the categorical days: Design

January 07, 2006

roundy, 3d, swoosh and twirl

The future is bad

Just documenting change here (careful not to say progress). Of all these refreshments, I suppose I have to find some nice thing to say... and that will be: Sprint's newest identity is the least offensive of the bunch.

The rest look like something from a logo generator.

I still haven't gotten the bitter taste out of my mouth from the evolution of fast food logos.

Filed under: Design | | Comments (3)



January 06, 2006

Photoshop 10 and Lt. Uhura

Tired of windows on my mac 

If someone asks me what I do for a living, I say "I make buttons." This whittles the job down to a tangible (almost concrete) notion. A bigger explanation includes what those buttons say, what they do, the order in which they do it, and a myriad of other processes and constraints beside their color and shape. 

Usually I'm making buttons for websites, but there's the other field of application design that has always intrigued me. One could argue websites are applications and I won't disagree, but lemme tackle one topic at a time here. 

I spend most of my day immersed in email, a web browser, graphics program, text editor, and FTP program. It's a mess sorting through all of it. 

Perhaps this is a fault of operating systems, but with things like Apple's Aperture I feel there's a bit of hope for applications. Aperture provide options for a simple canvas, minimizing, if not removing entirely, other background applications to focus on the task at hand. 

For a good piece of time, I've been using Photoshop in full screen mode, which is almost but not near as good as these examples. Functionality is limited (on the Mac) even though I can perform most tasks with key commands. What I'd like for them to do however, is take the more radical approach that Apple has lifted for Aperture, and create a clean workspace. 

An example of what I'd like Photoshop 10 to look like.
(click on the image to toggle between the concept and current UI)

Photoshop-10

I'd also like my mail program to be like this, along with all the other apps. Coupled with a quiet, subdued notification system for messages bouncing around my system.

And I want a bouffant hairdo, a spicy little miniskirt, an earpiece, and touch screens. (see LCARS)

Uhura

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September 23, 2005

Bad Apple

Since I'm on the subject of mice

I've been using an Apple Mighty Mouse for a bit now, wondering when is enough time to torture myself before passing judgement.

That moment is now.

It displeases me.

(And if you know me, I use that phrase often, but usually in the form, "it does not displease me." Why? Because somewhere I learned that it was not good to say you hate something)

So yeah, that might be twisted logic, but anyway—the mouse bites.

Back when Apple released the Cube and made the power button "touch sensitive" it seems they're always trying to get rid of buttons. Now this mouse has a right click that requires you to lift one finger while you click on the other side of the one button surface with your other finger. No longer can I precisely and lazily just click which button I intended. Wonky things are happening with this mouse, and I'm not about to relearn how I work to deal with it.

It's got a little scroll ball, just like an old mouse. A little scroll ball that collects gunk but cannot, however, be accessed to clean.

The side buttons require so much force to push. They have conjunctively torn my rotator cuff.

Your results may vary. Go try one for yourself at a store.

On the upside, it sort-of looks like a Tic Tac®.

Filed under: Design | | Comments (8)



June 06, 2005

Accepting change

The evolution of Fast Food logos

I bitched about the new White Castle logo a couple years ago. Today I was driving home, saw an old Taco Bell sign and was transported back to a happier time—when evolution wasn't so far out there.

How I miss the crisp gridded balance of yore. The warm tones are fading. Browns replaced by blues. Type now looking like it would be at home amidst fluorescent splatter from the 80’s.

*big inhale* Okay, fine. I can deal with all this change. I am resilient. I am hopeful.

Filed under: Design, Pondersome, Technology | | Comments (9)



April 29, 2005

Helveticaspotting

Wonder if Oddfellows Local 151 is behind there...

I always get a big smile driving by this firehouse.

Filed under: Design | | Comments (1)



March 16, 2005

EXP

Stuff I shouldn't have in my portfolio

I worked at the dorms and then Kinkos while doin the full-time student gig back at Ohio State. It was taxing. Right after graduation, a freelance gig fell into place working for EXPRESS.

I slaved alongside a few classmates and we were given old french bits of design to rip off, tweak and turn into t-shirts for young girls at malls. I think they call t-shirts casual tops now and that style of design is called stealing.

