typography in the computer age

This excellent nub was directed by my friend Omair Barkatulla from back in the day when there used to be a London College of Printing (now London College of Communication). It looks at the different principles of design in typography and I think gives an interesting insight into the attitudes around the encroachment of computer generated production onto the more traditional mechanistic methods of type-setting. There is obvious conflict and tension between the two approaches, but you get the overall impression from the film that the traditional approach is the preferred one…I can definitely see the appeal, might have a look at LCC’s latest summer courses, humm…


“The French don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”

I found this flashy video promoting an American entrepreneurship programme. on Gwen Bell’s blog. According to the vid, entrepreneurs are the font of all human progress. Not writers, scientists, artists, politicians, bureacrats, philosophers, singers named Bob and definitely not you 9to5 rats.
Okay, I’m being a grump, because actually a) this is a well produced video and b) striking out on your own isn’t easy so if something gives you a little bit of a motivational boost, then that’s alright by me.
I think it’s just a bit glib that’s all, what with the entrepreneurs built this land vibe. I mean to an extent it’s true, but a bit unfair on the slave-owners, carpet-baggers and treaty-breaking thieving governments that contributed too.
Boy, I’m gripey today. Mental note; stop listening to agit-prop hip hop whilst posting.

I found this flashy video on Gwen Bell’s blog. It’s a promo for an American entrepreneurship programme by Sonja Jacobs and Brit designer Ben White.

It’s a very¬†well produced, well thought out video. Whilst I’m not sure that I entirely agree with the sentiment, striking out on your own isn’t easy so if something gives you a little bit of a motivational boost and encouragement, then I guess it’s definitely done it’s job.

It’s still true that America is probably the best place in the world to be an entrepreneur, and that striking out on your own is much more part of the cultural DNA than here maybe, which is odd considering that we were once (derogatorily)¬†called a nation of shopkeepers. I think this is partly because Americans are more positive about the process than us? I get the sense that if your business fails in the States, then it doesn’t take much to allow you to get back up and try again, whereas here we stigmatise failure, both culturally and administratively. Is this a fair analysis?

I think where this is changing though is in left-field social enterprises like GoodGym, where I think we’re is forging ahead. And it seems that there’s plenty of support and nurturing out there for young people who have business ideas that contribute to a social not just financial goal, such as Social Innovation Camp and Launchpad at the Young Foundation.

If you’re trying to start something on your own, good luck to ya I say!


This video got me thinking about whether nubs are actually a good way of learning or are they really just intellectual bubble gum? This a lovely way to illustrate an otherwise seemingly mundane fact, but does it help you to remember the information better than if you were to read it?

Most memory techniques seem to rely on visualisation and association in some form, so would videos like this actually help you to learn your periodic table for example?

On the one hand the video gives you an instant set of engaging images and content, but on the other it may actually be too distracting for you to form a strong enough memory of the facts. Notes on a page can be read and re-read easily, at your own speed, not at the speed of the video. And maybe it’s better for you to use your own imagination to visualise a memorable image, than trying to remember someone else’s.

Nubs are a way of presenting information that wasn’t really used when I was trying to remember atomic numbers as teenager, so it’s hard to say whether or not this is something that could help kids learn whilst they’re on the bus home, but I have a feeling it might work for some people. Any thoughts?

a kinetic typo

Kinetic typography is kind of the nub minimum wage – it’ll keep you going but it’s not much to work with. There’s been some decent use of it in the past, mainly because it was just new – but it’s played out now. You knew that once the Tories got on board, the ship of swizz was going down faster than the Exxon Valdez.

I’m bored now of watching the same old, same old typography vids – here’s a speech, here’s a cool font, here’s that speech in a cool font, look how it moves across the screen, you can see the words, in a cool font, look they’re still moving, but now at an angle.

If you’re even going to attempt a speech nub now, you need to be all about the storytelling. Great videos like ‘I Met The Walrus‘ and the Harvey Milk speech (a dedicated post on these is coming) use the narrative as bass note not treble; building their own version of the message on top.

Despite most of this post, there is still hope for kinetic typography beyond the usual blahdey blah. This tiny, tiny nub by FAD (and turd polishers JWT-NY) drugs the text, busts it out of the nub institution and leaves it to wonder around blinking in the sunlight. Nice font too.