29 October 2005

[font_design] Free Thanksgiving Fonts from Designorati™

Pariah S. Burke once again delivers the goods and gobbles with a selection of 13 free Thanksgiving-themed fonts. Turkeys, Puritan hats, pumpkins and pumpkin pies...they're all there, including one which really turned me on, "LMS Post-Thanksgiving Shopping", strewn with shoppers and credit cards.

They're available at Designorati by following this link the the post.

The fonts are all Windows TrueType, but never fear Mac addicts–there's a link to TTConverter15.hqx, which will convert them to a Mac-licious TrueTupe good for OS X and on down.

(NB:All fonts are free of charge, but are subject to the terms and conditions enumerated in each one's license, all of which are included with the downloads)

27 October 2005

[net_life] Fear The Wrigles

As you may or may not recall (or care), I documented the first hint that wrigles may have plans against the human race in this post.

Read it first. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Done? Good.

Well, as I just found out, someone has redirected the original "Dentyne Ice" entry to a more coherent article, one that has such vital components as correct spelling and grammar.

This can only mean one thing.

The wrigles caught the security leak and closed it. Unlike our government, they are quick and effective...

While it may put me in some personal danger, I intend to stay on the beat, following the wrigle menance until, Kolchak-like ('70's version, that is, not that poncy-*ssed -0ughties poser) I have documented it and end up a rumpled, careworn reporter banging out stories on a 1942 Underwood, such is my dedication.

It's a promise, people. Stay tuned here for the latest on the impending wrigle menace.

[us_politics] This Just In...Miers Is Out.

Just heard over the television and the radio...

Harriet Miers has apparently withdrawn her nomination for Supreme Court Justice.

Details will have to come from smarter, more well-connected people, but we just heard it here, just now.

25 October 2005

[sundial_life] Today, At The Mall 205 Target Store

Me: "I found the blank video tapes, hon™. They're eight for ten dollars."

The Wife™:"Eight? For ten dollars?!"

Me: "Yep. VHS is going out of style, you know."

[net_life] You must be --[this]-- tall to edit Wikipedia

Much has been made lately of the flaws in the vaunted Wikipedia.

I must say, at the apparent risk of a little potential embarrassment, that I have used Wikipedia as source material and found the articles I've referenced generally well done, if sometimes the writing is a little amateurish and stiltled. I understand these are people who care about what the write about, and I dont depend just on Wikipedia–that, indeed, would be suicidal.

But since my searches have so far been highly targeted I tend to go right for the wheat and bypass the chaff.

Comes to my personalized Yahoo! home page, the option to get a feed on new Wikipedia articles. Nifty, yes? Maybe no. Seems the warts and all dichotomy spoons all the warts on the new entries. Exhibit A (and only) (well, the only one I can stand, anyway) was posted just today, deailing an unnamed researcher's insight into the towering subject of...Dentyne Ice.


Dentyne Ice
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Dentyne Ice is a gum made by wrigles. Known for its "cold" minty flavour it is a favorite.

And that's it. That's all. Don't believe me? Go here, if you dare.

What can we conclude from all this?
  • Wrigles, whatever they are, manufacture Dentyne Ice, and, presumably, the rest of the Dentyne line. We know not what designs the wrigles have on human society. Fear the wrigles.
  • Since the words "flavour" and "favorite" appear in the same sentence, the poster is or is not in the UK (or the British Commonwealth), is or is not brain damaged, or may or may not be Madonna.
  • Civilization is doomed, doomed, utterly doomed.

[zeitgeist] Tragic Count

As of today, the 2,000th American soldier died as a result of the Iraq war.

Is it worth it yet?

24 October 2005

[pdx_life] Another Eastside Sign Code Victim

Facing east, SE Division Street just west of SE 164th Avenue, Approximately mid October 2003:

This was a noble old sign, back from the days when such places were where the housewife did the shopping. It just radiates Chevy Bel-air-tailfin-women in Capris-suburban '60s, don't it?

Sadly it, too, is gone. Seems the old Big Dollar Shopping Center is going through some renovations, and the sign is gone, replaced by a sign that is really not worth going out and taking a picture of.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

23 October 2005

[design_culture, humor] They do stuff.

Got a huge design budget and noplace to spend it?

Got the need to tell the world you have a ton of cash to spend on consultants?

Then go to huhcorp. Why?

They do stuff.

(PS:Bored designers have the wickedest senses of humor)
(PPS:I'm a bit behind the curve on this one, but it just occurred to me now to share it)

22 October 2005

[design] If You Do Layout, You Need Adobe InCopyCS2

I just finished an article over on QuarkVSInDesign.com about Adobe InCopyCS2. It's part of a 6-article series on Adobe's hidden charmer (Adobe InCopy CS2: In Production) at QuarkVSInDesign.

