Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Typographic Errors in Media
Thanks to my FIU student Tatiana for sending me this November 15th article from the New York Times spotlighting various anachronistic errors in typography in media.

My favorite is the label of the steam pressure gauge seen in James Cameron's Titanic, which is set in Helvetica, a font that wouldn't have been designed until 45 years later!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Critics Slam Ikea for Catalog Typography
The Associated Press reported Aug. 30th on Ikea's decision to switch their catalog's typography for the first time in 50 years. The Swiss furniture retailer was criticized for their new choice of font, replacing the time-honored Futura with Verdana, a font designed by Microsoft with wide, open letters designed to increase readability on small computer screens. Reactions ranged from, "It's a sad day," to "words can't describe my disgust."

Ikea spokesperson Camilla Meiby said, "Verdana is a simple, cost-effective font that works well in all media." Ikea needed a font that worked well in both digital and print media. Personally, I like Verdana, and I prize its open counters and clear legibility.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Herald Prints Article about SEDT

The Miami Herald
ran an August 2nd article, titled "Learning the Business of Entertainment," about Miami Dade College School of Entertainment & Design Technology as part of a series on educational opportunities in South Florida. My photo appears in the article, which can also be read online. Extra special thanks go to my FIU student Kurt for obtaining a copy of the newspaper for me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Media Revolution

When I started college 25 years ago, the graphics industry was beginning to undergo a revolution fueled by new technology. Pre-1984, the pre-press workforce consisted of specialists—designers, typographers, illustrators, layout artists, paste-up artists, graphic arts photographers, and film assembly technicians. With the advent of the Macintosh Plus computer, Apple LaserWriter printers, Adobe PostScript page description language, and Aldus PageMaker page layout software, the specialists needed to become generalists. One person could now do the work of several, and many job descriptions were eliminated. Graphic designers adapted, and for the past quarter-century, they could be successful with only knowledge of print.

Today, the industry is undergoing a new revolution—this one, not fueled by new technology, but by the economy. When one comes to think of it, print is a 19th century technology. Paper has to be harvested from trees, then milled, printed on, assembled, stored in warehouses, and then shipped on trucks, incurring financial expenses as well as drawing upon the Earth's resources. As we are in a verbally literate society, quickly transitioning to a visually literate one, most people prefer to obtain their news from cable or satellite television networks, or from the Web. Large print shops have closed in the Miami area (and all across the country). Newspapers and magazines have announced layoffs and cutbacks.

But it's not all doom and gloom. There are still many opportunities for graphic designers who know print, Web and video. It’s easy to find creative graphic designers for print. It’s also easy to find good video production technicians. It’s not easy to find a creative person who can apply that creativity equally to print, Web and video. Therefore, the successful graphic designer will be fluent in Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark or InDesign, but also in Dreamweaver, Flash, After Effects and maybe even Final Cut.

Print will never totally go away, just like radio hasn’t been completely replaced by television. However, the current trend in communications technology is toward all-electronic, and predominantly visual media. If you’re entering school now, you’re getting in on the ground floor of this media revolution. If you’ve been around for a few years, it would be of benefit to learn the software and technology that drives electronic media, and embrace the changes that will affect visual communications in the 21st century.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Why is the Sky Blue?
Normally, I say thanks to my student for sending me a link, but in this case, my FIU student Sebastian actually produced this video and posted it on YouTube. Thanks, Sebastian!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Logos I Admire for their Expressiveness
While watching TV a few nights ago, I saw commercials for TravelAlaska.com and for ShareOurStrength.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating childhood hunger in America. I was impressed by the expressiveness of both logos.

TravelAlaska's logo fortuitously contains three capital A's. The artist replaced the apexes of the A's, already shaped like mountains, with snowcapped peaks. To further express the randomness of the heights of various peaks, the artist changed scale and baseline shift of each letter individually. To create stronger unity with the remaining letters, the artist manipulated the capital K as well as the feet of the outer capital A's to express the Rocky Mountains in Alaska. This logo embodies the Great American Outdoors, while at the same time attracting attention and building interest.

Share Our Strength's logo is truly special. Designed by SS+K, a New York-based strategic communications agency, the logo symbolizes people working together to stamp out the dreadful condition of childhood hunger in America. The positive shape represents an apple core, signifying food, the substance that will eliminate hunger, while the negative shapes are the profile of an adult and a child, the people who will work together to solve this social problem. The more one looks at this logo, the more one is drawn to how well it expresses all aspects of the organization's mission.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Calendar Website Inspires Artists
Thanks go out to my MDC student Danny for sending me this link to the Publikum Calendar website, a non-profit project originated during wartime Serbia in 1993. Its mission is to facilitate meaningful dialogue between artists and to inspire the exchange of ideas between diverse cultures.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Periodic Table of Typefaces and Typography Sites
A big "Thank You" goes out to my MDC student Norberto for sending me these typography-related links: Fantastic Typography Blogs, and 40 Most Inspiring 3D Type Designs.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Incredible Illustrations Created Using Typographic Characters
Special thanks go to my MDC student Rick for sending me these incredible illustrations advertising a Brazilian newspaper. The work was accomplished by using only type characters. In case you're too young to remember who these actors were, I've linked their images to their Wikipedia entries.