Best Typography Websites Showcases Fonts in Action
Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 12, 2014
Designer Jeremiah Shoaf showcases webfonts in action in his ongoing blog series, “The Best Typography-Based Sites…” Every month, Shoaf showcases his favorite websites, discusses the typography behind each, and provides links to both the websites and the foundries featuring the webfonts. The series is avaluable tool for designers — the web fonts are shown in action, and a wide range of websites are covered. For example, “The Best Typography-Based Sites of October 2014,” covers sites created for a design and illustration studio, a law firm, a restaurant, and a magazine.
The blog is hosted on TypeWolf, Shoaf’s website determined to “help designers choose the perfect font for their next design project.” (Earlier articles in “The Best…” series are hosted on Type and Grids.) For those who need a daily inspiration, Typewolf publishes a “Site of the Day” as well. A comprehensive resources page includes learning resources, links to purchasing and hosting webfonts, foundries and type designer, blogs, forums, organizations, and books.
Below: The Best Typography-Based Sites of October included this elegant design for Violaine & Jérémy, utilizing Stanley, Regular, and Caslon typefaces. Image used with permission.
Exhaustion, Obsolescence, and Self-Worth
Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 24, 2014
In May, designer Jason Santa Maria published an article speculating on what course his career (and life) would take should he ever stop designing websites. Considering the impressive trajectory of his career, the article was notable. Santa Maria is a Senior Designer at Vox Media, founded of Typedia and A Book Apart, formerly worked as creative director of An Event Apart and Typekit, served as an AIGA/NY vice president, authored On Web Typography, and currently teaches at SVA’s Interactive Design program. What would make an individual with such extraordinary experience question his future in his chosen field?
In “What’s Next,” Santa Maria explains that he’s preparing for the possibility that someday he won’t be able to (or interested in) continuing his career in web design: “I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that there will be a time when I don’t want to, or can’t — due to fatigue or professional obsolescence — work in this industry anymore.” He worries that his own fascination with bygone skills, such as handset typography, and his drive to explore deeply into topics will leave him off-guard as technology progresses. He concludes by speculating that “[f]lexibility in work habits and in thinking, rather than languages and programs, might be our most useful skills.”
However, in a follow-up article, “Correspondence with an Ex-Designer,” Santa Maria reveals a deeper disquiet that lead to his soul searching. A reader named Ruth responded to his earlier article by describing her journey from designer to sheep farmer, reassuring him that “(w)hat’s next — all depends on you, what motivates you and what makes you happy — there will always be new challenges, but that is what life is all about...” In his response, Santa Maria spoke of his “exhaustion [that] comes from the industry often taking more from us than it gives” and his growing sense of disconnect. Again, he found that Ruth’s reply was on target: “Keep working on it — it is important to you, in your own personal development — that development is important — not the expectations of anyone else. Self-worth is so important.”
With the daunting external factors facing creatives — marketplace pressures, client expectations, the unceasing need to up one’s skills — the exchange between Santa Maria and Ruth is particularly reassuring. It highlights the commonality of professional burn-out, and provides some insight into the personal strength individuals can draw from. Here’s to hoping that Santa Maria continues to find his inspiration, and in doing so, share his story.
Photograph of Jason Santa Maria used with permission.
For the Font- and Dog-Obsessed
Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 22, 2014
A fun diversion was published by William Wegman, the artist whose iconic portraits of his dogs Man Ray and Fay Ray brought the Weimaraner dog breed to new heights of popularity in the 1980s. In mid September, Wegman posted on Facebook a short video of his latest crew of Weimeraners patiently modeling letterforms. Up to four dogs stretch, nose to tail, and curl their lanky bodies to create the letterforms as Wegman recites the alphabet.
Wegman has a long history of featuring his dogs in videos. One of his first productions from 1975, Dog Duet, shows Man Ray and Fay Ray oddly staring about the studio space with great intensity. Only at the very end of the short film does Wegman reveal his trick: a tennis ball, moving about off camera, to the great interest of the dogs. An earlier film clip, Spelling Lesson (1973) has Wegman correcting Man Ray’s spelling. It’s an intriguing peek into the wonderful relationship between the artist and his muse.
