January 2010 Archives
Off topic, but exquisitely designed. Curtis Stone’s Workbench Cutting Board is like Photoshop for food. Tasty.
Ever thoughtful, Mike Rundle hits the nail on the head:
There are also many people not in the iPad’s intended audience who want one, myself included. We’d use it as a secondary computing device … The iPad is perfect for this.
The iPad is not made for you, it’s made for everyone else.
If you prefer your sketches digital, Danish designer Kevin Andersson has put together a fully editable PSD.
At a creative dead end? Looking for inspiration? Stüf Stuff might be just what you need; lots of links to lovely stuff.
Alice Rawsthorn, Object Lesson columnist for the New York Times Magazine, interviews H&FJ on the design of Vitesse, their latest - beautifully designed - slab serif.
Rawsthorn’s article - Wrestling With the World of Pixels - neatly draws together three key themes: firstly, it profiles the idiosyncratic partnership between Hoefler and Frere-Jones (keen rival bibliophiles); secondly, it briefly introduces Vitesse (an elegant contemporary slab serif); and thirdly - the most interesting third - it introduces the challenges contemporary type designers face when designing typefaces for the world of pixels (a challenge that cannot be underestimated).
[The] problem is that pixels operate differently on screen to ink on paper, so typefaces for the web need different qualities.
The bigger problem is all of the technology that delivers the font to the viewer. The web site is delivered by one cluster of hardware to another, often with a different operating system, different browser and, in some cases, different pieces of software. That’s a very long chain. The number of variations is almost bottomless, and the results are unreliable at best.
There’s no question that this unpredictability is the next challenge facing web typography and it’s interesting to hear two accomplished typeface designers’ thoughts on the topic.
Whilst it’s encouraging to see the emergence of services like Typekit, Typotheque’s Web Fonts Service and - imminently - Fontdeck, the one, critical problem that remains to be resolved in the web fonts equation is the almost infinite number of possible display scenarios well-crafted typefaces have to operate within.
One of the answers, as Hoefler and Frere-Jones articulate, is the need to craft typefaces for on screen delivery. (A challenge the duo have been wrestling with for years.)
It’s clear there remains some ground to cover, but it’s encouraging to see two designers of the caliber of H&FJ actively embracing the challenge.
In closing, Hoefler states:
We have lots of ideas, some have to do with design and some have to do with the technology that delivers the font … That’s the secret formula we can’t talk about yet.
With the rapidly evolving web fonts landscape, let’s hope that H&FJ’s mysterious secret formula isn’t too far off. There’s no doubt that a reliable solution that addresses the myriad complexities of web typography is needed. If it enables the display of H&FJ’s beautifully crafted typefaces, even better.
When can we expect it? Watch this space…
Engineered for responsive handling and a sporty ride, Vitesse is confident and stylish in any situation.
Priori Acute is the result of a series of experiments into three-dimensional letter form design inspired by 19th Century display and artistic printing types. [Its] design takes its cue from such diverse sources as the angles on the Stealth bomber and the visual conceit in the work of the Dutch graphic artist M C Escher.
The resulting forms are a playful exhibit of incongruous perspectives and twisting shapes that fold into themselves tricking the eye.
At first glance, and at small sizes, the effect is subtle and the original letter forms themselves remain intact, retaining the history of British early 20th century typography, which was an inspiration for the original Priori family. When blown up, however, the individual Priori Acute characters become beautifully animated, working well in selective situations such as initial caps and short headlines.
Winners of a D&AD Black Pencil for their work on Guardian Egyptian, Barnes and Schwartz were nominees for the Design Museum’s ‘Designer of the Year’ prize and were named two of the ‘40 Most Influential Designers Under 40’ in Wallpaper* in 2006.
Their small, but perfectly formed catalogue of typefaces is well worth exploring.
The quest for the perfect CMS has been – and is – on many web designers’ agendas.
You only have to build a few static web sites before you realise that there are more effective ways of managing and updating content than editing HTML markup by hand.
A new girl in town, Stacey, offers a somewhat different solution to the content management conundrum. Rather than storing your web site content in a traditional database; the open source framework uses folders containing plain text files, images and other resources, which are used to populate the site.
Anthony Kolber, the author of Stacey, states:
The Stacey project is based around two simple ideals: 1. To remove the requirement of HTML knowledge to manage site content; and 2. To remove the requirement of PHP knowledge to edit HTML templates.
These ideals cut to the core of the dilemma this particular content management system faces: Who is it for?
In order to update content on the site, you don’t have to know any HTML, but you need to be able to use FTP and find your way around a not entirely transparent file system, understand
key:value pairs and grasp the syntax of Markdown.
In order to edit the HTML templates, you don’t need PHP knowledge, but an understanding of boolean
if statements, loops, variables and the context in which they operate is expected.
Although finding people who might fit these particular profiles might seem hard, there are numerous sites, proving that these people actually do exist, and some of them even have rather good, Stacey powered sites.