Even if the letters above were scrambled, or replaced with random choices, I bet you'd be able to identify the National Geographic logo from a distance. The font is actually pretty common - Times New Roman Condensed - but it has become practically iconic on magazine racks because of how it is framed with each issue. Click here for more reveals on fonts you will probably recognize, but not necessarily identify.
When Conan O'Brien signed off from NBC last year, after a very public and I would imagine quite humiliating ordeal brought on when the network sided with Jay Leno, I was struck by how well O'Brien stuck to the high road in his remarks. (Particularly since, as anyone would have suspected, O'Brien was seething with emotion.)
The video below takes the audio of what O'Brien said, and animates it with what's called kinetic typography. It's fascinating all over again.
Take a quick look at this picture, and guess what they're selling.
My first guess was that it was a kind of jam, or a spread. Nope: these are scented candles.
Why do they look inviting? Look carefully: it's the design, particularly the type. The packaging is the key for this premium product, and while I have no idea what they smell like (in fact, I've never bought a scented candle once in my life), I bet they do well because they, to be blunt, look inviting.
For the last few weeks, I've been following a project that makes me quite happy: the digitization of Spy magazine in Google Books, which was never a huge commercial hit (ceasing to exist, I think, basically confirmed its failure in that regard) but which was embraced heartily from the start by a fan base whose only fault was that it was too small. Spy launched or transformed a lot of careers and helped change the magazine world, including in how they look.
This package on Print's website focuses on how Spy manipulated type in groundbreaking ways. For younger readers, it's important to know this: Spy was bringing new life to heads, layouts and body copy in a pre-digital era, when the costs of typesetting were expensive, sometimes insanely so. The mucking around you can do on a Mac in seconds? That would have required planning, thought and especially money to achieve the same results. I had already worked as a student-newspaper production manager when Spy debuted in 1986; I was working at The Sunday Express here in St. John's during its best years, and the magazine's influence went beyond the editorial side.
If you look at the top of the blog, you'll see a new banner fixed into place.
It's a crop of this photograph that Martha took this weekend in Eastport, or just outside, on the road to Salvage. I took a shot on my phone of the same sunset, which I posted here. The boy in the photo is our son Nicholas. (He wanted to pose so that he would look like Atlas, cradling not the Earth but the sun on his shoulders. Martha got this snap along the way; to me, it sums up his 10-year-old self.)
The font in the banner, if anyone is wondering, is the ever-Apple-friendly Skia.
Nicholas was the featured element of the previous banner. Before even I forget what it looked like, here it is. (It's a shot of Nicholas looking out from a hill in Ferryland.)
This is a trailer for the upcoming fourth season of Mad Men, which has been notably stingy with advance word from what to expect from Don Draper and his colleagues, post-corporate rebellion (as seen in the excellent finale to season three).
The trailer, curiously, doesn't give a single thing away about what to expect in the coming year. In fact, it's a rant Don presents to a stubborn client in one of the episodes from the first season!
Apart from getting hooked on journalism when I started volunteering at The Muse, Memorial's student newspaper, I got hooked on a sub-sub-sub-specialty: typefaces. I started at a time when the paper still sent out all of its copy, headlines, cutlines - the works - to be set by an outside company. When the paper got its own typesetting machine at the end of 1982, it was a revelation to see how changing a font changed the meaning of, say, a feature headline.
It's hard to express to people today how much effort it took years ago to get a wide range of fonts. Today, you can get hundreds of fonts with thousands of variations with common word processing packages, and even more are easily downloaded. I almost keeled over a few weeks ago when my son, while working on a school project, told me we needed to download "the Star Wars font" for his poster. (It turned out to be easy to find.)
Fonts come and go, but good old Helvetica is a standby, which is why the T-shirt seen above (found here) is appealing.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.