28 November 2011

[design] The Apple Logo And Natural Proportions

2723.Seen today, via Google+, was this picture, which appears to suggest that the famous logo of Apple, designed by Rob Janoff, was developed using the mathematic princples of the Fibonacci sequence and the golden proportion:

The diagram was created by Thiago Barcelos, and is dead clever and quite insightful. On the left, a rectangle in the golden ration subdivided via the mean; inside are circles of radii that fit within and work out to be the Fibonacci numbers. And, on the right, you see the various circles as they might have been used to construct the logo.

The diagram does tempt one to think that the designer used the mathematical principles in designing the shape. Janoff, so far as I know, has never said, but I have a feeling that he didn't actively use them.

They may have, rather, informed what he did.

I'm about to go down a rhetorical rabbit hole of my own making. Come along, if you wish. I grasp this on the gut level, but whenever I try to put this in words I wind up chasing my own tail and gibbering like an idiot at the end. Words sometimes fail.

When someone creates a bit of work with the idea that it should be pleasing to look at, we reach down to a common intellectual store. Each of us has this. The reason each of us has this is that we were all grown in the same world. This is not zeitgeist strictly speaking, but it contributes to that. Kind of a naturalistic weltanschauung, if you will.

The Fibonacci sequence is recapitulated in nature, or maybe our mathematics recapitulates it. The fruitlings of a pineapple; branchings of a tree and leaves; the honeybee's family tree. This all combines into a sort of gestalt sense of what the world is and how it pieces itself together. You may tune the world out around you, but you can't not notice it.

This feeds into a sense of what we find 'right' and 'pleasing' in a visual sense. Since the golden mean and Fibonacci numbers come into play there, then this informs our thinking, kind of like a voice gently whispering into our ears.

So when Janoff set down to create the Apple logo, he didn't work out circles and arrange them about until they supported the apple shape. However, this gestalt awareness probably informed him when he was nudging the curves about until everything had a sort of visual resonance. It's why the gap between the leaf and the apple seems just right. It's why the bite in the apple seems more or less at the right shape and in the right place. All the parts obey rules that nature and intellect have hard-coded into our skin and bones.

Have you ever looked at something that 'just wasn't quite right' somehow? Not everyone wants to design or create art, but we all have, I believe, this sort of sensibility, and we all rely on this shared experience. How? I take a naturalist approach, you may take a more mystical one, it doesn't matter and that isn't really the point. It's something we sense in the world around us and we feed back into it in a way. We all intrinsically know when something is well-proportioned. We may not be able to see it or put it into words, and maybe some of us don't care all that much, but we know. And when you know,  you're probably tasting the same thought process that Janoff used to make all the parts of the apple just so. 

In a real way, design comes from the world around you. It has ever been thus.

[type] A Peek In Typographer's Sketchbooks

2722.(via my newsfeeds) One of my favorite things to do is to watch artists work, and artists' sketchbooks are amazingly fun to get a peek inside.

Ryan Heshka, amongst others, have contributed to yet-another-design-book-coauthored by Steven Heller,  Typography Sketchbooks, by him and Lisa Talarico, published by Princeton Architectural Press. I'm hoping to get a look at this myself sometime soon, because it's filled with wonderful pictures of the insides of these wonderful little tomes, including this by Heshka:

Good gosh, I don't draw nearly enough.

Here's also a link to a bit at the Laughing Squid.

27 November 2011

[teh_funnay] Why Is This Man Applauding?: Juxtapostion Funnies #2

2721.Sometimes one wonders if the newsy-feeds are trying to mess with our heads. I think so, myself:

My guess? That's got to be an Arsenal supporter.

26 November 2011

[liff] What I Learned At NaNoWriMo 2011

2720.The culture that's sprung up around NaNoWriMo is your atypical typical Intertube social culture, with history and customs that're all its own.

Herewith a brief list of customs and cute terms I learned whilst submerged in NaNo culture, in no particular order:

  • NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month, aber naturlich. Obvious from the brouhaha, but I thought that putting this up first would set the table for what follows.
  • NaNo: What WriMos (which see) call it for short.
  • WriMo: What members of the NaNo tribe call themselves and each other. I'm a WriMo, you're a WriMo, he's a WriMo, she's a WriMo … wouldn't you like to be a WriMo too?
  • NaNoMail: Every social website has their own internal messaging system. Did you think this one would be any different?
  • Regions: Activities in NaNo are organized geographically, as are the forums on the site. Portland has one, Salem has one, Vancouver has one.
  • Pep Talk: Regional coordinators and national team members send out emails of encouragement to WriMos each week. These are Pep Talks, and any of them can be useful. They're not so long that I'd kill you taking a few minutes to read each one. One of them helped me a ton and generated an interesting sub plot.
  • Winning: There's just one condition for 'winning' NaNo: produce a novel, a prose work of 50,000 words or more, by midnight, November 30th. Since you're participating in NaNo to test your mettle or just to have fun, the biggest prize is bragging rights. Other prizes include knowing you can do this thing, increased creativity, a slightly limbered imagination, the desire to go create something else. You get this even if you don't cross the 50K Rubicon, but completing the victory conditions is just … so … satisfying.
  • WriteIn: When a group of WriMos get together to work on their novels in a social setting. Since everyone is together for the social, many times, not a lot of actual writing gets done, but a lot of bonding does. In the end, it's all good.
  • TGIO: Thank God, It's Over … the sigh of relief when NaNo is finally over, whether or not you get that novel done. TGIO parties ensue.
  • OLL: The Office of Letters and Light, the group of crazies who push this stuff, year-after-year. Big on teachin' y'alls how to create, n'stuff.
  • WordWar: When two regions go up against each other in order to produce even moar verbiage. Works great as a group motivator. I don't know how PDX stacked up against others, but the graph I just saw indicates that PDX area WriMos produced, in the aggregate, nearly thirty million words. If I had a nickle for every one of those words I'd have … well, I'd have a whole lot of money!
That's just a smattering of it. I enjoyed the hell out of it. It's my serious intention to try to write a short story now, to see if I can sell it.

Yeah, I loves me some writins.

[liff] A Winning Score In NaNoWriMo 2011

2719.I had always fancied what it would be like to write an actual book.

Now, I have some idea.

Over the past 25 days, I've taken the NaNoWriMo challenge, which is, as you know, to write a novel within 30 days. Novel, as NaNo defines it, is a document of 50,000 words or more. My "novel", The Way Of The Courier, clocked in at 50,712 words. As witness my stats page as of today, this day, like, right now:

The levelling-off means, of course, that I quit expanding at at that point.

As a person who hit the goal, I am entitled to display this badge:

… and ere shall I do so.

NaNoWriMo … it does a body good!

07 November 2011

[PDX_liff] Portlandia Releases Her Sex Tape! Can An NBA Wedding Be Far Behind?

2718.Portlandia has a point. Because, let's face it folks, you wouldn't know how to spell "Kardashian" if she didn't do the "nastah" on tape for everyone to see (aren't you sorry you paid attention now?):

Yeah, I'd tap that. But the love, it would ring hollow, I suppose.

If Raymond Kaskey were dead, he'd be rolling in his grave now.

(Please may I have a big hand for Mike Vogel, who apparently gets these ideas from a very dark, wet, and sometimes scary place)

06 November 2011

[liff] NaNoWriMo Holding Post

2717.Thanks to the cadging of a very good friend, I decided to take the plunge and do NaNoWriMo this year. Web badge!
Posting will therefore be more erratic than usual. This is a public service message. In the meantime, I leave you with this:

Funnay! Larf!

PS: On NaNoWriMo I'm SJKPDX_Diarist.