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New book Review: The Bentons by Patricia Cost

The Bentons: How an American Father and Son Changed the Printing Industry
Patricia Cost
$24.95, 372 pages, Published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press
ISBN 978-1-933360-42-3

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New book review

My book reviews no longer appear on They will now appear in the “News” section of I have just posted my first review of 2011; a review and comparison of the graphic design histories written by Patrick Cramsie and by Johanna Drucker & Emily McVarish.

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Black Monday video type specimen

I’ve done a video type specimen for Black Monday, view it at

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You know you don’t want to bid on a job when…

You know you don’t want to bid on a job when the client’s corporate typeface is “…aerial rounded mt bold.”.

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Usless talent #72

I’ve realized that, for the most part, Fontlab is a pretty useless job skill. Nothing screws up a design job interview like the following:

“Do you know Flash?”






“So aside from Indesign and Photoshop, what software are you good at?”


“Fontlab? Ummmm…right.”

On the upside, I guess this keeps out of dead-end web production jobs.

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Are you a fontographer?

I was filling out the skills section of an online resume service and “Fontography” was an option. I’m not sure if that was meant to be humorous.

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Software idea: keyboard shortcut unifier

I would gladly pay for an app that unifies and manages keyboard shortcuts across applications.

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Hand-painted signage genius

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As if you really needed one

Another reason to never use Cooper Black or Arial:

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iPhone app store: timekeeping software

I’m thinking about picking up an iPhone. Does the apps store have any timekeeping applications to make billing clients easier when I’m not working at my computer?

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You are about to lose your Photoshop cards.

Dear Designers;

Aside from birds flying over snow, almost nothing in the real world floats magically over a clean white background. Stop Photoshopping every damned thing you can into a silhouette. Just because you know how to create a mask with the pen tool and tweak it with your Wacom tablet doesn’t mean you should. Tell the client to stop being a cheapass and hire a Photographer to shoot against something interesting.

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Pricing a conference agenda

I am putting together a proposal to do some materials for an international development conference and I’m not sure how many hours I should expect to spend doing a conference agenda. Does anyone have any suggestions on how many hours to plan for? Also, I know that these things tend to be nightmarish jobs with lots of revisions and last minute additions and changes, so should I assume the worst case scenario when doing the pricing?

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You know money is tight when…

You know a job has a tight budget when it has that slick luxury look and the designer is letterspacing Gill Sans light to emulate Gotham.

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The Bookstore of the dead.

There’s a used bookstore I drop by at least once a week. I assume that many of the books come from estates of the many elderly women in the neighborhood who spend their final years in a decrepit old mansion before dying, leaving behind a house full of junk that smells of mold, mothballs, and cat urine. Their books are rarely anything special, so they tend to get unceremoniously dumped on the discount tables outside. I can walk up to these tables and learn about the latest deaths in my neighborhood.

Last week it was apparently an old German woman with a thing for painters and the modernism that sprung from the Vienna secessionists.

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My damned laser printer died.

So I go to proof some type and my laser printer jammed up and the drum died. Replacing the drum and the toner that’s already low is more expensive than just buying a newer (and better) printer. And the nearest store that sells a good one is outside the city and evening traffic has already started.

Sigh…I’m going to the gym.

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Keep this in mind when you’re hiring.

If your firm is hiring, and the online job postings for the position include a phrase along the lines of “Please reply with a cover letter explaining why you want to work for us…” it would be a really good idea to not post the job anonymously.

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What's the proper pronunciation of "Koninklijke"

If I’m going to apply to the type and media program I should know the name of the school. What’s the proper pronunciation of Koninklijke?

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Magazine Design—All Exlibris fonts

I finally got around to updating—read: replacing—my web site. Up goes the new content, including this hand-made typography magazine (recycling images and text from other magazines, it was a school project) designed entirely in fonts by Jos Buivenga.

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Why I want to work in type

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It’s following me!!!

Has anyone else noticed Alternate Gothic No 3 popping up all over the place lately? I haven’t been this disturbed by the appearance of a font since I got no sleep on a transatlantic flight and started hallucinating Papyrus in the customs line at Malpensa.

Where can I find a list of the characters (and their unicode values) that go into Latin Opentype Standard and Opentype Pro fonts?

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Anyone recognize this marker?

Please ignore the awesomeness of this video and tell me what kind of marker the scribe is using—I’ve never seen one that writes so well!

Sorry, here’s the link:

Aside from the various society publications, are there any good magazines about lettering and calligraphy?

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Advertising is like porn

From Blank is Like Blank
- You shouldn't stay in the same position for too long.
- If it's good, it transcends language.
- Working in the industry will affect your family life at some point.
- It creates careers for art-school dropouts.
- The same concepts are endlessly recycled.
- You fast-forward through the boring stuff.
- The Internet took it to a whole new level.
- It's hard to transition out of.
- They both have weird self-congratulatory award shows.
- Only the people who create it are delusional enough to call it art.

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When bad typesetting attacks!

Right now I am reading a book with type set entirely in Arial with negative tracking.

It’s not fun.

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