ISSUE 38  News & opinion |  Summer 2003 | updated 6/13/03   

  Cheaper than design school New online publication Free, original fonts! Comment Archive  
  Summer at last!



What now? I opposed the war beforehand, and am very concerned about the long-term effects of the aggressive foreign policy of the Bush administration. But it's time to move on and work for peace in other ways.

One good thing to come of this is that I learned of many organizations, some design oriented, some not, working on political issues. Like:

Small poster
Another Poster for Peace



There are many more, which I'll share with you in the future. Some are found in our Mar. 5 special issue.

4000 people downloaded the background tiles we offered as visual expression of opposition to American foreign policy.

Dark gray background 
Dark gray (7k download)

Light gray background
Light gray (7k download)




Yellow summer flowersIf you're a regular visitor to this site you know that this update has been a long time coming—about as long as the arrival of sun in Cleveland this year. We've had an unusually gloomy, wet spring, which in my mind matches the world situation. See sidebar at right for more on that.

For now, I want to focus on something positive. I'd like to share a bit of joy in the form of flowers growing in our backyard — the background image you see on this page and on the homepage is a highly abstracted version of the photo at left, taken on May 29.

The OTHER photo
Why the Ford Explorer on the homepage? Well, it's a reminder of why we had a war with Iraq. Visiting Chicago last week I saw this burly, aggressive SUV equipped for hammering through traffic and projecting that masculine image we love so dearly. It struck me as a metaphor for much that is wrong with our culture: appearance over substance, size over quality, consumption over everything else.

My glamourous weekend
I decided that the best way to learn more about photographing the nude was to go to a workshop. A Google search turned up one in Troy, NY that fit my schedule. It was quite a learning experience. I was the most amateur of the "amateurs"  there. And I found out that "glamour" isn't my cup of tea. The story begins here.

It's fun! It's scary!
If you're a designer and job security is a concern of yours, don't — I repeat, don't — download the n_Gen Design Machine. Otherwise, you've gotta try it. Here's the description from the n_Gen website.

n_Gen allows users with no graphic design experience to create professional quality output with their own text content. n_Gen takes over the burdensome task of designing, leaving the user to simply pick and choose the generated images they like. With n_Gen's Design Modules™, you can create artwork in a variety of popular genres and styles.

Make posters, flyers, CD jackets—with the click of a button! Simply input your own text information, press the "n_Generate" button, and away you go. It's that simple! The images you create are yours to keep and use as you wish. You'll be 'designing' like a real pro in no time. Download your free demo copy and start n_Generating today!

Created by the San Francisco design firm Move, n_Gen does an uncannily effective job of creating layouts in various styles, including California Noir (think David Carson) Modernist (think 70s-80s corporate) and others that you'll recognize instantly.

If you think Emigre gets a little too full of itself sometimes, try creating your own issue with the Urbivore module. See, that wasn't so hard, was it?

The folks at Move used Macromedia Director to create a stand-alone application that combines text, fonts, and images in a semi-random fashion. You choose a layout (business card, poster, flyer, etc.), replace the sample text with your own and hit the "Generate" button. Don't like the result? Try again. It's a lot quicker than four years at art school. The scary thing is, it's sometimes better.

I've tried n_Gen on a relatively new G4 Mac running OSX 10.2.3 and it works fine in its basic form, but crashes when I try to switch to another style module. A prompt response from Move assured me that this will be fixed in an OSX native version that's coming soon.

[ Download n_Gen ]

New online publication
There's no shortage of online "magazines" dealing with art & design. If you're looking for yet another, here's one that you may enjoy: IDANDA combines clever navigation with a good selection of "show & tell" features. I like the spare, clean look and the ever-present navigation grid. I hate the tiny, gray type. I like the fact that the editor responded to my criticisms as if she actually cares.

The best deal on fonts, ever!
If you want an instant library of unusual fonts, here's an offer you can't refuse: Larabie Fonts, a one-man font foundry, offers hundreds of original fonts for free. Browse the website—you'll find lots of wacky stuff that you'll use once in a lifetime, but scattered among them are some very nice fonts that might become staples of your design diet.

You can download fonts one at a time or in collections. Many of us complain of how expensive fonts are, using this as justification for pirating them. Here's a way to get variety in your font collection with a totally clear conscience. Ray also sells extended, "Deluxe" font sets via his companion typodermic website.

-Al Wasco, May 30, 2003