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live earth

Like millions of people, I tuned in to Live Earth this weekend to see performers rock from all corners of the globe. Most people were looking at their favorite bands, or maybe you are an Al Gore groupie- whatever. What I found myself staring at, analyzing, and admiring was the branding around the event.

The SOS theme was smart (stands for Save Our Selves). The logo is brilliantly simple (a circle) which simultaneously represents the planet, the ‘O’ in SOS, recycling, what’s-old-is-new-again, and the circle of life- all in one icon.

The creative elements from the broadcast that were most memorable: the 3-d typographic globe which was used as a segue from one venue to another and the audio treatment around the morse code for SOS (… — …) I’m assuming these pieces were created not by the Live Earth branding agency, but by the main broadcaster (NBC). Either way, I’m very curious to know who did the work.

I’m also desperate to get another look at the typographic globe. Any ideas? Send me any info to help me in this quest and I’ll send you some swag. Good swag.


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It was inevitable, wasn’t it? How could any company- even one as big as AT&T (and with all the leadtime and inevitability of it all) possibly keep up with the requests to activate iPhones? Engadget estimates more than 1/2 of buyers had problems activating their coveted purchase. (That sounds too high from all other accounts). “Prettiest paperweight I own” said one frustrated customer.  Read the story of one person’s 40-hour delay of paradise…But, eventually it will work, of that I’m certain. 

Still, as a consumer, I believe you should never buy a 1st gen product- especially from Apple. (but I’m all over version 1.1). As a marketer- you have to worship Apple, don’t you?


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You would have to be living under a rock to not know the iPhone goes on sale this evening. In honor of all the hoopla, and the general insanity that has become considered ‘news’, we had to mark the occasion somehow. And then I stumbled on this tasty nugget…

wired cover

Just when you thought all that could be said had already been….iPhone himself in a tell-all interview.

iPhone ‘photo shoot’ courtesy of the Extensis creative team.

Custom Wired cover courtesy of WIRED Magazine’s meme– fun idea- check it out.


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Counqueror WormWhen was the last time you saw, used or otherwise thought about a letterpress? They still exist, mostly in mythology and the occasional history museum (true story). And apparently, one can also be found somewhere in Philadelphia.

Designer Jason Santa Maria, whose blog I read regularly, took a class in the (almost) lost art of letterpress. It’s a great story about a designer going back to the basics.

When the prints went up for sale on the oh-so-quirky-gotta-check-it-out Swap Meat, I had to get one. It is beautiful.

And then I got to thinking…what odd-ball item would I swap? How about you? I just might send you this piece of history if you make it good!


Thank you, Macworld

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A quick shout out to macworld.com and James Dempsey. Last week James authored a piece on the macworld blog titled RSS feeds for the creative Mac user, which lists the key feeds he reads. Turns out that Manage THIS tops the list of ‘ vendor blogs’. This is quite an honor coming from the ‘Creative Guy’ himself. (aw shucks.)


We hear you!

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The questions never end. We hear them from customers on the phone, at events, and during site visits. We hear them from creative agencies and publishing companies. We hear them in the US, Europe and Asia.

OK. We get it. You want more information on the next generation type server that’s in the works. So we’ve decided to do a series here that gives you some exposure to the development process, sneak peeks at some of the functionality, hear about what it is like to work on the team, and learn about the philosophy driving the development of our next generation type server.

The #1 question we get- without fail- is “When will it be done?” So there seems no better place to start than at the top. I posed this question to Brian Berson, General Manager of Extensis. That’s all it took. One question and he was off to the races…

A: Brian, I’ll cut to the chase. Here’s the question: Why is this taking so long?

B: Wow. Don’t softball it!

Really, that is a valid question. Some days I wonder that myself. The short answer is: this project is complex.

On one hand, we’re creating a new product that combines what we already have: two unique font management server solutions, which happen to take different approaches to client-server font management. Font Reserve Server is all about control of the font assets to ensure absolute correct use of fonts, while Suitcase Server is all about the best end-user experience. One focused on the IT administrator and the other focused on the creative user. Both have their place and what we set out to do was to merge the two approaches to give our customers the complete solution. Quite honestly – that’s not as easy as you might think. We did make some assumptions at the outset that didn’t work out as planned. Sometimes that happens.

