Thursday, December 31, 2009

|cats do what?|

A new year and a new decade calls for a new calendar! However, if your New Year's resolution is to save money, then this one probably isn't for you. Still, we can admire the design.

Created by Cats Let Nothing Darken Their Roar (ha), this calendar annually collects 12 seemingly random phrases and colorfully emphasizes the month name hidden on each page. I don't think I can pick a favorite, but I'm a big fan of January ("NINJA BUNNIES RUN NEARBY").

The calendar is available in two sizes, but the smaller one has already sold out, which leaves you with the $50 option. I'll just continue to admire it via the Web...

--J. Gibb

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

|catch intro if you can|

As a type lover, I adored the opening title sequence of the film Catch Me if You Can, and I remember it more than the movie itself. Designed by Paris-based artists Kuntzel+Deygas, the introduction elegantly combines extending letter forms with simple shapes, solid colors, and minimal texture. Overall, the sequence exudes a cool and modern feel while still alluding to the era of the film's story. Check it out here and let me know what you think!

--J. Gibb

Saturday, September 12, 2009

|asb meets tmnt and dr. seuss|

This is one of my two T-shirt designs for Union's Associated Student Body this school year. I started the design planning to sort of 'rip off' an American Eagle shirt design, but I quickly changed the colors and arrangement of the type as I 'unionized' the graphic. I chose purple for the shirt color because that seems like an uncommon free-shirt shade, and the lime green seemed like a natural partner. After the shirts were printed and distributed, John Luckiesh confessed that he loves the shirt because it reminds him of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

This second shirt design took me a very long time to complete. Also (loosely) starting as an idea from American Eagle, it went through a few arrangements of the type and many different color schemes until I ended with this version. I manipulated the text a bit to make it fit better together, keeping the Star Wars logo in the back of my mind. However, a few people mentioned that this design reminds them of Dr. Seuss, which never crossed my mind.

It's interesting to see how designs are interpreted and how they make people feel. Depending on emphasis, placement, or wording, you could be insinuating something to one person and offending another. That's why it is so important for designers to be intentional with their work and give it purpose, always with the audience in mind.

--J. Gibb

P.S. I hope you like the new blog layout I found! Unfortunately, I perused the code and cannot figure out how to change 'il primo' and 'il secondo'! So, I guess the blog will remain bilingual until I find a solution. :-D

Saturday, August 8, 2009

|no your alphabet|

London-based designer Daniel Eatock created this clever bag to benefit The International Dyslexia Association. While a lot Eatock's work makes me scratch my head (here's his site), I love this tote bag design.

--J. Gibb

P.S. Be sure to check out my new personal blog, just g!bs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

|all fun and half-games|

Yet again, I've managed to neglect my little blog for a month. Perhaps my return to school—and a more structured schedule—will prompt me to resume more frequent updates. Currently, I'm operating in panic mode as I need to finalize ASB T-shirt designs by the 29th and the Peanut Gallery cover and tab pages by the 31st.

So today, I quickly present a fascinating designer, Shakar Peleg (Web site here). Many of his products incorporate magnetism or reflection to boldly grab attention. Pictured above is his reflective tic-tac-toe set, which places half-shapes on a mirror to create the optical illusion of x's and o's.

Make sure to visit his site and click on "Products" to witness his clever and sometimes mind-blowing design solutions for everyday use!

-J. Gibb

Thursday, June 18, 2009


It's been a while since my last blog, right? I apologize... I'm falling into the rut of summer slackery and am contemplating how to renovate my newly acquired design portfolio site at

Today I simply provide an image for you to ponder. Take a look at the image below. Notice anything odd?

Look again. Do you see anything funnily intentional? Check out that 'M' behind former President Clinton. Rather, check out the part of the 'M' you can see. Does it not create the illusion of devil horns?

I figure there's a very, very slight chance this went unnoticed by Time, but I highly doubt it. It seems any designer with an ounce of experience would have taken into account the way typography affected the rest of the graphics on this cover, especially since this designer likely played with putting 'Time' completely in front of our friend Bill.

Was this an act of uneasy foreshadowing? A lighthearted joke? Either way, it caused quite a stir back in the day!

-J. Gibb

P.S. I stumbled upon this magazine cover in the pictorial article "Magazine Covers that Shook the World" at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

|not enough space between youtwo|

Kerning is the amount of space between two characters. Tracking is basically the same thing as kerning, except that tracking is the amount of space within an entire line of text. When you type a report in Microsoft Word, the program uses automatic kerning as you type each letter and spacebar between each word. Because of the huge number of possible letter combinations, font designs are inevitably flawed by several letter pairings that should be manually kerned (according to one's eye and taste... people have differing opinions as to how much space should be between any two characters) using programs such as Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, etc.

An iPhone/iPod Touch application (pictured above) that I found last night turns kerning into a game. Apparently, the app presents a word missing a letter; your job, as the two parts of the 'word' close in towards each other, is to insert the missing letter when the amount of space is agreeable. Wait too long, and you might end up with two letters in one (known in the design world as a ligature).

