Archive for the 'links' Category

Mother’s History of Birds

My colleague and friend Elliott Malkin just finished his short subject documentary, Mother’s History of Birds, the third film in his family trilogy. In it, he tells the story of his mother through her pet birds. (I love Roberta’s taste in eyewear.)

Also, if you haven’t seen it, check out his home movie reconstructions.

The Bold Italic

Jason Kottke just linked to an interesting design tidbit – the launch of a web magazine in San Francisco called The Bold Italic. (No, not that bold italic…)

We’ve seen some small-scale examples of art direction on the web, but this seems to me to be something in the ‘medium’-scale range – I really love this stuff, hopefully they can keep it fresh.

Also, I can’t wait for the day when ad budgets and tools are at the point where designers can art direct on the article-level, as opposed to just designing templates and frameworks. Maybe this gets us an inch closer to that goal.

Fever° From Shaun Inman

Shaun Inman launched Fever today, a re-imagined feed reader. The big difference between Fever and other products like Google Reader, is that it is designed to help float important or trending links and discussions to the top. So rather than reading through hundreds of posts to find what’s hot, Fever analyzes all of your feeds, and looks for re-linking and repeat references.

I haven’t yet sprung for a license, (mostly because there isn’t any offline caching so that I can read on the subway). But, there is a lovely looking iPhone-optimized site, and it looks as thoughtfully and lovingly designed as his web analytics product, Mint.

Be sure to watch the video demo, and note that Fever is not a hosted service—you have to install it on your own server.

Introducing Typekit

Jeff Veen announced Typekit today, a hosted solution for embedding fonts on the web:

We’ve been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.

Soon enough, @font-face CSS at-rule support will come to all major browsers, so use of non-traditional web fonts will increase. If this catches on, the web in 2010 might look a lot different than it does now—I wonder who will be the first major online content provider to use it?

Al Shaw on Redesigning the Front Page of Talking Points Memo

On Redesigning the Front Page of Talking Points Memo »
Al Shaw talks about some of the design considerations and technical wizardry that went into the face lift of the Liberal-leaning politics blog. Be sure to watch the video demo of the ajaxy front page CMS editor.

David Letterman Got Married

Wow: David Letterman got married!

President Obama Unveils New Stimulus Logos

The stimulus package is now law, so there are going to be a lot of public works projects in need of a logo, right?

Yesterday, the president unveiled 2 such logos – designed by Mode, Aaron Draplin and Chris Glass. The logos will be stamped on public works funded by the economic stimulus package, FDR style. President Obama said that its intent was to remind Americans that:

When you see them on projects that your tax dollars made possible, let it be a reminder that our government – your government – is doing its part to put the economy back on the road of recovery.

One wonders if the Obama team is going to rebrand the entire Federal government, one agency at a time.

U2 on Letterman, $4 Album Download

U2 kicked-off their historic 5-night residency on David Letterman’s Late Show last night, with a performance of Breathe. They even participated in a little sketch, where Dave had them outside on 53rd Street, shoveling snow.

The residency is to celebrate the release this week of their twelfth studio record, No Line On The Horizon. And it just so happens that you can grab a copy of it in non-DRM MP3 format for $4 from Amazon. I don’t regularly listen to U2 much any more, but this is a great thing for a major-label artist to do, and I’m more than happy to give it a few listens for that price and format.

UPDATE 3/5: Night two, the boys played Magnificent, which sounds like a classic U2 song. Bono needs to treat his voice with more care, though.

The Times on Brooklyn Food, Frank Bruni on Buttermilk Channel

Today’s Times Dining section has some great coverage of Brooklyn food. First, there is a great article on food producers throughout the borough:

These Brooklynites, most in their 20s and 30s, are hand-making pickles, cheeses and chocolates the way others form bands and artists’ collectives. They have a sense of community and an appreciation for traditional methods and flavors. They also share an aesthetic that’s equal parts 19th and 21st century, with a taste for bold graphics, salvaged wood and, for the men, scruffy beards.

Make sure to check out the interactive map, too.

Also, Frank Bruni reviews one of my favorite new restaurants near our home in Brooklyn, Buttermilk Channel, along with an audio slideshow:

Buttermilk Channel [is] a restaurant of real standards, noteworthy ambition and uncommon slavishness to trends. It’s laudable and predictable in equal measures. And it was packed every time I went…

The look of the restaurant, whose corner location affords it pretty windows on two sides, is on the polished side of homey. There’s nicely buffed wood, a spidery brass lighting fixture and a honeyed glow from it and handsome sconces along the walls.

