August 30th, 2012

krazy koati

Now the trees are almost green

And back to the office, though I haven't been. There was someone new in the office when I did visit early this month. He's a graphic artist sort who even has his own MacBook Pro sitting on his desk, there on the first floor, with which to check out Facebook and occasionally do something (which everyone else on the first floor does too; as I'm not on Facebook I limit myself to Usenet and such).

In principle, I support this idea. Too many companies treat the visual appearance of things as a footnote, particularly if, like the one I work for, their products are all designed for non-public customers. Getting away from the graphic design of ``we typed the company name in a weird typeface and added a drop shadow'', its current look for everything, is well worth doing, particularly as we move from custom-built software into web-based data access, and it's worth getting a person who actually knows this stuff instead of shoving it on the guy who happens to own a Mac. However, in practice, I'm not sure there's enough to do to hire a new permanent graphic artist hire --- I'd think a temporary assignment enough --- and I had entertained thoughts of coaxing him to tossing money at one of my drawing-skilled friends to do it, but I postponed that in the effort to get him to hire an office manager, which also hasn't panned out yet.

Also I had some trouble in the design for the logo for my particular project. He'd come up with one that, to me, evoked the look of ``brand new mid-90s roller coaster sign'', and admitted such. He asked for guidance. I asked what typeface he thought would make the project name look most interesting, and he was stumped, as I was, since the most potentially interesting letter in the project name is ``G''. Go ahead, think of all the interesting letters ``G'' you've seen in any typeface. ``W'' or ``R'', sure (Bodoni is the correct answer, there), but an interesting ``G''? There's barely such a thing.

So I thought to go to reflected glory. My project is rather map-oriented, so I asked him, ``What typeface does National Geographic use for its maps?'' My thought was, that typeface will have suggestions of credibility and stability behind it, and we could rip off lean on that. He didn't know offhand --- neither did I --- but his attempts to search for examples of National Geographic maps were a fiasco. I'm not sure he got my concept, that is, look for the scanned image of some map that National Geographic, the magazine, not the TV channel nor the web site, uses, and see what it uses for either the title or the key features.

After a lot of my telling him in different ways to think about the fold-out maps from the magazine and to look for that, he let me at his Mac to search myself. Here I discovered that he set the trackpad so a click on it defaults to a control-click (right-click, in Windows terms), for reasons best known to himself. Bluh?

So far that's been our only important interaction, and I'm curious what he makes of the guy who popped in for four workdays and insisted that he look up something called ``Friz Quadrata'' which he didn't seem to recognize.

Trivia: In preparation for the invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the London ward of Bridge Within (north of the gates on the Bridge) was required to provide 383 men, including 115 with shot or firearms, 92 with garments to support pikes, 31 with bows, and 61 with pikes. Source: Old London Bridge: The Story Of The Longest Inhabited Bridge In Europe, Patricia Pierce.

Currently Reading: Winning The Peace: The Marshall Plan and America's Coming Of Age As A Superpower, Nicolaus Mills. (My copy comes with a two-page press release from Wiley about what an outstandingly excellent book it is. It's a pleasant read but I don't think up to the high praise.)

Maybe I say ``Friz Quadrata'' weird.