Garcia’s – The Pretorian Guard

In the mid-1980s, I worked for a printing company that produced the highly unpopular Door Store Shopper. The Shopper was  a weekly publication comprised of ads and coupons that was left on your doorstep whether you wanted it or not. Did I say “publication?” I meant “litter.” We kept an odd schedule. Ad sales were done during the day, so ad production took place at night. We’d work 4:00pm to midnight all week, except Saturdays, when we had to report […]

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Mac’s: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dom

Although I was born in Albuquerque, my military family moved around quite a bit for the first few years of my life. We returned to Albuquerque for good when I was five, and that’s probably when I started forming lasting memories of my hometown. On a sergeant’s pay, we didn’t go out to dinner much, so when we did it was kind of a big deal. I can count on one hand the number of times we went to a […]

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Guest Post: In the Dog House

Note: Alphaquerque is pleased to publish our first Guest Post courtesy of Albuquerque’s own Julie James-Griego.  – The Mayor So… I am driving back from lunch east on Central Avenue from the Old Town area and I’m thinking about all the great Route 66 signage that is still around. And then I see it.… an obscure Albuquerque gem right there on Central, the Dog House. I’m thinking this is a great piece of Albuquerque’s history. Then I look at the […]

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Buffett’s Candies: Citizen Cane

Before the days of iPads and in-car DVD players, kids riding in the back seat of the family car had to entertain themselves by looking out the window. Riding around Albuquerque in my parents’ 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass, my imagination sometimes ran wild. One day I spied a huge candy cane, 15 or 20 feet high, leaning against a building. I imagined that some Brobdingnagian toddler had been gleefully tromping down Lomas Boulevard, crushing Cadillacs and Karmann Ghias underfoot, but had […]

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Hiland Theater: Neighborhood Movie Haus

I grew up in the shadow of the Hiland theater. Because it was the only theater within walking distance of my house, I probably saw more movies there in my youth than at any other movie house in town. I have a particularly weird memory of my older brother taking me there to see The Exorcist. The couple sitting in the row behind us were high, and when the head-spinning in front of us began, the mind-blowing behind us immediately […]

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Albuquerque Isotopes: From Springfield, With Love

When the beloved Albuquerque Dukes pulled up stakes and moved to Oregon in 2000, a bereft baseball-loving populace had to wait until 2003 for a new team to take the (new) field. After a name-the-team contest, the new moniker of Albuquerque Isotopes was decided upon. The name came from from an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer leads an effort to stop his beloved Springfield Isotopes from relocating to – of all places – Albuquerque. (The irony is suffocating.) […]

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The Cooperage: What’s in a Name?

There’s a lot to consider when you pick a typeface to represent your company. In addition to the visual elements like line, weight and shape, you might also want to consider contextual elements like historical or cultural references. Then again, sometimes just the name of the typeface is enough to get the gig, as I suspect is what happened in the case of The Cooperage and its choice of Cooper Black for its wordmark. Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper The Cooperage […]

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C’mon Baby, Let’s Do the Twisters

In 1987, Albuquerque experienced a rare weather phenomenon for this area: a tornado. This was no over-hyped dust devil, but real honest-to-goodness twister, complete with uprooted trees and damaged buildings but (fortunately) no loss of life. Now we have Twisters all over the place. Not the cyclone kind, but the burrito kind. (My weekend is not complete without the No. 4 with red chile.) Holy Ad Lib!!! The typeface in the Twisters logo is a perfect analogy of the 1987 […]

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Welcome to Alphaquerque

As you drive, bike or walk around any city in America, you’re going to be overwhelmed by typography. Giant letters looming large on storefront signs, billboards, posters, flyers, bumper stickers and so on. We call this environment the typescape. And in this respect, Albuquerque is not much different from any other large American city. What does make us different, though, are the occasionally unique gems of letterforms and logos that you’ll only find here. As we slog our way through […]

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Kellys Kicks on Route 66

Some of my favorite graphic design taps into easily recognizable cultural elements that give an identity context, or at least a point of reference. Kellys Brew Pub, housed in the former Jones Motor Company building on historic Route 66, has chosen to honor the legacy of the location with a nostalgic nod to a recognizable roadside sight. A Star is Born The Kellys sign draws its inspiration from the old familiar the Texaco station. Signs heralding Texaco (an abbreviation for […]

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