The Bane of Antiquarian Booksellers Everywhere (Highlighters That Is, Not Conceptual Artists with Goofy Want Lists)


Stabilo Boss Original Highlighter
? 1971: Dr. Hans-Hoachim Hofmann

The introduction of the Stabilo Boss highlighter in 1972 represented the invention of an entirely new product category. The Boss was the first overwriting highlighter, created to exploit the properties of what were, at the time, newly developed fluorescent inks. Stabilo claims that the distinctive oblong shape, which will not roll off a desk, was the result of an anonymous industrial designer having squashed a conical clay prototype in frustration. Well, perhaps. What is undoubtedly true is that Schwan-Stabilo recently had their German trademark on the product’s unique shape upheld in a case against the Beifa Group, a Chinese look-alike manufacturer. As with Kenji Ekuan’s iconic Soya-sauce bottle for Kikkoman, the form of the Boss is synonymous with the brand.

Stabilo Boss Highlighter, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red or Pink: $1.99

And now a more Swipe-o-centric note about highlighters:

Swipe alumni and Canadian art ortus astrum Derek Sullivan has, for several years, collected used copies of one specific college English Lit. text: Gulliver’s Travels. In the process, Sullivan has compiled an informal typology of idiosyncratic highlighting and marginalia, with the patterns of congruity and variation, both academic and personal, standing in for the anonymous reader. How (or if) this material will ever become art remains to be seen. Derek’s work is also the subject of a newly published catalogue, We May Be Standing on the Shoulders of Giants but Some of Us Are Looking at the Stars, which documents a solo exhibition at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge last spring. Beautifully designed by the ubiquitous The Office of Gilbert Li, the catalogue does surprising justice to Derek’s unassuming oeuvre. (2009: Southern Alberta Art Gallery; ISBN 9781894699426)



We May Be Standing on the Shoulders of Giants but Some of Us Are
Looking at the Stars

2009: Derek Sullivan & Pamela Meredith cdnmapleleaf



To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

The Worst Event in the World


Swipe is pleased to announce an exclusive and intimate event celebrating the launch of The Worst Hotel in the World: the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel Amsterdam. Heineken™ tallboys and stale pretzels all ’round.


Meet Erik Kessels and ask the question on everyone’s mind: How the f@#% do you get a client like that anyway?

Space is very limited so here’s how it’s gonna have to work :

Entry will be by advance reservation only on a first come basis. Send an RSVP with your full name to and we will reply with your personal ticket. You’ll absolutely need this ticket to get in the night of the event. And if you find that you are unable to come please send a quick e-mail so we can make space for someone else. OK, so now we can reveal the date:

Friday May 1st, 2009 from 7pm to 10pm at Swipe.


UNFORTUNATELY, NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED WITHOUT A TICKET AND WITHOUT HAVING REGISTERED IN ADVANCE. Our sincere apologies in advance to everyone who doesn’t find out soon enough to get a ticket – we’re just a small store with a big guest.


Think Small. We Try Harder. Absolut Whatever. And Now Even More Dogshit in the Main Entrance. KesselsKramer’s ongoing marketing campaign for Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam is genuinely epochal. So Millennial even the irony is ironic: the Worst Hotel in the World really is the worst hotel in the world. Erik Kessels and longtime Brinker manager Rob Penris share the sort of client / designer affinity that most designers wait in vain for their entire careers.


The Worst Hotel in the World: the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel Amsterdam
? 2009: Erik Kessels & KesselsKramer

Designed by KesselsKramer, this 280 page retrospective includes every advertisement and promotional item created for the hotel over some 15 years. Daring, confrontational, and occasionally just plain offensive – and spectacularly successful at connecting with a notoriously fickle target market. (2009: Booth Clibborn Editions; ISBN 9781861543110)



Pantone™ is the Standard in Colour Specification (and the Best Thing About Standards is That There Are So Many of Them)

Pantone Matching System Guides and Chip Books

? 1963: Lawrence Herber

Of the classic graphic art supply store products: Rapidograph;™ X-Acto;™ Letraset;™ and Pantone, only Pantone has remained truly relevant in the digital era, more or less despite themselves. The inertia of an industry dependent on a standard specification system is profound, and Pantone Matching System™ mixed ink colours are almost always specified for corporate identity and publication design work despite the fact that, since the advent of cheap, filmless four colour litho, only a tiny proportion of projects actually print with spot colours and mixed inks.



Pantone Color Formula Guide, Coated and Uncoated (Two-Guide Set): $122.50

So graphic designers and their budget-conscious clients desperately need tools to help translate, compare and reconcile colour gamuts, from Pantone Matching System to CMYK to RGB. And Pantone is in a unique position to lead the way – right? Right? In truth, Pantone’s response has been haphazard and indecisive. Their initial response to the ascendancy of process colour was to created a CMYK specification system with proprietary numbers. However the system included just 3,000 CMYK values and the guides cost $159.95. This is 1/8 the number of values shown in our bestselling book Process Color Manual, which sold for $52.95. Thanks guys. Although this is now out of print, there is a new-ish book that is almost exactly the same. Call us, we’ll tell you all about it. It’s called the Complete Process Color Chart.


Process Color Manual: 24 000 CMYK Combinations for Design, Prepress, and Printing: O/P
? 2000: Michael Rogondino & Pat Rogondino (Chronicle Books; ISBN 0811827577)

Then along came Color Bridge,™ which places each classic Pantone Matching System solid colour beside a patch of the closest CMYK value. This product is an answer to the real problems faced by designers and has helped avert many an expensive printing disaster. It’s also a great communication tool, clearly demonstrating to a client why that nice, grassy green is going to turn to baby puke if they don’t spring for a spot colour.



Pantone Color Bridge Guide, Coated: $159.95

However, the most useful product in the Solid to Process line, the Color Specifier Chip Book, was put out of production three years after it was introduced, leaving one with the impression that Pantone doesn’t want to help designers to successfully navigate between Pantone solid and CMYK for fear of undermining the preeminence of their colour specification system. Thanks guys.

Most recently, Pantone has completely revised their chromatic mixed ink system with the introduction of Goe.™ Goe is an attempt to fill in the gaps in the traditional system by developing formulas for nearly twice the number of colours and arranging these into a smoother chromatic scale. Unfortunately, in order to have incorporated the existing solid colours into the new system Pantone would have had to fudge the scales. So, rightly or not, they decide to scrap the existing colours altogether, and there is no direct correlation between Goe and the classic Color Matching System that we’ve all specified for decades. Goe also excludes metallics, pastels and fluorescents. In their own FAQ .pdf Pantone suggest, in rather self-serving fashion, “that designers and printers should have both systems” as Geo “provides 2,058 new colors and numerous other features and advancements” while the Pantone Matching System “will continue to be industry standard”. Thanks guys


Pantone Solid Color Chips, Coated and Uncoated (Two Book Set): $339.95
Pantone Metallic Formula Guide, Coated: $98.95
Pantone Color Essentials: $399.95
Contains: Pantone Color Formula Guides, Coated, Uncoated and Matte; Pantone Color Bridge, Coated;
Pantone Process Guides, Coated and Uncoated all in a ballistic nylon carrying case.

So what to do. Buy two systems? Stick with the classic system and carry Color Bridge with you the way Buffy carries garlic and holy water? Move to Goe and watch your clients’ heads explode? Cut and run to CMYK and just stop designing with green and orange altogether? Well, pictured throughout this post are the Pantone products that we choose to offer. Take it as an endorsement of a sort.


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: