Design vs. Use

States are not in agreement about what constitutes a “deadly weapon.”

Alppipuiston Kesä

I had the opportunity to work with the good people at the Helsinki Cultural Office on a few newspaper advertisements and a simple site for Alppipuiston Kesä or “Summer in the Alpine Park”.

Virtual Morning

“Is it possible for something to be only designed 51% of the way, give it life in the outside world, observe how people are reacting to the design, and iterate the hell out of it as time moves forward?” – Michael Surtees


Some beautiful specimans of Finnish soda pop that I purchased at the local K-Market. Sitruuna Soodaa tastes the best, but Rio Cola won my heart.

Serif or Sans-Serif?

There is no reason why the eye should behave differently when confronted with text on the screen versus the page. Right?

Left or Justified?

Today I believe that justified type is universally easier to read. After all, this is how we read our newspapers, magazines, and books.

Helvetica Geek

To hell with Arial and Verdana. Slowly but steadily, decent typography is finally coming to the world wide web.

VP, Part 1

TJBeck: “I bet the final deciding point was that “BIDEN” has 5 letters and looks good in sans-serif.” Harmless: “Obama is already president of graphic design. But, in the above graphic the names are actually serif. See how he brings the fonts together? Also, I’m still drunk.” via Wonkette. I can live with Biden, although […]


The controversial cover, among my tamer subscriptions Wow, the sleepy New Yorker just popped up on the national radar. Nobody’s said much about Seymour Hersh’s frightening reports, but Barry Blitt’s cartoon on the cover caused a riot today. Is it offensive? I think so. Unlike most New Yorker cartoons, I get the joke here. But […]

Great Moments in Marketing

Red Pile


By Wednesday we had a pretty respectable pile underway that included Big Red gum, a fat marker, a cutting board, some rejected poster designs, The Elements of Style, a Netflix sleeve…

Neglected Type

This blog has been buried somewhere out in the yard for most of October, as I’ve been preoccupied with design projects, finishing some new tracks, and quitting smoking for the 197th time. And the world seems pretty much okay with it. Nonetheless, stay tuned for an action-packed November with more music, an exciting sponsor, new […]

After Burner

Houston Street New York is such a well-documented city. People point cameras at every street corner, at the tops of buildings, at each other. Fifty people and a buffet table surround the filming of a Law & Order triple-homicide investigation outside a Chinese grocery. A few art students are staging something on the steps of […]

Super Colossal Market

Meijer: Michigan’s premiere 24-hour superstore. Buy a shotgun, a gerbil, a bottle of Scotch, some yogurt, and tennis shoes in one trip. My cart skates across buffed linoleum while I search and consider and judge and reject. There is no subtlety in the detergent aisle: All. Era. Gain. Cheer. Bold, existential, super-saturated. I’m dazzled by […]

Flavor Blast

They want beveled edges, glowing letters, and chromed-out backgrounds. Candy bars, posters for beer, Jeeps driving on Mars, Cheez-Doodles, Honey-Os, product websites (why do candy bars and cereal even have websites?). Most American products look as if they’ve been recently set aflame or are undergoing a dangerous chemical reaction. Why is exploding food exciting? Look […]


Where are the people who get all worked up over circles or squares, serif or sans-serif? Bones were broken and reputations ruined over these things in the 1920s and it was a good thing. There will never be another vanguard, another -ism. The best one can do is play along at home. I want to […]


I’m waiting for something bold and shocking and bad-ass to happen in graphic design. Something seismic, a visual jackhammer. After it arrives, design will never be the same. We will never be the same. Typography so strong, you’re ripping alphabet shards out of your face. It will be the new Helvetica and we’ll realize that […]


A few weeks ago I was hot about Piet Zwart (still am) and, after sifting through the paltry offerings online, I worried about the web presence of past masters of design. Then the good people at Kind Company sent me an encouraging email, pointing to the online archive they recently developed for the life and […]

Rolling Around in Design Writing

Emigre has ended. The legendary outfit that made discourse about graphic design seem sexy, frustrating, and urgent is calling it a day in order to focus on the business of being a first-rate font foundry. Emigre has been a constant specter in my life as a student, designer, and educator – and I showed up […]

Zwart! Man or Superman?

I’ve been fascinated by the work of Piet Zwart this week. His posters, advertisements, and book covers from the Modernist era are defined by explosive typography and an almost preternatural ability to make a single black rule or yellow dot scream on the page. Information about Zwart is spotty, as most of it is hitched […]