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Tabs!

On the daily, I have at least 10 tabs open in my browser at work. The first three positions are always (1) my email, (2) my calendar, and (3) Noon Pacific. After those, it’s a free-for-all. Total chaos.

Nine times out of ten I never revisit these tabs because I’m just too busy to read the article or look through the design gallery (or so I tell myself). I’ve tried to use Pocket, but if I don’t digest it immediately, it’s basically dead to me. 

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t impressed or drawn to the page in the first place. Something told me to keep the tap open. See for yourself – here are the five tabs currently open in my browser: 

The Influence of Color: Choosing a Palette in Photography
Learning from Lego: A Step Forward in Modular Web Design
The Best and Worst Identities of 2016, Part 4: The Best Noted
11 Whimsical Animal Drawings by Leupin
MailChimp For Designers

I guarantee you these are way better than whatever Steven has open in his.

Classic Macintosh Childhood

While we millennials were the first generation to grow up with computers, it turns out I had one much earlier in life than many of my friends.

mac_classic_blog

I recently found this gem of a photo – from waaaay back in 1991 – at my mom’s house. That’s my sister Heather (left) and me “sharing” the keyboard and mouse of a Macintosh Classic, which our parents had tucked away in a corner of our living room. We played Asteroids and StuntCopter, and messed around in Paint as much as they’d let us. Eventually, it made its way out of the living room and into the “computer room.” (Yep – it was that important in our house that we didn’t even call it an office.)

Talk about a throwback. And talk about a pretty clear path toward becoming a designer. From my first computer at age three to a mom who owned a quilt shop and was a pattern/shape/color wizard, it all adds up.

👁❤⌨

If you’ve completed the latest update on your Apple mobile device, then you’re bound to notice the new (and, in my opinion, improved) integration of emojis in the Messages app. Sure, the emoji keyboard has been available since previous updates—big whoop, right? Well, now when you’re crafting that perfect text, if it contains a word that could be portrayed as an emoji, it automatically underlines. When you tap on that word, the appropriate emoji (along with options if available) takes its place!

For example, if I were to text someone, “How was the apple orchard this weekend? Probably not nearly as good as it could have been had I been able to go! Haha!” then both the apple and the Haha! will appear in red and underlined. If I tap them, then my text is transformed into, “How was the 🍎orchard this weekend? Probably not nearly as good as it could have been had I been able to go! 😂!” How great is that!?

As a fan of visual communication, I think emojis are👌. And apparently I’m not the only one, since the original emoji set, developed under the supervision of Shigetaka Kurita and released for cell phones in 1999, has been added to the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Read more about the beginning—and also the impact—of this visual language that has become near and dear to my ❤, or if you’re feeling frisky, check out this realtime twitter emoji tracker.

Q&A with Our Winner

You probably know by now that we awarded our first inaugural Helveticahaus scholarship to the amazingly talented second-year SFCC student Isabel Heisler. And we’re guessing that, after reading her bio, you looked skyward, shook your fist at the cruel and indifferent universe, and shouted, “But I want to know more!” We did, too. So we locked Isabel in a windowless cell lit only by a single flickering fluorescent tube, and grilled her for four hours straight. Here’s the transcript of that interview:

Q: What’s your favorite font?
A: Is Helvetica too cliché?

Q: What’s your favorite punctuation mark?
A: I think “…”

Q: If you were a dash, which one would you be?
A: En.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: It’s pink, but a mature answer would be white.

Q: Favorite Adobe program right now?
A: InDesign.

Q: Shortcuts or mouse clicks?
A: Shortcuts for life.

Q: Pencil or pen?
A: PEN!!!!

Q: Digital or print?
A: Print.

Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: Steak. I’m from Brazil.

Q: Favorite Spokane neighborhood or street?
A: South Hill.

Q: Favorite pastime?
A: TV shows.

Q: Favorite sport?
A: Is ballet a sport? Yes it is.

Q: Favorite tree/flower/plant?
A: Light pink tulips or lavender.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
A: I don’t exist in the morning.

Q: If you were Queen of the World, what would be your first order of business?
A: Paint all buildings white. Just kidding…but not. [Editor’s note: There’s that “…” she likes so much.]

We’re excited for Isabel. After all, this is what Helveticahaus is all about. In fact, we’re guessing you’re feeling pretty great about your purchases right about now. What? You haven’t bought anything yet? Then be sure to swing by the shop on your way out.