As gigs go, this one paid well and when the whistle blew, it was easy to walk away and turn off the gears.

That nice paycheck didn't make us feel any less dirty though.

Continue reading "EXP"

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February 17, 2005

Print

An advert no less

Right after college I dove right into interface work, skipping the world of print design. In fact, my senior project was a CD-ROM horribly pieced together in "multimedia" application. Man I'm glad that word is pretty much dead.

I like the fluid nature of pixels on screen. I enjoyed that I didn't have to get upset by press checks and how things take on a new life when output on different paper stock with various inks.

CD-ROMs of course, had an element of commitment I never liked. The "gold master"—the point where change was no longer possible. Additionally there was still a filter of programming and platform that made concessions necessary to the interface.

So as the web began to emerge as a place for design, I jumped on board.

A whole new set of restrictions came to surface. Restrictions that are slowly becoming less painful, but then again, I've a few years under my belt to know what works and what doesn't. The best part of course though, is that the web evolves. If something doesn't work, change it.

Only twice in my life have I gotten close to a press. Both times there were more experienced folks present to ensure things went as planned. It's changed over the years though as well.—just as much as the net. Now I can deliver a artwork in a PDF and not have to worry about packaging fonts and referenced images. It's much easier.

The radio station needed some ads for magazines and whatnot and I freshened up on how to prep files. This month's Filter magazine (with Beck on the cover) has the finished product. ow fun it was to see the page and the fine resolution. Of course, after the ad went out the door, I fretted that the computer monitor image used was too generic. So subsequent ads will now use the image off to the side up there with the funky "retro" one.

Commitment is hard. WILCO is still too big.

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February 07, 2005

Toyota FJ Cruiser

The hip kids might bypass Scion for this

In just a couple days, Toyota will be unveiling the FJ Cruiser officially. I hope this means they will introduce a final production model, release date and pricing.

Aside from the electric blue and associations I may have with Icehouse, I really dig this vehicle. This thing excites me as much as the Passat did when it was restyled in 1998.

I've always thought I wanted a Jeep, and if they were friendlier on the highway, I'd consider one. I had the wonderful opportunity to drive the gas hog that was a Land Rover for a few years, but it had some issues: a queasy ride and lack of headroom... oh yeah, the 12 MPG sucked literally.

I've been thinking that more than anything, I want something incredibly reliable next time I step foot in a dealership. Toyota is at the top of my list in that regard. Sadly, most of their fleet is pretty uninspired in terms of styling. They've been getting a little too swoopy of late, and I hope the lines of this concept make it into production—along with the flat folding rear seat and cargo area that can accommodate sleeping bags.

The reality is, I can like this retro-flavored SUV thing all I want, but I might not be able to fit in it. Headroom already looks spotty with the squat greenhouse. I can cross my fingers that some of their environmental thinking lends to reasonable gas mileage, and it doesn't have the chintzy feel and bloated pricetag of the VW Touareg.

UPDATE: The "unveiling" was a production model exterior and a few specs at the Chicago Auto Show. Interior wasn't finished, and the two key pieces of information I was hoping to get were not released: MPG and Price. Toyota hopes to roll it out in 2006 as an '07 model.

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February 07, 2005

Spicing up the skies

Richard Tyler designs new Delta uniforms

Funny how I lamented the lack of spunk in flight attendant fashion. I spoke too soon.

Me? I'm a fashion-impaired dork with denim, corduroy and flannel rounding out my personal collection, but surfing around I stumbled upon the Olympus Fashion Week Show/Thing.

There's hope for 2005 yet. I need to book some flights.

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February 01, 2005

Gawking

I spared Wonkette from my bitchfest, as that site is branded nicely

Another month and another couple properties from the weblog empire that is Gawker Media are released to the world. One about travel and the other about software or something. I'm not sure.

And at this point, I don't know if I care. Aside from the fact that I don't like their truncated feeds, I'm fed up with their design sensibility. This is a shame as I like the voice of their sites and content for the most part, but there are other places to get my fix on things. Other places that don't look like they were crafted by dropouts from a mail-order graphic design program.

Ebay has less "pedestrian" design, and that's as far from a compliment I can muster.

