Why Consistency Is So Important to Branding (Via The Hot Iron)

Today’s post can be read at The Hot Iron, a blog produced by Mike Maddaloni of Dunkirk Systems, LLC. Mike and I have partnered on many web projects; he does the development and I do the design. If you haven’t already, check out his blog on business and technology. Here’s the direct link to: Why Consistency Is So Important to Branding

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Matthew Carter: Designer of the Typeface Verdana, and Much More

As the type designer responsible for Verdana, and because of Ikea’s unpopular decision to start using Verdana exclusively, much attention has been brought to Matthew Carter. I wrote my own post this week questioning Ikea’s decision to use Verdana in all applications including large scale headlines within their printed catalog. But I want to make sure my readers understand that this is not a criticism of the font itself, rather its application. A Master Type Designer I have been a fan of Matthew Carter’s work for years. Sometime around 1996, when I was a student at Mass. College of Art I organized an event for him to come and talk with the design students at the school. Many of his typefaces are my favorites, including ITC Galliard, Shelley Script, and Snell Roundhand. And in addition to Verdana, he has designed two other web standard fonts: Tahoma and Georgia. Typefaces for Specific Applications When I heard about the Ikea/Verdana debacle, there […]

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Typography in the News: IKEA Changes Font

It’s not everyday that a change of font becomes business news. But recently, Ikea made the change from Futura to Verdana and many people took notice. The story ran in the business section of my local paper, and was also covered by Time Magazine, and in blogs and news sources across the Internet. Ikea, the Swedish housewares and furniture store prides itself on the high-quality design of it’s low-cost items. Probably because it’s so focused on design is why so many designers noticed and criticized their change of font. According to news stories, Ikea has used the Futura typeface for more than 50 years. Talk about consistency in brand identity! But they recently changed to Verdana to be able to have the same font used on all of their international sites and in both print and web. Why font matters? What is the difference between Futura and Verdana? Both are sans serif faces, but Futura was designed for print applications […]

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Twitter Would Have Failed Without Design

When I first heard about Twitter, I thought it was pretty stupid. I didn’t care to read the banalities of someone’s Tweets as they ate, waited, shopped, etc. I’m not alone in questioning its merit, there are many, many articles wondering what the long term impact of Twitter will be. However, in the short term, Twitter is growing like crazy, with more than 32 million accessing twitter.com in April of this year. So it is obviously appealing to some, at least enough to set up and test it out once or twice. Picture Twitter Without the Design Recently, Twitter has experienced frequent outages and over-capacity issues. The other day, I went to twitter.com and the page content (HTML) loaded but the CSS style sheet did not. Below is what the login screen looks like without the benefit of design. If you thought Twitter was mundane when it’s working correctly, it’s much worse without the benefit of design. Seeing this twitter.com […]

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Typesetting Tips: Think Twice Before Centering the Type

One thing I’ve noticed over the years, working with clients, is that they love centered type. It’s not that I hate centered type, but like many graphic designers, I think there is a time and a place for it. I’ve come up with a theory as to why non-designers love centered type. It’s because they feel like they’re designing. They are making decisions about the placement of typography and overriding the default settings of their word processing program. The default setting, in programs like Word, is to have all the type the same size and flush left. When you choose to center type, you’ve made a decision about the layout; you are doing some measure of typography design. This is similar to the decision to make something bigger, smaller, a different font, or a different color. The problem, or potential problem, with centered type is that when the rest of your type is flush left it breaks the rhythm of […]

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