Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Day in Design, December 2010

So today I carried my camera around and snapped photos of things that caught my eye. It was really fun, and a great exercise as well - it kept me constantly thinking about the many designs and design elements around me. (It also inspired me to become the proud owner of a Flickr account.)

Here's the best of the bunch! I'm hoping to treat you all to this little bit of self-indulgence about once a month.

(This make take a minute to load.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Font Hatred

My boss recently sent me a link to this article:

The shocking conclusion? Font matters! (Gee, do you think?)

But what actually struck me was this quote:
"Please, for the love of Gutenberg, do not despoil the facade of this wonderful new building by setting the 40-foot "Silver Spring Library" sign in Arial," pleaded Brad.

Goodness, what a reaction! But this isn't at all unusual - people who care about fonts tend to care A LOT. Case in point: the unbridled hatred of Comic Sans:

Personally, I find this hilarious. I mean, Comic Sans is a goofy font, but I think it's goofy on purpose, so what's wrong with that? Of course, like any type of humor, it's appropriate in some situations and not in others.

Here's an article about why designers hate the font:

And a humorous rebuttal:

I rarely see a good objection to Comic Sans itself, just objections to its ubiquity and comments about situation-appropriateness.

Which brings me back to Arial. I was surprised to find that while Arial does not have a web page devoted to its destruction, it seems to be just as widely despised.

In fact, I found the objections to Arial much more coherent:

My first thought in response to all these objections was "Ridiculous! I don't hate Arial!" But actually, I AM kindof sick of it. I like sans serif fonts for many library applications, but I always find myself looking for another font before I'll go with Arial, especially when it comes to large lettering.

I don't know if we'll ever be able to get away from Arial overuse. It's easy to read and widely available. Also, some of our publications were born using Arial Narrow, and it's been extremely difficult to convince my coworkers to consider changing the font. Sigh.

I'll leave you with this brief article about fonts not to use:

Now, I think "never" is too strong a word - I use these fonts sometimes - but I still think it's worth reading the article, being aware of the opinions, and starting to think about your font choices.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Interlude: What I'm Reading

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

I actually just finished the second book, The Broken Kingdoms. But reading it made me want to reread the first book, so I'm reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms right now.

I'm a huge fan of these books. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms swept me completely off my feet - I was carried away by the story and the characters. At the risk of putting off any male readers, that book has everything a girl could want in a story. Actually, it might be okay if the male readers are put off; I always felt like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was a distinctly feminine book. I don't mean in a trashy Twilight kind of way - the main character is a great example of a strong female lead - but the themes, the obstacles, and the inner action create the feeling of a story by women, about women, and for women. It's fantastic.

The Broken Kingdoms is only tangentially related, so The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms can stand on its own; you could stop there if you wanted. The second book explores the world and the system of magic in greater detail. Personally, I think the first book is superior, but I still enjoyed the second book, and I'm excited for the third book to appear.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Graphic-Design-Nerd Alert

Warning: these are very nerdy. I've selected some specific articles from some of these, but the entire blogs are worth perusing if you're interested in this kind of thing.

I was laughed at yesterday for saying that I was reading "an interesting article about typography," but I thought this was fascinating.

Two great articles from Great information and tips for libraries looking to rebrand.

More about branding

Bonus link just for fun!
I am a huge Lego fan, so this makes me happy in so many ways: