Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Scandinavian American Theater Company Logo

The logo for the recently formed Scandinavian American Theater Company is intended to convey a sense comfortable togetherness, cooperation, the idea of bridging divides and drawing from the environment from which we come. The natural, hand-made quality of the two typefaces used in the identity (also designed by me, more to come), Garamond and Akzidenz-Grotesk, is the conveyor of this natural inspiration. The (exteremly) close kerning and the ligatures give a sense of closeness and friendship.

The entire identity program uses only the two typefaces mentioned and the three primary colours found in the flags of the Nordic countries and the United States, blue, red and yellow, as well as white and black. The logo may be produced in any of the five colours of the identity. It may also be knocked out of a flat rectangular shape revealing a background image. I'll bring examples later this month. Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Chapbook: The Library of Babel

For Designing with Type class we were asked to make a so-called chapbook out of a few texts selected by the instructor. I chose “The Library of Babel” by Jorge Luis Borges.

The concept was to evoke the feeling of old books and libraries and to make something where the text gets to flourish on its own without distractions. It has many classical elements but they are executed according to modernist principles of assymetry, logic, organisation and lack of ornament.

Close-up of the spine; you can see what the binding looks like on the outside.

The story begins on page 5.

 In the middle is the knot where the French linen used for the pamphlet stitch is tied together.

A spread. In case you are wondering, those are footmarks to the right of the main text block.


 Close up.

The colophon.

The book is 16 pages long including cover etc. It was laser-printed on 80 lb text Cougar Natural White Smooth paper at FedEx Office and the bound using French linen. Production cost for each copy was around $5.

Design © Kári Emil Helgason, 2009

(Sorry for how mangled the pictures look, Blogger compresses them badly.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


An excercise in conveying a thought through typography from the class Designing with Type. The words behind these designs are (starting top row left): Singular, juxtaposed, repeted and episodic. Originally 6" x 6" squares, laser prints. © Kári Emil Helgason, September 2009.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Stand Clear | Poster | 20 x 22 cm / 7 ¾" x 8 ⅔" | Laser Print | © Kári Emil Helgason, June 2009

Something I did for fun. Any New Yorker will know what it means. Typeface is Futura Extra Bold.

Labbað í leikskólann

This is a logo I designed for Börnin okkar (e. Our Children), an association of parents with children in pre-school. The logo was to promote a community effort, Labbað í leikskólann (e. Walking to Pre-School), encouraging parents and guardians to walk their kids rather than driving them to pre-school. The typeface is a modified version of Century Schoolbook Roman, a typeface often used to teach children to read.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

John Cage - 4'33''

My latest project involved the Avant Garde composer John Cage and his song 4'33''. We were only allowed to use pure black and white, no shapes but type, and the typeface Akzidenz Grotesk Roman and/or Bold. I used Akzidenz Grotesk Bold upper case only and eventually got to this solution:

4'33'' by John Cage | Vinyl Record Cover | 30 x 30 cm / 12" x 12" | Laser Print | © Kári Emil Helgason, September 2009

I decided that since Record covers were perfect squares, they didn't really have an orientation, so I decided I could make the type turn any way I wanted. I wanted to play with anchoring, mirroring, stability and unity. Additionally, I wanted to experiment with symmetry and asymmetry and how they don't necessarily have to be polar opposites. There is some symmetry in the cover and also some asymmetry. The thin white border along the edge creates tension in a sophisticated and subtle way and the fact that the two blocks of type have the almost same shape makes the viewer want to make sure they really are.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

F·PROT/Lykla·Pétur and Púki DVD Covers

This summer I made some new DVD covers for the cases for my employer's software products. (My employer is FRISK Software International or Friðrik Skúlason ehf). The design process took around 2 months and the basic layout went through many big changes from start to finish. Here you can take a look at the final result.

I made English and Icelandic packaging for their Antivirus application, F·PROT, or Lykla·Pétur in Icelandic:

I also redesigned the Icelandic version of the logo, seen above, since the company has decided to revert to the Icelandic name and cease the use of the international F·PROT in the Icelandic market.

And finally, I redesigned the cover of the Icelandic spell-checker Púki (English: Imp). I also designed its new logo/icon which will debut inside the actual program in the next release which will happen around the time Microsoft releases Office 2010 next year. And here you can see it next to it's big brother, Lykla·Pétur:

See more information at (English), and (Icelandic).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cooper-Hewitt Posters

These were my final project for Foundation II this year. Click for larger images.

'A contemporary Exploration of the Psychological Impact of Color on Contemporary Culture' | Exhibition poster for Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum | 28 x 43 cm / 11" x 17" | Digital Print | © Kári Emil Helgason, May 2009

'An Exploration through Graphic Perception of Shapes and Abstract Relations' | Exhibition poster for Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum | 28 x 43 cm / 11" x 17" | Digital Print | © Kári Emil Helgason, May 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Arial redesigned

Above is the original version of Arial. Below is my version of it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Rendez-vous | 14 x 14 cm / 5½" x 5½" | Ink and marker on paper | Kári Emil Helgason, Feb 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pudgy Pachyderm > Elegant Elephant

My first project in Creative Process, a wonderful class, so-far, was to illustrate the following:
It's not easy being a pudgy pachyderm. Everyone - from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to the U.S. Department of Agriculture - seems to want to weigh in with opinions on trimming Maggie the elephant's waistline. Soon Maggie may not need the advice. Keepers at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, where Maggie lives, are preparing to install the world's first elephant exercise treadmill.
This is my result:

pudgy pachyderm > elegant elephant | 20 x 25 cm / 8" x 10" | Ink and marker on paper | Kári Emil Helgason, Jan 2009

Can anyone guess the typefaces on it? Hint: They were very big during the first half of the 20th century and one is a bold version of the other.