Aside from those bitches, I wonder what's next for this group. I figure they'll be tackling music soon enough as an untapped vertical market in their sphere. Maybe they are waiting on some big dumb head photo-manipulated illustration.

Postnote: I don't know if I can keep this entry on my journal here... The visual noise is almost too disturbing.

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January 12, 2005

iLife ‘05

2005 starts off with something nice or
I buy Apple Products. It just makes me feel special.

I have a laptop that burns CDs and I own Photoshop through way of work. In the scheme of things, I’m pretty dang lucky.

So yeah, all the hardware stuff Apple launched yesterday is nice. I respect the thought that went into each product. I think the Shuffle (used without shuffle) would be more suited for me than a big iPod, but again, I mentioned the ability to burn CDs. That's really all I need and use for music.

The mini is quite nifty, with a little more oomph than my current system for 1/3 the price. The thing is, I wouldn't own one without a gig of ram, and that's pricey (without it, it would be 1/6 the price.) If I was on the market for a new computer, I would seriously consider the mini. I hope it's a hit.

But the real pleasing thing I think, are the gradual enhancements to iLife.

Continue reading "iLife ‘05"

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January 06, 2005

The year we lightened up

Yeah, like that

Dan pointed out a link to this fansite for the sadly defunct Pacific Southwest Airlines today, and I was fascinated. I want to live in that era.

No, scratch that. I want this era to LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP.

I'm beat with government and faith based agencies trying to determine what is decent.

What a shitty time we live in right now—scared stupid with fines and laws.

I'm ready for the backlash.

It doesn't have to be all retro with free love and wild orgies in the streets—those can be in private homes. But as for feeling sexy and flaunting it, bring it on.

And while we're at it, I think we're ready to loosen the ideals of traditional beauty all around. It's been brewing. We don't need an edict to make it official. I don't mind if the stewardess flight attendant is packing a few extra Twix bars in the trunk. As long as they are happy with who they are and society is happy for them, then I'm happy.

The future is supposed to be sexy, I saw it on TV back in the day. We're supposed to have new shiny fabrics that cling to us and floating cars. To quote Jim, "Listerine Strips and Wi-Fi are the only things that make me "Feel" like I'm living in the 21st Century." So for 2005, I say we sex it up a bit. Fun boots for everyone. And big "I'm happy to be alive" smiles.

Floating cars can come later.

While on the topic of air travel, bring back the frickin’ peanuts. Those with allergies can have their pretzels as an option.

I'm all about options.

Filed under: Design, Nostalgia, Pondersome | | Comments (4)



December 15, 2004

Details

Scrutiny

Tonight, the little flourishes that make making websites fun. I love zooming in to pixel level to tinker.

Oh, and I only make icons from scratch when I have to—other times, I rely on goodness like the pictogram font called Poppi from Emigre.

These icons likey won't be needed until phase 2 (a handy word we use to make life tolerable). So this gives me some time to refine, perhaps craft a more custom set.

Time to burn some midnight oil.

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December 08, 2004

woxy.com t-shirt

Matching undies sold separately

The t-shirts I've been working on at the independent streaming music station arrived late yesterday afternoon.

Support anti-corporate radio, buy a shirt (or at least take a gander at the colors). Sizes are generous, though I would not suggest the small (as shown above). Even if you don't buy a shirt and haven't listened to them, tune in. These are the folks that host all those bands I've been seeing of late.

Detail of back:

Buy one or two... It's like having a doodled trapper keeper on your back.

Filed under: Design, Music, Tshirts | | Comments (5)



November 05, 2004

021C

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

A recent comment reminded me of this vehicle, and I just thought I'd document the passing notion.

The 021C was a Ford concept car (named after the Pantone color) for the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, designed by Marc Newson. It's lines are deceptively simple, with weird features like swiveling seats, suicide doors, and a sliding drawer for a trunk.

And like Pimp My Ride, it had lighting that made the interior glow, however, this incarnation had panache, unlike the monstrosities belched out of the MTV show that has nothing to do with music.

But I digress. I just love looking at this car, and the palette fuels autumnal affection.

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October 22, 2004

I don't do print

Truck around the neighborhood

I used to say, I don't do print. Just pixels. Websites. Interfaces.

I'm not sure when my attitude changed, but the allure of tactile increases, just a little, as I get on.

