Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Image of the Day: Peaceful Rest

Located on West 74th Street near Columbus

One of the many highlights of visiting my daughter-in-law and son in NYC is spotting old architectural details. As we make our way to a thrift shop or restaurant on foot, I am often simply amazed at the diversity of artistry that went into making buildings individual and unique in sometimes subtle and even humorous manners. Time and the elements have taken their toll on many, but a few, like this one, continue on gracefully. 
A big thank you to trueindigo for snapping this image through a gate for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dan Piraro, Creative Processes, and Constraints

Meeting Dan Piraro at MoCCA.
One of the many highlights during the two hour talk given by Dan Piraro at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) was his reflection and discussion on the creative process with Mort Gerberg. I found it affirming to the way I approach creating publications during my workday.

In Wired, I had recently come across an article about creative constraints and their role in the process. In my job, I define it as parameters, which usually are the deadline, the budget, the method of reproducing the publication, prior design branding, color, etc. These constraints,, though limiting in nature, allow for the best that I can give creatively and try to push to get the most out of what I have to work with. Sometimes, it takes just slogging through the design and knowing that the groove will [hopefully] come with going through the process of formatting the text, working with the images, etc.; other times it takes putting the entire project aside for a few hours, or even a day and let it percolate unconsciously in my mind before I begin working on it. No tried and true formula, but the process is one that works for me. It was good hearing the personal insights of Dan Piraro.

After the talk, he generously took time to chat a bit with members of the audience and sign copies of his most recent book, Bizarro Heros. An unexpected bonus was this ampersand (here).

So, even though it was a miserable cold rain-filled evening outside, his honesty, humor, and candor had us forget that for a couple of hours, and hopefully we were a welcome distraction for him as well.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wood Type of the Month: Caslon

Read this month’s wood-type column to learn what typeface is used for “United States of America” on the fuselage of Air Force One.

A version of Caslon [Caslon 224] is used for the WordMark identifying the division of Penn State where I work. A quick search turned this bit of trivia up:

“Caslon 224 was designed by Ed Benguiat of ITC, and released in 1983. The result of his efforts is a highly readable typeface, featuring a large x-height, smooth weight transitions, and careful structuring of hairline strokes, offered in four weights (book, medium, bold, and black) each with a matching italic.
In lectures, Benguiat has frequently said he chose the number 224 because it was the address of the building where he did most of his work...”
More about Caslon can be found here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Images of the Day: Slip & Shudder

I’ve seen this local sign’s message pop-up over the years, and finally took the time to snap a photo of it. What most likely started out as a problem getting the 8" plastic letters to stay in their narrow track, has been cleverly turned to their advertising advantage. A simple, low-tech, but effective medium to promote their business.

The other side of the sign driving out of town.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Cryin’ Lion

Since the story about the Sandusky sex scandal broke last Friday, a lot of Penn State employees — myself included — have found it difficult to sleep at night, wondering what new headline will greet us in the morning with ramifications reverberating throughout the entire campus community. Happy Valley is teaming with rabid reporters waiting for the perfect sound bite as paparazzi snap yet another unflattering image. All that and more, while we try to focus on our jobs, daily tasks, and deadlines. I suppose the best we can do is Keep Calm and Carry On — routine can be a calming, grounding force. That, along with a good pair of earbuds to help keep out the gossip, rumors, and conjecture, is about the best one can do. It is hard to believe it is only Tuesday evening . . .

“May Mount Nittany ever rise above us as the Guardian before the gates of Old Penn State. May the strong maiden Princess Nit-A-Nee ever stand in our midst as breaker and shield against the destructive power of the winds of fate.”

The Cryin’ Lion images first was used here.