Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Monthly archives for "August 2007"

NYT Article on New Highway Font

Ray Drainville

The New York Times has a very interesting article on the development of “Clearview”, the new font being rolled out on the country’s highways (or motorways, if you prefer). The font is designed to combat the effects of phenomenon halation, where the reflective material that’s used to make the signs more legible at night blows out the letters & dazzles drivers. This is particularly an issue for the elderly, an increasingly large segment of the US population, but it also can effect those with common sight defects. The designers, James Meeker & John Montalbano, opened up the counter shapes (the interior shapes of letters) & increased the x-height (size) of lower-case letters while retaining the stroke weight of the letters as they currently are.

An interesting fact from the slideshow (well worth exploring if you’re a font nerd) is that the typeface achieved “approximately 40 percent gain, or 200 feet of added reading distance using a 10-inch heigh letter on the demonstration panel”.

Apologies for Downtime; Some Interesting (and Utterly Random) Links

Ray Drainville

Bloody hell! I pre-posted a few articles in our Typo-based blog & brought the whole blog down. Ian says permissions got munged. Perhaps the pre-dated posts did it, but it’s a bit of a mystery as to why.

I’ve been deep in the middle of fixing CSS bugs on one job & designing another site, so haven’t had much chance to write here. Here are some things which have looked very interesting:

  • Under the hood look at the new Backpack—Interesting-sounding changes afoot for Backpack. Interesting to read about “Hover Observer”, which monitors the user’s mouse movements over a page & appends :hover classes on-the-fly as & when appropriate. A great idea, although I’d be worried about excessive memory usage.
  • Apple’s new .Mac web gallery uses a 408 KB javascript library. Yikes! Apparently it’s based—at least in part—on Sproutcore. And Prototype. And Scriptaculous.
  • “In other words, A = A”—A great Daily Show clip of Bush’s condescending [mis]usage of a stock phrase.

Defence Industry Logos Around the World

Ray Drainville

So we’ve examined terrorist organisation logos from around the world. How about their nemeses, those of defence departments from around the world?

As the author notes, the proposed new logo for the Japanese Ministry of Defence is a bit Web 2.0. But we’re noticing common themes here:

  • Oak leaves (they taste like victory!)
  • Eagles
  • Swords
  • Anchors
  • Creepy associations from the past (Germany)

Now, surely some artist out there can create a tableau of a sword-wielding, oak-leaf-chewing eagle dropping an anchor on a bone-and-gun-laden star. That would be awesome.

Polish Movie Posters

Ray Drainville

At least some of the employees of design firm A Gray Space collect Polish movie posters. This page shows some absolutely fantastic posters covering nearly 70 years.

All kidding aside, there are some beautiful designs here, including some that remind me of 1950s–1960s Ben Shahn. This page reads like a synopsis of European commercial graphic design.

Terrorist Logos

Ray Drainville

We all need logos, it seems. Even your terrorist organisations need to differentiate themselves from one another. But where do you start? What are all the other organisations doing?

Ironic Sans has helpfully collected a large number of logos from terrorist organisations from the past 30 years or so, helpfully organised thus:

  • Stars
  • One gun
  • Two guns crossed
  • Other weapons crossed
  • Crossbones
  • Animals with multiple heads
  • Other (which can also be called “WTF”)

Presumably, a logo consisting of three guns, a machete below crossbones, on top of a star, surrounded by the World-Snake would look as if it were designed by committee.