This application rocks my little designer world.

What is InCopyCS2?

Those who have read my pontifications here are aware that I use layout programs for design (see last article). Of course, in a production workflow, designers and layout artists do the grunt work of putting things on the page whilst editors, naturlich, direct the work and form the connection to content.

In small workgroups, say 2-20 (and maybe even larger ones) the workflow is linear and serial. That is to say, editors push content to designers who push proofs back to editors who change content or suggest changes which are pushed back to the designer. PDFs fly all around.

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, editorial-design interplay is better than its ever been. But, just as in computer hardware, the serial flow has its drawbacks, especially when working in a group where asynchronicity is the order and reality of the day. Thus we have editorial systems. Quark does, with Quark Publishing System, and Adobe does, with InCopy.

InCopy is a hell of an app, but, until this cycle, has been kind of tucked into the background, sold only as part of enterprise-level editorial solutions. With the release of Creative Suite 2, Adobe has liberated InCopy, which is now available as a stand-alone purchase. This is an application that every designer should know about and get if they can, and every editor of a designer who works in an Adobe workflow should have.

What InCopy brings to the table is simultaneous collaboration. Editors work on content while desingers do layout, leaving the layout sacrosact to the designer only. Instead of doing a change and firing off PDFs, it's all on for everyone-but the designer working the layout controls who has access to what via story and frame assignments.

The stories are edited in an interface that resembles the InDesign Story Editor, only with a supercharged hemi under the hood. The editor can delete text, mess with styles, track changes and save off deleted text as notes that travel with the file like sticky-notes, preserving them as alternative suggestions.

I can even use this as a single-user workflow, because the text editing capabilities of InCopy are just that good. The InDesignCS2 Story Editor is a huge improvment. Using InCopyCS2 in place of it just jacks up the copyfitting and editing capability to an insane level.

But I won't go on too much more here. Go read my article. See why this program is so exciting.

Like I said: editors, layouters, you need this program. You at least need to look at it. Yes, I could be an evangelist for this program. It's that good.

Quick Links:
And, a quick PS: After interacting with Layers Magazine's managing editor Chris Main to get the Scott Kelby editorial in my last post he asked that I link back. This has been done in the article, but Layers is such a darned good resource that if you design, you should check 'em out anyway. There is now a permanent link to Layers in my Graphic Design Links list in the sidebar.

21 October 2005

[design] Layout War II: Why QuarkXPress Has To Answer The InDesign Challenge-Kelby Explains It All

When I started learning Graphic Design, one of the first technological aquaintances I had to make was an application known as QuarkXPress.

A "layout" application, in the creative trade, is one of the designers most valuable tools, allowing a single designer to import textual and graphical content from a variety of sources into a file (for this reason I sometimes term QuarkXPress and its competition Adobe InDesign aggregators), lay them out as they will, and set and style type with incredible accuracy and flexibility–something that, before PageMaker and Macintosh created the 'desktop publishing' discipline in the 1980's, was the province of whole groups of people.

Adobe and Quark are, as every designer knows, the two giants of the design industry. There are many other purveyors, but just as the professional mechanic can be distinguished from the shade-tree mechanic by the presence of a "Snap-On" toolkit, the professional (or professionally-slanted) designer and layout artist can be deduced by noting that they use XPress or InDesign instead of, say, MS Publisher or even Adobe PageMaker. It is all but certain that any professionally-produced publication–from newspapers like The Oregonian and national magazines like Time and Newsweek to humble local and community newspapers–
were produced using QuarkXPress (and, increasingly, Adobe InDesign).

That this market-tussle is joined is, therefore, of interest to just about everybody who thinks about print. The layout application is the bridge between the creators and the publication you read over your coffee in the morning.

Quark's checkered past in the design world is a matter of history, and since I've commented at length about at length myself, I'll not recap it yet again. Suffice to say at this point, because of its own company strategy, past attitude, and apparent corporate culture (I'm hardly a Quark insider despite my activities at QuarkVSInDesign.com) Denver's Quark, Inc. is in a vulnerable position, and one it never thought it would be in; playing catch-up. They've changed thier public style and approach because they understand that thier complacency has starved the goose that lays thier golden eggs. Adobe's InDesign may not have the majority of the installed base yet, but it does have major mind-share now, and that will translate into an installed majority soon enough if Quark remained complacent.

Thus came the improvements; Mac OS X nativity, the price cut (XPress is still available at a lower price of $699 versus about $1100), the new logo and attentive public image, the addition (via XTension) of image tweaking and native Photoshop file import, the release of the 6.0-6.5 update as free to registered users.

