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Archive for the ‘Typography’ Category

Well, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from posting on this blog, but what better way to come back than with another witty holiday skewering of life as an advertiser by the folks over at World Wide Wadio. Last year I enjoyed their “Make the Logo Bigger” video. This year, they have a more musical take on things with a rousing Christmas carol created by committee. Spare but well-timed animated type accompanies this timely commentary on the frustration of the cut & paste client. Enjoy!

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Miller offers an excellent recap of the Superbowl commercials, a conversation I can imagine went on in very similar fashion in Monday-morning back rooms all over the country. I only wonder why he didn’t poke fun at the deliberately offensive Panda and Ramesh ads, which left me staring blankly at the tv wondering why in the world anyone would spend 2.6 million apiece on such utter crap.

And because it’s Friday and because I’ve been saving it, here’s an excellent cartoon from Rhymes with Orange just for us typography geeks. Enjoy. 

Rhymes with Orange

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LabelOne of the frustrating things about being a trained graphic designer is that the eye is forever opened to all the really bad design out there. All the rules that are beaten into college design students are broken on a regular basis by “hobby designers” or people who just don’t know any better, or worse, by people who were supposedly trained in the correct way of doing things but are too lazy to do it right. As a result, a drive down the street can be a painful experience, bombarded by billboards, signs and store windows in which some of the worst advertising and typography can be found. A flip through a magazine can be a harrowing experience as cliché typefaces leap off the pages and garish photo effects cause one’s hair to stand on end.

LabelDon’t get me wrong – I understand that everyone makes mistakes. All designers have had that teeth-grating moment when a finished product comes back from the printer and a painfully obvious mistake – a missed inch mark where a quote mark should be, a typo, a lonely widow at the end of a long paragraph, a mysteriously shifted graphic in a montage – comes back to haunt. But the really frustrating stuff is the kind that crops up from all those people who just know they can design it themselves, no need to hire a designer, how hard can it be… and we end up with newspaper ads designed in Microsoft Word, complete with clip art.

LabelSo today I offer a delicious solution from the Design Police. 5 pages of label templates, created just for you. Go out and educate, vindicate, whatever. While some of these labels sound like a lot of the comments I used to get from typography teachers (Craft your type! Use a grid! Watch your rivers!), many of them are totally hilarious because they’re true.

LabelOf course, as the teeny tiny disclaimer at the bottom reads, use these labels responsibly. Whatever that may mean to you. 

Found on Veer.

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CIA Type City project

Some students at the Cleveland Institute of Art used typefaces to recreate famous Cleveland landmarks. They were scored on the relevancy of the typeface chosen, retaining the character of the typeface within the image, and the accuracy of the representation. The result is a series of gorgeous renderings created entirely out of typography. This kind of project should be a standard for typography classes… it has to be more inspirational and useful than some of the projects I was assigned (150 different layouts for a 20-word travel ad, memorize and be able to identify 50 different typefaces by sight). What a great way to explore the beauty of type, the structure, weight, individual characteristics of each letter form, and the flavor of a particular typeface in relation to a historical artifact. Bravo to Veer for sponsoring the project.

Also from Veer today is an item to put on my “how the heck did they do that” list. Pepper Melon created a short animation for the Pictoplasma Animation Festival using ink in water, but somehow creating weird little monster and monkey faces with hard edges. My guess is careful masking and layered animation – but we may never know. Spooky.

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An excellent list of typography in motion as the primary graphic element in video was posted on Designer Daily recently. In reviewing the videos listed, I appreciate the focus on the dynamics of the words, the synchronization to the audio track and the willingness for the most part to let go of additional graphics.

The beauty of type is emphasized, and the motion mirrors the emotion of the voice or music through color, movement and effects.

However. When all of these videos are viewed in series, I noticed that the concept of type being used in this way has already been made repetitive. With few exceptions (the Citizen Cope animation being a gorgeous example of one that steps outside the mold), each of these animations presents the words as a continually rotating or shifting stack of words that slide together niftily into a neat little puzzle. Top of one word slides and rotates to meet the sides of the next four words, which turn again to meet the bottom of the next word, perhaps with a stripe thrown in for added strength. Then to push the 3D illusion, the first set of word blocks is maybe tilted in space while the next set of words clatter into place at an imagined 90˚ angle, which then rotates away again to accept the next sentence.

I love that type is being explored in motion mediums. But creatives – be creative! There is more than one way to make motion type dynamic.

Found on Veer.

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VSP commercial

A TV spot for VSP Vision Care has caught my eye several times as I click through the commercials on my TiVo. Using elegantly animated type to illustrate an outdoor scene, the concept is “Words can’t describe what your eyes bring to life.” However, I think the beauty of the typographic world is almost more pleasing than the scene itself once it is revealed. A well-executed and stylishly crafted concept – although it did not do well to get the company’s name in my memory, which left me searching for 1/2 an hour this morning for commercials featuring animated type.

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Innocuous X

Do you think about the letter “x” very often? Do you notice when it crops up in conversation, slang, product names, entertainment? Do you consider the meaning of this well-used but oft-forgotten letter? For most people, not unless X is the letter of the day on Sesame Street and they have a 2-year-old.

However, David Barringer thinks about it… a… lot. In his opinion, X is the king of letters – a symbol that can represent a signature, a state of being, a number, danger, God and much more. Read it. Maybe you’ll look at the alphabet a little differently today.

Found on AIGA

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