Roughly one month into the launch of Volterra, the results have been better than I had hoped for. As of this moment, it sits at #34 on the MyFonts “Hot New Fonts” chart, and has been purchased by customers from various areas of the US, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland, Norway, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Israel. I even sold a 10 user license to a major book publisher, giving me hopes that it may grace the cover of a book at some point in the near future. My ultimate dream is to see it pop up somewhere by surprise, without actively seeking out it’s use in the world. Thanks to any of you that may have purchased it at this point.
A postcard design I just finished up for 826CHI, based on text written by one of their kids. The script is custom drawn, but based on Wisdom Script, and the sans serif is Detroit.
My new typeface, Volterra, is finally finished. It is currently for sale at MyFonts.com for a reasonable $25.
Volterra was inspired by an experiment I did in 2008 with Bodoni (for the Holly Hunt 25th Anniversary Campaign) where I added a white stroke around the edge of the typeface that started eating away the thin strokes. Eventually I eliminated the horizontal stroke altogether, then took the remaining shapes and redrew them into more more balanced forms, hopefully breathing new energy into a 200-year-old classic.
I named it Volterra after the artist Daniele da Volterra—who was famously hired to paint loincloths over Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement” when nudity in religious art was condemned—partly because I thought the name suited the look of the typeface, and partly as a joke about corrupting the work of a typographic master—Giambattista Bodoni. I’m proud of the final product, but I obviously acknowledge it isn’t exactly in the league with a typeface like Bodoni. It is strictly a display face, and looks better and better the bigger you make it.
In 2008, HOLLY HUNT celebrated it’s (her?) 25th anniversary and decided to create a series of limited edition silver-themed furniture/accessory items, and to throw a series of celebrations at the various HH showrooms around the country. This is the HH25 campaign to support it all, including a brochure highlighting the different furniture items and a series of invitations for the different celebrations. Since 25 is the silver anniversary, silver foil stamps were a big part of the campaign, eventually finding it’s saturation point in the Chicago invitation featuring silver paper with a 25-year-old Victor Skrebneski photo of Holly printed in silver ink with a silver foil stamped HH25 on top.
This campaign appeared in the Print Magazine’s 2009 Regional Design Annual. It also was the first time I experimented with these serif characters which eventually led (4 years later) to the completion of my new typeface Volterra. Now on sale at MyFonts (<—click there!).
For my degree project at RISD, I sought a project that would give me the opportunity to mix my abilities as a designer with my roots as an illustrator. What I eventually settled on was the idea to choose a short story and expand it into it’s own book that I would illustrate and design with that single story in mind. Graphic novels had been bringing long-form adult stories to a primarily visual medium for some time, but I wanted to bring visual interest into the plain text environment. I chose the short story “Notes To My Biographer” by Adam Haslett, from his book You Are Not A Stranger Here, about a manic depressive father seeking resolution with his estranged son.
My main goal was to do more than to just illustrate the action of the story. I wanted the illustrations to be indicative of the deeper meaning in the story. Beyond that, I wanted to design the text of the book in a way that supported the story so that the book wasn’t just left-page-picture-right-page-standard-text. Looking back, I could have done much more with the text layouts, but overall I’m happy with the final product.
From the archive: the non-commissioned logo for a character in Ryan Brown’s must-read comic God Hates Astronauts. The character has a cow head permanently emanating blue flames, so, there you go.
A set of paintings I did for my parents’ house right after graduating RISD almost 10 years ago. They needed two to go on either side of an entryway, so I did them both monochromatically with my old favorite Payne’s Grey to make sure they felt like a set. They are some of the larger paintings I’ve done at 4ft square.