XPress is now a better program but still has to do feature catch-up to Adobe, and still has a legacy of negative impressions to conquer.

Writer and Photoshop god Scott Kelby had the right of it from the beginning–back in 2003, which seems an eternity ago (QuarkXPress was still in a non-Mac OS X native version 5, and InDesign was in version 2-not quite yet the Quark Killer, but held great promise). What follows is a reprint of his editorial from the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of MacDesign magazine that was handed to me by an instructor at PCC when I said I was looking to equipping myself with a professional's tools. Its title, "Big Trouble In Page Layout Land" carries the tagline "How QuarkXPress has become the "Aldus PageMaker" of the 21st Century", which may strike some as quizzical, but he explains it.

This article is a key to understanding why Quark is where it is still, despite the price cuts, the retooling of its public face, its delayed arrival as a native OS X application and expanded feature set, and why everyone is looking to the still-unreleased QuarkXPress 7 to make it or break it. I still keep a copy of the column tacked to my wall, but for this post, I read out as a public service Scott's 2003 editorial for MacDesign, in full, with gracious permission from Chris Main, managing editor at Layers Magazine (which is the current incarnation of MacDesign).

Without further ado, then, Scott Kelby.
Big Trouble in Page Layout Land
How QuarkXPress has become the "Aldus PageMaker" of the 21st Century

by Scott Kelby, In The Mac Lane
MacDesign Magazine, Jan/Feb 2003
© Layers Magazine, used with permission.

If you read the subhead above and said to yourself, “Aldus PageMaker? Isn’t it Adobe PageMaker?” then it’s time for a quick history lesson. (On a personal note, I can’t believe that I’ve reached an age where I can now tell stories of how things “used to be.” Sad, isn’t it?)

PageMaker (the page-layout application now owned by Adobe) was originally developed by Aldus Corporation, and along with Apple’s LaserWriter (the first Adobe PostScript laser printer), these two started what’s now called (by old geezers such as Wilford Grimley and me) the Desktop Publishing Revolution. Back then (in the mid 80s—BHT [Before Hammer Time]) everybody, and I mean everybody used Aldus PageMaker. As with almost all groundbreaking graphics applications, for years it was only available for the Mac, but eventually Aldus decided to put their focus on creating a Windows version of PageMaker.

Unfortunately, at the time Aldus was focused on creating a Windows version of PageMaker, another Mac-only application, QuarkXPress, was starting to make inroads into the page-layout market by focusing on high-end typographic controls. Years later, when Aldus changed their focus to adding “long-document” capabilities to PageMaker, Quark found a way to extend the capabilities of QuarkXPress’ power using XTensions (their name for add-on plug-ins that could be created by third-party developers to work seamlessly from within QuarkXPress). So, in short, while Aldus was distracted with Windows and long-document capabilities, QuarkXPress pretty much pulled the rug out from under them.

By the time Adobe bought Aldus Corporation, PageMaker’s decline was in full swing, and the perception that “QuarkXPress is for pros; PageMaker for amateurs” was so ingrained in the design community, even Adobe’s major improvements couldn’t overcome it, and to this day, although Adobe PageMaker still exists (at version 7.0), it’s primarily seen as a Windows-based, small-office, layout program for creating newsletters, flyers, etc. It comes with loads of pre-designed templates because they know “if you bought PageMaker, you’re not a professional designer.”
QuarkXPress had won the war. Adobe knew it so they set out to create a new high-end page-layout application from scratch—a “Quark Killer,” that would complement their complete dominance in image editing (with Photoshop) and vector-based drawing applications (with Illustrator).

When Adobe introduced InDesign, it fell short of the “Quark Killer” many had hoped it would be, but it certainly was a promising first release. InDesign 1.0 included some high-end features that Quark didn’t offer, including tight integration with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
When version 1.5 was released, it was a major improvement on version 1.0, and it introduced more new features, but it still didn’t “kill off” Quark. Even though it now nearly matched QuarkXPress feature-for-feature, and offered some cool features that Quark-XPress didn’t, it didn’t convince very many longtime QuarkXPress users to jump ship, especially in the prepress world where QuarkXPress is firmly entrenched.


Why am I telling you all this? Because history has begun to repeat itself. For the past few years, Quark has been focusing on adding Web-design features to QuarkXPress, so users could take Quark-XPress documents and convert them into “Web-ready” documents. And QuarkXPress 5.0 actually does offer more advanced Web features than even the latest version of Adobe InDesign.