There’s also ample space between tables: the owner, Doug Crowell, isn’t trying just to jam in as many people as possible. But he does ask you to trade some comfort and convenience for the refreshingly low prices.

These few blocks on Court Street are starting to fill with interesting and tasty culinary operations: Buttermilk Channel, Frankie’s Spuntino, and the newly opened and not-yet-visited soon to open Prime Meats.

UPDATE: The Times posted a Q & A between readers and subjects of the Brooklynite food producers piece.

Gondry’s Flight of the Conchords

The first four episodes of season two of Flight of the Conchords were uninspired and forgettable, but that all changed with episode five. Directed by Michel Gondry, the Conchords return to the top with two great songs – the Sausagefest anthem Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor, and an ode to Jemaine’s ex-girlfriends titled Carol Brown.

I’m just catching up on this season now, but episode six has Kristen Wiig from SNL… omgz!

Michael Bierut on the Move from the “Drawing Board to the Desktop”

From Michael Bierut’s piece in the Times this weekend, Drawing Board to the Desktop: A Designer’s Path:

All of us assumed that these machines [computers] were just fancy hybrids of typewriters and calculators. We did all the artwork with rubber cement, colored paper and paint. We had no idea, but we were looking at the beginning of the end, and the end came quickly.

Michael is a partner at Pentagram, and blogs regularly at Design Observer.

A New Whitehouse.gov, and New Typefaces

As of noon today, we have a new president, as well as a new WhiteHouse.gov. The much-admired, Gotham-based typographical identity is gone, but as Jason Santa Maria points out, the designers went instead with two other typefaces from the same foundry: Whitney and Hoefler Text.

Another major redesign this week also involved the use of Whitney: kottke.org – though you’ll need to have the font installed on your machine in order to see it.

Which begs the question, Is Whitney the new Gotham? (Seems like just yesterday we were asking, Is Gotham the New Interstate?)

Hoefler+Frere-Jones is on a roll.

Obamicon.Me

Make your own Obamicon:

Your image in a style inspired by Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster. Regardless of your candidate of choice in the 2008 election, here’s your chance to sound-off.

From the folks at Paste, via Sean.

A New Pair of Sox for the Red Sox

New Red Sox Identities

This design link is near and dear to my heart – The Boston Red Sox recently updated their team identity and uniforms. Overall, I think it’s a positive evolution, though seems a bit nostolgic. I love the gray primary road jerseys.

Armin Vit mostly likes what he sees:

Replacing the old seal as the team’s official logo is the lone pair of red, hanging sox. Unless I’m wrong, there is no typography associated with it. None. No “Boston.” No “Red Sox.” If that’s the case, this is one of the best cases of visual identity and brand equity becoming so strong the icon doesn’t need explanation. They are sox. They are red. They can not be anything other than the Boston Red Sox.

Illustration courtesy of Boston.com

Icon-maker Shepard Fairey – Person of the Year 2008 – TIME

TIME Person of The Year 2008 Cover
Shepard Fairey’s cover for TIME.

Time.com has a nice video interview with Shepard Fairey, designer of the HOPE and PROGRESS posters of Barack Obama that were nearly ubiquitous during the ’08 presidential campaign. Time Magazine named the President-Elect Person of the Year 2008, so it seemed only natural to hire Fairey to do the cover.

In the video, he shows the process used to create the piece – techniques learned from his days as a screen printer.

Via Sean

Blur to Re-Form for Massive Hyde Park Gig

Blur to Re-Form for Massive Hyde Park Gig »

It ended in acrimony, with the guitarist branding the singer an “egomaniac”. But after months of speculation, Blur have confirmed that they will be reuniting for a massive gig in London’s Hyde Park next summer.

My favorite band of the 90s, together again for the first time since guitarist Graham Coxon quit the band in 2002.

More: Blur In Video » | Review of Graham Coxon Solo Show in 2005 »

The Mostly True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway

The Mostly True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway:

There is a commonly held belief that Helvetica is the signage typeface of the New York City subway system, a belief reinforced by Helvetica, Gary Hustwit’s popular 2007 documentary about the typeface. But it is not true—or rather, it is only somewhat true. Helvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when it created a new signage system at the end of the 1960s.

r-train
R-train icon, set in Helvetica and Standard.

I noticed this discrepancy earlier this year – I had to recreate some MTA subway icons for use on a project, and noticed that the R train map icon looked nothing like the Helvetica “R”. The MTA’s own website seems to be confused about the type used in the system icons, let alone its station signage.

Enter typographer Paul Shaw, and his 10,000+ word piece on AIGA’s site. Did you now that Boston’s subway signage system was the first to use Helvetica, without modifications? Ever curious as to the process by which enamel signs are made? Want to just look at pretty pictures of subway signs over the years?

