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movie typo

I love Netflix. But I realize that the DVD economy has done an injustice to the designers who labor over the opening credits to a film. We are so are eager to get into the film that we often skip right past the good stuff- the stuff that sets the stage, begins the process of telling the story: the opening title sequence. 

I’ve defined a rule: If there is a genre that does this best, imo, it would be thrillers. Anything Alfred hitchcock, to be specific: Psycho, Vertigo, North By Northwest (Panic Room mimics this one a bit). 

And, while I firmly believe that the movies of generations past seemed to take more pride in this level of detail… Here are my picks for the best, should-be-award-winning opening typo sequences in recent years:

thanks for smoking3- ALIEN

2- Catch me if you can

1- Thank you for Smoking

I’ve admired them, so I just have to give the designers their due recognition.  Honorable mention goes to: Casino Royale.  Any other favorites out there?


Hot off the press…

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Helvetica DVDQuick link here… Gary Hustwit’s (dare I say “cult”?) film, HELVETICA, is coming to a DVD near you.

It will be released on November 6th, but you can place a pre-order on their site starting now. All hail Helvetica.

Update: Even cooler, if you feel like spending the $75, you’ll get extras: 3 letterpressed mini-posters, a still from the film signed by the director, two love/hate buttons, and a letter of metal Helvetica type.  There’s a few of us around the office considering getting out our credit cards for that.


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pantone.jpgWe spend a lot of time here talking about type and how selecting the right font can make or break your creative designs.  Another less discussed element designers must consider is color selection.

Thanks to those folks over at Pantone, this crucial design step just got a little bit more difficult. Pantone released its Fall 2007 Color Report earlier this year and according to Pantone the fall colors can be described as “complex and exotic…intriguingly unusual and inviting.” Since we are closing on the summer season soon it’s probably time to consider current color trends for fall.

I just love the vivid color names, although this latest color group sounds an awful lot like a menu selection.  This season we get spicy chili pepper, lemon curry and purple wine. We also get the less appetizing color choices of shale green and cashmere rose. My favorite new color is Stargazer — a deep shade of turquoise.

To create the seasonal report, Pantone surveys fashion designers to collect feedback on prominent collection colors, color inspiration, color philosophy, and designers’ signature shades. The Pantone Fashion Color Report then serves as a reference tool throughout the year for fashionistas and designers alike, as well as many trades.


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cws_765.gifIf you win a baseball game, someone might want a picture of your team. If your team happens to be the Chicago White Sox and you just won the 2005 World Series, everyone wants a picture. No one is more painfully aware of this fact than the marketing department behind the championship baseball team. After the big win, they were bombarded with photo requests from journalists, fans, advertising agencies, etc… Luckily for them, they already had a management system in place to ensure that all 30,000 images from the series were properly organized and instantly accessible.

An Extensis customer since 1999, the White Sox organization implemented of Portfolio as a solution for the team photographer to manage the hundreds of images collected during each game. Before long, Portfolio Server was installed, enabling dozens of additional users to access the photographs without requiring the photographer to spend time finding and manually filling those requests.

In addition to facilitating the internal distribution of images, Portfolio is also used for external distribution of images to partners, sponsors, and members of the press. Using Portfolio’s email feature, it is easy to email original files, or dynamically generate low-resolution preview files, directly from within the program. So when the requests started rolling in following the 2005 championship game, the marketing department was able to easily locate and then distribute any image within their catalog. *Whew!*

Let’s wrap this with a bit of trivia: I was curious what font the White Sox use in their logo (shown above) so I did a search and found one site that claims it is Old English….anyone know if that’s correct?


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declare yourselfI don’t know about you, but I never imagined that approximately 4 million 18-yr-olds would be newly eligible to vote in the 2008 election. By 2015, generation Y voters will make up 1/3rd of the electorate. That’s a group worth reaching out to early.

Declare Yourself is a national campaign to “energize and empower every eligible 18-year-old in America to register and vote in the 2008 presidential election.”