Here’s the catch: If Quark had come out with these features three or four years ago, it would’ve been a huge boon to Quark, but unfortunately, Quark delivered these high-end Web features after the “rush to the Web” had pretty much passed. Now, designing for the Web isn’t “the hot new thing;” it’s a regular part of a designer’s life. In addition, while Quark was focusing its energies on bringing
Web features to its page-layout application, Adobe was focusing on making InDesign Mac OS X-native, and adding even more features aimed at high-end layout professionals. I can’t believe I’m about to say this (because I had my doubts that it would ever happen), but with InDesign 2.0, Adobe has actually “PageMaker’d” Quark.

Although Quark, Inc. is a privately held company and doesn’t release official sales figures, the word on the street is that sales for the Mac version of QuarkXPress 5.0 (Quark’s latest release, which STILL isn’t Mac OS X-native), have been pretty abysmal. Adobe, however, has some sources to help them figure out how InDesign 2.0 is doing against QuarkXPress 5.0 (e.g., sales from big retails chains, Mac mail-order houses, and channel distributors). In Adobe’s most recent meeting with financial analysts (in October 2002), they shared sales data (compiled by NPD Data) showing that new unit sales in North America for Adobe InDesign 2.0 had actually outsold new unit sales of QuarkXPress for most of 2002. Certainly, some of that is new Mac OS X users wanting to use all Mac OS X-savvy programs. Even worse for Quark, word on the street has it that a Mac OS X version of QuarkXPress is still a long way away, with its earliest arrival being summer 2003, only two years after the release of Mac OS X.

So while Quark was focusing on other areas, Adobe InDesign 2.0 has leapfrogged it—not only in features, but 2.0’s Mac OS X-compatibility has become the biggest evangelist for converting QuarkXPress users to Adobe this market has ever seen.
Ask anyone running Mac OS X how they like using Quark-XPress 5.0 running in Classic mode. They’ll tell you: Working in Classic is absolutely brutal. But that’s only part of the reason why we switched the entire production of Mac Design Magazine from QuarkXPress 5.0 to Adobe InDesign 2.0. We love the way InDesign 2.0 “feels.” For example, ask anyone who’s used Mac OS X for a few months what it feels like when they go back and use Mac OS 9.2. It feels “outdated and old-fashioned.” That’s exactly the way QuarkXPress 5.0 feels to us. It feels like “yesterday’s page-layout program.” It feels like PageMaker.

InDesign 2.0 looks and feels like a modern page-layout application, and that must be having a major effect. I talk to more and more designers, even those still using Mac OS 9, who are switching to InDesign 2.0. MacNet.com named Adobe InDesign 2.0 its “2002 DTP Product of the Year” and wrote “Adobe created the DTP product for the 21st century, leaving thousands of professionals wondering what was so special about QuarkXPress anyway?”

It appears that Adobe InDesign 2.0 has finally become the “Quark Killer” that many people dreamed it would be. And while Quark is racing to play catch-up to InDesign 2.0, you can be sure that Adobe is already well under way with development of InDesign 3.0.


Although this is all great news for Adobe, there’s a downside. Because there still isn’t a Mac OS X-native version of Quark-XPress, many professionals who are still using QuarkXPress haven’t upgraded to Mac OS X, and that’s hurting Adobe’s sales of Photoshop 7.0, the first Mac OS X-native version of Photoshop. These designers are waiting for Quark’s Mac OS X version before they upgrade to the Mac OS X-native version of Photoshop.

Not only has Quark’s bad decision-making hurt Quark and Adobe, it has hurt Apple in a big way too, because these same designers are waiting to upgrade to Mac OS X until QuarkXPress becomes native. Quark is essentially “killing the market” and at the same time, they’re killing themselves—making the same mistakes today that Aldus did with PageMaker years ago. Quark could have been first-to-market with a Mac OS X-native version, and kept Adobe in the catch-up position, but instead it “pulled over” and let InDesign drive right on by.

If Quark doesn’t pull a major rabbit out of their hat—and soon—I predict you’ll see Quark quietly start to go away until someone finally buys them out and slaps their name on it (something like “Macromedia XPress,” or “Microsoft XPress”), and before you know it, it’ll be another “Windows-based small-office layout program for creating newsletters, flyers, etc.”

19 October 2005

[design] X-Ray Magazine Offers You Four Free Issues

The recently-revived X-Ray magazine, a bimonthly devoted to all things Quark and QuarkXPress, has a pretty good deal going, and if you are interested in QuarkXPress 7, you should really get in on this.

Go to this link:
and fill in the form. The next four issues will come to you for nuttin'.

I recieve X-Ray and I recommend it whether you are a die-hard Quarker or an InDesigner who wants to see what "the other guys" are up to. It's well-designed, informative, and right now it's the most credible source for information on XPress 7 outside of Quark itself.

A full year costs about $6 the issue, so it's a very good deal too.

[us_media] Dept of Corrections Dept.

