• 11 June, 2008

    Little Brother Binding by Evilrooster.

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 6:25 pm permalink

    Abi Sutherland, Making Light contributor and bookbinder extraordinaire, asked me for some of the off-register misprints from the first Little Brother edition, in order to put them to some good use. Well, she’s designed and made a kickass binding out of them, and showed me the pictures today. I then proceeded to run around the office like a thirteen-year-old showing everyone I could find her beautiful work.

    The dynamic between Camera Head on the front cover and Marcus on the back works beautifully (check out Abi’s Flickr photoset for images of the spine, the back, and the open spread), and the layout of the type is bold and in-your-face, true to the spirit of the book.

    This is a perfect example of why sharing your work and letting others remix it rawks.

  • 21 April, 2008

    New York Comic Con 2008

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 7:39 am permalink

    Comic Con this year was amazing. I had a blast, met so many people, saw so much kick-ass work, and learned so much! It was also a great opportunity to spend some time with the amazing people I work with, outside of the context of the day-to-day bustle of the work week. 

    As opposed to last year (when I only had a day Saturday pass), this year, by virtue of volunteering to staff the Tor booth on Sunday afternoon, I was given a full weekend pass. It made a huge difference: I got to walk the entire floor on Friday afternoon, before the fans were all let in, so I could sort of get an overview of the entire Con, and was then in a better position to go and look at the particular things I wanted to check out in detail later on; I also got to attend a bunch of panels, relevant to me both professionally (Manga-related stuff for our Tor/Seven Seas collaboration) and personally (I got to see Neil Gaiman read from The Graveyard Book, w00t!); I also got to create a continuous thread of day-to-day interaction with some of the professionals I met, which hopefully will help establish more permanent relationships with my colleagues. In all, a wonderful experience. 

    Highlights include:

    I went to a panel titled Working Digitally, moderated by Dan Goldman, and featuring Frazier Irving, Héctor Casanova, and Lincy Chan. All four discussed their process, and showed us slides (or should I say screen shots, really?) of their work in progress. It was fascinating to see how the pros put it all together—as a person who favours an all-digital process as well, I found the session highly informative. One of the main points that came across while listening to them talk, and something that I discussed afterwards with both Héctor and Dan, is the fact that as the artist finds s/he has more control over the process, and faster tools at his/her disposal, there is a deliberate rejection of the old ‘division-of-labour’ workflow (penciller, to inker, to colorist, to letterer) of Marvel and DC -style comics production. In the words of Héctor Casanova (accompanied by a look of abject dismay): “I couldn’t imagine having someone else ink over my work. I just couldn’t imagine it!”. The only one caveat I would add to this, is that I don’t necessarily agree with the elimination of the role of the letterer. Coming from a typographic perspective, I can attest that a lot of artists (there are exceptions) who insist on doing their own lettering are doing themselves a huge disservice. Typographic communication/expression is its own craft and mode of communication, requiring skills and an eye rather different from that of an illustrator. Sometimes the two skill sets are present in the same person, more often than not, they aren’t.

    On Friday night, my boss, Irene Gallo, was gracious enough to invite Theresa DeLucci and me to dinner with a bunch of illustrators, including Arkady Roytman, Steve Belledin, and Doug Cowan. The latter two being Pratt graduates (Doug and I actually graduated the same year, and were booth-neighbours at the Pratt Show), we had plenty to talk about. I had a particularly fascinating conversation with Steve about the state of art education at Pratt (and universally, to a certain extent), lamenting the fact that the curriculum is not set up to encourage the collaboration between Graphic Designers, Illustrators, and (to a lesser extent) Photographers. This then segue’d into yet another iteration of the e-books conversation, pieces of which can be found in the comments sections here and here. The clock is ticking—everyone’s thinking the same thing. It’s time to move on this before someone does it for me!

    In all, a wonderfully positive experience. A weekend full of comics (I’ve doubled my to-read pile, ohnoes!), fun people, great times. The one shame is the lack of good images from my camera. I really must get myself a real camera. The crappy phonecam on the iPhone really is a poor substitute for the real thing. In the meantime, check out some pics from Irene here, along with her own Comic Con write-up; and from ignorancehere’s photoset here.