They recently launched a poster contest to further their cause. Since everyone has an opinion, go vote for your favorite poster, all of which are designed to get the ‘newly ordained’ involved. The site also has some other interesting features, like a comprehensive voting FAQ and the ability to register to vote in any state from the home page. Good design for a good cause.


Wow! But what is it?

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I got passed on a link to one of the most amazing videos I’ve ever seen. This is spectacular on ANY scale. I was so impressed with it, and I feel compelled to link it again in case you missed the first one. It’s about 8 minutes long and trust me, you won’t care.

However, it’s in a language I don’t understand, and I can’t quite determine any of the factors besides Samsung and soccer. I don’t think it’s for the next World Cup which is still a while off, and it seems a bit early for Olympic fanfare. Any assistance on this would be appreciated! Whether or not you understand the language being spoken, it’s a spectacle even with the sound off. (I recommend the sound being on though, otherwise you could totally miss out on the foreign-language interpretation of Go West!

(This is the first time I’ve embedded a Metacafe video in the blog, so if you have any trouble with it please let me know.)


Samsung Dance


Typecon 2007 buttons

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Just one more quick item to talk about from Typecon 2007 – buttons! Yes, that’s right, buttons. I love to watch marketing trends, and this year it was the year of the button. There were at least three different groups giving away the little one inch badges with everything from mocked up movie quotes to type samples and general random fun.

The folks at Veer had a great little package of badges that looked like a roll of Life Savers, while the Font Font (correction: FontShop supplied the movie quote buttons) FontShop had a bunch that played on movie quotes. I like “Say hello to my little font” and “I see font people” the best.

Typecon 2007 buttons

Here are all the buttons that I got in my little package. I ended up trading one away to Kelly so that I could get the matching Sour button to my Sweet.

Typecon 2007 buttons from Veer

In addition to the buttons above, Typophile was selling little packages of buttons with everything from magazine clippings to fortune cookies in them.

Back in the day, I spent some time with the button maker in Junior High. I remember putting Yasser Arafat on a button and it causing quite a stir in my fairly conservative middle-American community. It was interesting for me to see how people responded to it. Though I have to say it probably wasn’t the best way for me to dive into becoming more politically informed, I sure did enjoy making the buttons!

I think that I’ll start lobbying for an Extensis button maker. We could use some buttons with Font Cows on them.


Typecon T-Shirt Roundup

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Typographers are a fun bunch. Though you might think of a type designer being a reserved, quiet individual who ponders the beautiful curves of certain font glyphs, I’ve heard more f-bombs, rough language and rock music in presentations than in any other conference that I’ve attended. It makes for a interesting environment.

One of the great side effects of all of this fun chaos is that there are a bounty of really great font-related t-shirts at the event. It seemed like every time I turned around that there was another good one. Here are just a few that were given out as prizes, promotional items, sold in the fund raising auction or at the SOTA store.

The Microsoft design guys came up with this one:

Battlestar Helvetica

I love cheese, and this cheesy shirt that was in the SOTA fund raising auction works for me:

Helveeta - one of only 36 in the world, as far as I know.

Here’s one with a quote from Adrien Frutiger:

Adrien Frutiger Shirt at Typecon

Adobe’s new Arno Pro was all over the place – on t-shirts that all Typecon attendee’s received in their goody bags, as well as on a nifty little poster.

Typecon Arno Pro t-shirt

And, of course this is what I wore to the 1980’s themed party on Saturday night. And yes, that’s Frutiger 75 Black on the first line. The other lines are stretched appropriately to match the 80’s style:

Fruiter Say Relax

The following shirt was given out to participants of the type contest on Saturday night. I like the type city concept.

Type City shirt was given to participants of the type contest

Font Bureau gave out these shirts as well as a great type specimen book to all attendees of Saturday evening session where David Berlow was honored:

Font Bureau shirt


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Portfolio 8.5 ReleaseToday we released the newest update to our line of digital asset management software Portfolio. This release updates all products in the Portfolio suite of products as well as adds one new component, Portfolio Project Sync.

