Yeesh. This isn’t calligraphy, it isn’t typography, it isn’t even legible* – it’s just a jumble of vaguely letterish-formed computer shapes.
That’s in the first place. In the second place, why? What does this look have to do with the 00′s, with obituaries, with anything? I totally appreciate the Times’ dedication to innovative lettering, but come on. Just, yuck.
*Look, we live in the modern world of the Internet (or as I like to call it, the “cyber” age). It might look good big on your own screen, or printed out, but if it’s this pixellated at the published size (and these are the actual published sizes), it’s just wrong.
I do like the lettering, and love the noir look. But the dawn of the ID Bracelet Age seems a forerunner of some kind of nebulous post-war American arrogance. Which makes little to no sense. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is definitely some triangulation of the rise of identity bracelets and the decline of Western civilization.
No doubt in my mind.
Here’s the full ad. And I will say that at least Hadley was an innovator. I’m not sure what the deal was with Speidel Idents (remember that shit?).
Interestingly (somewhat) is how ’50′s this looks. We’re only at 1938, but the esthetic boundaries are definitely blurred.
Again the hand craftedness is what gets me. That calligraphy Spring, so simply and expressively conceptual, doing what lettering is supposed to do. And, of course, the rest of the headline. The jaunty R is particularly neat.
More info on french line ships here.
This Schick (Lady Schick, I think) ad was apparently done by the advertising firm of Ren & Stimpy.
A great example of how hand lettering can make a piece of typography click as a cohesive design within the larger design. Were this done with a typeface, I don’t think it’d look anywhere near as nice as it does here.
Difficult though it may be to believe, I really don’t want this web journal to be only a catalog of failure. But this is just ridiculous.
It may seem like I’m picking on a sign guy who’s just trying to do his job, but what irks me is that doing this correctly only takes about 3% more effort than doing it in the above ridiculously horrible way. I mean (warning, huge digression forthcoming), you have to wonder how it got to be so bad (and I’m not even going to start wondering why they chose Times – a typeface designed specifically for newsprint – for signage, and moreover for the one place where, if they absolutely had to use a serif, they could’ve gone with the otherwise terribly overused Trajan, which is seen almost exclusively in print). If you think it’s a government job and has no accountability (the Socialist angle), then of course there’s no reason to care about the quality. Similarly, if you think that that 3% of extra effort is 3% that is not specifically earning more money (the Capitalist angle), then there’s of course no reason to care either. So why should anyone care? I’m not sure I know why – just that, for whatever reason, I do (end of huge digression).
But the funny part, to type dorks, is that it’s not even consistently bad (see the green E’s). And, even stranger, is that he got the N’s right, and I’ve made that mistake my damn self. Any way you look at it, it’s a conundrum.
Okay, no more critiques for awhile, I hope. After the 4th, it’s back to good ol’ Fortune. Have a great holiday.
Black & White – a blended scotch that I don’t think exists anymore. There are really only three liquor companies left in the world and Shaw seems to’ve been bought by one of the at some point and the Black & White discontinued.
Because you totally care.
What’s interesting is how much the headline lettering looks like the faddishly popular (nothing wrong with that – I like it, too) font by Hoefler and Frere-Jones called “Gotham.”
It surged to prominence along with the Senator from Illinois, I think. But wierdly, H&FJ claim that their inspiration was signage, not print. Not that I care – design is a daisy chain of influences, and it’s not like they stole this, crudely digitized it, claimed it as their own and didn’t credit the original, like that other Obama-related design.
But they are danged close. Again, I don’t think it means anything in particular. Just an interestingish coincidence.
Above is the ad, below is Gotham (with a much better ampersand, btw).
Stay on the Alkaline Side Better for You. Great job, copywriters.
I do like that Nan is all geisha coy with a guy who, although he’s apparently an abusively hungover drunk, she’s still going to wake up next to (wink wink). Which is, of course, hilarious – just ask Binky. Kind of dark for bubbly water.
Oddly enough, alkaline crap is still sold as healthful, though how anything can remain noticeably alkaline or basic after sitting in your acidic stomach is beyond me.
I really like that lettering – nicely calligraphic, really daring (for me anyway) pen style on such a compressed O. Excellent.
And what a great modern label. It’s a huge bummer that it’s de-evolved into this boring “classy” look. I like the confidence of this thing much better.
My first impulse is to write something funny about training the boy for an unrewarding life in the factory (of all the cool tools in the machine, they pictured the lathe?), but then I got to thinking about irony and pre-irony. And then I was wondering if – and granted this is a limited view for the purposes of this half-baked blog entry – the US is now sort of both. Or, not both, but ironic and anti-ironic, perhaps as a component of the (such as it is) red state/blue state divide.
Not to get all Bordieu on your asses, but I’m wondering if irony is (unconsciously or not) a kind of cultural capital that exists on the coasts, while the middle (consciously or not) rejects irony for a more straight-ahead view of things (most obviously in entertainments where things like NCIS and Two and a Half Men win frequently) as a symbol of their own kind of cultural capital.
I mean: I could view this ironically as an image showing a bullshit relationship (do fathers and sons do this anymore? Did they ever?) or as a sly sales pitch for an unrewarding goal (a future of dull factory work disguised as a “toy”). But at the same time, someone else could view this as a legitimately aspirational or nostalgic image (a genuine relationship moment, happily free from complications of media and technology). I suppose it’s not knowable to what extent I’m forcing my irony, or they’d be forcing their anti-irony, essentially for the same purposes.
You know, I’m not sure any of this makes any sense.Maybe I’m just killing time. But at the end of it all, I do know this: I would’ve loved to’ve had a toy like that! Six tools in one!
Yeah, it’s rant day, but everything I came up with sounded dark – if not crazy – rather than trenchant (or merely surly). So here are two nice examples of quirky vintage typography.
The a is the best part. I’m not buying the S, just stretched up from the lower case. It needs to be wider or shorter, I think.
This headline just had to’ve been written by the client. Clunky doesn’t even begin to describe it. And I wonder how many times it was revised and re-written, all while the deadline kept getting closer and closer (as deadlines will do) – that sans looks hurried at best (look at the “under” – yeesh). Nice B, though.