A Poster with Emphasis

September 20, 2012
I always enjoy the unusual and came upon this poster image on Creative Bloq. I'm not sure who did it but thanks!


Brazilian Suburb Gets Perspective

March 28, 2012

Madrid Spain based artist collective Boa Mistura recently gave a small corner of Brazil one very colorful and meaningful typographic makeover. Working with the inhabitants, including the children of Brasilândia Vila, a poor suburb on the outskirts of São Paulo, the team took the narrow streets and covered them with vibrant, colorful paint, leaving only the beautiful words beleza, amor, doçura, firmeza and orgulho (beauty, love, sweetness, firmness and pride) painted on the walls. The bold white typography is drawn in perspective down the narrow corridors, revealing itself to passerby for only a moment as they walk past the one location where the lines merge into the form of words.

To see more, check out the website.

Thou Shalt Commit Adultery

January 16, 2012
Bob Barker, a.k.a. Robert Barker to those who are not so close to him, was a printer to James the first of England and printer to Queen Elizabeth the first. He was in fact, the printer of the King James Bible, the only version that some say assure your eternal salvation. However, Mr. Barker either had a sense of humor or a mistress on the side and released another version which were eventually confiscated and burned. Only 11 of these remain in print somewhere today. It has been labelled by some as the "Wicked Bible" and it is all due to an accident or the omission of one little curious word—"not".

The Wicked Bible, The Adulterous Bible, or the Sinners' Bible (depending upon who you speak with) was published in 1631 by Bob and his mate Martin Lucas, both royal printers in London. It was intended to be a reprint of the King James Bible.

As a result of this careless mistake, which anyone could have made, about a year later when it was discovered the pair were fined £300 (or roughly $51,700 today) and they had their printer license revoked. The fact that this edition of the Bible contained such a flagrant mistake outraged Charles l of England and George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury. They obviously had no sense of humor! They are quoted as saying:
I knew the tyme when great care was had about printing, the Bibles especially, good compositors and the best correctors were gotten being grave and learned men, the paper and the letter rare, and faire every way of the beste, but now the paper is nought, the composers boyes, and the correctors unlearned.

But here is my question. If indeed only 11 copies remain mysteriously in print somewhere, why is it that adultery statistics are so high around the world? Surely people are getting pirated copies of their own. I have searched online for a copy but can't find one. If anyone knows how to obtain a copy of this, please let me know. I want to follow the written word and ALL of the commandments, even if some ancient King and Archbishop didn't get the joke.

I prefer not to call it the Wicked Bible because all of God's word is inspired by Him. I vote changing the name to "The Lucky Bible." What do you think?

Just My Type—Book Review

January 12, 2012

I accidentally ran across this book when I was supposed to be doing Christmas shopping and fell in love with it. I wanted to share it with you all, as it is not only entertaining but educational as well. The author mixes a lot of good ol' British humour with interesting stories and tidbits of gossip relating to type and provides an engaging voice on a topic (of course) close to my heart.

So…what does your favorite font say about you? Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product we buy. But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is responsible for the staid practicality of Times New Roman, the cool anonymity of Arial, or the irritating levity of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)? Typefaces are now 560 years old, but we barely knew their names until about twenty years ago when the pull-down font menus on our first computers made us all the gods of type. Beginning in the early days of Gutenberg and ending with the most adventurous digital fonts, Simon Garfield explores the rich history and subtle powers of type. He goes on to investigate a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seeming ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and exactly why the all-type cover of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was so effective. It also examines why the "T" in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters and how Gotham helped Barack Obama into the White House. A must-have book for the design conscious, Just My Type's cheeky irreverence will also charm everyone who loved Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Schott's Original Miscellany.

Check it out. You won't be disappointed!

Trajan is the Movie Font

January 11, 2012


Why Does This Work?

August 13, 2011
Okay…it won't be long before university classes start up again and to help me get in the mood of teaching, I thought I would put out a little question to see if any of you can guess the answer. Why does this font work for this image? I will reveal the answer after you get a chance to look at it and comment. Any takers?


Chalk One Up for Hand-Lettering

August 12, 2011
With an ever increasing dependence upon the digital media, the art form of hand-lettered type is a dying skill. I came across the work of Dana Tanamachi recently and was impressed by her hand rendered signage in chalk (another dying art form). While we still see evidence of chalk art on metropolitan streets, its temporary nature makes it a media that many can't be bothered to perfect. The temporal nature of this media, combined with the fact that it takes hours to perfect a good hand for lettering makes the numbers of practitioners even smaller.

Dana Tanamachi is a graphic designer and custom chalk letterer living in Brooklyn, New York. She currently works at Louise Fili Ltd. So, if there are any type enthusiasts out there and you are tired of digital type, check it out and let it inspire you.