Portfolio Project Sync provides a connection between Adobe CS3 applications and Portfolio Server. This seamless integration allows creative workgroups to search, access, catalog and tag assets in Portfolio Server, via Adobe Bridge and other CS3 applications. Through this connection CS3 users tap into the powerful asset sharing and archiving capabilities of Portfolio Server, all without leaving their primary creative application. For example, a designer adds XMP data to an Adobe Photoshop file. Portfolio Project Sync instantly syncs this information making it available to other Portfolio workgroup clients and Portfolio NetPublish web sites. Users can now remain within CS3 applications to distribute creative assets.

For more information about the complete suite of products, hop on over to the Extensis website.


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Martin Stein, VP of Products and SolutionsIn the first installment, Brian Berson (Extensis General Manager) explained where the new type server project stands right now. In this issue, I asked the ‘product guys’ about how the whole thing got started.

The Product Guys in the spotlight today: Brian Berson (Extensis GM) and Martin Stein (VP Products & Solutions).

Amanda: Every software project starts with a product requirements document, which outlines what this product will be and do. When you were writing the PRD for the type server – what was your hi-level objective?

Brian: Well, on a high level, we wanted to merge 2 into 1 with the sum being more than 2. The challenge was that these 2 are different products represent 2 different approaches.

Large corporate environments have a large infrastructure, and compliance is a main concern. They need the control that a live system offers. This is the Font Reserve Server model. Smaller, more nimble environments may not have a big IT team. They need complete user flexibility, like the ability to pick and choose their subscriptions. This is closer to the Suitcase Server model.

Since another objective was to continue serving both small workgroups and large enterprises with the same product, the new type server has to give the administrator the ability to configure their desired level of control.

Martin: Next priority was to “Be a better IT citizen”. That’s become an internal mantra around here. To me this means that we have to meet the needs of their current ecosystem. Things like: scalability, stability, rapid development for enhancements, better offline usability, customization, etc.

B: Another priority for me was to take font management to the next level- customers are very clear about what they expect in a new product. They expect simple and powerful UI, precise font activation via FontSense, license management, and a product that takes into consideration how their teams really use it.

And lastly, we have to make the entire transition seamless. Customers want everything that they had before, wrapped in a better package of performance and usability.

A: How did these objectives impact technology decisions?

B: From a technology standpoint, this led us down a few paths. Architecturally, we quickly decided that everything would be centralized: fonts, permissions, sets, keywords, etc. Everything is housed on the server- in a live system. From there: we were trying to decide between the Suitcase and Font Reserve servers as the platform. Ultimately it did not add up to continue building on this proprietary technology when the technology is already out there to leverage. We decided to put our internal resources and expertise where it fits best– solving the business problem.

M: That’s what led to the decision to use open technology off the shelf. We need to fit into the ecosystem of our customers, and these are proven, well-tested and supported in the developer community. This was the right decision from a technology standpoint, and ultimately for the customer, but it has had an impact on time to market. It was inevitable.

A: Now that the objectives and approach are mapped out, let’s talk details. Where did you start and how do you decide what is left on the ‘cutting room floor’?

M: We started by breaking apart all the functionality of each product and then ‘rebuilt’ the product – conceptually. But this is not simply a consolidation, so then we added to the list all the things we always wanted to do. Then the hard part: prioritization. Time to market matters, so we had to make priority decisions.

B: But, this also means we know where we want to take the technology from here- long term. For example, we’d like to implement things like server-to-server replication, etc. But that’s not going to make it into this release.

A: What people can’t see is the excitement on your faces as you’re talking about this.

M: I am excited. I am so proud of this project. It’s the ‘OSX of the font management world’. A beautiful UI combined with the power of a real IT application. This really is a kick-ass product.

Upcoming ‘We hear you!’ installments will include: what’s under the hood, rethinking user interface design, and what’s driving the new end-user functionality.

Have something you are interested in? Drop me a line (via a comment) and I’ll add it to the mix.


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