In a recent private conversation, I remarked that talk-radio parasite Neal Boortz was "a tosser".

What I ought to have said was that Neal Boortz was "a pathetic, worthless tosser who kisses up to the economic elite in hopes they save his backside when the stuff hits the fan".

The Times regrets the error.

16 October 2005

[geography] Street Name Synchronicity, or When Is Idaho Falls, Idaho, A Little Bit Like Portland, Oregon?

Figure 1. A section of NW Portland.

Figure 2. A section of inner eastside Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Dig, if you will, these two pictures. Figure 1 is a familiar section of a familiar part of a familiar town: a bit of our beloved Alphabet district, Portland, OR, from the 2006 Thomas Guide. Figure 2 is a section of the inner east side of Idaho Falls, Idaho, taken from a Seeger map, published by Rand McNally, and copyrighted 1985.

Take a good look at the streets I've focussed on in the Portland map (Fig. 1). Alphabet district streets, everybody knows 'em; Hoyt, Irving, Johnson, Kearney, Lovejoy, Marshall, Northrup.

Now take a good look at the streets in the middle of the clip of I.F. in Fig. 2. You'll notice a street running along the canal called N.W. Bonneville Dr. Just a little below the center it intersects Garfield Street. Going north from Garfield, N.W. Bonneville intersects: Halsey Street, Irving Street, Johnson Street, Kearney Street, Lovejoy Street. On the left hand side of that subdivision, Marshall Avenue connects Halsey to Garfield, and Northrup Avenue connects the west end of Halsey to Lovejoy, capping off Irving, Johnson, and Kearney. One will also note that a few of the street names extend east of the Bonneville Drive canal, but not too far. I.F. planning doesn't require all streets names to continuously extend across the city, so the clip I'm showing you is the extent of these streets withing the Idaho Falls area.

Perhaps what's most "hmmm"-inducing is the standing in of Halsey for Hoyt in the Idaho Falls street pattern. For those who are familiar with I.F., the bold line along the bottom is First Street, an arterial which leads out from the center of town (which isn't far away-I.F. isn't very big) and the bold line along the right is North Woodruff Avenue, a main road which distributes traffic up and down I.F.'s middle east side. That wedge shape in the lower left hand corner is where the First Street-Lomax Street one-way grid splits. Another interesting point is that N.W./N.E. Bonneville Drive is named in relation to its position on the west or east bank of the canal, and whether or not it's north or south of First Street only (there exists S.W./S.E. Bonneville Dr off the south edge of the clipping).

I'm not in any position to research why a handful of streets in a town in North Mormonland have identical names to a similar handful of streets in eclectic Portland, Oregon. It certainly isn't odd that widely separated cities should have similar street names. But it is indeed notable that such closely associated streets in another city have identical names and even mimic the pattern somewhat.

This whole exposition was inspired by Worldwide Pablo's announcment of his visit to grand old I.F. Hopefully he'll get a look, maybe even pictures. I'm engaged myself, but if you want to look at them yourself, here's how you get there.

  • Get on I-84. Follow it east to I-86 (once called I-15w), then when you get to Pocatello, go north on I-15.
  • Get off I-15 at the Broadway/City Center exit in Idaho Falls. You'll know you're getting close when you see the Mormon Temple. It's visible from a couple miles out.
  • Go right off the exit, cross the Snake River (you might take a moment to glance at the Idaho Falls, off to the left as you cross-they're actually rapids augmented by a dam, but never mind) and go straight through downtown to the light at US Hwy 91/26. Hang a left.
  • After you go under the railroad overpass, hang a quick right on First Street.
  • Proceed about 1 mile west, past the Holmes Avenue light, and start looking for N.W. Bonneville Dr on the left.
  • Proceed down N.W. Bonneville Street to one block after Garfield Street. Gawk.
Reserve some time for this, now. It's a 6-8 hour drive one way. Get a motel room. There's a nice family-style diner on the south side of West Broadway just east of the I-15 interchange that serves a killer breakfast buffet. Recommended.

12 October 2005

[metro_transit] Tri Met Responds to High Diesel Prices

TriMet is now spending about $2.20/gallon on diesel fuel, and is looking at prices which may go to $2.50/gallon. Before the fuel market went all sixes and sevens, the budget was for $1.50/gallon.

With that sort of budget pressure, something has to give.

According to this press release from TriMet, things are just about to do so.

The response is twofold. First is increasing fuel efficiency in the fleet. The agency claims that this alone has saved a half million gallons (6.5M gallons instead of 7M annually). So there has been some operational improvements.

But it's not enough to avoid a fare increase.

