'Putting the dream into practice, persevering with enthusiasm and resolution, it may be the beginning of a miracle.
In June of 2002, a little coffee shop opened. It was located in a lane by industrial zone instead of the hustle and bustle of the city centre; it won customers' admiration again and again by its pure and authentic coffee instead of luxurious decoration and neon lights.'
I stumbled across this last year. It made me smile (sort of), but I didn't quite know what to do with it at the time. But it's still buried away on the number 10 website. It's a podcast which records what happened when this man...
...met this man...
...on a plane.
And I'm inclined to think that it's a lesson to all of us that sometimes it pays just to keep your mouth shut.
If you've been hanging around this blog for a while, you won't be in any doubt about my views on the 2012 Olympics 'brand mark'. Some of you may be inclined to think that this is merely designers' bitchiness, but the rule that I apply to my judgement is governed by the words of Jeff Bezos: that "a brand is what somebody says about you when you're not in the room".
I bring this up again now because there is a very interesting article by Adrian Shaughnessy over on the Creative Review blog. And the most telling words in the article are, to my mind, these: "The dismally designed literature (not done by Wolff Olins) that is currently being pushed through letterboxes in East London shows what happens when communication is freed from its moorings; it slips into muddle and cliché. Similarly, Wolff Olins’ logo for NYC & Company, the New York tourism body, met with a hostile response when applied clumsily to its iconic taxis by the client recently."
So, when it comes to the 'brand experience' (surely the whole raison d'être of the Wolff Olins pitch) it seems that what's being served up are curate's eggs. Whether that's entirely due to Wolff Olins is, of course, debatable. They may well be cooking and serving the excellent parts, but the poor curates amongst us still end up with something that can be pretty hard to stomach.
mySociety.org (a not-for-profit organisation based in London) has been working on a series of maps showing how long it takes to commute to places via public transport. Their latest project was commissioned by the Department for Transport and includes an interactive map that allows users to set both the maximum time they’re willing to commute (that's to the DfT in Pimlico), and the median house price they’re willing or able to pay. Go on, take a look just here and scroll down to the heading 'House Prices'.
So, if you've got a £200,000 budget, but you don't want to spend more than an hour getting in to work in the morning, you haven't got much choice aside from Peckham.
What a way to cheer yourself up on a Friday afternoon (nice library, though).
If you happen to be anywhere near Bath in the next couple of months, a trip to The Holburne Museum of Art could be just the ticket. Here you'll find the exhibition Seventy Years of Penguin Design, on now until the 24 March.
Now it's time to start casting the net a bit wider and examine a couple of typefaces which might sit at the back of a designer's font shelf. I am reminded of the line from a Garrison Keillor story that "Minnesotans use irony like they use curry powder - sparingly": because these are fonts that do have their place and their uses, but they should always be used sparingly.
'What's this?' I hear you cry, 'a script typeface on a designer's blog!'. But, unless you're a card-carrying modernist, intent upon only using either Akzidenz-Grotesk or Meta, you'll find that someday you'll find a need to resort to a bit of script. Yes, someday, somewhere, some client is going to ask you to design a certificate or somesuch, and it's then that you'll find that a sans-serif isn't going to cut the mustard.
And it's on just such occasions that you might find that Edwardian Script helps you out of a spot. Not, as some might think, named after the monarch who succeeded his mother Queen Victoria, but after it's designer, Ed Benguiat. Benguiat has also given us other fonts that should be used even more sparingly, if at all, such as Avant Garde Gothic and Souvenir.
And someday, somewhere, someone is going to ask you to design something with text that has originated from someone who only ever uses PowerPoint. And that text is going to consist of lots and lots of bullit points. And that's where European Pi comes in handy.