Baltimore Studio Visits: Part I

I flew into Baltimore five hours ago, stashed my stuff in the hotel room, hopped in a cab and embarked on a mission to visit as many area studios as possible before the UCDA Design Summit begins tomorrow. Here’s a recap of the first two studio visits (more coming later).

Post Typography,

First up was a visit to Post Typography‘s studio, nestled in a transitional neighborhood where it’s not uncommon to hear a passerby singing opera on the street. Their studio is functional yet airy and comfortable with typography-clad poster work hanging on the walls that beckons you to grab one and run.

The guys at Post offer me a slice of pizza or “za” as co-founder Bruce Willen calls it, and invite me to pull up a chair. Designer Christian Mortlock and intern Andy Mangold continue working but are very much a part of the conversation as Bruce and I talk shop, among other topics of conversation such as their absent co-founder’s facial hair and Facemom (don’t ask).

Their work is stunning and spans everything from textile designs and poster art to editorial, web and film titles. These guys are clearly doing what the love—and rocking it.

This album cover illustration was done for Sony Music in 2010.

The Washington Post ( piece is an editorial illustration/Mad Magazine style fold-in, also from 2010.

The tree image is a poster and illustration created for the U.S. Green Building Council's 2010 Greenbuild conference.

“Post Typography specializes in graphic design, conceptual typography, and custom lettering/illustration with additional forays into art, apparel, music, curatorial work, design theory, and vandalism.”

Spur Design,

MICA recruitment poster.

An hour later and few miles away, I meet design duo Dave Plunkert and Joyce Hesselberth—owners of Spur. There’s no shortage of inspiration within their workspace (count on seeing more of it in HOW’s Workspace column in the future). Vintage and even obscure items take on a new life at Spur, such as a rusted car hood Dave said he found laying in the yard of their home when they moved in. Now, it appears as a coveted treasure on a wall at Spur.

Dave and Joyce were both freelancing in 1993 when they decided to merge the two practices into one. Looking around their workshop space adjoined to the studio, it’s clear that some of the inspiration behind their poster and editorial work is derived from tactile objects–such as old photographs, collected books stacked in the library section and found treasures.

100 Heads for Haiti Gallery poster. This project, started by Dave and presented at the Spur Gallery, raised $10,000 to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Dogfish Craft Brewery Aprihop Print (

Do It Again film poster.

“We are visual problem solvers who approach every project by connecting words and images with wit and clarity.”

Coming next: Part II of my day with Gillah Press+ Design and Baltimore Print Studios.

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