Maybe it's because everything I worked on years ago, is no more. Cached somewhere in some internet archive, but not used.

It'd be nice to find some project that had impact beyond aesthetics.

That's a big tangent.

Today I worked on a print project. After looking through more than a handful of stock photography sites for a 3/4 view of a truck, I gave up and shut the lid on the laptop. There are trucks all over this part of town. I never did find the perfect one, and the skies were overcast, but I got something good enough for a mock up.

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October 15, 2004

Colors

Leaves

I dig powerful reds and oranges. Ochres and browns. Greens from asparagus to fern.

I don't have any particular favorite color, but it is generally nature's palette and range that I find myself attracted. This could very well sum up my aversion to 80's fashion.

Maybe that's why I like Panera so much, or Carhartts.

Another tangent: I was talking with someone the other day about small towns. I've never been to Yellow Springs in Ohio. It's just up the road from here. This person told me that I had to go. It had a vibe that made the place feel comfortable. Like it was Halloween all year round.

Intriguing way to put it. Maybe it's the colors.

Anyway, I collected those leaves in the park and decided, perhaps after seeing Onajídé's recent studies that putting them down and taking a photo seemed like a natural thing to do.

All this ruminating made me think of a few links that were somewhat relevant. Check 'em out over there in the right.

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September 05, 2004

IKEA

Iowa style at Kansas prices

What I like about IKEA:
- Furnish a room for cheap.
- Simple lines and clean shapes for the most part.
- Reasonable vittles.
- Great visual language with their signage.

What I don't like about IKEA:
- Furniture with cheapness akin to Old Navy. Some items great for the short term only.
- Kerning on the signage is atrocious.

I went there to help out, and when it seemed my help wasn't going to be needed, I went anyway. I had no idea Pittsburgh was so close to me. This, I will have to explore more.

I did get to drive a U-Haul back though, pleasantly packed with all sorts of furniture for all sorts of people. I even bought myself some barstools and a toilet brush (for 79¢, a bargain).

I allen-wrenched one together this morning. It's too tall I think. I should've measured beforehand. Stool sampling is tough to do by the seat of one's pants.

Don't think I'm anti-IKEA, I've slept on one of their mattresses and thought it was the cat's meow.

I hear they plan to open up 5 stores in the US each year. Maybe they'll target Columbus OH since it's a test market for all things midwestern. It's much closer to home.

In unrelated news, we're getting a Trader Joes in Cincinnati. Next we'll be legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Filed under: Design | | Comments (0)



August 25, 2004

Gum and wonder

Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint gums are more than 100 years old

Not all new-fangled design bothers me. Case in point: the (relatively) new Wrigley's wrappers aren't all that bad. Well, the Juicy Fruit is a little akin to the bubble letters drawn by kids in pen on the back of their Trapper Keepers, but for the most part, it's working.

There seems to be a resurgence of traditional typography with modern twists these days. This is a good thing, considering the messy constructs of the 90's.

Makes me wonder though, don't I have better things to wonder about?

Yes, yes I do.

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August 23, 2004

Old Dog, New Tricks


Warning: Geek talk ahead.

THE GOAL:
A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to learn the other way of web design: CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). It's not as easy as laying out a table in a visual editor and requires some basic math. Additionally, there are a slew of browser incompatibilities as standards are put into place.

In order to get my head around this, I decided I needed a project—things just work better with a concrete goal.

I've long since wanted to be able to organize my journal.

THE HOW:
Sadly, LiveJournal does not use style sheets to lay out pages with CSS, instead some custom jive they've written (amendment: in reference to their new S2 style system).

Experiments failed as I attempted to understand syntax. I had to learn DOCTYPEs and XHTML in addition to CSS. Really basic things, but until you address them, things will look wrong or not work entirely.

I exported everything from LJ and used a Backup Toolkit to translate entries into XML. Sadly, comments are not currently exported.

I decided to go with TypePad as a place to host my experiment. It's a weblog service, similar to LiveJournal, but offers an engine to allow all this design tomfoolery, along with other features that are kinda cool: automated lists for books and music that link up with Amazon Associates, organized archives, and categories.

