Posts filed under ‘typeface’

Human Rights can also be well designed and communicate

We are celebrating the 60 years of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights this year. Which is great, actually that document means more to humanity than most people realize. Probably because the general understanding of what Human Rights are is just not understood well enough. 

Well I guess you live in a place where the majority of these rights are still somewhat respected, but scratch just a bit below the surface and you’ll probably notice one violation after the next.

Now I wont get on a roll about that, rather I wanted to show a few videos that I saw on Human Rights which I think apply the concept of practical design. You may wonder how that applies to graphic design – well the design is usefull if it is aesthetic enough to be admired while delivering the message. 

For example a well designed chair isn’t just comfortable (of course it is that too) but it is pleasing to the eye and does it’s purpose. Well a book cover should not just be pleasing to the eye (it must be that) but it should also communicate to the viewer enough so he picks it up and wants to get it, because it tells him enough about the story to make him want to read it. OK I dont’ want to bore you with these details. Let’s get to the point. 

I saw this video on Human Rights by and I really think it is just great. The design attracted me, the way the text merges into the message, into the illustrations, into the animations etc. is just great. And the essential point is that the communication comes across. (Btw, sign their petition to include the declaration of Human Rights into all passports) 

The only problem with the video is that it needs to be redone for every language, and it only works to those that can read. 

The Youth for Human Rights group ( have an amazing series of videos which overcome that (you can download the videos from their site or watch them on YouTube they are in short series and communicate well, the design in this case is the script which is great as it is short and to the point with a minimum amount of words. 

This one is on the Right to Play – the music is particularly good. It sounds like Beck but am not sure and can’t find any reference stating it is or isn’t him. In any case – I love it. 





December 15, 2008 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

About Design

A few weeks ago the Church of Scientology launched a new line of books and recorded lectures on CD. There are 19 new books and 11 modules of CDs.

They are released under an overall banner called the Golden Age of Knowledge and Basics which you can learn more about on the web site.

Now I am writing this post from the viewpoint of design and lettering. The book covers, the color, the design and the interior design of these books is spectacular, I cropped a couple of parts from the covers and included them here.

The rules of color harmony have been adhered to exactly, the lettering is real smart – keep in mind that these books and lectures were released in 15 languages. So instead of doing custom lettering for every title in 15 languages what they did was select fonts and combine them into neat lettering.

The book quality is great, all digitally printed hardback books, even have thumb-indexes.

Then comes the CD modules. They’re sort of aerodynamic plastic modules that hold smaller modules within them and transcripts and glossary of same size.

The image above is a front shot of one of the books and one of the CD modules. It’s not really a descriptive shot – mainly artistic but gives some idea.

And check out the web site. It’s got a better shot of each of these books and modules plus a description of each. And enjoy the Flash graphics.

The images here are (in sequence) from, Advanced Procedures & Axioms book and the Thought, Emotion and Effort lectures. Then it is the cover art from the brochure (which you can see on-line) and the image on the bottom is from the Dianetics 55! book and the Unification Congress Lectures.



note: These books are read in a specific sequence, the presentation here is not per that sequence.

August 3, 2007 at 12:25 am 3 comments

Environmentally Friendly Graffiti (masking tape graffiti)

I saw an interesting piece of graffiti the other day. For the lettering boys like myself this is a pretty cool type (for others it’s probably the most boring stuff they’ve seen).

This photo doesn’t really show the piece well though so let me explain. The text LEDEUX that you see here is actually written with masking tape. Yes the type which painters use to cover windows etc.

The serifs on the fonts are really well done with perfectly cut rounded corners and all.

It’s a nice piece of lettering. And it’s even nicer when you look up close and see it’s actually masking tape.

Truly, environmentally friendly graffiti. The funny thing is it could be removed by anyone since it is just tape, yet nobody takes it off.




July 15, 2007 at 7:21 pm 3 comments

Hilarious signage – read in sequence…

I got these pictures on an email of British signs. I thought they are just too funny to be kept only on email.

And probably someone else has posted them on their blogs too, but it’s just too cool. Who has the got the humor to make a sign like that and the guts to put it up.

And despite the otherwise serious facade of the British, stuff like this is just so unexpected.

Ah how I love these Brits.

Humor is a great thing – how much farther it goes to deliver an otherwise boring message. It’s like those Dolk stencils. One can deliver a message in a placid tone and probably nobody sees it or give it with a touch of humor and it goes a long way and gets remembered.

It’s like what FraudWasteAbuse does with his blog. They’re banal subjects delivered with with a touch of humor and I remember them better than the news of the day.

Cheers all of you.

At the Train Station:
or you may get sucked off

At the Zoo:
Do not stant, sit, climb or lean on zoo fences.
If you fall, animals could eat you and that might make them sick.
Thank you.

In the bathroom:
GENTLEMEN: Your aim will help. Stand closer it’s shorter than you think.
LADIES: Please remain seated for the entire performance.

On the High Tension machine:
This machine has no brain
Use your own

On the Air Conditioning Service Van:
Stiff Nipples Air Conditioning Service

On the Nitelink bus:
Ladies, the poles are fitted for your safety.
No dancing.

By the lake:
ATTENTION DOG GUARDIANS  Pick up after your dogs. Thank you.
ATTENTION DOGS  Grrrrr, bark, woof. Good dog.

Outside the Mr. Toskana lather goods store:
MR. TOSKANA has had an expensive divorce
and now needs the money, so SALE NOW ON!!

