Media Magazine

Weekend Update: Steve Jobs’ Design Leadership, Some Fun Reads and More

Posted on the 26 August 2011 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

TAKEAWAY: This is our weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and, after a busy week in Hong Kong, we catch our breath in Europe before proceeding home to the US.  We bring up some subjects of interest this week, plus some recommended weekend reading.  And Reed Reibstein’s pick of six must-download type related apps stays on.

Steve Jobs: we wish him well

I never had the privilege to meet Steve Jobs
personally, although we have at least twice been in the same city, or even around the same auditorium, during the past 20 years.  But my admiration for the man is immense, and not likely to diminish now that he has announced his retirement as CEO and genius in charge at Apple—-the company he has made perhaps the most successful ever in the history of corporations.

Two things always caught my attention about Steve Jobs: first,  the fact that he never went out to test his products, that he had the courage and conviction to be so sure that what he was creating was exactly what the consumers wanted, that it was not necessary to go thru the sagas and discomforts of testing; second, the genius that he exhibited in the design of the products he created and brought to market.  If good design is all about the two “s” words “sophistication and simplicity”, then Apple’s catalog of products is the design textbook that everyone needs to consult before sketching their next project whether it is a bottle of wine, a chair or, indeed, the cover of a magazine.

With Jobs we have seen the rare occasion when design and leadership can be uttered in the same sentence.

For those who are worried about Jobs’ absence perhaps indicating the decline of Apple, I say nonsense.

I have learned that when good design becomes the foundation, the legacy stays.  The Steve Jobs legacy in the design of Apple’s products is so formidably strong that we are not likely to see it change. It is, like all good design foundations, unshakeable.  Future Apple designers will build upon it, as will those trying desperately to compete with Apple products, from the iPhone to the iPad.

Everyday I admire the simple, sophisticated design of my iPhone, my MacBookAir, my iPad.  Beyond admiring, I study how functionality and aesthetics can marry and stay married.

We owe it to Steve Jobs to have provided us with such lasting union.  We will miss Mr. Jobs and I personally wish him much luck as he confronts his medical problems.

The legacy, the lessons, the heights to which he took DESIGN in capital letters, those are going to stay with us for generations.

Weekend readings

And the iPad wore white…..

Indeed, an iPad very present at a wedding.
Summary: Case in point. A woman named “Renee” did not want to miss the wedding of her friend, Jamie Wilborn, to Jonathan Alberico in Denver. But Renee couldn’t make the big event. She attended anyway, via an iPad. The iPad, however, was not placed on some seat or discreet location out of the way. It was in the actual wedding.

A Bridal Party App for the iDos

TheMarioBlog post #842

Six Must-Download iPad Apps for Typography Fans

TAKEAWAY: A look at six typographic iPad apps by Reed Reibstein for the Society of Publication Designers. ALSO: Post cards and memories

Six Essential iPad Apps for Type Lovers

In his second blog post for the Society of Publication Designers website, our Garcia Media art director and project manager Reed Reibstein takes a look at six iPad apps for those of us who love fonts. His post is reproduced below:

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The language of magazine design is type. Publication designers have to know a loop from an ear, a ligature from a swash, and Erik van Blokland from Mark van Bronkhorst. Aside from being a spectacular device for news apps (as Mike Burgess, Joe Zeff, Jochem Wijnands, and Michel Elings described at last month’s Indie App Night), the iPad boasts a number of truly useful tools for letterform education and inspiration. Here’s a typographic twist on our ongoing series of essential iPad apps.

Above: Comparing typefaces in FontBook

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The successor to the familiar yellow and black compendium, the FontBook app has already been described on the SPD website. But it’s so good that it deserves another mention. The app’s minimal design focuses the user on its mind-boggling 620,000 typeface specimens instead of a flashy interface. Upon entering one of the systems used to categorize the type families—alphabetical, typographic class, year, type foundry, and designer—you encounter tiles cleverly sized to reflect the relative size of each group. You might notice a few of your favorite foundries missing, such as Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Village, and Commercial Type. But the advantage of a digital platform is that the database can be updated, and the editors may add more foundries in the future.

FontBook’s type specimens are the true stars, however. The app presents each family through a series of cards, showing everything from an overview of the family’s variants to the full glyph set. Other family members, such as a condensed width or a sans-serif version, are listed on the left, along with the designer’s other typefaces and, sometimes, similar typefaces. One might be concerned that the iPad’s 1024 x 768 screen would not show type near text sizes accurately, but the 18 pt. samples are surprisingly good, especially for faces with limited contrast.

