The New York Times isn’t necessarily a newspaper or website that I think of when I think of innovative design. The Times is a paper that typically goes with tried and true respectable designs that lend credibility to their stories (whatever side of the political fence you fall).
That’s why I was surprised to see a feisty use of typography on their website in their recent ‘Buzzwords of 2008‘ story. The story includes images in that display each buzzword, that is filled with colorful imagery. The typeface is consistent throughout, which makes it a bit more grounded. Had they gone with varying typefaces, it would have been even more distracting to the eye.
While this approach definitely isn’t perfect for most stories, I think that this was a great opportunity for them to branch out and try new things on their site.
BTW, anyone know which font was used? I tried to identify it in MyFonts.com’s What the Font, but came up empty handed.
January 16th, 2009 by Claire Taylor
In this challenging economic climate, I bet that we’re all seeing a tightening of budgets. Instead of just throwing money or people at a problem, we all need tools that help us improve productivity, reduce costs and improve our quality of our work. If done right, a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can really help meet these needs.
Improved User Productivity
A DAM system allows people in your workgroup to have immediate access to digital assets. The days where individuals spent two to three hours a week looking for files can be a thing of the past! It is hard to believe but five minutes here and there, really does add up to two/three hours a week. I should know since I was the world’s worst offender before I started working at Extensis!
One of our customers, Creative Media Development (CMD), prior to their Portfolio Server installation, found that tracking down just one archived asset for re-use, was an arduous task that often involved up to three employees and three hours of work. Now just one person at CMD uses Portfolio Server to locate images in a matter of minutes. To learn more take a look at CMD’s case study.
Time is Money
When done properly, a DAM system ensures that members of your team are aware of the full range of digital assets available. This encourage asset reuse and reduces the duplication of effort to recreate an asset. This is particularly the case with images, reducing the need for costly photography re-shoots, resulting in substantial cost savings.
Another way to reduce costs is to easily find and distribute assets to others. The World Bank was able to create eighteen different web portals in a very short amount of time, using Portfolio NetPublish. Each portal allowed a segment of their audience to quickly locate the files that they needed. If you want to hear more about the World Bank’s experience, take a look at this recorded webcast where Les Barker talks about his experience of implementing and using Extensis Portfolio for digital asset management.
Reusing instead of re-shooting your photographs naturally results in a more consistent brand image. When you reuse your assets, you’ll also see a reduction in the use of substandard non-approved assets.
The National Gallery of London reported improved product quality following the installation of Portfolio Server. Photographers felt more obliged to produce quality photography, as they knew others would be accessing the assets. Check out this webcast where Colin White, Head of the Photography Department of the National Gallery talks about their use of Portfolio.
If you haven’t already implemented a digital asset management system, I’d highly recommend that you download a free demo of Portfolio and check it out for yourself. I’m willing to bet that once you’ve checked it out you’ll be well on your way to working smarter, not harder. And in these hard times, everyone likes to see those kinds of results.
Congress is now back in Washington for a new session, and this being a historical time for the US Government and everything, I’ve seen a few really interesting (and cool) links go around regarding government and history. So far my favorite has to be the Senate Map of desks and their pasts. This is SO cool! You can either pick a desk or pick a Senator and see where they sit, what their desk looks like, and who else has sat at that desk.
And their history is also very fun to read. All the desks have slightly different shapes so they would fit in the old Senate Chambers, and if you put all these desks in order the way they were originally laid out (it is said) you’ll get a perfect semicircle. Each of these desks was $34 apiece at the time. They’ve been slightly modified over the years, and one even filled with candy! You can read about each evolution of the desks, how it is decided who gets what desk, how they are numbered, what happened when we got new states, and more. There is a lot of info here and it’s really interesting to dig into all these pages and get a look at how all of this stuff works.
I always wondered when I heard or saw the swearing in of Senators how it was decided where they sat, and now I know (I also discovered that Oregon’s own Ron Wyden once had the desk Barack Obama recently vacated). Plus, like our office, they have candy near the door. That’s always a good thing right? You can also check out the Senate Chambers both old and new. You can spend a LOT of time in the Art And History section of the site. (I tried to find one for the House but came up empty.) What bit of trivia is most interesting to you?
Updates in this release include:
- Fixed an issue affecting some configurations of Mac OS X 10.5.6 that would prevent Suitcase Fusion 2 from launching.
- Fixed an issue reported through the crash reporter to increase application stability.
To download the update, from the Suitcase Fusion 2 menu, choose “Check for Updates.”
Otherwise, you can download the update directly from the Extensis website: http://www.extensis.com/en/support/updates/SF2-13-0-2.jsp
January 14th, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
Historic events are typically surrounded with much pomp and circumstance. The inauguration of a new president is definitely one of those occasions. And, while most of us won’t be receiving an invitation to an inauguration in our lifetime, the printer who worked on the invitations was kind enough to take some photos to share the design with the world.
The Red Stamp blog contains full details about the paper weight, size and so forth. Most of our readers will likely just want to know which typefaces were used, and those were slightly modified versions of Shelley Allegro and Kuenstler. No word on exactly what modifications were made, but I bet with some careful examination some of you will be able to tell.
It’s the standard phrase that’s used to display all 26 of the letters in the English Language, and every student who ever had a typing class or basic keyboarding class in school knows it.
