Friday Swipe: black elevation, Riot Act and 36 Days of Type

These six things have caught my eyes and ears this week or thereabouts.

The history of fruit stickers

Packaging design is so precisely a proxy for the style of the day that it becomes shorthand for domestic history. Fruit stickers – “the world’s tiniest canvases for graphic design” according to this Fast Company headline – are certainly part of that. Frutas de Diseño is an exhibition in Madrid that features the stickers of more than 300 Spanish brands.

The Black Elevation Map

This is astounding. The Black Elevation Map is a collaboration between Black & Abroad, Performance Art and Tré Seals. It accentuates black-owned businesses in a searchable and interactive elevation map of the United States of America. The message, clearly, is the most important thing about it. But the execution is phenomenal.

“Use a pen”

It’s not a new post but it’s new to me – thanks to whoever tweeted it this week. Dave Dye’s blog post from last year is a superb argument in favour of the use of pen and paper over screen and keyboard in the creative industries. I used to kick off every piece of significant work with a pen. Thanks to this reminder, I will do so again.

My staple music podcasts

I listen to two music podcasts every single week and have done since their inception. They’re made by the same people: Stephen Hill and Remfry Dedman. Riot Act is an essential alternative music podcast that gives me my metal and hardcore fill as well as opening up some aural areas I wouldn’t normally visit. Broken Records is its hugely entertaining spin-off.

Paul Rider x 36 Days of Type

It was with some joy that I saw a big red ‘A’ (set in jelly because why not?) pop up in my Instagram feed on Monday. It heralds the first day of 36 Days of Type, which means more than a month of utter brilliance from my former colleague Paul Rider. Follow him for an A to Z and 0 to 9 of creative, baffling, tactile type.

Steel and concrete

The future of our cities is a topic of some fascination, so I enjoyed this Guardian Long Read article by John Harris about the death of the department store and the architectural and functional tomorrow of our urban centres. Against a backdrop of Sheffield’s Cole Brothers conundrum, it hints at the major sociological and geographical at the root of a global issue.