Somewhere else:

Don’t throw your cigarette ends on the floor
The cockroaches are getting cancer

May 26, 2007 at 12:21 am 4 comments

But Seriously Dude… Where’s my Bike? (Some basics on color usage)

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I took this shot of a bike in the snow the other day. Following my earlier post (Dude where’s my bike – a lesson in 3D font usage) I thought I would bring this sequel.

Just like the bikes can’t be found in the snow, so will your message if you don’t use your color harmony well. I found the following would be a good basic to start from.

What is color?

Technically we could explain color like some do in encyclopedias. Something like “physical phenomenon of light or vision associated with the various wavelengths in the visible portion of the electromagneticspectrum. As a sensation experienced by human beings and some animals, perception of colour is a complex neurophysiological process.” Per the Encarta Encyclopedia.

While this may serve a technical defition it doesn’t give us a better understanding of what color is and how to use it.

Color could be simply said to be a visible characteristic used to distinguish similarities and differences in an object, painting, picture etc.

Arguably more than half of the beauty in an object, painting, picture comes from the color. Think about a bouquet in black and white. It would be nice but it would just not quite be as nice as it could be.

But color can also turn a nice painting or object into something so repellent you just want to get rid of it fast. Imagine a room with beige walls with fine gold ornaments and a Bordeaux carpet and in the middle of that place the most expensive renaissance chair, a true piece of art, painted in bright green. Had your vision been in black and white you would still consider that a gorgeous room.

Almost everyone can somewhat figure out what fits and what doesn’t. But how can you be sure. And what do you do when you are told your Powerpoint presentation needs to feature the company logo which is bright green and simply doesn’t fit with any of the charts you made. Or after you found out at a recent seminar that the color that would best represent your company is red yet all your point of sale materials you have are green.

How can you know what other colors you can use or rather you must use to make the presentation attractive (and thus sell)?

Here is where the laws of color harmony come in. To understand color harmony you first need to understand the word harmony. Harmony is defined as a pleasing effect produced by an arrangement of things. It comes from the Greek word harmonia ‘agreement, concord’ which came from the word harmozein ‘to fit together’.

This is the secret of color using color; harmony. There are laws to color harmony, there are limits and boundaries and exceptions to these which are explained with the color wheel.

Let your bosses have at you, tell you that your presentation needs contain their favorite colors, let the marketing analysts present you their color surveys, no matter what color you are asked to include. With the color wheel you are never lost.

Just like any other field, there are laws to this game and knowing them and having the tools to use them replaces your rickety string ladder with granite steps of certainty.

There is no way around it. The color wheel is a basic to creation like a paint brush is to a painter. You can paint with your fingers but you won’t get a Monalisa.

The color wheel existed long before computers, but recently a company did a pretty neat little software called color-wheel-pro. You’ll find a link to it in my tools section on the right. Try it out – it works well the new version (2.0) fixed some points missng in prior edition. It’s soon perfect.

March 7, 2007 at 11:51 pm Leave a comment

Dude, where’s my bike? (a short lesson in 3D lettering)

Got this shot from the snow this week.

Bikes in the snow
It’s quite fun on the picture of a bike in the snow, but imagine that as a 3D effect on text and you’ll see it’s not good for your lettering. Just like you won’t find your bike here, you’ll have a hard time reading the text.

Why – because it becomes hard to read. 3D effects on lettering decrease the contrast, so if you put too much on your piece the text and the art blend together.

On the post I did a few days ago on the Stencil Graffiti in Copenhagen by Dolk you see what high contrast means. Event on a colorful or random background, the lettering and art is clear.

There are still too many people that think modern means using modern tools (i.e. lots of 3D lettering because the new Photoshop software can make 3D lettering). Don’t fall into that trap.

Here is an example how it should not be done:
How not to put 3D effects on your lettering
What’s wrong?
– Bad font choice
– 3D effect overdone this looses all contrast
– Too much shadow and too strong
– Serif fonts don’t do well with any 3D effects
– No color choice

Here is an example of the same and how it can be done:
A better way to use 3D effect on lettering
what’s right?
– Sans-serif font
– 3D effect subdued
– Shadow just enough to give effect
– Font choice better
– Colors used to focus attention

The Dolk signature is a good font choice and good contast.
Dolk’s signature - Good example of high contrast and lettering

Hope this helps, comment if you have questions.

February 25, 2007 at 12:15 am 1 comment

Using 3D effects in lettering

During the 90s – in the heyday of 3D effects you saw just about any lettering had 3D effects (embossing, bevels etc). It was great then because it was new and showed that you had the latest software.

But it never did too much for communicating message. Why was that?

When you put strong bevels on text or other 3D effects you loose contrast. And the impact of your poster or design depends on the contract and how the text is readable.

By keeping a high contrast text/art ratio your message comes across much better and you COMMUNICATE to the viewer.

In practical terms:

1. Use drop shadows but keep them moderate (a few points drop shadow is nice, but 10 point shadow for a 20 point text is disturbing), don’t go over 10% or 15% of the text size.

2. Keep the bevels to a minimum. You can bevel text, but keep it extremely minimal. Try putting a stroke and beveling that a little instead, you’ll keep a better contrast.

3. When you choose your color for the font, watch the color harmony (I’ll post more on this later). Stick to colors that offer nice harmony but good contrast.

February 13, 2007 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

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