  • 12 April, 2008

    Palino interviews Highsmith

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 9:45 am permalink has a great interview with Cyrus Highsmith by Christopher Palino here. Highsmith is a senior designer at FontBureau, and a faculty member at RISD. As such, he rates.

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    Filed under: design,type
  • 8 April, 2008

    Web fonts in Safari (yay!), and a copyfight brouhaha (boo!).

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 6:47 am permalink

    Typophile has a short rant about Apple’s claims that designers can now use any font when creating websites, using CSS3 specs, and that Safari will correctly render the typefaces:

    Apple says: “With CSS3 web fonts in Safari 3.1, web designers can go beyond web-safe fonts and use any font they want to create stunning new websites using standards-based technology. Safari automatically recognizes websites that use custom fonts and downloads them as they’re needed.”

    One of the biggest concerns around the Web fonts scheme is that Web designers would post commercial fonts through either ignorance or disregard of font licensing rights. Apple were aware of this (both Safari folks and Font folks) so I find it hard to understand why they’re telling web designers that they can post any font to the Web.

    Technically, Typophile is correct. And technically, so is Apple. The technology for embedding fonts is there, via the CSS3 standard and Safari’s ability to correctly parse this code. Legally, however, font foundries normally include a ‘no embedding’ clause in their EULAs, so using this (in my opinion, great and a-long-time-coming) technology is, in effect, a breach of contract. As some in the article’s comments section have mentioned, the fault here lies not with Apple, who are simply touting their product’s capability to do something, but with the foundries, whose legal language is outdated and doesn’t reflect changes regarding how their product is used.

    Granted, Apple probably should have included some sort of legalese warning about font licensing, like their infamous “Don’t Steal Music” warning back in the early days of iTunes, but criticizing them for this is akin to criticizing Xerox for making products that enable and facilitate the infringement of copyrights. 

    Will this make designers not use the Web Fonts feature? I doubt it. Personally, I find it incredibly compelling to be able to design for the web with any typeface. This bears re-stating, because I feel very strongly about it: incredibly compelling. The prospect of using fonts other than Verdana, Times, and Arial (bloody Arial, FFS!!) in online designs without having to resort to either tricky, image-based workarounds or the use of Flash is a very, very tempting proposition.

    This will make one of several scenarios come to pass: either 1) foundries will have to find a way to compromise, and change their EULAs to reflect modern usage of their products; 2) the technology will be crippled with some form of DRM, at the behest of the foundries (remember, Adobe is a foundry, and they have clout); 3) the foundries will form some sort of MAFIAA-esque litigating body to go after infringers, with craptacular results. Just one more example of how our copyright system just isn’t working, I suppose. Let’s hope that the foundries learn from the experience of the music and film industry (can’t stop the signal!), and come correct.

  • 23 March, 2008

    Pop-up Type

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 1:34 pm permalink

    Saw this on Irene Gallo’s blog. Paper fetishists, rejoice, and dig the pop-up goodness:

  • 20 March, 2008

    Type in motion, set to speech

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 11:12 pm permalink

    Found on has put together a great collection of kinematic typography set to sound clips of great monologues from TV and film. 

    Great Scenes from TV and Film, Told Using Only Typography (and Sound)

  • 7 March, 2008

    Typographica’s Favourite Typefaces (not ‘Fonts’, damnit)

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 8:28 am permalink

    Typographica has released their favourite typefaces of 2007, and I’m very pleased to see that they’ve changed the name of their event from ‘favourite fonts’ to ‘favourite typefaces’. The reason behind this seemingly trivial change, from the article: 

    Yes, there is a difference.Mark Simonson explains it best:
    “The physical embodiment of a collection of letters (whether it’s a case of metal pieces or a computer file) is a font. When referring to the design of the collection (the way it looks) you call it a typeface.”
    Our feature is more accurately a celebration of new typefaces than new fonts. Keeping these two terms distinct may be a losing battle at a time when some have already declared the words interchangeable, but we’re going to go down fighting.    

    Good for them. Words, terminology, semantics, and context matter. It’s been one of my pet peeves over the last few years that the terms ‘font’ and ‘typeface’ have either become interchangeable in the vocabulary of designers, or the former has replaced the latter in the lay vocabulary.  I’m glad to see someone taking a solid stance in this regard.