TriMet further proposed a 15-cent fare increase (10-cents for Youth/Student/Honored Citizen and $2 for montly passes). In order to lessen the impact of the increase, the agency proposed the innovative step of the 7-day rolling pass, which is supposed to allow riders to purchase transit in smaller increments.

The vote by the TriMet board is scheduled for its meeting of 26 October, and, if approved, will go into effect 1 January 2006.

11 October 2005

[media] Advertising Guys

  • That Outrageous Audio guy. Blaine, I think his name is. Been watching him late nights for years now. I just realized that you could get the same combination of livid features and voice tone rising into the risible band at the end of every sentence if he recited those lines during a painful medical procedure. Just a thought
  • Fonk, Fonk, Fonk!!!! The Vern Fonk insurance commercial is so stupid it's funny. "You'll take me, dude? IRRROON MAIIIDEN I'll be right overrr!"
From the ranks such as these will come my generation's Tom Peterson. S'pose we can get ol' Blaine there to do a "Wake Up!" commercial. Shame there's no Xonix TV's to sell anymore. Oh honest-to-cats Portland Wrestling, come to that.

  • I still wonder, if you held Don LaPre's hands to his sides and made him do his spiel, would he detonate?

09 October 2005

[pdx_history] One Cool Portland History Thing

...glimpses of Portland landscapes and maps from the past, courtesy of the City of Portland Office of Transportation (COPOOT).

The main Transportation history page is here. Almost forty subpages, each containing a revealing snapshot or map of Portland back almost to the beginning. Amongst my favorites:
I could, of course, go on forever. But that would ruin your fun. Check out my faves and hopscotch up and down the contents, or just go to the main page and go at it chronologically.

Your tax dollars at work, people!

07 October 2005

[type_design] 300 Free Halloween Fonts? Scary!

'Tis the season to frighten your neighbor, and Pariah Burke steps up to the plate with an absolutely dreadful collection of fonts.

No, I don't mean variations of Courier, Helvetica, or MS Comic Sans.

I mean a collection of 300+ completely free fonts for putting together Halloween-themed announcments, invitations, mailings, or whatever you want to imbue with a Halloween theme.

They are available at Designorati here. They are absolutely, ahh...killer.

06 October 2005

[logo_design] Tales of the Swoosh

Follow this link to a Nike page on the history of one of the world's most recognized symbols.

This news was cribbed from Rob Salzman's About it All–Oregon site, with sincere apology. I felt I should include it here because the story of the Nike logo is one of the classic stories of genius logo design (although, surprisingly, the client was lukewarm with it at first), and since Knight got it when he was still very small (think Blue Ribbon Sports, the seminal form of Nike) he didn't pay very much for it–$35.00, the record says.

The designer, Carolyn Davidson, did not go ultimately unrewarded for her design. She found herself asked to what became something of a surprise party in 1981, where she was awarded a gold swoosh ring with a diamond on and Nike stock. Since recieving the stock it has split three times.

This is a situation that every hopeful logo designer (such as myself) hopes to see themselves in–creation of one of the most beloved logos in use and well-off because of it besides. It makes designers take chances on interesting things.

In other news of all things Swooshy, Nike's absorption of the Bauer hockey identity is all but complete. In a press release dated 4 October, Nike unveiled the new logo of its Nike Bauer Hockey subsidiary, timing it to anticipate several major upcoming hockey happenings, not least the upcoming 2005-06 NHL season.

The new logo incorporates the well-known Bauer mark in a unifying shape. The oblique angle of the shape echoes the oblique angle of the Bauer logo letterforms; when combined with the already-dynamic Swoosh, activity and vital energy are two messages that get communicated, and to the hockey lover, incipient excitement.

Each brings its own baggage into the new design as well. The Nike connotation is obvious. When paired with the familiar image of a company that was, prior to acquisition in 1995, to hockey what Nike was just to just about every other sport, the impression becomes that of a sports equipment juggernaut, with marketing and quality to match. Nike also acquires the heritage and tradition of a brand that goes back to 1917-when Bauer was founded.

05 October 2005

[blog_design] First Lesson

Noting the size of my links list I've decided that a real nifty nav trick would be to put a links directory as one of the first things on the sidebar. I know anchors, or at least I thought I did. Just spent two days finding out the hard way that now you have to close name anchors too:

<a name="whatever">

Has to look like this:

<a name="whatever"></a>

Or the spacing will be all funny. Please make a note of it!

Also, in this very post, I've learnt highly useful and irritating things about the gt and lt bracket codes. This is hard work!

03 October 2005

[42] Where I'm Going With All This

Regular watchers of this chronicle (and I'm grateful for them) will note a bit of a decrease in my posting frequency. There's reasons for this, of course.