Some mildly cool things: There are no tables or javascript. Everything is laid out with div tags and positioned. Rollovers are created using lists and hover effects with styles. All those navigation items along the top and catgegory icons along the side are stored in two images with every state. See what I mean.

HELPFUL LINKS:

THE WHY (well, part of it):
Categories are of great interest to me. I think online journals and weblogs suffer from a few major flaws. The most glaring is that they are hard to navigate. Once content expires from the "front" page (or friends list), it seems to get buried. There's no easy way to browse, save for going back and back and back. Calendar views offer limited benefit, even with subjects listed.

THE RESULT:
(you're there)

ISSUES:

  • It has a "me too" vibe that CSS designs seem to suffer from these days. This is hopefully only temporary as I refine visual elements.
  • I have not tested pages in every browser. If you find any big glitches, drop a comment or an email.
  • The search field does not work as Google has yet to index the site.
  • I haven't figured out an icon for Ho-Hum. Nostalgia, misc, and pondersome are lame.
ASIDES:
  • Going through entries and assigning categories is a task itself. It revealed patterns. I realized, I read more than I let on. I should pull excerpts from things. This notion began when Nayland mentioned the Commonplace Book.
  • I don't cook enough.
  • I have really great friends and family.
  • I don't write much about sports, therefore an icon was not warranted. The football helmet featured above will likely never get used. I also don't write about TV very much, but that doesn't bother me.
Lastly, no, I'm not leaving LiveJournal. The LiveJournal community is super-dooper good. The privacy features and threaded comments are unique to LJ. I'll cross post, and keep tinkering.

POSTNOTE:
There's still lots of work to be done. As any given category gets to be too long, the problem of how to navigate comes back into play. Excerpts and/or thumbnails would be prudent.

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August 18, 2004

A watched pot

Cheapskate... or disorganized?

I had to have a document printed in a few hours and I had no "regular" paper. The ink jet generally collects dust unless I am printing out a CD cover, label, or a photo on glossy stock. Even when I get directions from Mapquest, I jot them down by hand on the back of a student loan envelope.

I just don't print that much.

So I X-acto up some notebook paper from a pad and run it through. Blotches appear with streaks until the tension and alignment is properly set.

There's no time to reprint though, as each page seems to be taking 10 minutes.

Funny how there's a correlation between need and time. I finally just gave up on pacing and decided to take care of some chores.

The thing finally printed, and holding the ruled paper in my hands I thought, this looks cool.

Maybe not "professional," but cool.

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July 08, 2004

Build your own

The ReadyMade $1500.00 shack

Today was productive, but I've yet to pack my bags for the next trip and the hours are slipping away. I got things out the virtual door, posted and checked off. I went to the bank. I tweaked my brother's resumé. I did not get a haircut.

I wrestled with OS 9 for a good hour, blanking out at how odd the Mac used to be. Who thought a Chooser made sense?

As evening fell, I went over to my friends' house for babytime and chinese food. Their little one continues to exhibit new skills like holding spoons (if only for a while before reverting to hands).

It's so much easier to eat with your hands. Maybe adults have it wrong.

After bath and bottle, it was time to sink into the couch with the TV pleasantly off and three laptops illuminating our faces. This is social, really. To explain it would take an essay.

At one point, they produced plans from ReadyMade Magazine– a prefab studio/shack that could be made on the cheap with materials from any hardware store.

I'd never heard of the publication, and I was giddy with the issues I glanced through. Simple ideas that could be executed with basic materials.

As I get long in the tooth, I pine for perspectives like this. I've always found resourcefulness to be an inspirational quality.

Filed under: Design, Friends | | Comments (0)



June 28, 2004

Cushy

Testing out the Oldham collection at Lazyboy

Mid-afternoon, the three bears and myself ventured over to the La-z-boy showroom to check out the Todd Oldham collection that Chad spotted in an ad.

The stuff looked great online, and with it being La-z-boy, there was hopes that the crisp lines would not suffer from what normally flaws designer furniture; pretty but uncomfortable.

Well, this stuff was super plush. Too plush perhaps? Would the foam and fabric hold up? Jim just plopped his bare feet up on the couch in front of the saleslady to test and make sure.

Afterward, we zipped over to Elise's house and got to meet her parents and hang with the husband and kid sushi (a moniker for his profound hankering for the raw fish).