I was born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, but my family moved to California about 6 months later. Whenever the topic of Two Rivers comes up, it results in a groan from my parents that indicates that it was not necessarily their favorite or the many cities they moved around to over the years. So tonight at dinner, I start telling my parents “Hey, did you happen to know that there is a place in Two Rivers called the Hamilton Type Museum that is a bit of a mecca for type nerds?”. I intended to go on about their wood type collection, thinking that they would be all surprised about this information, but instead I am interrupted with the information that my Dad was THE PRESIDENT of Hamilton Manufacturing Company and that is why we were living in Two Rivers at the time of my birth! Apparently he used to have a whole drawer of wood type as a parting gift, but it is believed to have been lost in subsequent moves. I suppose I was always destined to be a type nerd.
I think it’s about time we start setting some spoiler guidelines. We now live our lives without the constraints of actually needing to watch something “live”, and while I enjoy the ability to watch television shows at my own convenience instead of having to make sure I am settled and in front of the television at exactly 7pm on Thursday, it can be very annoying when you are trying to talk to someone about a show from the previous night and they don’t want to hear about it because they haven’t watched it yet. I understand that people get busy, and that you might not watch something on the night in which it airs, but if you haven’t watched it within a week of it airing, you don’t get to complain about “spoilers”.
Beyond the timing issue, I feel like people have gotten too nitpicky with what constitutes a “spoiler”. Most shows don’t have real spoilers. LOST had spoilers, Breaking Bad has spoilers, reality shows in which someone is eliminated each week have spoilers, but a show like Louie or Parks and Recreation or Community don’t really have real spoilers. Here is the “spoiler” for every episode of every one of those shows: the main characters of the show are presented with an obstacle or problem, and, SPOILER ALERT, they overcome said obstacle and/or problem. Most shows, and most movies even, don’t provide enjoyment through dramatic plot twists, they have a plot as an excuse to enjoy the characters and how they would react to different problems. Even fiction that does depend on some amount of suspense or uncertainty probably has a pretty predictable ending. Take The Dark Knight Rises…SPOILER ALERT: Batman wins in the end. Who would have thought?!?! There isn’t any twist in which it turns out that Alfred was actually the villain all along, it’s just that Bane is a bad guy, he does some bad things, Batman faces some adversity, then overcomes adversity to emerge victorious. What a surprise! I thought Batman would lose in the end!
The enjoyment of almost all fiction is the journey itself and enjoying the events as they unfold, not the uncertainty of how it will all end. There are very few shows or movies that would really be ruined by spoilers. Movies like The Sixth Sense, Fight Club, and The Usual Suspects would be viewed much differently throughout the film if you know the twist ending. These are the movies that would be ruined if you knew what the ending was ahead of time, but these movies are rare. I could say almost anything about The Avengers, and it wouldn’t really ruin the enjoyment of that movie, yet I’m not allowed to say a single word about it all summer because my friend hasn’t seen it yet. Therefore…
I propose the following guidelines:
Television shows: If you haven’t watched a show within 7 days of it’s original airing, you can’t complain about spoilers.
Television shows on DVD: If you didn’t want it spoiled, you should have watched it when it aired. I watched Citizen Kane knowing what “Rosebud” was, Soylent Green and knew it was people, and Planet Of The Apes knowing that they were on Earth. And yet, it was okay.
Movies: Six weeks. If there is a movie that you really want to see, find a way to see it within six weeks, or else risk having it spoiled.
Entertainment is meant to be enjoyed with others, and it is annoying as hell not getting to discuss it just because a couple of your friends haven’t seen something yet. So watch the things you like, and watch them in a timely manner, and we’ll discuss it afterward.
Why is it that whenever poker is shown in movies, it always comes with the implication that the player with the best hand is somehow an amazing poker player? In the above clip from Casino Royale, James Bond comes off a genius because he has a straight flush and defeats multiple full house hands, but in reality he likely would have folded pre-flop. If they really wanted to portray him as an excellent poker player, they would show him scaring another player off the best hand when he had nothing. Scenes like this one are the poker equivalent of saying that people who win the lottery are somehow more skilled at playing the lottery than all other lottery players.
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