Archive | January, 2011

Vacation’s over!

31 Jan

Back to work! Here we go again….

Photo taken in Superior, Wisconsin. October, 2010.


I think I’m in love

28 Jan

Introducing Bullen, a new typeface by Seattle designer and typographer Juliet Shen. I learned about Bullen while interviewing Shen about Lushootseed, another typeface she recently designed. Bullen is named after Henry Lewis Bullen (1857 – 1938), the printer and librarian who established the Typographic Library and Museum at the American Type Founders Company (ATF) in Elizabeth, New Jersey. ATF was once this country’s largest manufacturer of metal type. The library’s collection is now held at Columbia University in New York.

But never mind that. Just look at that ampersand. There’s a lovely pilcrow. And that double dagger. The italic x…! My only regret? I’d like a lighter weight.

I tried to get my friends on Facebook to persuade me against buying the typeface, to come to my office and confiscate my credit card. But they egged me on. That’s what I get for having so many friends with the same illness….

Well, that’s a complicated question….

24 Jan

I’m all about useful flowcharts. And this one may be of interest to my students, who are trying to design their way though one brutal economy.

Every now and again a student asks me what they should charge for their work. Secretly, it’s my least favorite question, because it’s impossible to answer, and I always feel bad about my inability to be anywhere near authoritative on the subject. There are just too many variables. My suggestion is usually to consult the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines, which (finally!) was updated this past fall. But what if money is out of the question? Well then, you’ve got some questions to ask yourself. Jessica Hische, of Daily Drop Cap fame, guides you though the conversation right here. As she says, “you may end up broke, but you’ll be knee deep in promised organs.” True that.

My only bone to pick with her advice is the warning against doing work pro bono for bands, which has resulted in some of the most fun and freedom I’ve experienced in my design career. Of course, my personal flowchart is complicated on that one, as I married the drummer.


21 Jan

I always knew I was surrounded by Johnsons & Andersons. But, as you can find out by looking at this National Geographic map of American surnames, so is nearly everyone else. Thanks to former student Sara Then for sharing!

p.s. You are reading my 60th post. And there’s a lot more to come….

If you find yourself at the Quad Cities International Airport in Moline, Illinois…

12 Jan

… then you must be sure to visit the art gallery, which is run by the Quad City Arts center. My artwork will be up through February. You don’t even have to endure a full body scan to view it. Although there will be no reception, due to security concerns.

Art. It’s dangerous stuff!

“It is a book meant for holding and reading, curled up in your favourite chair”

11 Jan

I finally received my copy of Marian Bantjes’ new book, I Wonder, in the mail yesterday. The author writes “it is a book meant for holding and reading, curled up in your favourite chair.” I like that it is smaller and more manageable than most self-indulgent modern design tomes. Not that this one isn’t self-indulgent anyway: how many books these days have gilt-edged pages? Or a purple satin bookmark? Not many.

Bantjes, who lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia, has been one of my favorite designers to watch over the last few years. I think she’s at her best when she’s creating fanciful, ornate typography. Check out her ornament font, Restraint.

My students know that I’m usually a fan of keeping it simple and clean. In critique, I often suggest the removal of clutter: a.k.a. decorations that seem to serve no purpose. Furniture. But if you must have your ornament, take note!

I haven’t finished the book in its entirety. But here are a few of my favorite spreads so far, starting with the endpapers, half-title, and title pages:

I studied the title page above for some time. Well, it is map-like . . . .

Dedications, below:

Made of shredded wheat and granola:

And my favorite section: a diagram describing the actions surrounding the assembly of two Ikea bookcases.

A useful resource for a brand new year.

6 Jan

I’m breaking up with you, unruly scraps of paper! (Though I will miss the impromptu illustration my daughter adds to you.) I’ve been using a new method for tracking my responsibilities this week, and it goes by the name of TeuxDeux. In the words of the Exclusive Company, “Say it with me!” See?

Admittedly, the very beginning of January is a slow time for me, so I haven’t tested this application under extreme conditions. But I admire the simplicity, the design (by Swiss Miss, who describes its creation in collaboration with studiomate FictiveKin here), and the price (free). There’s even a section at the bottom to list larger goals–resolutions, if you will.

I wish you all the best in the year to come. I think the poet Rainer Maria Rilke said it really well:

“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”