Whoa… you damn well can’t do that anymore!
This is what graphic design looks like
Dyslexie, A Different Kind of Beauty
Well, if it isn't the old typeface bait-and-switch
Seeking a full-time position in hurricane logo design
Today I am a Red Sox fan (did I just say that?!)

Category Archives: typography

Errol Morris on How Typography Shapes Our Perception Of Truth

The acclaimed filmmaker of The Thin Blue Line and The Fog Of War reveals why he now types all his manuscripts in Baskerville.

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From Fast Company

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)

Why Apple’s New Font Won’t Work On Your Desktop (according to Tobias Frere-Jones, and who the hell am I to argue with Tobias Frere-Jones about type)

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Via: fastcodesign.com:

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.

Century: 100 Years of Type in Design

Via: aiga.org:

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

Dry cleaning? Yes, dry cleaning.

nordic-house

Good Design Can Make Anything Sexy. Even Dry Cleaning.

Via: Wired.com

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.

Behind the Making of ‘Born & Raised’ art by David A. Smith

You just would not expect this level of craftsmanship for a commercial job — especially now that packaging for 12″ vinyl is long gone.

The Making of John Mayer’s ‘Born & Raised’ Artwork from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

David A. Smith is a traditional sign-writer/designer specialising in high-quality ornamental hand-crafted reverse glass signs and decorative silvered and gilded mirrors. David recently produced a wonderful turn-of-the-century, trade-card styled album cover for popular American singer/songwriter John Mayer.

This film captures the ‘Behind The Scenes’ creation of the ‘Born & Raised’ and ‘Queen of California’ artwork, as well as 2 unique reverse glass panels, hand-crafted in England by David A. Smith.

A music video for typography lovers (that may actually live up to the hype)

Via: fastcodesign:

Thanks to some combination of how much young people love YouTube and how little cash the music industry has to burn, we’ve recently been treated to a new offering called the lyric video, a special sort of promotional clip that eschews jungle cats and champagne fountains and hot rods and all the other music video staples–including, you know, the musicians–and just throws the lyrics to the song up on screen in some cutesy typeface instead. Granted, sometimes these just serve as placeholders for the real video, but it’s still kind of a tacky look for a major-label recording artist.

The clip for “Dream,” by the French band Husbands, is a lyric video in the purest sense, but it quickly reveals itself to be a bit different than the rest. For one thing, it actually makes use of a nice variety of typefaces, and it spaces them out in a pleasing way on your screen. It shows a little aesthetic restraint, which is nice compared to most of the other ones I’ve seen, which generally look like final projects for some sort of Intro to Flash high-school elective, back when anyone would have thought it made sense to teach high school kids how to make things with Flash.

But the video gets truly impressive when you realize that what you’re seeing wasn’t made by a computer. At a certain point you grasp that you’re not looking at rendered fonts but a real, physical wall of type, precisely arranged and illuminated in sync with the track.

It’s the creation of Cauboyz, a duo of French designers. “After listening [to] the song, we understood quickly that it was very structured,” one of the members explains. “We wanted to do something simple with a little bit of poetry.” The technique they decided on has to be one of the most time-consuming ways to get a song’s lyrics on screen. But bravo to them for trying it. It’s the lyrics video that type lovers deserve.

Sign Painters (official trailer)

This may be my first “must-see” movie since Helvetica, and before that? I don’t know, maybe Religulous? OK, so how freaking small has my world gotten?

[…um, that was just a rhetorical question]

From the documentary’s Press Release:

There was a time, as recently as the 1980s, when storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fueled promise of quicker and cheaper. The resulting proliferation of computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers has ushered a creeping sameness into our landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade.

In 2010 Directors Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, with Cinematographer Travis Auclair, began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft, features the stories of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States. The documentary and book profiles sign painters young and old, from the new vanguard working solo to collaborative shops such as San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs and New York’s Colossal Media’s Sky High Murals.