The food was great.

The weather was awesome.

The conversation and games afterward were superfun.

St. Louis has even more cool reasons to return for visits.

Filed under: Design, Travel | | Comments (0)



March 31, 2004

Ban Mr. Smiley

The de-evolution of license plates

I've mentioned my disdain before. I think license plate design is going straight down the crapper. It's a perfect example of technology advancements that can be filed under "unnecessary" (along with a handful of Photoshop filters that should be banned).

Funny thing is, the new Kentucky plates are causing quite an effect on inhabitants of the bluegrass state. Sales in custom plates have skyrocketed ever since the new "mr smiley" designs appeared. Maybe this was their intention, to rack up profits at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Folks are retaliating though, putting bullet hole stickers over the happy sun, or mad faces. In fact, if you live in KY, you can pick up a sticker at all Cox's Smokers Outlets. Yes. You read that right... Cox's Smokers.

I have to thank Dave for bringing this important issue to my attention.

Fun Related Link: EXTENSIVE License Plate Galleries

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March 19, 2004

2004 Auto Show, Columbus OH

The new Nissan Quest - weerdest production interior of the lot

I love lookin' at cars. I figure it's like women and shoes, or purses.

I can window shop and feel sated.

The auto show this year was filled with more retro-updates and fancy tail lights that've become so popular of late. Aside from a bland showing from VW (I don't fit in the Toerag and the pricetag on the Phaeton is LUDICROUS) - it was a mostly good waste of time.

I think Ford's renewed interest in cars is a good thing. American automakers love to let things fester to a point where it just damages their entire line.

I couldn't find the new Corvette, but that's okay, I think the loss of popup headlamps to fit within European standards is a mistake.

Let's see, what else? Oh, I think gray is the new black for 2004. Most models sported the subdued hue.

I think to spice up attendance, automakers should dress the car model models in pvc or rubber.

PhotosHere's a few angles that caught my eye.

Filed under: Design, Photography | | Comments (0)



March 11, 2004

Oink

Columbus Convention Center:
(Peter) Eisenman Architects with Richard Trott & Partners

The sun was raking across the street as I stepped out of work in Columbus this evening. Slightly exhausted from an early morning commute and full day of whirlwind decisions, I drove to pick up mouthwash cause I thought my breath tasted bad and went back to the hotel to take a nap.

At a stoplight, I got this photo of the Convention Center, an odd structure by the same fella behind the Wexner Center back at my old stomping grounds of Ohio State.

His approach tends to polarize opinion, but I'll admit I fall into a gray middle area. I find the use of shape and color to be refreshing, but the odd corners and arrangement of space generally disturbs my sensibilities. The Wexner Center has a great example of this "building as art" concept, with a staircase that leads up to nowhere. I also think buildings that require renovations after fifteen years seem suspect.

*shrug*

In other news, I found that after stepping on a scale yesterday, that I weigh more than I ever have in my entire life.

My high carb diet is really paying off.

Filed under: Design | | Comments (1)



December 05, 2003

The parts of letterforms

This is what I was tested on in school

Every profession has a language.

Here are some words common to a typographer. For the most part, these words never really come up in the daily grind of a designer. Design somehow exists on soft, subjective language that gets into feelings and moods. Who needs semantics when you can have "cool" or "pretty"?

This entry stems from a conversation with Marmot at a museum in German. We talked briefly about type. I felt all tongue tied. My ability to communicate what I had memorized in college was lost. So I brushed up on the terms.

Baseline: An imaginary line upon which the base of each capital letter rests.

Capline: An imaginary line that runs along the tops of the capital letters.

Meanline: An imaginary line that establishes the height of the body of lowercase letters.

X-height: The distance from the baseline to the meanline. Typically, this is the height of lowercase letters and is most easily measured on the lowercase x.

All characters align optically on the baseline. The bodyheights of lowercase characters align optically at the x-height, and the tops of capitals align optically along the capline. To achieve precise alignments, the typeface designer makes optical adjustments. (What does this mean? This means that characters with a curve like an o actually rest a little below the baseline and a little about the meanline to visually match letterforms with a defined edge.

Apex: The peak of the triangle of an uppercase A.

