Via: This Is Colossal
In 1692 an artist known only as “A. Boogert” sat down to write a book in Dutch about mixing watercolors. Not only would he begin the book with a bit about the use of color in painting, but would go on to explain how to create certain hues and change the tone by adding one, two, or three parts of water. The premise sounds simple enough, but the final product is almost unfathomable in its detail and scope.
Spanning nearly 800 completely handwritten (and painted) pages, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, was probably the most comprehensive guide to paint and color of its time. According to Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel who translated part of the introduction, the color book was intended as an educational guide. The irony being there was only a single copy that was probably seen by very few eyes.
The entire book is viewable in high resolution here, and you can read a description of it here (it appears E-Corpus might have crashed for the moment). The book is currently kept at the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France. (via Erik Kwakkel)
A practical and theoretical treatise on the artisanal craft of pencil sharpening. The number one #2 pencil sharpener in the world, David Rees takes viewers through the delicate process of sharpening a pencil by hand.
a film by KENNETH PRICE
written by DAVID REES
camera operator DAVID HAMBRIDGE
sound mixer JUSTIN DRUST
composer FRANCIS DYER
2013 Austin Film Festival
2013 SF Docfest
2013 Sidewalk Film Festival (Winner: Best Documentary Short)
2013 Indie Memphis Film Festival (Winner: Special Jury Prize)
2013 Cucalorus Film Festival
The EG Conference | May: 2014
Susan Kare walks us through some key points regarding the design of icons and symbols. Kare is an artist and designer and pioneer of pixel art; she created many of the graphical interface elements for the original Apple Macintosh in the 1980s as a key member of the Mac software design team, and continued to work as Creative Director at NeXT for Steve Jobs.
For the first time ever, Apple is ditching Lucida Grande as the OS X system font in favor of Helvetica Neue, which also happens to be the iOS system font. For an operating system that’s used by 80 million people, that’s no small thing. Will it make reading on desktop computers easier? Harder?
We asked Tobias Frere-Jones, the famed typeface designer who has worked with some of the world’s best publications and design shops, to offer his insights on what this change means for consumers. In his view, Apple might have made a mistake. Here, he highlights some of the challenges of deploying Helvetica Neue onto an OS abundant with small type and devices where non-Retina displays are still the norm:
Apple’s desktop and mobile operating systems have been gradually converging for some time. So it was inevitable that one typographic palette would displace the other. With OS X 10.10, Mac desktops will sport Helvetica everywhere. But I had really hoped it would be the other way around, with the iPhone taking a lesson from the desktop, and adopt Lucida Grande. Check the lock screen on your iPhone. You’ll see Helvetica there, a half-inch tall or larger, and it looks good. Problem is, there aren’t many other places where it looks as good.
Despite its grand reputation, Helvetica can’t do everything. It works well in big sizes, but it can be really weak in small sizes. Shapes like ‘C’ and ‘S’ curl back into themselves, leaving tight “apertures”–the channels of white between a letter’s interior and exterior. So each shape halts the eye again and again, rather than ushering it along the line. The lowercase ‘e,’ the most common letter in English and many other languages, takes an especially unobliging form. These and other letters can be a pixel away from being some other letter, and we’re left to deal with flickers of doubt as we read.
Lucida Grande presents open apertures, inviting the eye to move along sideways through the text. It has worked really well–for years, and for good reason. For any text, but particularly in interfaces, our eyes need typefaces that cooperate rather than resist. A super-sharp Retina Display might help, but the real issue is the human eye, and I haven’t heard of any upgrades on the way.
Seeing as Helvetica Neue was not universally well-received on the iPhone, it will be curious to see how Mac users react this fall when OS X Yosemite goes live. Until then, maybe try and get your eyes in peak working order.
Interest in type, typefaces, typography and fonts has grown far beyond the graphic design community, yet few truly understand how and why these vital components of design are created and applied. This exhibition, organized by Monotype and designed by AIGA Medalist and Pentagram partner Abbott Miller for the AIGA National Design Center, celebrates 100 years of type as a constant influence in the world around us.
Gathering rare and unique works from premier archives in the United States and London, “Century” will serve as the hub of a series of presentations, workshops and events held at the AIGA gallery as well as the Type Directors Club and the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at Cooper Union in New York City. The “Century” exhibition features a range of artifacts representing the evolution from typeface conception to fonts in use. Typeface production drawings by the preeminent designers of the last 100 years, proofs, type posters and announcement broadsides are supplemented by publications, advertising, ephemera and packaging
Taken from David Foster Wallace commencement address given to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story [“thing”] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning….
Dry cleaning shops are inherently unglamorous places. They have a few distinct purposes, none of which are to be trendy. We don’t begrudge them; it’s hard to be sophisticated when your job is to banish unidentified stains from a stranger’s clothing. Their branding usually reflects this. Take a stroll around your neighborhood, and you’ll probably see laundromats with haphazardly designed logos and improper use of clip art. And yet, leave it to San Francisco’s blossoming bougie tech scene to give birth to Nordic House, a dry cleaning shop that looks primed for the Jony Ive set. Though Nordic House isn’t slated to open until later this year, the shop already has a beautiful, buzzed-about visual identity, courtesy of Mexico City-based design agency Anagrama.
The Artist and Photographer On His Lifelong Dedication to the Natural World
Peter Beard has been documenting and interpreting Africa’s epic landscapes and indigenous species for nearly six decades. Here he gives a rare insight into his life and practice in this meditative short from director Derek Peck. Shot at Beard’s home in Montauk, Long Island, we find the artist, author and photographer continuing to develop his complex collage practice that brings together found objects, contact sheets, literary quotes and photographs from Tsavo, Kenya, where he made some of his most memorable and affecting work on elephants in the 60s and 70s. “It does the heart good to see what nature has made available to us,” he says in today’s film. “Nature is the best thing we’ve got.” In his delicate, ornate work, his passion for the natural world is evident, and his commitment to the protection of the environment remains unwavering. “Peter is by turns charming and humorous, dark and brooding, and nostalgic,” Peck says of working with Beard. “Every photo in the collage would trigger a stream of thought about his time in Africa, photography, Montauk, and, especially, his concern for, and anger over, the state of the natural world. This subject more than any other has been at the heart of his work over his lifetime.”
“…the big mistake is to wait for inspiration. It won’t come looking for you. It’s not so much creating something, I think, it’s noticing when something is starting to happen…”