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Archive for September, 2009

In Praise of a Typeface: United

Posted by Alex

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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.

Helvetica vs. Arial

Posted by Scott

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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

Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swissmiss

Font or Typeface?

Posted by Scott

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Alex and I were discussing this a while back so it was nice to see the whole subject wrapped up in a nice post over at Shelby White’s blog. Now you can annoy the hell out of all your non-designer friends by constantly correcting them when they use “font” incorrectly. Be sure to start off with “Actually…..”, people love that. I liked Nick Sherman’s take the best:

“The way I relate the difference between typeface and font to my students is by comparing them to songs and MP3s, respectively (or songs and CDs, if you prefer a physical metaphor).”
- Nick Sherman

For a while I thought font was sort of a dirty word, like it really didn’t have any proper usage when talking about design. Typeface still sounds better but it’s nice to know that font does have it’s own place in the world.

Link | Additional Reading

The shameless side of Club Music – Part. 1

Posted by Jakub

The MFA - The Difference It Makes
No matter how much you might hate certain kinds of music you can always find something that appeals to you unless you have a one track mind or prefer a safe and conservative lifestyle. So you’re definitely not looking for trance, you definitely don’t want what’s playing at Crunch gym, and your sick of what your friends are suggesting because the vocals make you uncomfortable or there are too many spare rolls or it gets too cheesy dreamy sounding. Maybe you just want one dancey anthem for the week, well i’m gonna do my best to help steer you in the right direction before you have a bad club remix of Pet Shop Boys on your hands.

The MFA – The Difference It Makes (Superpitcher Mix)

Daso – Meine

Guy Gerber, Shlomi Aber – After Love

Gregor Tresher – A Thousand Nights

Book Worship

Posted by Alex

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I’ve been enjoying the terrific blog Book Worship recently. The images above are some of the many beautiful books that Shawn Hazen has collected. As I’ve mentioned before, I have never had very good luck combing used bookstores in San Francisco — most of the cool stuff seems particularly adept at hiding from me (that or it’s long gone from the troves of other SF designers looking for the same things). Shawn, as you see, is much better at this than I. Definitely going to keep checking back often for more posts about these books he describes as “…graphically interesting, but otherwise uncollectible, books that entered and exited bookstores quietly in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.”

via Colourlovers

Broadcast+Vol. Choir+H. Wolf+Hemingway

Posted by Jakub

Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age
Broadcast is back with a collaborative mini album with The Focus Group. Its a pretty psychedelic piece of work, this one song doesn’t give it justice, you might want to hear the whole thing. Look for them to put out the CD/LP on the October US tour with Atlas Sound.

Recent Pitchfork Media approved Volcano Choir should be a big hit among the bearded folk lovers and for the Bon Iver fans out there, yes that’s him singing. I love the gliding drive this song has, it makes me want to go back to the softer side of Broken Social Scene albums.

I don’t know anything about High Wolf but i’m glad I found them, this song alone could replace that Mum void that has been empty for about 5 years now. I can’t wait to wake up on a cold winter morning and have this be my alarm clock song.

Hemingway has fused 2 more genres that should be together and introduces us to Yacht-Funk, not bad I like the sound of that, loving the synth work, its nice to have someone remapping and adjusting this disco direction.

Broadcast & The Focus Group – One Million Years Ago

Volcano Choir – Island, IS

HIgh Wolf – Don’t Fuck With The Tropics

Pelifics – Forever (Hemingway Remix)

Broadcast & The Focus Group Video

Man Must Explore / Tom and Tim Muller

Posted by Alex

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Easily the coolest advertisement for a fragrance I have ever seen. Tom and Tim Muller put this together as part of the campaign for Diesel’s new fragrance Only the Brave. There are many other videos up on the site — nothing comes close to this. (Though Si Scott’s could be cool in a few weeks.) This video, in addition to being flat out gorgeous, really captures the essence of the phrase only the brave. The Apollo 15 Mission connection is a perfect match:

As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown at Hadley, I sort of realize there is a fundamental truth to our nature. Man must explore.

UPDATE: Tom Muller has written a post detailing this project on his blog. Great to hear a bit more about this fascinating project.

via Kitsune Noir