Maui Brewing Co. Gets a New Haircut

Rocket Market is one of my favorite places to shop in Spokane. Great wine selection, killer produce, and a wonderful selection of cake and pastries to top it off. They have a little of everything and everything they have is great. While walking the aisles last week, I was excited to find a beer can with a new haircut, as it’s one of my favorite beers.

Maui Brewing Co. rebranded with a 100 percent overhaul of look, feel, fonts, illustrations, everything. They threw out the bikini-clad hula girl and Hawaiian waves for a modern system of bright colors and well-chosen patterns. Though I will miss the old cans, the new are a fresh take on where beer branding has gone in such a short time (they were founded in 2005) and also a hint of what it will take in the future to stand out on the shelf.

 

Ugmonk does it again.

As a branded apparel company, it’s always fun to see what else is out there representing type. One of my favorites is Ugmonk. I’ve been a fan since I received one of their leather mousepads for Christmas (thanks, Joel!). Everything they produce is packed with detail-oriented, typographic love, from the T-shirt labels to the tape they use on their shipping boxes. Honestly, I can’t decide if I get more excited about the product or its packaging (which I think is a problem for most designers).

Ugmonk just launched a new website (today!), the best part of which—besides the wonderful product display—is this blog post they paired with the launch, and this one detailing every reason and step behind the redesign. If there’s one thing we designers like more then good design, it’s someone showing you how they got there. And Ugmonk is KING.

To Pair Univers and Helvetica… *gasp!*

When I read this this morning, it gave me a big ol’ smile:

“[Some] font pairings…are traditionally scorned, but when used with purpose [they] can be supremely successful. We’ll be retiring that old chestnut ‘don’t use fonts that are too similar’ in favor of a more constructive philosophy: ‘make each font’s purpose clear, and use every one consistently.’”

That’s Jonathan Hoefler basically continuing where I left off last week when I complained about designers choosing sides in the font wars. There can be a “dialogue between typefaces,” Hoefler writes, “that most effectively communicates how information is meant to be understood.”

Which means that, if you’re one of those who think some fonts are inherently superior to others, read on.

 

An Open Letter to Helvetica Killers

When you first roll into the design profession, a lot of things suddenly become comical to you. Students and new hires share kerning screw-upsbad photoshop jobs, and puns (oh, the puns) as if they were just discovered yesterday. Call it a right of passage—something you experience on your way to becoming a well-rounded and well-aware designer.

One area of ridicule that I just cannot get behind, though, is font-shaming. Now, don’t get me wrong: I understand that some fonts are doomed to the deep, dark depths of the internet. And that’s where they belong – because they’re half-assed and poorly designed with no craft, no love, no soul. I’m not even sure they’ve earned the right to be called fonts.

What I’m talking about is when designers refer to one font as another’s “demise” or “killer.” Like this blog post discussing Proxima Nova. I love Proxima Nova. I swoon over it. But the very title of the post just irks me. Not because I work for a company that pays homage to Helvetica, but because it’s pitting one impeccably designed font against another. I’d be equally annoyed if you were to pronounce Proxima Nova the end of Futura. Sure, they share geometric sans-serif similarities, but there are also vast differences – just like Helvetica and Proxima Nova. They have purpose where you give them purpose and personality where you give them personality. They fit where they fit, not where your prejudices tell them to fit. To rule one out because you just don’t like it shows a lack of understanding of what it is to be a designer. Or a good one, anyway.

Bauhaus + Swiss Style = Something Beautiful

Bauhaus vs. Swiss Style

There are clear differences between the two, but many similarities as well. Both use similar layouts and motifs, rely on a grid, implement minimalistic designs with geometric shapes, and use simple fonts and color.

The differences only become apparent when you dive a little deeper and recognize that, at its heart, Swiss style is concerned with communication, believing that design is socially useful.

Why the lesson, you ask? Because this Instagram account, a solid mix of the two, is perfection. Though it’s clearly meant to be more representational of Bauhaus style, I see a little Swiss in there as well.

Good vs. Great

Good design can smack you straight in the forehead, but great design holds on to you even after the redness fades. R/m Design School is such a design, giving you countless examples of what to strive for when aiming for grid perfection as well as creative genius. Aside from finding my new design-crush, Claudio Guglieri (*Sigh*), this site goes through invisible lines, structure, and proportionality with such grace that you will be sad once the scrolling stops. But rest assured that the experience will continue if you just take the time to explore the details (such as the “grid1,” “grid2” page nomenclature as you scroll, the menu bar, or the beautifully and subtly delivered examples as you click on the 1/12, 2/12, etc.), as well as the creator’s portfolio sites. If only, if only they had used Helvetica as their header font, this site would be complete.