PLEASE don’t let your website resize my browser window


Squint for the (slightly NSFW yet somehow very polite) fine print.

Oh and to all those web designers out there, while you’re at it, if you don’t mind terribly, and it’s not too much trouble

a) EVERYBODY clicks ‘skip intro’. EVERYBODY.

b) NOBODY wants to hear your company jingle playing on repeat. NOBODY.

So just don’t bother, and we can all be friends again. And you’d have so much more time to spend on doing nice things for yourself, like having tea and biscuits in the sunshine. And I wouldn’t have to mute the sound on my computer. Now doesn’t that sound nice?

Beware, Treeware

I have recently realised (or re-realised, or developed an extra level of guilt about) just how much printing I do. Paperwork in the office, journal extracts at uni, research notes that simply must be underlined and ruffled and shuffled. And yet  I Did Not Know… that “treeware” was another way of saying All That Printed Stuff That I Really Do Need In My Hands And Not On A Screen.

Thanks once again, OED Word Of The Day.

Yes, I am now willing to agree that newspapers are going the way of the dodo, but The Paperless Office is still very much a thing of fantasy.

That’s The Paperless Office, mind you, and not The Paperless Library, which is a thing of nightmares. I won’t rant again (just see my previous anti-Kindle rantings here).  Though I must admit that I’ve recently acquired an iPhone… and an eReader app… and have even gone so far as to download enough classic literature to fill a suitcase (if it was in treeware format)… and have THOROUGHLY enjoyed being able to reread Dracula in the font/kerning/leading/justification/colour scheme of my choice… I will never stop loving real books.

Related: Paperlust survives the typocalypse

Periodic Tables of Everything

Periodically, the design world picks up on something and runs with it. Holding up a poster for the camera. Keep Calm & Carry On (and various parodies: Get Excited & Make Things, Now Panic & Freak Out, Ignore The British, Keep Spending & Stay In Debt).

Recently, I’ve noticed an upsurge of periodic tables.

1: A marginally useful and seriously colour-coordinated Periodic Table of Adobe Creative Suite Shortcuts*:

{ Periodic Table of Adobe Creative Suite Shortcuts, Design By Vent via FFFFOUND! }

2: The joyously punilicious Periodic Table of the Elephants:

{ by Lauren Hill Academy/American Chemical Society. Click for full-size/detail }.
Note, for example, that the Helium elephant is flying, the Zinc elephant is sunbaking, the Aluminium elephant is a roll of tinfoil, and the Nickel elephant is, well, a nickel. Joy!

3: And, of course, the Periodic Table of Typefaces:

…where Helvetica (H) — like its elemental counterpart, hydrogen — is, of course, the most abundant typeface in the universe. { by via Lifehacker. Click thru for full-size/detail }.

* Speaking of colour-coordinated, see my bookshelf:

( And please excuse iPhone image quality. )

A rather paltry effort, inspired by this amazing display:

{ ADD OCD DIY? via Dornob Designs }


I believe in Helvetica

For Daniel Brooks, Helvetica doesn’t even exist.

{ via FFFFOUND! }

For me, this artwork is like lettuce. Mostly it’s just dots (or water, if we’re talking about the lettuce). Only a very small percentage of it has any meaningful substance.  And in both cases, it’s that little bit of something that makes it more than just nothing.

I believe in Helvetica.

(I also really like lettuce).

What do you believe in?

Word Nerd: Targeting Rubik’s

{ 9-letter Word Rubik’s Cube by Kasper Sonne via }

I really love word puzzles. And I really, really love doing the Word Target in the newspaper. Some days the 9-letter word is apparent the second you flip to the last page. Other days, you stare at it for as long as it takes to mull over three cups of tea. You give up, and then have a 9-letter epiphany 7 hours later when your mind ought to be solving other problems. Sometimes a ‘good’ result is 10 words; sometimes it’s 35. Sometimes, the 9-letter is a completely ordinary word. Sometimes it’s a word you’re sure doesn’t actually exist. Such are the joys of Word Target.

But I digress. The point is, I want this 9-letter word Rubik’s Cube. An endless supply of Target puzzles, complete with 80s novelty styling? Fun!

