and fun bags and accessories. I’m slightly obsessed with their Calypso Multibag in Sand, as well as their playful Ona Soft Bag in Coral.
🍃 — It seems that Adidas is taking Thom Browne to court for his brands use of, you guessed it, stripes 🙄 Adidas still being trash headed into 2023.
🍃 — Millennials are becoming less conservative as they get older. Love to see my generation headed down the right path.
🍃 — Randomly came across's Favorite Jazz Albums of 2022, and I've been slowly listening my way through it. So far I've been loving everything I've heard.
🍃 — The 2023 list of World’s Best Cities has been announced, did your’s make the cut? Barcelona is #6 💅 Moving up in the world.
🍃 — The record player has successfully been resuscitated, is the cassette player next? We Are Rewind is hoping so, releasing a modern version that is sure to strike the fancy of Dieter Rams heads.
🍃 — SoftSidePrints sells these very attractive, Bauhaus style posters with assorted vegetables as the subject. They are more cute than I am able to describe.
🍃 — Loved this piece byon Barnes & Nobles surprising turnaround. As it turns out, hiring someone who really loves books to run a book business is a great move.