Welcome to the Wingsart Newsletter – A Holiday Special!
Welcome back to Wingsart Studio and Happy Holidays! It’s been a rollercoaster year on the business and personal front. My entry into the world of fonts has led me down some surprising paths, with my designs featured in everything from a-list shows to Aussie aerobics groups.
I have a long list of projects ready to go after the Christmas break, and I’m excited to see where this leads me next! My wife and I continue to give the middle finger to her bowel cancer, which I’m pleased to say is currently all looking good. So good in fact that we thought it would be a great idea to buy a puppy! So now I’m basically running on coffee fumes because Bert (the pup) loves to wake up three times a night! This will be my last newsletter of 2022 before a well-earned break in the company of a pile of movies, books, games and nibbles. Thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Enjoy the newsletter! Please email your letters and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sentimental Feeling is a nostalgic script font that aims to capture the festive magic of Christmas with a retro design inspired by 1950s magazine editorials, classic movies and real, hand-written signatures.
It’s a traditional design with a smooth brush-like flow and subtle human imperfections. Equally at home singing carols, sharing Xmas Eve stories or serving cocktails at your New Years party. It includes a complete set of uppercase and lowercase characters, plus numerals, punctuation, language support, symbols, alternatives, custom ligatures, underlines, and a selection of festive clipart (including everything you might need to re-create the examples seen in my visuals).
Add it to your toolbox from just $2 and create the perfect Christmas gifts and stationery products, ads, titles and much more! Remember, use code “Christmasbonus” for an amazing 90% off!
Raise a glass to this vintage inspired Art Deco header font! This first edition of New Year Deco is the introduction to an experimental design that I plan to evolve into the ultimate in Art Deco fonts.
Starting with 4 alternative styles with varying degrees of decorative flourish, this all-caps design is tailor-made for invitations, award ceremonies, elegant title designs and logos. It includes unique uppercase and lowercase characters, along with numerals, punctuation and language support. And also includes a variety of illustrated symbols, underlines and icons for an extra graphic touch.
For the future development of this font I encourage customers to contact me with suggestions and requests. If you would like to see a bolder, thinner, fatter, taller or wider version, contact me and I’ll add it to the next update!
For customers looking to replicate the look in my visuals, I’ve made a simple design template for After Effects, Photoshop and Affinity Photo 2. Available as a free extra to download via the link in the enclosed PDF.
In no particular order, here’s my selection of 12 festive favourites for your consideration. And yes, there’s no Die Hard (but I do like it at Xmas too!).
1. Home Alone (1&2)
An eight-year old Kevin Mcallister delivers a series of inventive beatings on a pair of bungling burglars when he’s accidentally left at home over Christmas. The sequel treads the same ground, but ups the Tom and Jerry style violence and introduces a scene-stealing Tim Curry.
Bill Murray plays a cynical TV executive in a retelling of A Christmas Carol. A quintessential 80s feel-good movie, serving up the laughs until Murray tries his best to break you at the end.
3. Charlie Brown Christmas
I love all of the Peanuts TV specials, but this particular blend of a jazz soundtrack, naive animation style and Charlie Brown’s existential Christmas blues combine to make a cosy Christmas classic.
4. Batman Returns
This remains my favourite of all the Batman films so far, with invested performances from Michelle Pheiffer and Danny DeVito, and set against a gothic deco, winter wonderland setting.
Joe Dante’s Christmas horror comedy plays like an R-rated Looney Tunes, drunk with giggly enthusiasm. Bags of fun with some real darkness hidden among the laughs.
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
John Hughes writes this third (and best) Vacation movie that finds Clark Griswald pushed to the limit in pursuit of the perfect Christmas. Did you know the score was composed by Angelo Badalamenti, best known for Twin Peaks?
7. It’s a Wonderful Life
Claiming its place as a true Christmas classic, James Stewart plays a selfless manager of the family business driven to suicide by the manipulative Mr. Potter. In a Scrooge-like turn of events, he witnesses how the lives of those around him are altered should he never have existed.
8. Trapped in Paradise
Nicolas Cage does excellent Nicolas Cage as one of three bank robbers, snowbound in the town of Paradise – with the very same folk whose cash they’ve just stolen.
9. Citizen Kane
I first watched Citizen Kane as a teenager on Christmas night, slumped in front of the TV, over-stuffed on lunch. This was the moment I found an appreciation for those ‘old films’ that ‘old people’ liked; and now I liked, thus feeling a little bit older and wiser myself.
10. All That Heaven Allows
This melodrama of 1950s conformity is elevated to a technicolor masterpiece of outstanding visuals by cinematographer Russell Metty. See it in the best format you can for the picture postcard winter setting.
