Hanscom Place Plat

I love finding great design in everyday places. While traveling down an internet wormhole while researching Omaha history, I came across the Douglas County Engineer’s site. It hosts plats and surveys of the whole city. This gem is the original plat George Smith submitted to the city in 1873 after surveying my house’s subdivision. This thing looks like it should have an “X” marking where Red Beard buried his treasure and a notation over the Hanscom Park lagoon reading “HERE BE MONSTERS.” Let me tell you, the plats of west Omaha suburbs have nothing on this.

here be monsters

City of Omaha

place lettering

compass rose

I’ve always been a big fan of old maps (especially Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps) for the history and detail they show. But this one is gorgeous. The lettering is fantastic. I love the detail of the compass rose. I also get a kick out of seeing the old names for the numbered streets (Liberty instead of 33rd St.; Madison instead of 32nd Ave.; Delaware instead of 32nd St.; Duane instead of 31st St.; Catherine instead of 30th Ave.; Georgia instead of 29th St.; Virginia instead of what used to be 28th and is now I-480; Mt. Pleasant instead of Pacific St. and Baltimore instead of Hickory St.).

This map may not match contemporary tastes (though there’s certainly a revival in the precise hand lettering Smith used on his map), but it’s interesting to see a very utilitarian object created carefully and in a visually pleasing way. There’s a notion that professional graphic design as we know it originated with the Vignellis, Glasers, Basses and Fletchers of the world. But while they were all in short pants, artists created amazing WPA posters, and before that ethereal lithographs advertising liquor and theaters and bicycles. And before that, craftsmen like George Smith took care care and pride in drafting clerical maps that were unlikely to be seen by more than a handful of real estate and engineering insiders. Today draftsmen digitally export shiny new clerical maps from AutoCAD that are far from anything that anyone would want to hang on a wall, which is exactly what I plan to do with the Hanscom Place plat (perhaps with my addition of a sea serpent in the lagoon).

omaha graphic design

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hps_christmas

Randy Gregory Hail Varsity cover

As Nebraska continues to do well in Big Ten play, Hail Varsity has had some fun design opportunities. The team is stacked with Kenny Bell (the most charismatic and popular player in a generation), Ameer Abdullah (who has been in the Heisman Trophy race for much of the season) and Randy Gregory (who may well be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft if he leaves school early), among others. We’ve had a good time putting together the past few issues.

Randy Gregory Hail Varsity spread

South Dakota Hail Varsity cover

After a few weeks of work, the my new home office is ready to use. Fresh paint, new drywall (in some spots), new crown molding, new picture rail, new light fixture, new switches and plates, new shades. I added an old door on rails to close off the bedroom. Liz found a sweet typewriting desk for a few dollars at a thrift shop and helped me pick out a couple new rugs. I picked up a new (to me) desk chair from The Humble Home to complete the look. There are still a few finishing touches that need to be completed: refinish the white door, build a transom above it and install molding on the curved part of the wall above the bay windows. But it’s pretty close.

Look at the middle of this post to see some pictures of the office at move-in a few years ago.

Lincoln calling logo
Our friends with Lincoln Calling asked us to design a new logo for the annual week-long festival that draws more than 5,000 people. Playing off the shape Nebraska capitol building, the idea was to keep it simple and easy to use and apply year-after-year.

Lincoln Calling logo

Lincoln Calling Logo

The theme of the new logo continues in the illustration for this year’s poster:
Lincoln Calling poster

Kenny Bell Hail Varsity cover

The football season is in full swing, which means Hail Varsity is, too. For the most recent issue, we tried a new approach with our cover: we did two of ’em. Art directed by Ken Jarecke and photographed by Paul Bellinger, we were inspired by Richard Avedon and worked one of the covers up in the style of his 1968 Look Magazine cover portrait of John Lennon. The interior spread is full of Kenny-Bell-meets-GQ-style fashion images with him wears a bunch of gear (and sometimes not very much gear at all) from Omaha men’s stores. The whole thing was a whole lot of fun to put together.

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One of the most fun projects we’ve worked on all year went live last week. We designed, drew and built a database for the more-than three-quarter-million combinations of Oregon Ducks uniforms from the past two decades. You can look at every one worn in every game, or see what the Ducks’ record while wearing particular helmets or jerseys. Go play with it for a little.

letterpress

We fulfilled one of our dreams in life yesterday: we bought a little tiny letterpress. It’s a 5×8-inch Kelsey Excelsior O that dates to the late 1920s or early ’30s. We ordered new rollers today, so with a little luck, we should have it up and running in a couple weeks. Thanks to the good folks at Porridge Papers in Lincoln for rescuing it from the scrap heap and selling it to us.

letterpress2letterpress_logoletterpress_handle_brace]letterpresspin   letterpress_patent_date

dining_table_main

We decided to build matching dining and coffee tables. So we modified A Beautiful Mess’ plan and build to suit our needs. A friend delivered a bunch of century-old 5.5-inch tongue-and-groove fir subflooring from Lincoln’s old Bike Kitchen. We used that as the table tops, and some harder oak as rails for contrast and durability. Also, we used hairpinleg.com’s badass (and affordable) legs on both.

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Featured graphic design and illustration © 2002-2019 Hanscom Park Studio and/or our clients