This is not Helvetica

Helvetica

We’re amused this morning by an entry John posted in his web log regarding an image of the word HELVETICA1 set in a serif face. This reminds us of the Rene Magritte painting of a pipe “This is not a pipe.” Referring to the fact that it is not a pipe, but only a painted representation2 of a pipe.

1Arial is also not Helvetica.
2An image on the web is not even a painted representation of a pipe, but a photograph of a painting that has been digitized into tiny dots of coloured light.

Light Text on a Dark Background

Not that we’re complaining , but we’re not sure why anyone would choose to put a normal weight light coloured text over a dark coloured background. A notable offender that we’ve noticed recently is Metadesign1.
We would like to note that our poor eyes are not what they once were so for the sake of the children if you’re about to choose a light over dark combination, we feel we must implore you to reconsider.

1After the fall of the Berlin Wall MetaDesign founder Erik Spiekermann was asked to redesign the Berlin Transport map and signage to corporate symbol and logotype. Spiekermann has written about type in many books and articles including Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works.

Are You a Geek?

I am 24% Geek according to the Geek Test at fuali.com.
My 24% is less than Jake’s 40%, John’s 39%, the same as Sarah’s 24% and more than Susan’s 18%. If anyone is actually counting.
Update: Not being entirely satified with the fuali.com Geek Test results John and Sarah have taken it upon themselves to write their own version of the Geek Test.
You are 39% geek.
You are a geek liason, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.
Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

John Has Geek Leanings

Since James Traficant1 has now been expelled from Congress and is most likely on his way to jail we thought John’s searchable archive of James Traficant one minute speeches was very timely. This is especially true since less than 24 hours after his expulsion Traficant’s own web site had been removed and the speeches have disappeared as well.

1Traficant’s hair has been the subject of much conjecture as to whether it was a hair piece or not since it stands about four inches from the top of his brow and thought too unruly to be a rug. It has been widely reported lately that during his booking at the Summit County Jail in Akron he was forced to acknowledge that it was a hair piece.

Japanese Ice Cream

Ice Cream is a mainstay in our house on these hot summer days, but we’re going to avoid the ox tongue or the eel flavor and stick to vanilla. Thank you very much.
We’ve found ourselves thinking about how interesting it is that the Japanese adapt western style food to their own taste, much like we’ve adapted Chinese or Japanese food to our western taste (and don’t think we haven’t because we have).

Underground Books

I recently ordered a couple books about the London Underground from amazon.co.uk and I thought I’d share. I haven’t got the books yet so I’m not sure if the books are up to your standards — you fussy bastards.
1. Mind the Gap – I think this is full of photos of the unique and unknown aspects of the Underground. Sounds Pretty Interesting though.
2. London’s Disused Underground Stations & Abandoned Stations on Londons Underground – I’m a fool for hidden and unused cob webby places and these two look like they may satisfy that.
3. Mr Beck’s Underground Map – I’ve talked about this book here before which gives some of the history of the evolution of the famous Tube map.

Stop Stealing Sheep

While in art school one of the books that was my production class’ reading list was Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works by Eric Spiekerman.
Like may books that I was asked to read in school I found I wasn’t able to get to it.
The book’s title refers to a quote by Fredric Goudy where when presented with an award certificate done by hand in black lettering said that the caligrapher could probally do just as well by stealing sheep as by kerning type.
I was urged to go back and research more about the history and mechanics of type when, at the recent AIGA conferance typography challange, I found out just how lacking my knowledge of type was.

HandWriting

I used to look at the expansive loops and the long swishes of the cursive of classmates in school and wish that I could write like that too. I was one of those kids who would revert to printing, but not because I didn’t know how to produce cursive letters, but because printing letter forms was much more in my control and I liked that.
At the AIGA event last Tuesday there were a couple doing handwriting analysis. You were simply asked to write a paragraph in a blank book (provided courtesy Crane Paper) and hand it to them. The accuracy was debatable in a general sort of way, but this got me thinking about old handwriting and how expressive tails and loops were a much more valued form of artisitic expression.