For the Love of Fonts

I come from the design world. I don’t often admit this, but I love type. I love type design. I’m a fan of fonts. It’s all true…

FontExplorer X

I just started playing with Linotype’s FontExplorer X. It’s an amazing application. Besides managing the fonts you have installed, it also acts as a front-end to the Linotype store. Imagine iTunes for fonts. You can browse, search, test, and purchase fonts all through FontExplorer X. Damn that’s cool!

It may only appeal to design geeks, but if you have hundreds of fonts and need to quickly go through them all to find what works for a specific design, this may be just what you need. (I know I said “hundreds of fonts” even though some designers have thousands of fonts, I just didn’t want to scare non-designers too much.)


Milwaukee Design Firms, Bad Web Sites…

I spent some time evaluating the web sites of some Milwaukee design firms, and I’ve gotta say, I was sadly disappointed. I do not want to name names, because I’m going to discuss actual trends rather than specific issues. (Plus, I know people at many of these companies, and to be fair, I should disclose that I do work for at least two design firms in the area.)

Also, if you have not read my posts on Business Web Site tips, you may want to see them now: #253, #267, #271, #285, #301. Many of them apply…

The overall trends I saw were the following:

  • Inability to print pages/content
  • Inability to resize or select text
  • Inability to open multiple windows/tabs due to navigation using Flash
  • Music playing on page load (with no way to stop it)
  • Text as an image, or within Flash, which does not get indexed by search engines

Overall, many of the problems of poor usability were caused by Flash. (I know, I have a history of being somewhat anti-Flash, but so often Flash is anti-usability, so it all works out.) Many of the sites I evaluated had just one or two results in Google, which is probably not ideal for companies that want potential clients to find them.

To be fair, I know many design firms end up not overhauling their sites for a long time because they are too busy doing client work, but honestly, most of them looked like graphic or visual designers with no background in usability designed them.

Milwaukee design firms, it may be time for a reboot…


The New Admirals Logo

I’ve been hearing people’s opinions on the new Milwaukee Admirals logo since it came out. My opinion, it looks like it’s meant to appeal to kids, and in doing so, does not appeal to adults. So I thought I should fix that.

Milwaukee Admiral's Logo

Here is the original version.

Milwaukee Admiral's Logo (fixed!)

Here is my version.

Ok, five minutes in Photoshop might not cut it, but you get the idea. It’s all in the eyes. In the first version the eyes just make it all look too cartoony. Skulls aren’t all happy and shiny, they are mean and scary. Or at least they should be.

(I wonder if I can find work doing logo re-design…)