Helena Hauss's Hell Hath no Fury ceramic sculpture set

A picture of a blue ceramic grenade, Morning star, spiked baseball bat, and battle axe

Dangerously beautiful from artist and sculptor Helena Hauss.

A set of custom made sculptures hand painted in the delft blue style of ceramics. It’s an approach to represent the inner strength and fury that comes with being a woman, in contrast to an appearance of delicacy we’re too often branded with. 

I love the visually dissonant nature of Hell Hath no Fury. Just keep the baseball bat away from me.

Blue and feminist related: Seitō – a 1911 Japanese magazine exclusively for women

Almost every typeface seen at Disney theme parks

I make movies for a family audience written in the Disney font

Mickeyavenue.com is the home to an “incomplete listing of typefaces seen at Walt Disney World, etc.”

Since listing all of the typefaces used at Walt Disney World would be impossible, and a huge waste of time, here’s a list of just the few that I’ve noticed, and the locations at which I recall seeing them (yes, still a huge waste of time).

Some of the fonts are well-known—Cooper Black, Helvetica, and Broadway—and some more obscure typefaces like World Bold, designed by Deborah Lord for Epcot’s Future World area.

Disney and typography related: the history of Walt Disney home video, Pizza Typefaces, and favourite typefaces of 2020.

Steven Richter made Luke's lightsaber in a day

Steven Richter made Luke's lightsaber in a day

I featured Steven Richter’s replica Jumanji board game and his Venom/Eddie Brock sculpture and now we have Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber.

The lightsaber actually took 14 hours to make (according to Steven’s comment on the video) which makes his feat even more remarkable. His materials included a block of wood, tools to shape it, spray paint, and masking tape (light beam not included).

Stream the abridged “making of” video below.

One Day Build - Luke's Lightsaber

Star Wars related: a Star Wars stormtrooper decanter, Cleganebowl with lightsabers, and “KENOBI”, a Star Wars fan film.

VHS Poster Collection by Xavier Esclusa Trias

Xavier Esclusa Trias is the founder and creative director of Twopots and one of their latest projects is this VHS-inspired poster collection.

I grew up in the 90s and used VHS tapes predominately until the late 00s (although I still have a VCR which I watch tapes on when I can be bothered to plug it in). As a fan of Swiss Style posters as well, this is a combined nostalgic delight. Look at the vibrant colours!

VHS related: The Toronto bar turning itself into a VHS rental store, 5 retro videos from The VHS Vault, and the history of Walt Disney home video.

(via abdz.)

Favourite typefaces of 2020

I Love Typography and PRINT listed their favourite typefaces of 2020. I’m subscribed to a few typography newsletters and catch a glimpse of new fonts as they’re released but I wasn’t familiar with most on these lists.

There was a lot of love for serif and display fonts in I Love Typography’s list while PRINT was more varied, featuring Atkinson Hyperlegible amongst other sans serif typefaces (a lot of which I like).

I think my favourites from these lists would be Atkinson Hyperlegible, Pacaembú, and Futura Now. The serif ones are either too similar or verging on illegible.

Related: Burger King’s cool rebrand, a typography cheatsheet, the story of Comic Sans, and the omnipresence of Cooper Black.

(h/t Typewolf)

Burger King rebrand is simple, nostalgic, and effective

You may have heard about Burger King’s recent rebrand, their first in over 20 years. Older customers may also think the “new” logo looks the same as the logo used between 1994–1999.

It’s fundamentally similar but there are noticeable differences and I’m sure a designer could explain why they’re significant. But a rebrand is more than a different logo.

But my favourite part? This ingenious monogram.

It’s a B and a K and it looks like a condensed version of the fuller logo, in the style of a burger (or as Jason Kottke called it, “The Slider”).

The Flame brand font family was designed by Colophon Foundry in bold, regular and sans, reminiscent of Cooper Black and Raphael Abreu, global head of design for Burger King’s parent company, told It’s Nice That he “wanted a font that make people want to take a bite out of it.”

“We are also very playful and bold in how we use the new font. There is a variable version where we stretch and compress it and create expressive and impactful illustrations with it.”

Unfortunately, I swore off ever eating from Burger King 20 years ago this year after a bad experience and, well, I’m not going to change that. But I still love The Slider.

Vini Naso's "The Masks We Wear"

I watched a very wild video involving anti-maskers in the US fighting with people wearing masks (as you should). It devolved into physical abuse and shouts of “China communists” and “mask Nazis”. People are trash and COVID is real.

Masks are necessary. They inspired the Cultrface logo (RIP DOOM) and have represented a lot of meanings in life and art for centuries. Canadian artist Vini Naso understood this when he created his visual art series, “THE MASKS WE WEAR”:

In this series I wanted to bring together the folkloric fused with a futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic to create something that felt timeless or time agnostic. Ironically, the pandemic has made this series especially timely for our ‘new normal’.