On the other hand, we are also starting fresh by employing a more modern and adaptable architecture. We’ve recognized that our expertise is in understanding fonts and font workflows, and there is no point in re-inventing the wheel by building a proprietary technology, so we are using open, existing technologies and standards. This will give our customers a faster, more scalable and stable product. It will also allow us to more rapidly adapt, modify, and add new features and functionality. We’ve known from the beginning that this needs to be more than the sum of Suitcase Server and Font Reserve Server. Our customers deserve more than 1+1=2.

Then there is the need to hit the ground running. We have a mature customer base with thousands of installations- from small shops to multi-thousand seat sites. For each one, font management is mission-critical. If we miss a step, they’ll be sure to let us know! Our next generation type server can not come out of the gate feeling like a 1.0 product.

Oh yes- and we are doing all of this while continuing to support our other products that are being used in production today. And certainly Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, and Quark don’t make this job any easier! Suitcase Server and Font Reserve Server integrate with both the operating system and parent applications. So when the operating system updates, for example, we have to be there with an update ASAP. Users count on it. And with QuarkXPress 7, Intel Macs, Windows Vista, Adobe CS3, and Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) all shipping in the same year- this continues to be our biggest challenge. Keeping up with these changes is a continuing challenge for our IT and creative customers, and the same is true for us as a developer.

So yes, it is complex. That said, I’m really excited about where we are now. We’ve been working on this for a couple of years already and are now in the home stretch. The product team is looking forward to talking about what we’re working on. But I’ve definitely gone on long enough, so that will have to wait for the next installment.

To see the face behind the words, you can see a brief interview with Brian in this snippet, cut from a longer interview.

You can also view the entire 1-hour show, Fonts, Fonts, Fonts!, produced by Left-Hand-Man Productions.


A Green(er) Apple

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As Amanda blogged last month, Apple didn’t do so hot in a report (pdf download) put out by Greenpeace ranking electronics companies on their “green”ness.

Well recently Steve replied to some of the charges against Apple by “some environmental organizations”. I know there is probably a certain amount of spin in this article, but if the facts are what he says they are, it sounds like Greenpeace some environmental organizations were looking for ways to harsh on Apple.

I thought it was interesting to read this article, but more importantly, this is the second time some sort of letter/announcement/statement from His Steveness has been posted on Apple’s site and I’m not entirely convinced that Hot News is the place to put it. Why not give him his own place to put rantings and such? CEOs from other companies are bloggers too so why not give Steve his own blog?

And while you’re at it, acknowledge the Apple Fanboys/girls at the same time. Call it The Stevenote.


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Car ArtNo suspense here. It’s Dresser Johnson. I was introduced to them about 2 years ago thru the ‘car art’ of Kevin Dresser, one of the partners. Then it seemed like they started popping up everywhere.

First- they were recognized for designing the hand-style typeface for Typecon 2005. Earlier this year there was that feature article in HOW’s Typography Issue. But mostly what intrigues me is the work itself- oh, and the bunny cam (you just have to see it for yourself.) Their typography work extends into every possible industry. (personally, I love the Radio City Music Hall sample).

Typecon TypefaceGot a favorite firm (today)? Tell me. If I connect with them, I’ll send you a Brooklyn Bunny T. Yes, for real.


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NDAI always enjoy seeing what ‘professionals’ think is good design. It also introduces me to up-and-coming stars in their space that I’ve never heard of.

The Nation Design Awards come from a rather credible source- the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (somehow connected to the Smithsonian). Admittedly, some of these winners are too predictable. Case in point: VP of the design team at Apple, Jonathan Ive, won in the product design category. Culture-defining work, to be sure, but hardly a shocking win. Adobe Systems won for Corporate Achievement, presumably linked to the CS3 launch. (Note: the site also shows their HQ building with the semaphore art.)

But I’ve mentioned the product design (and marketing) for Method products in the past. And I am pleased to see that the designer for their packaging, Karim Rashid, is a finalist in that same product design category. Give them a look.


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Fusion Gang AdWell- no one here, that’s for certain.

Remember I gave a shout out to the guys at Zig a few months back (based on their writeup in Applied Arts). Well, they’ve done some great work with us which has been written up this week in the Chicago Sun Times.

It very fulfilling when people get it. It’s not about fonts. It’s about art.


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