Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Aura of Type: Swissified

Objectified by Selectism on Vimeo.

Gary Hustwit’s second feature gets its world premiere next month.

Here’s the official blurb:

Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our relationship to manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them… It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.”


His debut, Helvetica, examined the proliferation of the world’s most loved (loathed?) typeface. Pundits showed a mixture of reverence and disdain.

That film could be the end of an aura.

I keep thinking about Walter Benjamin in this new age of mechanical reproduction. When repro is at the amateur’s fingertips, how can the aura of quality – or authenticity – transmit itself?


Credit to Anyone Can Swiss for hitting the question head on with their patented “Swissification” technology – an automated Helvetica poster generator.

Built in Dan Eatock‘s modish Indexhibit, Anyone Can Swiss throws Helvetica to the amateur with a guarantee of 100% satisfaction. Ha ha!

Here’s a video of their submissions from 4 February:

Left me with a hankering for more typefaces and sent me at a tangent.

Shouldn’t copywriters be trained in typography?

Typefaces are central to the “unique existence” of words. I don’t see why we’re forced to separate the content and the form.

It will only make the work more reproduceable.

Previous type chatter:

Break your eyes with Optica Normal.

DIY fonts in Fonstruct.

Making words shout louder.

Film Title Mash Up


Stills taken from Steven Hill’s fantastic archive of Movie Title Screens.

A perfect complement to The End – one of my favourite Flickr groups.

End credits:

Is this the end? A multilingual sign-off by Alexander Gutke.

How to VJ #8


Design Fail: Melli Bank in Iran via DTYBYWL.

Make your interactions simple and intuitive. Or else the whole process will be painful. And confusing. And you might need an ice-bath afterwards.

this_dance_short by brandyalexander on Vimeo.

When I played alongside The Brandy Alexander Project recently (they’re excellent, btw), they noticed my button-bashing gets pretty frenetic.

Now there’s nothing odd about that to me. Because that’s how I’ve played for a while. I’ve practiced enough that the interactions don’t feel overwraught.

Interactive Propaganda Generator #1 by Matti Niinimäki on Vimeo.

But shouldn’t things be simpler?

When you VJ, you are essentially playing one or more instruments. You should not be aware of the instruments. You should so in tune that you don’t notice them between your fingertips and the output projection.

The more you can reduce the strain of interaction, the better the results can be.

I love this interaction by Matti Niinimäki because it strips away the interface.

Mickey Mann by Matti Niinimäki on Vimeo.

The Mickey Mann style of VJing reminded me of stories I heard a while back. MIDI performance using a Wii-mote. Now how can you not love that?

Any way you can remove complexity from your interactions can boost your performance. It can get you deeper into the flow and closer to what you’re communicating.

Previous How to VJ:

#7 No laptops: 8-bit VJing

#6 Pixel-per-pixel: a history

#5 Making layers: an example

16 Icy Men in Poladroid


What a day to lose your umbrella. What a fine day for a snowman safari.

I stuck a carrot into Poladroid for the first time. Throwback fun!

Click the thumbs to see each East London snowman.





Snowman related:

David Lynch’s Snowmen.

Interactive SNOWDRAW by Joshua Ott.

Snow Falls, Signs ATTACK!

It’s snowing in London. With a steady drift of public safety announcements. In the main, “it’s snowing” or “remember to wear a jumper”.


Hacked programmable road sign, Austin, Texas.

Expect tangles both over and Underground tomorrow. Confusing signage and Tannoy instructions likely?


Misspelled road sign, London.

There’s a higher chance of chaos with dynamic messages. Even when constructed right, you can’t control the timing in context. Are trees a crime?


Fingers crossed that Transport for London are in a playful mood this week. It’s more inspiring than “remember to wear a jumper”.