Archive for July, 2009

summer vocation | setting type

I’m headed to Maui,  and hoping I can post a few times while I am gone. If not, no worries. I’ll be somewhere on the beach practicing the art of chillaxing (and if not, my computer really does need to be taken away from me).

Kate’s roommate, Kathy, turned me onto these 1950’s training videos on typesetting. This is even more old school than I am.

At first I thought this was simply fun and quirky. But as I watched it, and slowed down enough to recognize how methodical and focused typesetters had to be, it made me wonder how this process influenced the publishing themselves. When words can’t be edited so quickly, were they taken more seriously the first time around?  Not sure, but I do know that the patience and discipline required to be a typesetter in the 50’s would test the best of us.

Now excuse me, while I go say thank you to progress.


postage stamps |the most fun you can have for 44 cents

Little pieces of art for your letters. Whose brilliant idea was that?*

Every time I go to the post office I am always surprised at how cool the stamps are, and I swear I will start collecting them. And then I don’t. But I sure which I did. And when I saw the Simpsons stamps, I was encouraged to see that our US Postal Service had a sense of humor as well as a sense of art.

Just a few of the visual treats available from the US Post Office.


Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson, designed by series creator Matt Groening. D’oh.


Polar Bear definitive stamp, issued April 2009.  Designed by Carl T. Herrman, and illustration by Nancy Stahl.


Love: King and Queen of Hearts definitive stamp with two different designs in a convertible booklet of 20 stamps, issued May 2009. Designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, and Jeanne Greco of New York, New York.


Latin Jazz commemorative stamp, 42 cents, issued September 2008. Designed by Michael Bartalos of San Francisco, California.


Part of the Postal Service’s American Design series, the Chippendale chair stamp by Lou Nolan.


Vintage Black Cinema commemorative stamps, issued July 2008.  Designed by Carl T. Herrman of Carlsbad, California.

* According to Wikipedia, and every other internet source (who all seem to share the same source), the first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued by Britain in 1840 and pictured a young Queen Victoria. It was produced without perforations and had to be cut from the sheet with scissors in order to be used. While unused examples of the “Penny Black” are quite scarce, used examples are common, and may be purchased for $20 to $200, depending upon their condition.

Now, doesn’t that make you just want to write a letter?

moon landing comic book art

Celebrating the 40th anniversary with art, of course.


buy:design | baggu bags

It’s been a while since we’ve done any shopping here at re:design, which means we really need some new bags. And I don’t mean that motley crew of bags I have stashed in my hall closet and on the floor of my car. You know what I mean…the bags from every store and event we’ve enjoyed in the past five years. Fun at the time, but as a collection, they need to go hang out with the old t shirts. I didn’t even realize I needed new bags, until I saw the website for Baggu Bags.


Thoughtful, sustainable design. Every color, light-weight 100% nylon, sewn out of one piece (no waste). Folds into a flat 5″ by 5″ pouch. Holds 25 lbs.  Machine washable. And not expensive. Mix and match actually works here. Hello? This is the bag my shopping cart has been waiting for.

And if you aren’t sold yet, check out this Coolhunting YouTube Video.

Simple. Sold. I’ll take five, thank you.

showing our age | design tools of yore

We’ve been cleaning out the studio and found a box we just couldn’t toss.


Coincidentally, my friend Ann (once a studio manager to which all other studio managers were measured) sent me a link to Drawger’s Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, hosted by illustrator Lou Brooks.

We’ve been in the design business for thirty years, which means we started with wax, specking type and shooting stats.  A good day meant sketching ideas, building comps with Pantone paper and Letraset type, maybe walking to Hal’s for some coffee and  halftones. We cut ruby for art to print and tried not to cut ourselves with our x-actos (though every designer has a stabbing story).  More than anything, it was about handskills, craft and community. Ours was centered around the art directors’ club, ADAC, but that’s a story for another day.


So what do you remember, and what do you miss? Leave me a note, and maybe we can extend this walk down memory lane.

fly balls and info graphics | mapping baseball

Some of us actually think of information graphics as fun. Truthfully, a few more of us think baseball is fun. But baseball info graphics? That is some serious summertime sports and design two-fer-one fun. Meet Craig Robinson, and his web site Craig writes, “Essentially, this site is what I’d have been doing when I was 12 years old had the Internet and Photoshop been available to me in the eighties.”  So take a break and visit the site. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find his photo collection of stuck together Tic Tacs (still in their packages). Seriously.

Some of my favorites:

How far would a line as long as all the pitches in one season stretch? (Oct 06, redrawn Jun 09)


A look at whether the leagues have had a few great or crappy teams, or have been fairly strong overall, since 1995.(Jul 09)


After Jackie, how long did it take each team to break the color line? (Mar 09)


Distance covered by all base runners during the 2006 season. (Oct 06, re-designed Mar 09)


All information graphics © 2009 Craig Robinson.