After the storm this evening

Right around sunset I saw one of the brightest rainbows I've ever seen. Unfortunately all I had was my little powershot so the photos don't really do it justice. Granted this doesn't much of anything to do with design but I thought the colors were gorgeous. The rest of the photos are here.


Charlotte Read

I'm liking the colorful work of Charlotte Read
via designworklife


Stuff I collect

These are brought to you by my friendly neighborhood design disease. It's not that I think these are great designs, I was just interested in the fact that they were all different colors and I wanted to collect them all. As it turns out collecting these also provides somewhat of a record of my history while I was working in New York. If only the conductor didn't take May 2008 away from me.


Putting my type where my mouth is

Pretty much immediately following the preceding post I thought about the fact that I've been coming across awfully high and mighty in my design posts recently. I've done my share of not so great work and still do sometimes, I'm not above making mistakes. Additionally, regardless of what my original intent may have been that isn't how it came across, so I apologize for the design snobbiness.

Okay, so here's what I was thinking about when I posted about the Target sign. The issue is the kerning is kind of funky. Unfortunately the larger the type gets the more of a problem funky kerning can become. The goal is to get the letters looking like the space between each of them is uniform. This can be tricky because each letter has its own unique shape and amount of negative space so the way the space is perceived between the letter combinations is different. The two main problems in this sign are the "T A" combination and "E T" combination. The space between the "T" and the "A" is too wide and the space between the "E" and the "T" is too small. I took the photo and opened it in photoshop and re-spaced it so you could see the what I mean. The easiest way that I've learned to do this is by taking three letters at a time starting with "TAR" and moving the third letter back and forth until the middle letter looks like it's in the center. Once you're satisfied with the results you move on to the the next combination, "ARG" and move the "G" back and forth until it looks like the "R" is in the center. You continue this process until the word is finished. Below is the original sign and my edited version. My edited version is not exactly a crowning achievement in kerning but I think it fixes the problems that were there initially.


Two blocks of bad type

Stuff like this probably doesn't bother most people but it's something I notice. I was walking to get lunch the other day and found these bad treatments without even trying. It made me wonder how many examples of terrible type I could find in one block, but maybe that'll be a post for another day.

I don't understand why anyone would pay for such a large sign only to have a big space between the "T" and the "A" and have the last "T" Jammed up against the "E"

Copperplate is naturally a pretty wide typeface. Why not pick a different typeface rather than horizontally crunch it like this.

Again, why get so lazy and horizontally crunch the word. This one wouldn't even be that hard. Just toss an condensed sans serif on it.



Red Leaves

I felt obligated to post a sunny photo after all the rain we've been having recently.


Why I'm still taking classes

I've mentioned that I'm taking classes at the School of Visual Arts a few times now, and I thought some might wonder why. After all I have BFA and a job in a creative department doing design work every day so why bother?

Now that I've left college I miss the push for exploration, the trial and error process and the feeling of being completely surprised by something new. These experiences can happen in a job environment to certain extent but it's different. In most work environments the objective is to do your job well so that the company is successful, and hopefully in the process of doing your job you learn new things. When you're in a classroom the objective is to learning new things —expanding your thinking or becoming proficient at something makes the class successful. The kind of risk taking necessary for success in the classroom can rarely be present at work or else you could find yourself with many ineffective projects. Looking back I've always felt sharper, had better ideas and even felt a little more alive when I was being challenged to grow in ways that required risk of failure.

So I've decided to emulate the attitude of a recent professor of mine who said, "I've been taking classes for the past 40 years and I'll keep taking them, in fact I'll probably die in a classroom."  While I don't expect to be dying in a classroom any time soon I do hope to continue to take classes for as long as I can, and keep chasing that permission to fail.



Albert Einstein

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler


It's growing

The American Flag set is up to 93 photos and still going.

Grant Hamilton

I saw these Polaroids by Grant Hamilton a few days ago. I think they're stunning. This is the kind of work that makes me want to go take a ton of photos.
Update: I heard from Grant, apparently there are also limited edition prints available. Contact him via the e-mail on his website if you're interested.


A milestone of sorts

This is actually not the 100th post, this is. I just thought I would share that this blog is now 101 posts old. It took 3 years to get here but I've made it. I started this thing off with a comic I was working on in college and now post mostly about design. Looking back it's interesting for me to see how things changed. I hope you've had fun I know I have.


Why we don't stretch type

One of the first rules I learned when I started to design was to never horizontally or vertically stretch type. I've never had a problem with this rule since the results were so terrible looking I couldn't see why anyone would stretch type in the first place. Last week I heard yet another reason why stretching type is a terrible idea. During Ed Benguiat's class he had a print out of some large sans serif type and had us look at it normally and then turn it 90 degrees and look at the same letters again. Turning the paper revealed the slight difference in the thickness between the vertical and horizontal elements that wasn't apparent at a normal reading angle. The horizontals were always just slightly thinner than the verticals, and it's this slight difference that keeps the forms feeling balanced. Even Futura, a geometric sans serif that one might expect to have a perfect uniformly stroked letter "o" was designed with this balance in mind. So here's yet one more reason why you should never stretch type, not even a little bit. When you stretch the type it causes the horizontals (or verticals) to thicken and destroys the intended visual balance.


Paula Scher

I read this article in Psychology Today yesterday. Paula Scher really expands on the ideas she communicated in her TED talk on the necessity of failure in the creative process. My favorite statement from the article is:

"It's the idea that failure is not embarrassing to me. What's embarrassing to me is the idea of failing and not knowing."
via DesignNotes 

The continued obsession with letters

This is Esther's cup. As I've said before my obsessive design thinking is a lot like disease, on the other hand it might also be one of the many reasons Esther and I get along so well.


Guess what I saw near the parking lot at work

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with design