28 July 2011

27 July 2011

...a mystery

21 July 2011

...Julian Koenig

If you can't tell a good story, nobody's going to listen. So if your job is grabbing the attention of millions, you'd be forgiven for making everything sound flipping awesome. Something cover star of the latest It's Nice That has no trouble with; George Lois - self professed saviour of both Esquire Magazine and MTV and all-round purveyor of hot shit advertising. He's a captivating voice alright, and as the editorial preface of issue 6 recognises (in more eloquent prose than my own), the colours of a bent truth are often more engaging than the black and white of fact. But like all great stories, there's often more to articulate anecdotal gymnastics than meets the eyes, ears, nose and throat (one for all the doctors in the house).

If you're 'in the business' or enjoy US-centric podcasts, chances are you're already on this like stink on a monkey. Reading the piece on Lois reminded me of a rather fantastic episode of This American Life #383 - Origin Story, in which a second player in the legendary 'Mad Men' period of advertising, Julian Koenig, is given a well-earned place in the spotlight, revealing his important but often overlooked part in the story. It's an amazing listen. I've already said enough.

Download the podcast from iTunes or This American Life's website. And if you're feeling generous, donate here to continue This American's long Life.

20 July 2011

14 July 2011

...Comic Sans

Comic Sans is a funny old typeface isn't it? Throwing grown designers into fits of rage from its mere mention, whilst aunts make 'fun' barbecue invites and feel good about themselves, empowered by the act of design. There are many many many many websites, books, articles, and opinions which cover the subject of Comic Sans in far greater and articulate detail than I have pith for, so I'll present my case and quickly go away.

Oh look over there - a hornet's nest!

I've got nothing against Comic Sans. I used to. I once made a bunch of stickers reading Destroy Comic Sans. I'd slap them on anything that would, my goodness, DARE adorn this DISGUSTING typeface. B.L.E.U.R.G.H! I now feels it was just a little posturing from a younger me wanting to show my design talent, threatened by your aunt's ability to create her own invites advertising her alfresco steak-grilling talent.

I understand the myriad reasons why Connare's typeface is so very hated: it's a Microsoft system font; its colour is a terrible mess; it's horribly misused, to name just three. But instead of letting these things bother me, I've accepted there's very little I, you or even we can do about its proliferation. We can argue and debate in circles until our pointing fingers adopt rigor mortis, but there are far more type culprits out there with bad kerning and ridiculous ligatures to get het up about.

So now when I see Comic Sans, it makes me smile. Not for the reasons that so many people who use it may think it does, but because it triggers fellow designers to get very cross and lose their shit for five excellent minutes. Funny thing is, I probably agree with nearly all that's getting blurted out, but the cantankerous old man inside is thoroughly enjoying himself whilst the typographical shorthand for bad design argument unfolds before me.

So, if you're interested, here's some loose rules-of-thumb to help overcome the Comic Sans rage:
  1. accept it brings joy and personal empowerment to a lorra lorra people
  2. realise it's not the font's fault, but the 'designer' using it
  3. know that without it, graphic designers would need another face to lambast and from which feel joy and personal empowerment
  4. be thankful Apple's Sand never got a foothold
  5. enjoy its constant middle finger to our community

Linked from the bancomicsans.com site, I saw an interesting Kickstarter project for a Comic Sans documentary by Scott Hutcheson. The teaser trailer states "No pleasure can be derived from using Comic Sans". Well… Just two weeks ago I spotted a plaque embedded in the pavement along Torquay's Princess Gardens. The designer had used Comic Sans, inset in solid bronze. Bronze. That's around for decades. Maybe centuries. Hahahahahaha!

The pleasure's all mine.

11 July 2011