Nagging Doubt "The Pull" from Dana Tanamachi on Vimeo.


Comic Sans is for DOGS and CHILDREN

August 7, 2011
Let me go on record here as saying that I despise Comic Sans. Most non-designers know of this font and love it, whereas most GOOD designers know of it and hate it. Vincent Connare designed this font for Microsoft in 1995 and it was for one purpose only. He had been given a beta version of Microsoft Bob, a comic software package designed primarily for young users. The package featured a dog called Rover (very original and creative name), with message balloons set in Times New Roman. Connare thought Times New Roman was unsuited to the comic context and felt it needed something more suited to comics. He never intended the font to be used with anything other than a dog named Rover and children (who don't know any better).

When he designed Comic Sans, there was no expectation of including the font in applications other than those intended for children. But Comic Sans could not be made ready in time for the release of Microsoft Bob, so in August 1995, the font was released in the Windows 95 Plus Pack. Later, it was included as one of the system fonts for the OEM versions of Windows 95. It was also used for a comic movie programme called '3D Movie Maker.' For some really strange and evil reason it currently ships with both Windows and Mac OS. My conclusion is Connare must have been sleeping with somebody at the top. Why else would it become so popular?

Regular people who do not know better and are not typographers or graphic designers choose this font because they claim to like it. Would somebody please explain it better to me. I just don't get it? Evidently, the main designer at Twitter tweeted that the most server space is used by complaints about:
  1. Airlines
  2. Comic Sans
  3. Justin Bieber
So not even The Bieber can beat comic sans! What in &£!#! is the world coming to?

Check (it) Mate

July 18, 2011

Dash It All

July 17, 2011
“Oh, dash it all”, sounds very British doesn't it? Well to be honest I'm sick of it all. Everywhere I turn I see the dash in the most unnatural of places and it drives me batty. Why can't the the most advanced of all living species get this right? Why is it so difficult to understand? Do they not teach this in elementary school?

  • THE HYPHEN (-) is a short little thing and should be very sparingly. It is used to combine compound words together and too often at the end of a line in a paragraph. This is it. If you find it elsewhere it is an imposter and should be tossed out. If you don't know what a compound word is, then look it up!

  • THE MINUS SIGN (–) is slightly longer than the hyphen, usually the same length as the en dash, which we'll get to in a moment. The minus sign is usually designed to be the same length as the plus and equals signs. In most fonts these are usually monospaced along with the numbers for ease when being used in tabular formats. Even if you are mathematically challenged, like myself, there is still no excuse for using the hyphen in it's place.

  • THE EN DASH (–) gets its name because it is approximately the width of the capital N in any particular font. Use the en dash when indicating duration, such as when you could substitute the word "to." You can set the en dash with a little space on either side if you wish, but do not use a full space. It makes you look more ignorant than you may be. (What am I talking about, you've been using the hyphen all these years) For example: Use the en dash from 9–5 when you are at work.

  • THE EM DASH (—) gets its name because it is approximately the width of the capital M in any particular font. You probably already figured this out, if you have read this far. As a rule, the em dash is twice as long as the en dash. The em dash is used in much the same way a colon or set of parentheses is used—it can show an abrupt change in thought or be used where a period is too strong and a comma too weak. An em dash should never be used with spaces on either side although, clearly, many people are unaware of this rule as well.

  • THE MACRON (ˉ) is a diacritic used to mark long vowels in many languages such as Latvian, Lithuanian, Hausa and Fijian, among others. The macron is also necessary for Romanized Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese and Sanskrit. This dash, if you can call it a dash, is usually placed in the font to hang above a lower case letter. If you ever need to use a macron, you may need to do some special kerning and baseline shifting to position it correctly. However, since most Americans fail to speak proper English this is used very seldom, if ever.

  • THE UNDERSCORE (_) is another diacritic required for many African and Native American languages. It is also useful for some purposes in English and is becoming fairly common in e-mail addresses. The underscore is sometimes used as an underdot in romanized Arabic and Hebrew. You may never have a need to use this dash for underlining because most text applications have a built-in underscore feature. The problem with this is that people tend to use this to emphasize their message, which not only makes it look like a hyperlink, but makes them appear stupid. There is no need to use it in normal conversation.

Okay, you might say, but how do I find these? Well…I'm so glad you asked.

Now that you have been truly educated, please try to follow the basic rules. Life will be much better for all of us. Thanks!

Me, Who Else?

Erich Shelton I am a retired adjunct professor from the University of Southern Indiana, located in Evansville. My favourite subjects to teach are obviously ‘Typography’ as well as ‘Graphic Design History’, 'Senior Seminar' and ‘Computer Illustration.’