11. Muppets Christmas Carol
A musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol with Jim Henson’s classic muppet characters playing against a hardened Michael Cane as Scrooge. Somehow manages to be the best version of Charles Dickens’ ghost story.
12. The Apartment
An intelligent comedy from Billy Wilder that follows two exploited office workers during an unhappy holiday season. A lot of Christmas films seem to be about people hitting rock-bottom don’t they? I wonder what that says about the season?
I have a theory that all creative people are essentially hoarders. Collectors of ephemera that define our own personal taste. At first inconsequential, yet refined over a lifetime of found objects, it develops our own unique perspective that feeds the work we create, becoming an essential asset for any designer.
With respect to media, streaming technology has aimed to replace ownership with the convenient access to everything, everywhere, all at once; and I fear something human is lost in this apparent advantage. Consider for a moment trying to find something ‘good’ to watch on Netflix. Am I alone in finding it a passive, endless click of homogenous thumbnails? It’s made so frustrating that you too often settle with the algorithmically selected choice that was on the front page anyway.
At the beginning of the pandemic I stared work on my Video Store Collection of fonts. This project was deeply inspired by memories of Friday nights browsing the shelves in the local video store, letting all of that amazing poster art and eye-popping typography barter for my £1.50. I can’t imagine the designers of tomorrow will rap nostalgic about those amazing Netflix thumbnails. The incentive on streamers is to be first, not findable; leaving less room for engaging design, resulting in a platform where everything often looks the same.
In the process of researching some 80s themed fonts, I bought a few old ex-rental VHS tapes from eBay. Firstly, I was amazed at how much much these were selling for; but second, while holding a dusty copy of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in my hands (one of those big clamshell boxes), I could feel the life that this old tape had lived. Rough corners, worn out price tags, hand-written notes on the box, and the faint smell of old cigarettes that took me straight back to that dirty, alive and bustling shop.
This did in fact spark an obsessive hunt for more VHS boxes with interesting covers, which ultimately became a shrine in the corner of my studio, that I’ll often just stop and browse in a moment of creative block. And I can say the same for all of my books, CDs, Vinyls, Blu Rays and vintage magazines that are filling up the space around me. All of it is reference that informs my work. A process of self-curation that makes my interpretation of an idea different to yours, with more inherent value once it’s shaped into a new piece of work. Surely if we all just consume what’s easy, never look beyond Google, or even rely on AI to dictate our work, won’t that make us all the same, and boring?
My point is that I collect stuff because it’s a self-conscious thought process. I don’t allow myself to be led by the next trend, only what sparks my interest at the time. A lot of modern movies feel very temporary and throw-away because they’re made to meet a moment, bypassing crucial development stages in the pursuit of content. If we want to enjoy truly unique content that can engage and surprise us, we all need to follow our own personal taste. And that’s why I collect.
Talking of collecting, Rian Hughes has clearly spent a good chunk of his time hunting for vintage sci-fi paperbacks, no doubt inspiring his own superb novels.
Rayguns and Rocketships: Vintage Science Fiction Book Cover Art is comprehensive to say the least, packed full of vintage cover art and outlandish sci-fi concepts, with an attractive hardback edition available via Korero Press or Amazon.
Returning to Christmas with this obscure offering from the brilliant Twilight Zone and its two holiday specials, Night of the Meek and Changing of the Guard. I highly recommend picking up the Blu Ray sets if you can.
1. Night of the Meek (1959 Season 2, Episode 11)
While this episode looks rough being one a few shot on videotape, the writing from Rod Serling is show-stopping, particularly the “This is why I drink, Mr. Dundee” speech performed by Art Carney.
2. Changing of the guard (1962 Season 3, Episode 37) With echos of It’s a Wonderful Life, a Professor played by Halloween’s Donald Pleasence is forced into retirement after 51 years teaching at his school. Falling in to a deep depression he is visited by the ghosts of several past students, all of whom died for heroic causes and tell of the impact he had on their lives.
“What it seems perfect for right now is generating quick concept art”
Many thanks to Donovan Harvey and Cory Edison for sending me links on the topic of AI generated art. To quote myself from the previous issue “What it seems perfect for right now is generating quick concept art” and these impressive visuals created with Midjourney prove the point. Check out this convincingly 70s interpretation of Tron seen through a Jodorowsky lense; and an awesome looking Thundercats movie. It’s fascinating just how good these look. There are tell-tale signs that something is off (the hands for example look a bit, well, weird) but in many ways they look better than the real films could ever have looked. The sets, make-up, lighting and production design look incredible. I wonder if that look could even be achieved now outside of CGI.
I’m sure there will be plenty more examples like this to come, and it does pose important questions for the future of human creative endeavours; if only on copyright, worth and purpose. Interesting times!