FontBook also allows you to set your own samples. You can see any typeface big, crisp, and in a number of different color schemes - perfect for mocking up a new logotype on the fly. Most designers these days head to the MyFonts, Veer, or FontShop websites to see what a certain typeface looks like or browse typographic styles. Plan on visiting them less often with the intuitive, feature-packed, and fun new FontBook on your iPad. ($5.99)

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When you’ve spent all day amid mathematically precise digital typefaces, sometimes you want to get your hands dirty with hand-set type. If you don’t have a Vandercook press in your basement, LetterMpress is the next best thing. John Bonadies and Jeff Adams painstakingly scanned, photographed, and animated all the deliciously imperfect parts that go into letterpress, supported by an enthusiastic Kickstarter campaign. Just like the real thing, you use furniture and quoins to lock up your letters from one of twenty wood fonts before printing. (Luckily for those of us who never mastered this art, the app is much more forgiving.) Submit your best imitation of Power Platon to the LetterMpress Flickr group, which is already full of some spectacular designs. ($5.99)

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Type Specimen by Suitcase Type Foundry

Amid the thousands of type families in FontBook are twenty-three by Tomas Brousil. Lest they be lost in the shuffle, his Suitcase Type Foundry has its own showcase. This attractively designed app serves up specimens of angular Fishmonger, versatile superfamily Tabacand Tabac Sans, and Brousil’s newest, Monopol, a compressed family poised for impactful headlines. The app’s most interesting feature is “Combine,“ in which you can mix and match Suitcase typefaces in simplified magazine layouts. If you come up with any killer combinations, please share them in the comments below; we’re partial to Kulturista headlines with RePublic text. (Free)

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Typography Insight

Typography Insight is a classroom in an app. Even the biggest type geek will learn something new from Parsons masters student Dongyoon Parks eight exercises. The terminology and historical typefaces sections are good to have at hand should you need to identify the enclosed space of an “e” or classify a serif face. In the “Compare” category, examining letters up close yields surprises—can you name the differences between a Bodoni and Didot “r”? We could see this app being valuable for typography classes and professional studios alike. ($1.99)

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The Font Game HD

Switching from the classroom to the arcade, Font Game HD is the iPad version of the popular iPhone app from I Love Typography. In addition to the classic game, in which players identify twenty type specimens as quickly as possible, the revised app features three further attractions: a reverse version of the classic, terminology identification, and a typographic take on Concentration. Watch out—it’s highly addictive. (We’re not sure whether we should flaunt or deny our first place scores in two of the twelve games.) Though the Font Game may seem less educational, it may just show you the perfect typeface for your next project, especially when you set it to be “Exceedingly Difficult.“ ($3.99)

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Elementar Font System

Elementar is an app and a type family. A strange concept, but Typotheque, its creator, does push the envelope for letterform experimentation. (The foundry’s other app, Dance Writer, choreographs dancers to spell out messages.) Elementar the app is an interface for Elementar the type family, which is made of 420 individual fonts by Gustavo Ferreira. Instead of adapting a typeface’s curves to the pixel grid, Ferreira took the opposite approach, designing pixel fonts for each possible height, weight, and width. Sliding your finger along the screen to control the parameters, it is astounding to think that each variant is a unique font ready for use on the web. (Free)

Thanks to FontBook editors Juergen Siebert, Yves Peters, and Stephen Coles for their assistance.

Of special interest today

The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future , is a look at the World Trade Center site—including the original development of the Twin Towers,  the attacks that brought them down and the process behind the construction of the memorial and the accompanying museum. With more than 400 still photographs and hours of video clips. It will be free to the public between September 1 and September 12, and can be purchased for $9.95 thereafter.And it will be available exclusively on the Apple iPad.

Memorial App to be iPad Exclusive

Interesting perspective on going iPad only for this publication.

Post cards: remember them?

Well, I saw a man totally concentrated on the writing of a post card from Hong Kong to someone far away.  He seemed so into his post card writing that I approached him, to congratulate him for doing so.
It is not everyday that you see someone writing a post card anymore. I used to send many of them myself, but rarely do I stop to buy one and to send it. Emails do it for me, and for many others. I also don’t receive them at all.

Yet, as I engaged in conversation with this stranger, we both agreed that post cards reflect a time when things moved slowly. And, as he put it: “It is so nice to let one’s thoughts flow through the pen.“


TheMarioBlog post #841

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