As I'm sure many designers do, I have a love/hate relationship with Helvetica. It's a gorgeous font--that's completely overused. Every time I think about using it, even if it's the perfect font, I feel a little lazy. It's so easy to use Helvetica, because as I stated above, it's a great font--so like a good pair of diamond studs, it goes great with just about anything. But when I do end up using it, I feel like I could be trying a little harder. What happens is a vicious font circle: I try about 200 other fonts, only to go back to helvetica.

So I came across this article on helvetica over the weekend. It's a pretty breezy read; actually, it's a 10-slide slideshow. A little background on the font, how it's used for logos and marketing (lots of big name companies in there: Target, American Airlines, the NYC Subway...), and some comparisons to Helvetica knock-offs (yes, I'm talking about you, Arial and Verdana). And because I'm the font lover that I am, I thought I'd share.

In related news, Mattio found this (not exactly G-rated) t-shirt a while back. He went to order it for me, but they were sold out. Unfortunately, they've yet to make more, but man, these are my sentiments exactly. Even if my house is G-rated, and I can only wear it to bed, how awesome is this shirt? :)


Our lips are sealed

So I was just flipping through InStyle magazine, when I noticed a trend in some of the advertising: lips. But not just plain lips, these are heavily glossed, sexy lips, biting various objects. "Come hither" lips. Seriously, these are some sexy lips. In the first third of the magazine, there are no fewer than 4 ads featuring... lips.

Max Factor has 2 full page ads ina row depicting said glossed lips biting a gold necklace in one, and a piece of rock candy in the other. Nowhere in the ad does it mention Max Factor, instead, there's a website: areyounaughtyornice.com. The next ad, a good 15 pages away, is again selling make up; this time it's Chanel lip gloss, and the lips in question are biting a pearl on a gold necklace. Revlon has a pair of lips another 15 or so pages in, but this time there's a face that goes along with them, and they're not as heavily glossed. The last pair of lips are located in an ad for Midori on page 163; again, these have a face attached, but they are still heavily glossed, sexy lips nonetheless.

Maybe it's my hormones... who knows? I also noticed a ton of ads of diamonds. Hmmm... lips and diamonds; somewhere out there is a psychologist that would have a field day with that one.


John Mayer's plan to save the world! (Or just clean it up a bit)

I have to admit, I have somewhat of a crush on John Mayer. He's a talented singer-songwriter, and (I think) a pretty engaging blogger. Oh, and he hails from Fairfield--nothing wrong with that! So every once in a while, I'll check up on his blog.

A couple of weeks ago, he started blogging about going what he called "light green:" rather than everyone going out and buying a Prius, and wearing clothes made of hemp, and adding solar panels to their houses, and taking environmentalism to the complete extreme; he suggested baby steps. Essentially, pick one thing about your life that you can change, and start there. He even offered the John Mayer-designed "introduction of products that are cheap, easy alternatives to cut down on plastics." Brilliant--I'm always glad to see a celebrity lend themselves to a great cause.

Well just the other day I checked in with John again; and there he was blogging about his "light green" theory (the term light green, as it turns out, was kind of... used. So he picked a song title instead, Another Kind of Green, from the John Mayer Trio album). What struck me as cool--as a designer--is this guy is already thinking about logos; he's got a couple of pictures of sketches. We even have the same taste, I immediately gravitated towards the one he likes, before reading that he liked it.

I'll be checking in more often to find out what else John has up his sleeve; as I said above, I'm happy to see a celebrity lend his/her name to a great cause; to have this kind of follow through is amazing. In the meantime, I'm going to do my part and take baby steps... we're pretty good about recycling around here, maybe I'll get a little more diligent about bringing my canvas bags to the grocery store, instead of taking the bags they offer. And I really hope that anybody out there reading this can offer to do the same: find one thing about your life that can be changed to help the environment, and stick to it!


Happy Mothers Day!

Just wanted to take a moment to salute all the moms (and moms-to-be) out there celebrating today... May your day be filled with love and happiness... and not too much housework! Happy Mothers Day!


Embrace your inner nerd

I read this on Graphic Design: USA's May newsletter, and it made me giggle:

    Avant-Nerdism is gaining steam and will hit the mainstream in 2009. "Avantnerdiwhat?" you say. Zandl Group researchers, the ultimate trendspotters, define the term as "a stylish, cool or social person who engages in nerd culture; especially one who purposely embraces nerdish qualities with full awareness of the irony and/or symbolism of their action." Irma Zandl says this is the new creative class, with a "compact, eco-friendly, quirk and smart" aesthetic. Avant-Nerdism taps into retro style and reflects a more European sensibility. Avant-Nerds are highly social; they merge a participatory DIY mentality with nerdy interests to make art, music and happenings/events. They ironically re-appropriate nerd culture, transforming the formerly nerdy into Avant-Nerdism. The aesthetic is influencing fashion, industrial design and interior design. Instances include the geek band Weezer, The O.C.'s Seth Cohen, and the rise of Spelling Bees and Wii and Cheese parties at hip bars and locales.

But then I started thinking of all the hipsters out there, the ones that are defining music, clothing, and culture in general, and it makes sense. Today's nerds aren't just smart programmers, they're programmers who listen to Arcade Fire while wearing slogan tees and cords, skateboarding to work. They've traded pocket protectors for trucker hats, super-scientific calculators for Wii.

So while I certainly don't recommend trading in your car for a skateboard, try embracing your inner nerd. You never know what cool thing you might discover.


Gotta love that research!

Wow. It's been a while since my last post. My apologies for the long lapse of time... last week I was sick with a nasty head cold/fever, and unfortunately I was stuck in bed for a few days. Then I spent most of the end of the week playing catch up... It's been crazy.

But now I'm feeling much, much better; the sun is out, it's a cool 70 degrees, and (with the exception of last week) spring is treating me well.

As many of you know, I've been working on a site for a clothing boutique down in Greenwich. It's been a lot of fun, especially the research part, as I get to go to all kinds of trendy, upscale sites (Barney's, anyone?). Too add to my joy, just last week I started working on a site for a similar store in Westport. More research--woo hoo! The downside to all this virtual window shopping is that it's just that: window shopping. As much as I'd love to drop over $200 for the perfect pair of jeans... that's just not in the cards right now.

Oh well, when Mattio sees a $300 shirt on my screen, at least I can say it's all in the name of research. Too bad I'm not doing any work for any shoe stores...