The Visual Display of Temporal Information

I’m not very good with calendars. I used to get an engagement calendar each year but would write what had happened rather than what was supposed to happen. Now I use MacJournal for that. Then for a while the Palm Pilot calendar worked for me, beeping me to my appointments as long as I remembered […]

Checking Proofs

How much of a designer’s work consists of actual designing as opposed to meeting, doing paperwork, fiddling with FTP software, watching YouTube, organizing bloated font libraries, etc.? It depends on what kind of design you do, and what kind of place you work, but for most designers I’d guess that designing proper accounts for less […]

Memo to Editorial

Just sent, re a book that I redesigned twice, and whose trim size changed midstream: Dear [X]/[Y], I’m not sure whose query this is on the design approval memo, but in answer to the question of whether the castoff (352) is “shorter now because of [larger]-size,” uh, yesish. I managed to make the [smaller]-size design […]

The signs of Philadelphia

Clever Francis visited Philadelphia recently and found a lot to write home about. Straight quotes are bad enough, but a six-dot ellipsis? That’s a little too much Philadelphia Freedom for me. Now go see the picture that goes with that.

A letterpress talkie

If you liked the Heidelberg porn from a while back, you may also enjoy this charming short film by Chuck Kraemer about Firefly Press in Somerville, MA. It has moving people and voices in it! It’s hosted at the Web site of portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman. There’s also a higher-resolution version (17 MB; but don’t […]

May I take your order?

As promised, here’s a sample of how I annotate a design for the compositor. These are actual specs for an actual book that was just typeset. I haven’t seen the proofs yet, but I know that it hit castoff on the first try, which is miraculous given that the book in question is an anthology […]

Alternate Facts about book design, topography typography, and printing

While searching for something completely different (isn’t that always the best way to find things?), I just stumbled across this hilarious three-year-old post by Teresa Nielsen Hayden at Making Light: Interesting misinformation. They call themselves Back Yard Publisher, but I prefer the page’s title tag: Publishing Your Manuescript. Their motto is good, too: Remember! There’s […]

From the Onion

Résumé Font Offends Employer More typography reportage from the Onion: Alpha-Bits Now Available In Serif Font (July 14, 2004) Helvetica Bold Oblique Sweeps Fontys (August 29, 2001) Corporation’s New Logo Changes Everything (September 8, 1999) Area Client Would Like A Different Font (July 29, 1998) Ünited Stätes Toughens Image With Umlauts (April 30, 1997) Fontly […]


Looking back over the TypeCon program, it’s amazing to me how many sessions I missed. But, you know, the weather was beautiful, and I’m not much of a morning person. Or an evening person—I also blew off all the parties and field trips. (But I’m a regular ace at “Break for lunch on your own.”) […]

Making Castoff

Last week I attended a reunion of people who used to work at a certain nonprofit literary organization. Some are in publishing now, many are writers, and all are bookish people who buy and read books—past page 18—regularly. Yet I was asked several times, while catching up with folks, what it is that a book […]