This sounds like an incredibly nerdy app. And totally worth $0.99. I shall probably purchase it. And show off the nerdiness. ;-D

-J. Gibb

Thursday, April 9, 2009

|i <3 typography|

Mmm... See this delicious wallpaper design? I like it... 'a lot.' Find more here.

-J. Gibb

Saturday, March 28, 2009

|look ma, it's upside-down!|

Usually one to follow trends way after they're trends, I read Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code after it first became a big deal. A few weeks ago, my roommate Mark was obsessively reading Angels and Demons, Brown's first book featuring character Robert Langdon. When Mark went home for spring break and I decided to stay in the dorm, I eventually picked up the book and started reading since Mark had quickly finished it.

I'm almost halfway through the book, which has already featured two ambigrams. Ambigrams are graphical figures that spell out one or more words in the way presented and in another direction or orientation. A little researched revealed that John Langdon claims to have invented the ambigram along with Scott Kim in the 1970s. Ambigrams became much more popular after Angels and Demons, and Brown has acknowledged that the last name of his character is a nod to John Langdon, who actually designed the ambigram that was used on the book cover.

The image above is a design I found online, and I included a rotated image on the right for your convenience. The words "drink guide" look exactly the same as is or upside-down, while the three heads become three new heads when flipped 180 degrees.

I once tried to turn my name into an ambigram, with mixed success. Perhaps I shall soon try again and share my results...

-J. Gibb

P.S. Since this blog's inception, I've posted a new addition each day. This was due to excitement and wanting to have lots of content waiting for potential new "followers." It will probably be a little over a week until my next post, as I will be gone to the Adventist Intercollegiate Association annual convention at Columbia Union College from Monday through Sunday. Until then, faithful readers!

Friday, March 27, 2009

|font lesson #1: serif vs. sans serif|

By definition, a font is the complete character set of a given typeface style and size: all capitals (ABC), lower case (abc), numbers (123), and punctuation (.!%). Additionally, typography is the art and technique of designing, arranging, and modifying type. Most typographers use the terms font and typeface interchangeably, as do I.

Once defining what a font is, the next level of broad classification is serif or sans serif. Serifs are semi-structural extensions at the end of some letter and symbol strokes. The term sans is French for "without"; thus, sans serif fonts lack these extensions. See two examples below:

{This type is Times, a serif font.}
{This type is Trebuchet, a sans serif font.}

Surprisingly, serif fonts tend to be more readable than sans serif at small sizes (about 12 pt and smaller), so the majority of books, magazines, newspapers, and other lengthy documents are printed with seriffed typefaces. Also, serif fonts typically have a more formal look.

On the other hand, sans serif fonts are the preferred choice for Web pages because they are more legible than serif fonts due to the resolution of average computer screens. Sans serif fonts usually look more casual than serif typefaces and are widely used for small amounts of type, such as headlines and headings.

Just as the English language has its endless exceptions, the font world has Optima. Though probably more likely to be classified as sans serif, its delicate variation of stroke width mimics the effect of a serif font, so Optima can be doubly classified.

We have officially dipped our toe into the world of typography. Hang on for the rest of the ride.

-J. Gibb

Thursday, March 26, 2009

|a trip to the zoo|

Wanna see something designed by a person with way too much time on their hands? Bembo's Zoo consists of animals animated and assembled out of letters, one for every letter of the alphabet (though 'x' is a bit of a stretch). What a creative way to explore the font Bembo!

-J. Gibb

P.S. :-O>>> Thanks, Amanda Clark, for introducing me to this site!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

|it's an ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly world|

It can be an ugly {design} world, but you can make a difference using these awesome red flag correction labels from the Design Police!

Don't be bashful... feel free to stick these anywhere necessary. The Design Police Web site states that they "do not condone vandalism or criminal damage." But if you see Comic Sans somewhere... well, you know what to do.

-J. Gibb

P.S. :-O>>> Thanks be to Mitch Allen, my one—and so far, only—follower for this find.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

|first words and ironic circumstances|

Welcome to |confessions of a font snob|! Until now, I have only blogged on MySpace. Fortunately for me, the latest assignment in my Web Design class necessitated the birth of an online blog (ultimately for inclusion on my Web site-in-progress). I am thrilled for this excuse to begin and maintain my very own blog site.

At first, I wasn't sure what specific topic to blog about. Then I realized... as a graphic design student, one specific area of design emerged as my passion: typography. After taking a Typography class I saw fonts in a whole new way, learning the names of letter parts, studying type designers, and memorizing common typefaces well enough to recognize a font by a single letter. This semi-obsessiveness led me to label typefaces I encounter daily as terrific, typical, or tragic.

Using this blog, I will dissect fonts by posting designs I stumble upon with good/poor use of typography. Or typefaces that are simply way overused or way ugly. You'll soon develop a designer's eye and spot the rotten fonts. Together, we can rid the world of hideous type. You + font snob = scrumtrulescence.

-J. Gibb

P.S. You know what's ironic? I went to customize the layout and appearance of this blog, and what did I discover? There are a whopping five fonts from which to choose. It's an unfair world. But I settled on Georgia. ;-D

P.P.S. :-O>>> That's me giving a shout-out to BFF Kelly Zumwalt for sharing the Periodic Table of Typefaces.