The aesthetic twilight zone

The Unfinished Body: Aesthetic Judgement
by Vandling

{ via FFFFOUND! }

Things that are conceptually ugly but visually beautiful, balancing in the aesthetic twilight zone.

A research-based series  investigating our concept of beauty and ugliness. Inspired by Immanuel Kant’s idea that beauty is what promotes life. Finding subjects that symbolise death, and finding beauty in them.



Eye Heart Rebus

I’m quite partial to the odd pictogram.
I think it’s the combination of wit and phœnetics.
And, in this case, cautious optimism.

{ Peace Print by Robert Brownjohn, at Design Museum Shop via FFFFOUND! }

PS. Cursory googling reveals that Robert Brownjohn also has a book called Sex and Typography, with a chapter on From Russia With Love and Goldfinger (and, presumably, typeface). I Must Read This.

PPS. *EDIT* Have now read (most of) the aforementioned chapter (thanks, Google!). Awesome! I’ve always loved the sordid 60s glamour of the Goldfinger titles. Tales of bikini-clad typographical projection — plus a pretty, pacifist rebus — convince me that I need to learn more about the works of this Brownjohn fellow.

“Stop spam. Read books”

I used to get frustrated with those popup boxes that make you decipher undecipherable text for no apparent reason. And then I learned that there IS an apparent reason.

I mean, initially it was just about making sure that the typist was in fact a person, and not just a spam bot. Hence the name Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart*.  Bots, it seems, are great at bringing the internet to its knees, but aren’t so talented when it comes to reading distorted text.

These days, however, most websites use reCAPTCHA, and its intentions are infinitely more honourable: stopping spam AND ‘reading’ books. Now, I’m all for the simple eradication of spam, but helping to archive the annals of English literary history seems like more of a lasting service to humanity…

See, all over the world, Very Delicate, Old, and Ephemeral Books are being digitised and thus preserved for all eternity (thereby avoiding the risk of another Alexandria?). But this involves scanning said books, and then transposing the images into workable text. And if you’ve ever used “Optical Character Recognition” to edit scanned text in Adobe Acrobat, you’d know how successful THAT can be. Lowercase ‘r’ next to ‘n’ ALWAYS comes out as ‘m’.

When you fill out a reCAPTCHA prompt, one of those words is from one of those old texts, garbled by OCR (because OCR is a computer and can’t tell the difference between ‘rn’ and ‘m’, and presumably you know better).

The other is a known variable: a chosen word, mangled in the same way as the ‘unknown’ word. If you’re capable of deciphering this word, then reCAPTCHA assumes you’ve correctly translated the word it actually needs.

So next time you’re asked to verify a posted link on fakebook, stop before you grumble, and remember that:

  1. You’re doing a noble and relatively effortless deed, to help a noble and otherwise unconquerable cause, and
  2. This is perhaps the only time that as a human, you are more useful than a computer, and you should do what you can to reinforce that assumption.

Hell, I’m tempted to put every blog post behind a reCAPTCHA-protected link, just to move the whole process along**.

*I generally don’t approve of meaningless neologisms, but I’ve a soft spot for shamelessly twee acronyms.

** Don’t worry: I won’t.

The Futura is near (but not touching)

{ Coudal Partners via FFFFOUND! }



A minor revision re: lolcats

I may have been rather heavy-handed in my universal (and well-publicised) dismissal of all things lolcat. As of now, I would like to officially revise and clarify my prior stance:

a) I still despise the term ‘lol’ (or ‘LOL’ or ‘lololol’, and so on and so forth), whether written, typed or spoken. Maybe we can still be friends if you choose to use it, but I won’t reciprocate (I prefer ‘BAHAHA‘).


b) I still want to fix every lolcats caption so that it has correct spelling/grammar/syntax/everything.


c) Lolcats can be … REALLY STUPIDLY FUNNY. Especially when related to the topic of grammar/editing/linguistics/quantum physics.

Humour-wise, I place them in the same league as Man Hiding Out in IKEA by Covering Self in IKEA Bags, and this Male Model Reading The Picture of Dorian Gray From Page One Backstage At NY Fashion Week.

If your moronic, miscaptioned cat photo teeters on the brink of irony, with one lolpaw dipping into metareflexivity, then I am likely to find it snortingly funny. I will say ‘BAHAHA!’. Possibly out loud. (But I still won’t say ‘lol’).