Arm: A projecting horizontal stroke that is unattached on one or both ends, as in the letters T and E.

Ascender: A stroke on a lowercase letter that rises above the meanline.

Bowl: A curved stroke enclosing the counterform of a letter. An exception is the bottom form of the lowercase roman g, which is called a loop.

Counter: The negative space that is fully or partially enclosed by a letterform.

Crossbar: The horizontal stroke connecting two sides of a letterform (as in e, A, and H) or bisecting the main stroke (as in f and t).

Descender: A stroke on a lowercase letterform that falls below the baseline.

Ear: A small stroke that projects from the upper right side of the bowl of the lowercase roman g.

Eye: The enclosed part of the lowercase e.

Fillet: The contoured edge that connects the serif and stem in bracketed serifs. (Bracketed serifs are connected to the main stroke by this curved edge; unbracketed serifs connect to the main stroke with an abrupt angle without this contoured transition.)

Hairline: The thinnest strokes within a typeface that has strokes of varying weights.

Leg: The lower diagonal stroke on the letter k.

Link: The stroke that connects the bowl and the loop of a lowercase roman g.

Loop: See bowl.

Serifs: Short strokes that extend from and at an angle to the upper and lower ends of the major strokes of a letterform.

Shoulder: A curved stroke of the letter S.

Spur: A projection - smaller than a serif - that reinforces the point at the end of a curved stroke, as in the letter G.

Stem: A major vertical or diagonal stroke in a letterform.

Stroke: Any of the linear elements within a letterform; originally, any mark or dash made by the movement of a pen or brush in writing.

Tail: A diagonal stroke or loop at the end of a letter, as in R or j.

Terminal: The end of any stroke that does not terminate with a serif.

Adapted for the screen from Typographic Design: Form and Communication by Rob Carter, Ben Day and Philip Meggs

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November 27, 2003

Europe: Day 6 - You say Cologne, I say Köln (poorly)

I ♥ European timetables

Leaving Amsterdam seemed jolting. After I had just realized I had no notion of how to get around, it was time to leave. Alas, it was a nice pace of getting up and having one last breakfast at the Golden Bear. This consisted of meats, cheese, bread, juice, coffee or tea. I had been stuffing extra sandwiches in my bag that had come in handy over the course of the trip.

Brian and I managed to get ourselves to the station and on the right train without our cruise director. They were off earlier on a sidetrip to visit family of some sort.

The ICE was a nice ride. With 'lectrical outlet for computery types, nice seats that reclined. Fancy LED lights at the head of the car, and countless amenities.

I studied the train schedules and marveled at the nice information design while the scenery zipped by. It was an overcast day and the line between Netherlands and Deutschland was a blur.

We got to the hotel and rejoined with our travel companions not much later and probably went to a bar.

It was a pretty swank hotel considering (the room had a bidet!), and sleep was prudent, albeit increasingly difficult with the onset of jatlag.

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October 27, 2003

Once again, I'm reminded I need to be thrown in a home


The new color of caution

I went to visit Tiny Tina to get my beard whacked and back-of-my-neck fur shaved. I always get some bit of knowledge when I visit my barber in Kentucky. Today, as I grabbed a handful of beard trimmings I said, "Whoa, look at all that gray!"

"That's not gray dear, that's silver." Tina replied.

"What's the difference?" I asked.

"You get gray hair when you get old. Silver comes from experience and wisdom."

I think I'm getting old though. As I drove back from the barber shop, I spied one of those new traffic signs a few blocks down. I like to think I am an open minded and progressive person, but the day-glo... it irks me.

Thing is, I understand the usability that likely fueled this change. These signs are inherently more visible. They just "stick out" more.

I liked the yellow-orange they were before. At least this was a color that nature could reproduce. Now I fret the lines in the roads will take on this new hue. Construction worker's hats will get all fluorescent.

Another part of me is wondering about all this resistance I have to change. Where did this come from? When was the imprint made? Will the music kids listen to start to grate on me? Like polyester pants, will my wardrobe be limited to the grunge of my college days?

I'm getting old. It's true.

I'm going out tomorrow to get those wrap-around safety shades. That'll take the edge off, I know.

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October 20, 2003

You've seen the money

Visual excerpts from the WAY COOL* site with interactive flash tour of the new bill

But have you seen the budget for the advertising campaign?

