Archives for the month of: January, 2010

I’ve learned a lot over the past year. especially about myself and how i work. For instance, i’m much more productive when i have a full plate, i work much better with all-encompassing projects than i do with a list of smaller tasks, and the days always fly by when i’m working with design. 

Even though the engineering industry is very conservative, I get lots of inspiration from Michael, an accomplished designer + typographer I was lucky enough to work with on our firm’s rebranding project. He recently sent me an essay by Beatrice Warde, “who was a believer in the power of the printed word to defend freedom, and rejected the avant-garde in typography as introspective, believing that classical typography proved a ‘clearly polished window’ through which ideas could be communicated.” Pretty great, huh? Just wait until you read this essay-

“The Crystal Goblet: Sixteen Essays on Typography (1955)”

Imagine that you have before you a flagon of wine. You may choose your own favorite vintage for this imaginary demonstration, so that it be a deep shimmering crimson in color. You have two goblets before you. One is of solid gold, wrought in the most exquisite patterns. The other is of crystal-clear glass, thin as a bubble, and as transparent. Pour and drink; and according to your choice of goblet, I shall know whether or not you are a connoisseur of wine.For if you have no feelings about wine one way or the other, you will want the sensation of drinking the stuff out of a vessel that may have cost thousands of pounds; but if you are a member of that vanishing tribe, the amateurs of fine vintages, you will choose the crystal, because everything about it is calculated to reveal rather than to hide the beautiful thing which it was meant to contain. Bear with me in this long-winded and fragrant metaphor; for you will find that almost all the virtues of the perfect wine-glass have a parallel in typography. There is the long, thin stem that obviates fingerprints on the bowl. Why? Because no cloud must come between your eyes and the fiery hearth of the liquid. Are not the margins on book pages similarly meant to obviate the necessity of fingering the type-pages? Again: The glass is colorless or at the most only faintly tinged in the bowl, because the connoisseur judges wine partly by its color and is impatient of anything that alters it.There are a thousand mannerisms in typography that are as impudent and arbitrary as putting port in tumblers of red or green glass! When a goblet has a base that looks too small for security, it does not matter how cleverly it is weighted; you feel nervous lest it should tip over. There are ways of setting lines of type which may work well enough, and yet keep the reader subconsciously worried by the fear of “doubling” lines, reading three words as one, and so forth.Printing demands a humility of mind, for the lack of which many of the fine arts are even now floundering in self-conscious and maudlin experiments. There is nothing simple or dull in achieving the transparent page. Vulgar ostentation is twice as easy as discipline. When you realize that ugly typography never effaces itself, you will be able to capture beauty as the wise men capture happiness by aiming at something else.

The “stunt typographer” learns the fickleness of rich men who hate to read. Not for them are long breaths held over serif and kern, they will not appreciate your splitting of hair-spaces. Nobody (save the other craftsmen) will appreciate half your skill. But you may spend endless years of happy experiment in devising that crystalline goblet which is worthy to hold the vintage of the human mind.

It is very beautiful how she compares typography to the wine glass, (and also very fitting as we are headed up to wine country for the weekend!) The other side of the metaphor is her comparison of ideas to vintages of wine, and she does it in the most eloquent and fabulous way – love it!

a blog. with infinitely better writing, content that is actually useful, and a viable readership. http://thelushers.wordpress.com/ is cleverly written by Kathleen (an old college roommate) with her husband + co-chef, Tom. I had the opportunity to re-connect with Kathleen last fall while they were honeymooning in Ca, and we’ve been following thelushers ever since! Mike + I have our eyes on a couple of the recipes we want to try — stay tuned!

saturday. was a fabulous day of doing nothing! brunch at Harry’s, complete with sliders (for M) and bottemless belinis (for me!), a walk down to the marina green, then over to The Final Final for beers + football. and four bowls of free popcorn.

check out these little sahweeet peas!!

 

mike jones- trying to look stoic, or just watching the game? you be the judge…

resolutions. for the past two weeks, I’ve been going to Toastmasters meetings on Wednesday evenings.  At first it kind of seemed right along the lines of an AA meeting — “I’ve had trouble speaking in front of groups since i was… / I knew it was really bad when…/ etc. etc.”  

Last night,  one woman ended her introductory speech; “… and many years from now, when someone asks me what the greatest acheivement of my life is, I’ll say ‘the life I’m living right now’.” Can’t say I don’t feel the same. Maybe I’ll go back.