Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

apr
27
2011

The Golden Gate Bridge's Accidental Color | NPR

Susan Stamberg reports, “You’d think the color of the most photographed bridge in the world would have a more exciting name than ‘international orange’ … Whatever you call it, it’s the vivid, unmistakable color of the Golden Gate Bridge, which turns 75 next year. But back in the 1930s, the now-iconic hue was a radical choice.”

A Royal Family Tree

At work, we succumbed to a little bit of royal wedding fever and put together a “family tree” of the British royal family. With her marriage, Kate Middleton becomes the wife of the second in line to the British throne …

apr
25
2011

One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10 | NYTimes.com

Stephanie Clifford writes, “With no standard sizes for women’s clothing from one store to the next, a handful of companies are tackling the problem of finding the right fit.” Be sure to check out the graphic of what different designers consider a “size 8.”

apr
18
2011

Produced on antique presses and characterized by heavily impressed lettering on thick paper, letterpress cards and stationery … are the graphic design equivalent of slow food.

— The New York Times Magazine, on letterpress (source)

apr
07
2011

Anatomy of a Design Decision

(If you can’t see the video above, it’s available on Vimeo.) Usability expert Jared Spool talks about design decisions and different “levels” of design. I saw him give a very similar talk at An Event Apart DC last fall. Interesting …

jan
23
2011

Secret Garden” Notecards

Over two consecutive “letterpress happy hours” at Pyramid Atlantic, I typeset and printed a set of notecards as a belated birthday gift / surprise for my Aunt Lulu. She started a backyard garden last year that she calls her “secret …

jan
22
2011

The Heart and the Bottle

(If you can’t see the video above, it’s available on Spike’s website.) A couple Christmases ago, Rob and I bought the Oliver Jeffers book Lost and Found for a friend’s young son (and this past Christmas bought him the sequel). …

jan
11
2011

Notabilia - Visualizing Deletion Discussions on Wikipedia

Interesting datavis project. “As Doc Searls recently put it, Wikipedia is, like the protocols of the Net, ‘a set of agreements.’ A Web protocol defines the way in which computers communicate with each other and make decisions to ensure successful transactions. Wikipedia policies have the same purpose, but instead of transactions between machines, they regulate human decisions. An important part of these decisions bear on what topics are suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia and what topics are not. The present project looks into the nature and shape of collective decisions about the inclusion of a topic in Wikipedia.” (Via Co.Design)

jan
08
2011

About 'Typeface'

Wisconsin Public Television’s Director’s Cut program had a nice interview last year with Justine Nagan regarding her documentary Typeface, about a wood type factory in Wisconsin. I haven’t seen the documentary itself yet (but really really want to), but if …

jan
05
2011

The art of the concert poster | TBD

DC concert poster designers talk about their artwork and and how to illustrate the sound of music.

dec
28
2010

Fun with Fractals

Recreational mathematician” Vi Hart has a fantastic series of videos explaining mathematical / geometric concepts via notebook doodles. She talks a mile a minute, but with such enthusiasm that it’s a lot of fun to watch her work. The video …

distellamap | ben fry

Visualizations of the code in various classic Atari games (Adventure, Air Raid, Combat, Pac-Man, Pitfall, Q-Bert), by Ben Fry. (Via Max)

Lego Letterpress And Other New Takes On A Classic Toy | The Picture Show | NPR

Mito Habe-Evans writes, “[G]raphic designers Sam Cox and Justin LaRosa [have] teamed up as Physical Fiction to bring Lego to the letterpress. They use smooth tiles as pixels in their video-game-like designs, snapping them on a flat Lego base mounted to wood. Paint is applied with a roller, and the whole thing is pressed to paper, leaving their inked impression.”

dec
15
2010

Last.fm Music Charts

I’m compiling a post of my favorite music of 2010, but for the moment I want to point out something cool that Last.fm is doing with its Best of 2010 rankings. Alongside each featured artist profile, the music tracking / …

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block | NYTimes.com

Great interactive map of Census data. “Browse local data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, based on samples from 2005 to 2009.”

dec
11
2010

It's Loud with the Shop Vac On

I’m kind of over the kinetic typography thing at this point — I think it jumped the shark for me after it started being used in seemingly every car commercial out there — but I’ll make an exception this time. …

dec
10
2010

The Redesign of the Twitter bird | design:related

Karen Horton writes, “You might already know Philip E. Pascuzzo as an exceptionally talented illustrator and book cover designer working under the studio name, Pepco. Last year, Phil worked on the redesign of the iconic Twitter bird with Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone, which has since started to take on a life of its own. Along with the stylized Twitter bird silhouette you may see on your favorite mobile device, Phil has contributed his illustrative talents to numerous branding materials related to the Twitter brand.”

dec
02
2010

Amanda Cox on Data Visualization

I have so much admiration for the work that the New York Times graphics, multimedia and interactive / database teams do. In the video above, infographics artist Amanda Cox speaks about some of the work she and her colleagues have …

nov
24
2010

Explain The Internet To A 19th Century British Street Urchin | Fast Company

In this latest installment, the author of Everything Explained Through Flowcharts travels to 19th (and 31st) century London — braving the plague, Jack the Ripper, and countless robbery attempts — to explain the 20th century’s most life-changing tool.” (Link via Dari)

nov
22
2010

Literary City

Brain Picker, curator / aggregator of beautiful links, shared this wonderful stop-motion video recently. “This Is Where We Live” was produced in 2008 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of publisher 4th Estate. (If you can’t see the video above, it’s …

nov
17
2010

It’s done in a second — and 34 years. It’s done in a second — and every experience, and every movie and every thing of my life that’s in my head.

— Paula Scher, of Pentagram, on her fast, instinctive design process (source)

nov
16
2010

PA Letterpress Calendar for sale! | Pyramid Atlantic Art Center

Self-promoting PSA: The letterpress calendar project I worked on is now available for sale online. </selfpromotion>

nov
06
2010

What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.

— Ray Eames (source)

nov
05
2010

Best Practices of Combining Typefaces | Smashing Magazine

Douglas Bonneville writes, “Creating great typeface combinations is an art, not a science. Indeed, the beauty of typography has no borders. While there are no absolute rules to follow, it is crucial that you understand and apply some best practices when combining fonts in a design. When used with diligence and attention, these principles will always yield suitable results. Today we will take a close look at some the best practices for combining typefaces — as well as some blunders to avoid.”

Photos as Web Content | Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox

Nielsen reports on the results of his eyetracking studies: “Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to ‘jazz up’ Web pages.”