A DECADE OF RESEARCH The Altemus Collection, from New York designer Robert Altemus, is not culled from other typographic sources and the designs are not merely auto-traced. We have worked for over ten years drawing and compiling the entire collection, becoming design scavengers who saw potential elements everywhere. The character designs are all based on observation and exploration, and in most cases on quick thumbnails that capture the essence of the found designs. The rough sketches are then explored and developed. As the forms are drawn in vector format we try various weight and stylistic variations that usually yield a series of new designs. VARIED SOURCES The individual designs are derived from our vast graphic history, inspired by items as diverse as medieval heraldic emblems and 18th-century colonial Portuguese decorative elements. Many historical design movements became the basis for a variety of character designs; Babylonian symbols, Brazilian art deco architecture, Spanish art nouveau, Punk band posters, old printing cuts, American quilt designs and even 1950s American fabric designs. Many other designs were included because of their traditional usage in printed materials. We scoured flea markets, observing the decorative elements used on old packaging and in period book and signage designs.
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