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.


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.

Categorized as Design

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

Categorized as Design

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.

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.

Categorized as Design

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

Categorized as Design