One is the hard but happy task of helping to build Designorati and my two personal hobbyhorses, Designorati:Typography and Designorati:Cartography. Look at it this way: if someone gave you the chance to explore what really, really interested you, and allowed you to publish it in a visible spot, would you?

If you have a pulse, you ought to say yes.

I'm learning about "passion". What it is that drives me. I feel that now more clearly than ever now that I have an outlet for it. They've said the path that's named is not that path, but that's not necessarily so.

I think about design pretty much all the time now. Now that I've left school and the assignments aren't coming at me at a constant pace, I don't have that much to design at the present, but I have a lot to think about.

This 'blog, for instance. I've learnt enough about the template to subsitute a header image; it would stand to reason one of the next things to learn is how it works so I can create my own design. I've said it before-I hate default styles. I'll only settle for them when I must. right now, I must. In the future, no, no longer.

While I don't have a steady paying job yet, some doors are starting to open. Designorati is one. I not only get to go on about what moves me I get to learn about getting along from some pretty frickin' cool people. Our conference room and water cooler is email, and every day there's a new lesson to be had. I am a gnat amongst giants, but they still like me.

I'm not ending this 'blog-no, far from it, but the posting frequency will stretch out a bit as I supply content to Designorati and continue to do so at QuarkVSInDesign. The content may seem to change in tone a little, but it will only a little; it's a personal outlet but there will be more about design in it. The Address Nerding will continue until I have a great unified description about how addresses work all over. I will continue being Painfully Portland and Smugly Native Oregonian here.

I'm a little pumped. And not from rum this time. I really am high on life right now. It's a curious feeling.

02 October 2005

[Address_Nerd] The Plan In Portland circa 1891-1930

Sorry to keep you guys waiting for so long for this. I was going to make a nifty little illustration for this but I kept putting it off and putting it off. I can always gin up an illo, and all you need to follow along is a map, so hereth goeth.

If y'all'l'recall, prior to 1891 the municipal entity we today call the city of Portland did not exist. The progenitors of Portland were three frontier towns at this bend of the river: Portland (right where downtown is today), East Portland (from the Rose Quarter area down to about what is now Hawthorne Blvd) and Albina (where the Rose Quarter/Coliseum is now, and the area just downriver from that).

In 1891 they merged, creating the City of Portland, Oregon, which for a time was the largest city (in population as well as area) on the Pacific coast of the USA. Once they did merge they had a problem; people found that there were significant duplication in street names and no citywide standard. Snyder tells us that not only did each city name its streets independently, developers were allowed to set thier own names in thier own new subdivisions without respect to whether or not a given name already existed elsewhere (this practice persisted after the merger as well).

Now, the street name system we use today came into use in about 1930, and the citywide rationalization took about three years. But from 1891 to 1930, we did not use this system. Many street names have existed since before then, of course-names like Morrison and Main and Salmon were part of the original plan-but we did not have the neat NW/SW/NE/SE/N system with 20 100-number blocks to the mile then.

The early system of the Portland name and address grid reflected the growth of the city, and most principally, the primacy of the west-side business districts. To capitulate:

The system was then, as now, based on the junction of the Willamette River and Burnside/Ankeny (what were then called A and B Streets). The address system broke along similar, but not identical lines, and each section worked out as follows:

South of Burnside, west of the river

This was the historic business center of Portland, todays downtown, and the first pioneer-settled area. Streets carried no directional prefixes of any kind. Additionally, all streets were termed "Streets"; numbered "Avenues" were an innovation of the 1930 rationalization. Today we call this area "Southwest" or SW.

North of Burnside, west of the river.

What we call today "Streets" (the Alphabet section from Burnside and up) carried no directionals. Numbered streets north of Burnside carried the suffix North (e.g. 19th Street North). For a time, instead of named streets the streets in this area were alphabetically lettered (A Street for Ankeny, B for Burnside, etc). Today we call this area "Northwest" or NW.

South of Burnside, east of the River

All numbered streets were prefixed simply "East". Named streets carried the East Prefix if and only if the street name was extended from the corresponding west side street (Morrison Street extended became East Morrison Street). What we today call SE 12th Avenue would have then been called E 12th Street. An example intersection in this are would be East Alder and E 20th Street. Today we call this area "Southeast" or SE.

North of Burnside, east of the River

This is where things start sounding a little strange, but it's actually quite logical: take the west side system and prefix it with East. Therefore, numbered streets on the east side retain the East prefix but add a North suffix. What we today would call NE 12th Avenue would, in this old system, be called East 12th Street North, or more simply, E 12th St N. If a street name was extended from the west side, it acquired the expecte East prefix (E Glisan Street, e.g.). Today we call this area "Northeast", or NE.