“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
The t-shirt artist, Eskimokiss, put up a pretty darn cool t-shirt on Threadless that takes this phrase and morphs the type into a literal image. Great idea, eh? Check it out.
[Thanks to Inside Corporate Account Representative, Nathalie Hodgson for the tip!]
January 12th, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
You’ve probably been there before. Whether it’s in a classroom, prepress shop or elsewhere, someone has told you that if you use the Bold and Italic buttons in QuarkXPress, fire will rain down from the sky and your document will implode like never before. While this might not necessarily be the case, the truth is a bit more complicated, and has a lot to do whether you’re using QuarkXPress on a Mac or on a PC.
QuarkXPress Product Manager, Dan Logan recently posted some valuable information on the Quark forums about this very topic. And to spread the info to all of you, I’ve included it here.
The problem here is that many people equate the bold & italic buttons to faux transformations in all cases. For example in Kurt Lang’s post he says “In Quark, pressing the Bold, Italic or other styles in the tool bar applies a faked version of the effect to the standard font”. This is not true in all cases. In Scott’s post referenced above he explains how in certain cases you can apply bold or italic via the button and still get an intrinsic instance (“intrinsic” is what we call it when you’re using a font that has the style built-in rather than applying a “faux” transformation to the base font). In fact on Windows you may be required to use the buttons to get the intrinsic font. The difference stems from differences in how the platforms deal with building font menus, which we rely on the OS for since we don’t load the fonts directly.
Also I would say it’s untrue to imply that ALL PostScript RIPs choke on faux bold and italic. Sure, it’s better practice to always use intrinsic fonts, but these days many RIPs and prepress shops can handle those transformations without blowing up. I would argue for intrinsic fonts more as a typographic consideration — faux italics in particular are just plain ugly.
So what is a designer to do? If you’re working on the Mac then we’ll always show all available fonts in the menu (at least the ones the OS tells us are available using the Carbon APIs — this is a different issue). The only exception to this rule is legacy suitcase fonts and dfonts, which may hide intrinsic instances from the menu. So you can’t go wrong by selecting the proper font from the menu; however, in some cases you can also use the key commands and buttons for bold and italic and still get the intrinsic font. On the Mac we’ll only apply a faux transformation if you apply that style and the corresponding font family doesn’t have a bold or italic instance. If you’re unsure then check in Usage > More Information and confirm whether or not the name of the real font file being used is normal or bold/italic. For example, if you’re using the same font all the time and you know it contains intrinsic bold and italic then you’ll probably want to use the keyboard commands to apply them rather than selecting them from the font menu every time.
If you’re on Windows then it’s even trickier because you may have intrinsic styles loaded and they’re not even shown in the font menu. In this case you can still use the Usage dialog to confirm it and then use those fonts with the bold/italic buttons without worrying.
Here at Quark we realize that this is a huge pain and causes a lot of confusion. We are working to solve this problem and make sure that you can more easily tell when you’re using an intrinsic instance of a font rather than a faux transformation, and we want to introduce a mode whereby faux transformations are prohibited entirely (based on customer preference). So help is on the way, I just can’t commit to a timeframe.
So, sounds like the the whole confusing topic might be cleared up in the future. I’d like to cast my vote for adding a preference to always use the intrinsic fonts!
Creative director Sol Sender tells the story of conception and birth of the Obama 08 logo, including the strategy behind it, developmental concepts and finalist designs for the identity not chosen by the campaign.
Yesterday I made a quick trip down to San Francisco to visit Macworld 2009, and attend a little party with many of our customers, VARs and other Extensis fans.
After a short trip around the show floor, Max Kerning was off to take care of some important meetings, so I was left to wander the show floor on my own. Here are a few select items that could be seen at Macworld 2009.
TechRestore had an actual Delorean time machine from Back to the Future in their booth – complete with flashy lights, dials an such.
A company called Focal XS had these smokin’ speakers that you could jack your iPod into. Though, I really never really understood why they had a mini-geodesic dome in their booth.
Microsoft always has nice, swanky stuff at Macworld, and this year was no exception with their more open and slickly designed blogger’s lounge (rocker Mac fanboy not required).
Our friends over at Morrison SoftDesign had a good looking booth, and some very popular “Font Problems Suck” t-shirts.
This cute little diorama is made up entirely out of USB jump drives. Yup, those penguins are memory sticks.
Probably one of the strangest things that I saw in a booth this year was a guy who’s sole job was to ride an exercise bike all day long. I think that they were selling the bike that had a jack for a iPhone that could be used to track your progress.
Oh, and despite what you might hear from people preaching doom and gloom for Macworld now that Apple will no longer have a booth, there was still quite a few people hustling and bustling around the show floor.
Hope to see everyone at Macworld next year!
Max Kerning is down at Macworld Expo for the day. He took a short tour of the Expo Hall show floor with me to check things out.
The Canon booth had an wonderful array of cameras and items, and a very kind, informative and welcoming staff to boot!
Max was impressed with the items that he saw in the Apple booth, but were promptly shooed from the booth, so we didn’t get to see much.
Here we are checking out another part of the Expo Hall.
Overall, Max and I are really enjoying our time at Macworld Expo 2009. More stuff to come!