I saw Avatar last night (in full 3D IMAX glory) and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of how I used to feel when I would play video games as a kid — not so much because of the graphics or anything like that, more because of how in it I felt. I remember when I used to play Zelda for example, my imagination would just take over and for those couple hours I lived in that universe (I was a nerdy kid). Avatar is like this; it is very easy to forget you are watching a film and think you are actually physically along for the ride, as there are no visual limitations to give you any indication otherwise. There were moments when you could hear the whole theater let out audible gasps as something incredible came on the screen. The first time you see one of the giant mining machines is pretty amazing. Of course the plot follows an extremely predictable trajectory, but seriously who cares. When things look this cool I am willing to make concessions on freshness of plot.
I saw the film with a few friends, one of whom is an interaction designer. He was mesmerized by all the crazy user interfaces the characters were manipulating. The spherical and detachable computer screens were a favorite. Meanwhile I couldn’t get over the choice of typeface for the subtitles; Papyrus (or some variant, essentially the same thing). The rest of my friends thought I was a huge nerd when the first thing I said out of the theater was “What was with that subtitle font!?” It is crazy to think (in my opinion) that $280 million went into this movie and they chose the one font that is at the end of most typography jokes (save maybe for Comic Sans). I know it probably fit better than a super clean sans serif (and I can’t imagine there weren’t hours of discussion over this point), but seriously, Papyrus?
Further: Kottke describes another interesting issue, regarding the realism of the Na’vi’s technological development. I don’t necessarily agree with his point (I think they were as advanced as they wanted/needed to be given the physical and spiritual qualities of their world), but he makes an intriguing argument.
Mrs. Eaves is one of my favorite typefaces. Especially when it comes to serifs — which admittedly, I use infrequently — Mrs. Eaves has long been a go-to. I agree with designer Zuzana Licko’s description that “Mrs Eaves was a mix of just enough tradition with an updated twist. It’s familiar enough to be friendly, yet different enough to be interesting.”
After much anticipation, the sans-serif companion Mr. Eaves is complete. It comes in two varieties; Mr. Eaves Modern and Mr. Eaves Sans (character map pictured above). Like Mrs. Eaves, both variations were designed by Zuzana Licko for Emigre. I’m excited to use this — especially the lowercase ‘a’ variant pictured at the bottom.
Mr Eaves was based on the proportions of Mrs Eaves, but Licko took some liberty with its design. One of the main concerns was to avoid creating a typeface that looked like it simply had its serifs cut off. And while it matches Mrs Eaves in weight, color, and armature, Mr Eaves stands as its own typeface with many unique characteristics. [ Purchase ]
I’m posting these stills from Buffalo ‘66 partly because they’re awesome and partly because it’s a good chance to tell the story where me and Dusty saw Vincent Gallo at my neighborhood market on a Tuesday. It was surreal, I think we must have been staring uncontrollably because he was in line and had this look on his face like “are these idiots going to ask me something or stab me?” (all love knife style). We also saw him with Sean Lennon at a bar once and got some horrible blurry iPhone shot of him and Dusty. So I guess that makes us officially stalkers now.
By the way, Whatthefont says “Buffalo” is Prelo Compressed Medium. Not quite sure though.
Stills via the always incredible I Love Hotdogs.
Assorted posters by Dutch designer Hans Gremmen. I love posters — like the first one — that are just PACKED with all sorts of information and data. Really gives the designer a chance to show off their typographic skills and hierarchic sensibilities. I especially enjoy the tendency for the asymmetrically balanced composition; really makes for that much more of an interesting poster.
Also worth noting is Gremmen’s portfolio site which randomly generates a selection of eight of his works. An interesting approach to be sure; I like the concept of an ever-changing front page, though it was a little tough to find the specific work I was looking for.
In keeping with this week’s (completely unplanned) typographic theme, I thought I’d post these excellent covers by Emil Ruder. I’d love to see someone try to get away with type layout like this on a client project.
Some additional info (apparently translated) from 80 Magazine:
“in 1953, TM held a competition to design a cover series, inside layout and advertising pages. 12 people took part, including the basel typography teachers emil ruder and robert büchler. the TM jury report on ruder’s entry:
‘the designer if his competition work chose the square as design motif, wich also resonates again in the page layout. this cover series is designed with sparkling fantasy; bold and new, far way from tested solutions, in a darling refreshing attemp. [...] a really new solution which could have an interesting change from the arrangement up to now’
five covers by emil ruder were applied to break the monotony of the winning entry of robert büchler”
extracto da revista-libro ‘ruder typography ruder philosophy’. idea magazine 333. vol. 57. marzo 2009. xapon. issn 0019-1299 +
Via 80 Magazine
Grain Edit has a great post on the upcoming Photo Lettering Site from House Industries. When I first saw the headline for the original post I was half hoping for some sort of digital way to achieve that awesome blurred edge style from old movie titles and magazines. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. But the reality was just about as good, a bunch of great until now defunct vintage typefaces. The Photo Lettering Site is not fully operational yet, but you can check out some posters featuring some of the fonts here.
United by House Industries has been my go-to typeface over the last few semesters. It is a massive family — 105 total fonts (three styles, seven weights and five widths). This variety makes it an incredibly versatile collection. I really hate it when I find a typeface that I love, but find it missing a crucial weight or style. (DIN for example — would love to be able to wield more styles). United does not have this problem. I’ve used it on many projects (a few you know; ISO50 EP, Mega Cities book) and in each case the variety allowed it to be implemented in a unique and effective way.
I discovered it a long time ago while searching for the typeface used in a Nike ad (can’t recall which one, but it was amazing). I don’t actually remember if United was employed in the advert, but if you spend any amount of time searching around the typography of the sports world, you are bound to come across United at some point (Fox, I’m pretty sure, uses it for in game football graphics). There is an obvious resemblance of a few of the weights to a very collegiate look, which might be a turn off for some people, but the rest of the styles make up for this ten fold.
The most exciting part for me has always been the fact that each style has five different widths. I love condensed or extended widths and it’s nice to find a worthy competitor to the standards (Univers, Trade Gothic etc). When you need an extra touch of personality, especially if the project skews toward the technical or urban, United does the job nicely.
I don’t know many other designers (at least at school) that use it regularly and I thought I’d spread the word a little. Finding a new typeface is always pretty exciting, so hopefully if you haven’t tried United before, you can give it a shot and experience the sweetness. Anyone else have any hidden gems? I haven’t come across a new super typeface in a while — would love to hear about what people are unexpectedly enjoying these days.
Nothing too involved here, just a simple diagram outlining the key differences between Arial and Helvetica. You can find the full alphabet overlayed here. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the unique history these typefaces share, here’s an in-depth analysis. And here’s the battle mode.
Via Swissmiss, who’s workspace is way cleaner and more Helvetica-ish than mine:
Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swissmiss