"The U.S. government is spending $32 million -- that's 1.6 million new twenties -- to let you know what's up with the double sawbuck" As written by the Holland Sentinel.

Related Link: The New Color of Money Website

* Sarcasm.
It IS a pretty site, but perhaps TOO pretty

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October 13, 2003

Television through osmosis

So Pretty (but blurry)

All Most of my friends have TV and once in a while, I get the "Oh did you see this?"

Oddly enough, the latest find was a commercial, one that can be accessed online. Its for booze, but they are trying to infuse some hip designer spin to it, and frankly - I dig it.

It's flash mind you, but check out "Drift," under Sapphire Inspired Films.

Makes me want to animate.

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September 28, 2003

Be Progressive, B-E-progressive!

Subtle, but more modern-er

Breezing through the aisles of the grocery, I was looking at the cans of Chef Boyardee and I saw that Dinty Moore Beef Stew had "freshened" up.

My typography teacher back in Ohio State used to get migraines walking around and seeing all the bad type treatments on signs. Some of that rubbed off on me.

I hate sounding like a broken record, but is the future on a tilt? Must we be italic?

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September 11, 2003

I don't want a friggin Segway™

And I don't want women's tennis shoes, or a gold box, or ...

So there I am, doing some "research" trying to remember some tabbed navigation I saw wayback when...

Amazon used to be such the paradigm of good interface. Their tabbed navigation has been ripped off more than Michael Jackson's "Beat It" Jacket.

I suppose with the integration of everything and the kitchen sink, complexity would be de-facto.

I beg to differ. It's not the sheer volume and variety of products that makes the site fail now, it's the plethora of marketing that I can't defend. I don't want to know what's in my Gold Box and I don't want a fucking Segway cluttering up my mind on EVERY FRICKIN PAGE as I try and find out what band sounds like Grandaddy. And if I feel good about myself, maybe I'll buy something.

I don't need a search form for Google, even though I'm sure "they" want to know what I'm searching for. I don't want a nickel in my Amazon account. I don't want to make money with paid placements. And most of all, I don't want the navigation I use at the bottom of every page to be displaced by the Bottom of the Page™ Deals. Oh, I'm sure there's a patent on that atrocity.

At the very least Amazon, gimme some preferences to turn all this crap off.

I don't even know if my rant can balance out the screenshot to the right, it's so frickin long. And look at that deadspace.

Sheesh.

(insert sniffling sounds)

The one saving grace: The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was a joy to stumble upon. In doing research online, I lamented not having "grabs" of websites long since gone. I actually have a half gig on my drive of screenshots I've taken, but this is better. It's not bug free, and it's slower than molasses.

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September 04, 2003

Poster sized post-it notes rock

Sharpies smell good.

This is work: We get various field agents, technical propellor-heads and sharply dressed marketing folks together in a room and spout off a bunch of ideas. I stand there at the wall and play Pictionary and write everything down, discounting nothing but inserting things like "big can of worms" from time to time.

I take those scribbles, snap some photos and throw them away so I can sit down and transcribe them into maps and visual concepts for testing. It's always due yesterday, but it's almost rote how we'll go through a half dozen iterations before all raised flags are removed and we can begin evaluating how it can be described for production/coding.

The beauty of functional specifications is often lost in this fast pace of web development, but its value can't be undermined. I get passionate about this stuff and I suppose the fretful look on my face makes the deadline-centric types agreeable. Carefully integrating soft and fuzzy ad-space seems to satiate.

It's a process - and on days when I get to do it, I dig it.

Then I go home, or to a hotel.

If I'm lucky, I won't hear Devo's "Whip it" being bastardized for a Swiffer® commercial.

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September 03, 2003

Another one bites the dust

White Castle fries only come in one size.

Another icon from my youth has been corrupted by the tweaked out stylings of whatever this design era will be named. Extruded, snappy colored, wonky shaped visual noise to clutter up the landscape.

Getting on the road at 6 am to drive up to Columbus for work was hard enough. Add this insult to the injury of the sausage biscuits that made my stomach squeal in pain as I rolled through the gray plains fraught with heavy clouds.

Damn the White Castle branding initiative.

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