Losing the art of handwriting

I know much has been written about the demise of beautiful handwriting, especially as penmanship is no longer taught in schools.  But I also think about it every time I pay with a credit card and scribble a line with a thick blunt stylus that can barely be held comfortably, while standing, balancing a wallet and trying to write with the "pen" that is still attached to the device's pad by a too short string. What does a signature even mean anymore? Does this meaningless scribbled line even hold any legal weight? When I recently dropped in to the Wells Fargo Museum in Old Sacramento, and saw this run-of-the-mill telegraph paperwork from 1874, it was so apparent that we have lost a real art: one that everyone did effortlessly. 


What's your orientation?

On a recent flight, the sign on the left caught my attention. What was that huge thing between the two people? Lots of cues help us "read" abstract signs. Things like shape, scale, proximity, etc. But this thing was as big as a person! The more that visual cues point us to the "real" characteristics of what is being symbolized, the better the chance we have of "reading" them. Why not rotate the seat belt to the orientation that its normally used: horizontally across a person's body?

Oy Gestalt!

A long time ago, when one of my daughters was small and we driving in the car, she asked: could we go to "Jack and the b-fish?" It took me a while to figure it out.

Recent Reads

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is probably only one of two books that define and encompass the entire genre of the graphic designer as protagonist novel. Penumbra's shadowy bookstore is all about the past, with its crafted typography, earthy, leather-embossed covers and punchcutting. Sloan illuminates the speed-of-light transformations and collisions of old-meets-new in our digital world, while poking fun at modern sensibilities.

Letterforms Bawdy Bad & Beautiful: The Evolution of Hand-Drawn, Humorous, Vernacular, and Experimental Type by by Steven Heller and Christine Thompson... tons of evocative, expressive examples of words and letters that help to explain how an ever-swinging pendulum defines good design.