I are the champions. A piece of script I did was awarded a something of excellence and for inclusion in the TDC Annual 30. Which is nice. I actually do have a rant about competitions and their relative merit, but it’s seriously pretty specious to complain about winning an award. Especially from the TDC, which I respect a lot.
I’ll be blissfully computer-free for a coupla weeks. Back in twenty-oh-nine.
I’ve gotten a couple of emails about the script piece I did. They’re mostly younger people and granted the young are stupid, but they all ask what software or font* made it. I can understand that they may not know the intricacies of Spencerian script, but I cannot understand their assumption that there are no intricacies to be known.
There is an idea that seems to be prevalent lately that there is not much to be known about anything. This link is a potshot (assuming it’s not a hoax), but there is abroad what I think of as a late mutation of the self-esteem movement: that our own knowledge is the only knowledge. The lady in the clip (to whom we’re all supposed to feel superior (when frankly we should be ashamed at the depths we’re willing to allow our educational system to sink to)) does something that a lot of us do: takes her own assumptions as totally, unquestioningly valid. From there it’s not a big leap to start spinning harebrained theories.
Theories not unlike the ones in my emails: the existence of software that somehow automatically draws flourishes for you, or that there is a font with those exact flourishes included. Theories that don’t include the notion that someone worked for scores of hours refining a design on a piece of tracing paper – actually, many many pieces of tracing paper – before getting a computer involved at all.
One more (supremely irritating) example: often I typeset really horribly written copy. Can I express the seething locomotive of hate that barrels through my brain when the grammatical corrections I’ve made get unmade? No, I cannot.
There is a lot to be known. And, not to get all Rumsfeldian or anything, I think you’re much likelier to improve once you’ve begun to embrace the existence of known (and unknown) unknowns.
* I hate the word font as much as I do the word blog although both are perfectly valid and reasonable – but then again I also hate moist and blinker too .
Pentagram’s done some fine work for Saks; I’m a huge fan of Pentagram; I’m a huge fan of script typography. So I’m posting this more as a question than a criticism: how could you make their new(ish) logo work better at such a small size on the website? The problem is that pixels are too coarse to capture the delicacy of the script. It would be nice if we had monitors that could somehow be made, like, stochastic rather than pixelated, but until then? Do you make it bigger? Do you take a photo of the printed logo? I love script, the print logo is beautiful, and then you end up trying to fudge it into unsplittable pixels, with mixed results. But not to bag on Saks – Brooks Brothers is even worse.
I experimented (briefly) to see if there is any way to defeat the pixel, but I’m not sure there’s any easy answer – although I do think that leaving it to Photoshop alone, and trying to redraw it pixel-by-pixel are both equally lacking. FYI, shooting it didn’t work any better than fudging it in PS, and SVG is even worse.
I know it’s much lighter than the Saks, but the x-height roughly corresponds. The example on the right is a little better, but I’m just not sure there’s a way to get the really shallow areas of the curves to look less like they were done on an Atari 2600.