This series has recently been featured on Vogue Italia on an article about leading artist working at the intersection of Art, Beauty and Technology.

If I could see and breathe through something like that, I’d probably rock one on weekends to scare the maskless who choose not to stay safe.

Check Vini’s Behance project to see the series in full.

The controversial story of Comic Sans

Comic Sans in German that says "Tschudin Gartengestaltung"

Jon Robinson wrote an article about the history of Comic Sans for UX Planet, arguably the most derided font of all-time.

The short version is that Vincent Connare created the font in the mid-90s, inspired by the handwritten lettering from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.

Connare recognized that comic books employed lettering that was hand-drawn to fit each individual box or bubble, providing both flexibility and variety. He drew each letter numerous times until satisfied that every glyph had it’s own unique shape and curve, while still functioning as a family.

Due to its form we classify it as both a sans serif and a casual script font, because the letters mimic handwritten characters that do not connect; but it’s not considered a typeface by most due to the lack of an italic or bold variant. Overall, Comic Sans is composed of rounded letters that would appear to have been drawn carefully in thick black marker by a child learning the alphabet. No sharp points are found in its letterforms. It’s the result of someone attempting to make a font out of alphabet soup.

And now it’s everywhere and polarises everyone who sees it. In fact, I wrote a disparaging article about it years ago (no longer online). But there have been suggestions that Comic Sans is good for dyslexic readers (although this has also been refuted).

If you want to use a font made for low vision readers, I suggest Atkinson Hyperlegible.

The Inneract Project aims to change the design industry

Children at a desk drawing

As Principal Design Lead at Microsoft and founder of the Inneract Project, Maurice Woods is an influential designer. His experience teaching Black and brown kids about creative professions has given him an insight that could “change design as we know it”, according to Fast Company, thanks to Inneract:

[…] Graphic design has a major diversity problem: Just 3% of designers self-identify as Black, according to the most recent AIGA Design Census. That lack of representation means things we use every day—from apps to shoes to transportation—are being designed largely from a white experience. It also means that kids don’t see designers who look like them, making it more unlikely they’ll go into the field.

Woods founded Inneract Project to counter that. He first discovered graphic design at the University of Washington; after a seven-year detour playing pro basketball in Europe, he eventually settled in the Bay Area to earn his graduate degree and worked for top agencies like Pentagram and Studio Hinrichs before coming to Microsoft. In the 16 years since he founded Inneract, the program has taught design skills to more than 1,500 kids; even more importantly, it has fostered a creative community of students, alumni, and parents. And while diversity is a buzzword at the moment, Woods says there’s not a quick fix. Companies have to recognize that diversity is a long-term goal and that can only be addressed by creating opportunities for early exposure to design.

Inneract Project offers free courses and workshops, internships, and mentoring and not only gets kids into design but supports them through those early years.

We believe that by developing pathways to the field of design and providing professional mentorship, we can boost student success, ultimately leading to an increase in diversity in design and technology. To achieve this, we engage practicing designers and other professionals to teach students about their respective disciplines.

From IP’s about page

Head over to IP website to see how you can get involved with the project through volunteering or donations.

Why we keep seeing Cooper Black everywhere

The wonderful Estelle Caswell did a video for Vox about the Cooper Black font and its prevalence in pop culture:

There’s a typeface that has made a resurgence in the last couple of years. It’s appeared on hip hop album covers, food packaging, and advertising. Perhaps you know it from the Garfield comics, Tootsie Roll logo, or the Pet Sounds album cover by the Beach Boys. It’s called Cooper Black, and its popularity and ubiquity has never waned in the hundred years since it was first designed.

I know I’ve seen it everywhere but I never realised just how much and I’d never connected the name (which I knew) to the typeface. I was also unaware of how versatile it was. Cooper Black is suddenly my new favourite font.

Stream the video below.

Why this font is everywhere

Opinions on the Biden-Harris logo

biden-harris logo

Not long after presidential candidate Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris as his running mate, they revealed their joint logo. Lilly Smith, writing for Fast Company, asked 10 experts what they thought of the design including:

The general consensus? The font looks great, the logo is generally good but it might not matter that much. Even the criticisms were rounded off with “whatever, I’d still vote for Biden because he’s not Trump“. Top expert opinions. But what was I expecting? When I look at it, I’m neither repulsed nor enthused. It’s Just Another Sans-Serif Logotype.

From Debbie Millman:

“I never, ever thought I’d say this after a lifetime in professional branding, but on the spectrum of good branding versus effective branding, I’d say at this point it is irrelevant. Frankly, the Biden-Harris logo could have been scribbled on a napkin and I’d be happy.”

And Sagi Haviv:

“Let’s be honest: it’s not a good logo. Why does the E deserve to be the highlight of the identity? How about emphasizing the B as his first initial? And turning an E into three lines is something we’ve seen.

