“If it works, it’s out of date.”
― David Bowie
In 2013, acclaimed filmmaker and author Errol Morris ran a bold experiment. With the collusion of the New York Times, he asked 45,000 readers to take an online test. The test allegedly measured whether or not readers were optimists or pessimists. But in reality, Morris was trying to find out if the typeface a statement was written in had any impact on a reader’s willingness to agree with that statement. Simply put, are some typefaces more believable than others?
The answer is yes… (continue reading at fastcodesign.com)
From Fast Company
Keith Devlin, professor of mathematics at Stanford University says it’s simple. “We’re creatures who are genetically programmed to see patterns and to seek meaning,” he says. It’s not in our DNA to be comfortable with arbitrary things like aesthetics, so we try to back them up with our often limited grasp of math. But most people don’t really understand math, or how even a simple formula like the golden ratio applies to complex system, so we can’t error-check ourselves. “People think they see the golden ratio around them, in the natural world and the objects they love, but they can’t actually substantiate it,” Devlin tells me. “They are victims to their natural desire to find meaning in the pattern of the universe, without the math skills to tell them that the patterns they think they see are illusory.” If you see the golden ratio in your favorite designs, you’re probably seeing things.
See the full article at fastcodesign.com
Via: The Verge
Walking around London, you’re likely to see the words “bus stop” plastered over the road thousands of times. Given the uniformity of these visual warnings, you’d be forgiven for assuming all the city’s street typography was created using a stencil. You’d be wrong. London-based designer Tom Williams captured a worker painting the road markings a couple of years ago, and the video he uploaded was recently highlighted by Kottke.
The video depicts a pair of workers painting the familiar “bus stop” warning by hand, using only some rough chalk marks to judge the correct size of the letters. Far from a menial task, there’s real artistry required for each sign. Looking closely, you’ll see subtle variations between the letters, and some minor variations in spacing, but that doesn’t take away from the sheer skill of these invisible artists.
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