Going West from MLK Jr Blvd

It, of course, is still recent history that what we today call MLK Jr Blvd was called Union Avenue, and for a long time was synonymous with mean streets in Portland. Depending on your point of view, it may not have changed all that much. Snyder guesses two possible origins for the name Union Avenue: one, it was to honor its former form of differing names along its length-different streets united; two, it could have honored our Union, the United States.

Today it is known that if you go four blocks west of MLK, Williams Avenue is crossed, the directional prefix is turned to North (N), and on E-W streets the house number march commences upward as one goes west on the North Portland peninsula.

In the time before 1930, however, streets were not only named different but addresses ran differently too. Instead of 100 numbers to the standard block, there were only 20. Therefore, the zero line on the seminal north side must have been located somewhat to the west of today's Williams Avenue.

Though I do have a couple of (very precious) Portland maps, one from 1927 and the other from 1930 (or thereabouts), my research is still inconclusive on how street names were treated in those areas today divided by Williams. What little I've been able to ascertain suggests that the prefix West was not used, however, I know not yet for certain what was done about that. Research continues in this area.

Twenty numbers to the block

As just mentioned, there were not 100 numbers to the standard address block in those days, but merely 20. These addresses, however, were still reckoned from the baselines already mentioned. As an example, the east side of Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW 6th Avenue along the Transit Mall, between SW Morrison and Yamhill Streets, is the 700 Block of SW 6th Avenue. The notional address of the SW corner of 6th and Morrison would be 701 SW 6th Avenue. Before 1930, though, at that point, the address might properly have been 141 6th Street.

This meant that addresses on E-W streets did not neatly key to the numbered crosses. A correspoding address on Morrison Street at this point might be 121 Morrison Street, rather than in the 600s.

This also meant that addresses in the city did not attain the respectable magnitudes that they do today. A typical address on East 17th Street in Sellwood, south of Tacoma, would only be up in the 1700s, rather than the mid-to-high 8000s on SE 17th Ave as we know it now.

Address attitudes

Perhaps it's a reaction to change but even then, in Portland, one's address mattered. An address without an East prefix tended to bestow a certain social cachet. East side Portland has always been a middle class and working area, and putting the prefix East on a street was pretty much the same as donning a chambray shirt; it was blue-collar, average-Joe citizen.

Snyder mentions a plan floated during that interim that would have de-Eastified all east side streets in favor of calling them all "Avenues"; it was felt that "145 Morrison Avenue" might socially hold its own against the more affluently-percieved "145 Morrison Street".

Broadway is an interesting case. Broadway originated as a street in the Lloyd area, and was named Broadway from the first laying out. When the Broadway Bridge was constructed, it would connect Broadway on the east to what westsiders were calling Seventh Street. In the interests of continuity, it was proposed that the street on the east side be renamed to East Broadway, with Seventh Street on the west becoming simply Broadway and Broadway North.

As one can imagine, this went over like a lead tramp steamer. In the face of fairly overwhelming opposition to westsider arrogance (something that has never gone over well on the east side), Broadway east of the river was allowed to remain Broadway, whilst on the west side Seventh Street north and south of Burnside became North Broadway and South Broadway, respectively.

As one can readily see, the east side-west side rivalry goes back an awful long way.

Snyder also tells of one plan to rationalize the address system, one which met with little if any favor, during the interregnum. This plan would have renamed Burnside Street to "Central Avenue", dubbing all streets with numbers. But, in contrast to today's system, Avenues would have been the E-W run, Streets the N-S.

There were also objections to the 100-number to the block scheme; some felt that the high-magnitude addresses we take for granted in today's plan were passing strange. One wonders what they would have thought of todays SE 502nd Avenue.

This plan went nowhere. But it may explain the presence of a certain southeast section of the city which, for a time, had that exact scheme.

Woodstock, then.

For about ten or twenty years back at the beginning of the twentieth century, the area from about what would today be SE 39th Avenue east, south from about Powell or Holgate to the south city line, and east all the way to the east city line, had a complete numeric system in which numbered avenues running east to west, numbered streets running north to south, and as SE directional...but as a suffix, not a prefix. SE 52nd Avenue was known as 52nd Street SE; Today's SE Duke Street in that area was known as 65th Avenue SE. Also, as far as I know, the addresses were defined as 100 numbers to the block.

In general, the street number was based on the Burnside baseline-Duke Street is 65 blocks south of Burnside, thus 65th Avenue SE. SE Tolman Street would have been 63rd Avenue SE. I believe, however, that Woodstock Blvd was still Woodstock Blvd, though if it were numbered in this scheme, it would have of course been 60th Avenue SE.

Many of these old street names exist still in the curbstones as I've said before. One of my near term plans is to document these in pictures. Mike, I still plan on taking you up for that coffee...