For such a consequential election—and now an (sic) historic candidacy—I could see them taking a fresh look at Biden’s somewhat amateurish logo from the primary and maybe doing something more dynamic and innovative. (Harris’s logo for her own primary run was much more original and carried a message.) However, perhaps this bulky, uninspiring mark reflects exactly this ticket’s promise: a safe, predictable return to normalcy. I’ll vote for them.”

Safe, predictable return to normalcy? That’s a loaded statement if I ever heard one.

Brand New moving to a subscription model

brand new logo

I enjoy Brand New so I wasn’t sure how to take the news that they were shifting to a subscription model from 24th August.

After nearly 14 years of making Brand New free and open to everyone, the time has come to move into a paid subscription model. This was not a decision we took lightly and I will gladly expand on why we made it — in detail. This is a long post but I have added too-long-didn’t-read summaries at the end of each point. (The subscription cost and benefits are outlined at the end.)

The reasons behind it make total sense. The pandemic has cut off their most significant revenue streams and they need to find a way to gain some of it back. Subscription models are commonplace in online media now and this seems like a logical step. It’s also very cheap, whether you pay monthly or yearly.

Interestingly, there will still be an option for free access if you ask:

For anyone that can simply and honestly not afford* the subscription cost we will happily provide a free subscription. No questions asked. No reasons required. You tell us you can’t afford it, we will honor your request. Please note, this is not a blanket invitation to students — many of you can skip one Starbucks drink a month to afford two months of Brand New.

* “Afford” being key. “Not wanting to” is not a valid reason if you can afford it, whether you are a professional or student.

What is it with comparing monthly subscriptions to the cost of coffee? Oh yeah, everyone drinks coffee. Anyway, I could afford $2 a month but I’ll give it some more thought before I make my final decision in about 5 days.

Shape Grammars by Jannis Maroscheck is a book of shapes and systems

Cover for Shape Grammars

Imagine studying at the University of Arts in Tokyo, living in a small village, and finding out there’s a state of emergency due to COVID-19. What would you do? For Jannis Maroscheck, he decided to write a book.

Maybe “write” is the wrong word to describe how Shape Grammars was created. The 836-page study analyses automation in design, depicting “around 150,000 shapes” produced by 12 systems.

“What becomes visible is that the computer is quick at drawing. It can design 100,000 shapes in a couple of minutes. It is limited; it can never escape a system’s given logic.”

Jannis Maroscheck talking to It’s Nice That

I like the look of this book. I don’t know if I’d buy it or have any use for it but I enjoy the idea of all the shapes and the uniformity of it all. It’s brutal and concrete, which is similar to what Ayla Angelos to conclude their article:

Primitive, concrete and built to be transformed, the shapes found within this book’s hefty pages are indeed born out of a digital world. So is this perhaps a small glimpse into the future and what is yet to come? Is this the end of originality and conscious thought? Either way, the result of Jannis’ study is here to be used and appreciated for their forms.

Shape Grammars is currently being reprinted but is available via Slanted for €42.00.

Animals on the London Underground

elephant drawing made out of London Underground lines

A really cool site I found while I was digging through Kottke.org’s archives.

Animal’s on the Underground’s backstory:

The animals were discovered by London-based designer, Paul Middlewick in 1988. They’re created using only the lines, stations and junctions of underground railway maps. Paul first spotted the elephant while he was staring at the world famous London Underground map during his daily journey home from work.

The more he looked, the more animals he found and the elephant was quickly joined by many other cute animals including a bat, a cat, a polar bear, several dogs and even a bottlenose whale.

But over time, people have discovered animals on other underground transport systems including the Moscow Metro, the New York Subway, and the Paris Metro.

You can buy a desk jotter and a pack of 3 notebooks from the site to help maintain the site as well as donating to them directly via PayPal.

Sadly, no hippos have been found yet. Stream the site’s featured video below.

Milton Glaser on creativity and failure

milton glaser

Milton Glaser sadly passed away on Friday at the age of 91. He was best known for his I ♥ NY logo, his Bob Dylan poster, the DC Comics logo used from 1977 to 2005, the Brooklyn Brewery logo and co-founding New York Magazine with Clay Felker in 1968.

In 2011, Glaser discussed the fear of failure and the “myth of creative genius” as part of a video series from Berghs’ Exhibition 2011:

“Find out what you’re capable of doing or not capable of doing. Admit what is […] Embrace the failure.”

While he also suggested that becoming a specialist was the best way of achieving success, he warned that specialism was antithetical to artistic development:

The consequence of specialisation and success is that it… hurts you. It hurts you because it basically doesn’t aid in your development. […] Understanding development comes from failure. People begin to get better when they fail.

(Milton Glaser, 26th June 1929—26th June 2020)

Stream it below.