It’s a great history, for fans of typography and the MTA.

What’s Hebrew for “Yes We Can”?

Well, that didnt’t take long – given the success of Barack Obama’s digital and design strategy in our recent presidential election, someone was bound to, ahem… completely rip him off, sooner or later.

Surprisingly, the most recent example is the campaign of Benjamin Netanyahu, the conservative Likud leader running for prime minister of Israel. The Times reports:

The colors, the fonts, the icons for donating and volunteering, the use of embedded video, and the social networking Facebook-type options — including Twitter, which hardly exists in Israel — all reflect a conscious effort by the Netanyahu campaign to learn from the Obama success.

I wonder if that type is the Hebrew Gotham?

wp-Hyphenate by KINGdesk

Wp-Hyphenate is a very promising plugin for WordPress, because it enables some typographical control not previously available for the web:

With it your left aligned text will be less ragged, and your jus­ti­fied text will avoid the ghastly word spac­ing that has pre­vented seri­ous web design­ers from using it.

It’s still in its early stages, but I’m experimenting with it here – using justified paragraphs and blockquotes. Let me know what you think.

Out of the box, the plugin broke my linked flickr image codes, so I had to put <a> tags on the whitelist, so the plugin ignores any linked text. Hopefully that issue will be addressed in the future.

UPDATE: Nov 16, 2008 – Jeff King has updated his plugin to address the issue described above.

Grant Park – Alex Wright

My colleague at NYTimes.com, Alex Wright, happened to be in Chicago last night, so he made his way to the Grant Park celebration. I’m sure that will be a moment to remember for some time.

Newsweek’s “Hackers and Spending Sprees”

Newsweek.com has some interesting tidbits about the recently completed presidential election between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin:

  • Palin’s “rogue” shopping spree was greater than the earlier reported $150,000.
  • Obama didn’t choose Hillary Clinton for the VP slot mostly because of her husband.
  • Palin appeared with nothing on save for a towel, when McCain aides and strategists came to her hotel room to brief her at the Republican Convention.
  • Obama thinks some debate questions are stupid.

More will be released on Newsweek.com in the coming days.

How Hackers Show it’s Not All Bad News at the New York Times

Apologies that this blog looks a little New York Times-y lately, but I had to share this – O’Reilly’s Andrew Savikas wrote a very interesting post on some of the interesting stuff we’re doing:

…there‘s something going on at the Times that probably won‘t make it to Silicon Alley Insider, much less the mainstream business press, and it‘s something that‘s starting to make me think the Times just might succeed in adapting to the changing rules of the media and publishing game…

So what’s the Times doing that’s so important? They’re hacking.

Savikas goes on to list a lot of examples, but the best one that I can provide is the coming release of our APIs, which will enable people on the outside to play, tinker, and mashup NY Times content. There are only a few APIs currently public, but there will be a flood of releases in the coming months.

[via Jeremy]

UPDATE: Oh man, a bit after I published this today, we launched our Visualization Lab – a partnership that uses IBM’s Many Eyes technology. More Info Here »

What the Hell, Malcolm Gladwell

My friend Julia writes today on Huffington Post – What the Hell, Malcolm Gladwell. She takes the Tipping Point author to task for not including one woman in his new book Outliers, which examines high achievers:

But what about Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag, Tina Brown, or Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo?

What about Oprah?

The omission of women in Outliers says more about the nature of “big think” books than it does about Mr. Gladwell.

I think that lets him off the hook easy, but it’s interesting to read Julia’s thoughts on the book publishing world. She posts regularly to the Harper Studio blog, at 26thstory.com.

New York Magazine Profile of Nate Silver

New York Magazine has an interesting profile on Nate Silver, the man behind the political website FiveThirtyEight.

Silver uses data analysis to track and weight polls, based on their historical track records and methodologies. What’s interesting is that he rightly predicted the outcome of the Democratic primary race, while commentators at the time were talking about a Hillary Clinton comeback.

This Election’s Poster Child

Design critic Steven Heller looks at poster design this presidential election cycle, and the unprecedented outpouring of support for Senator Barack Obama:

So, do these posters have any impact on voters? Not the specific images or messages but cumulatively they are a grassroots effort that excite through the show of collective support. What’s more, posters often appeal to personal needs and emotions, not all rouse in the same way for everyone. Having many options allows partisans to engage as they choose. This show of support goes in the plus column for Barack Obama.

Take a walk down Smith Street in Brooklyn, and you’ll see Shepard Fairey’s poster in many shop windows – it’s almost comic… not just street art any more.