Dorm Room Tycoon: Information & Inspiration
Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 07, 2014
Dorm Room Tycoon sounds like a startup founded by a 20-something cobbling together the next big Internet sensation. In fact, it’s a collection of podcasts with innovators in design, technology, and business. A wide range of design disciplines is covered, featuring the likes of Jeffrey Zeldman (webdesign and coding), Erik Spiekermann (typography), Swiss Miss (communication design), and Jason Saint Maria (interactive design). The interviews are a relaxed exchange, as DRT founder William Channer and the interviewee seem to wander from topic to topic. Listening to the podcasts is rather like overhearing two very bright people having a comfortable conversation.
Channer started DRT in 2011. As a creative and mobile product designer based in London, he was frustrated by the dearth of solid advice on building a startup business. Reading profiles of entrepreneurs in technology publications exacerbated his frustration, since most articles focused on irrelevant life stories, or perpetuated origin myths. Channer decided to conduct his own interviews that would focus on questions about process, drawing out practical advice and life experience. He chose the name, “Dorm Room Tycoon,” to reflect the idea of starting small and doing something big.
Channer has applied what he’s learned from the DRT interviewees. Just this year, he launched Panda, a web app and Chrome extension, which provides a steady stream of news and inspiration. The web app provides a split screen with news feed of article links on technology, design, and job listings on the left, and thumbnails streamed from portfolio sites Behance, Dribbble, and Awwwards on the right. The news feed streams from technology and design aggregators, such as Hacker News, sidebar.io, and Layervault Designer News. Users can add the Chrome extension to their browser window, book mark the web app, and subscribe to Panda’s weekly newsletter.
Below: The speakers featured in Dorm Room Tycoon are tagged by color codes: red for business, green for technology, and gold for design.
Image © Doorm Room Tycoon. Used with permission.
Skip the Rage: Jessica Hische on Dealing with Ripoffs
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 17, 2014
Lettering and illustration rockstar Jessica Hische is also the author of warm, witty treatises on working and thriving as a creator. Her most recent article deals with the thorny issue of ripoffs. A designer wrote about discovering imitators – some working for large campaigns for major companies – and asked Hische “…how you personally deal. Frankly, I'm flattered and simultaneously depressed at any given moment and try not to think about it.”
Hische’s counsel is her typical blend of humor and practical advice. In describing the typical sequence of outraged reaction followed by regret and a more formal communication with the infringer, she recommends skipping the rage. She also distinguishes between an individual who is copying an artists’ style versus a designer or agency actually reusing work without permission. In the former case, Hische points out that the imitator may be inexperienced, and she advises educating them about the inadvisability of copying someone else’s style.
In the case of a work being outright infringed, Hische recommends sending a stern letter to the artist or agency that produced the infringing work. However, she cautions that taking on a large company can be expensive and time consuming, citing Modern Dog’s recent successful case against Target, Disney and Jaya Apparel Group. She sums up by stating that her best advice is to register the copyright on your creations: “While you of course ‘own the copyright’ to the images you create unless you're transferring them to the client in a contract, it’s difficult to pursue copyright infringement cases without having filed for copyright of the images officially.”
Note: While original images are automatically copyrighted to their creators, registering the copyrights confers a extra degree of legal clout: it creates a public record of authorship, it’s required before an infringer can be taken to court, and it enables the creator to sue for damages and be awarded legal fees. For more information on copyrights, visit our article in our Resources page.
The issue of fan-copying is a topic Hische addressed in a much earlier article, “Inspiration vs. Imitation.” The article was directed towards aspiring artists and fans who openly plagiarized Hiche’s work. In this article she makes a clear distinction between copying as a learning tool, versus passing off work which closely replicates another’s as original work. She advises new artists on how to move past simply imitating their role models: draw from many inspirations rather than a chosen few; dig into historical references; train your eye to spot differences and originality; and be aware that passing derivative work as original will ruin your reputation amongst your peers and potential employers.Previous Page Next Page
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