Tell me something I don’t know

19/05/2013 § Leave a comment

You know those variable message signs that are parked at the side of the road? Their purpose is to warn of dangers, delays, closures or any important information you need on that road at that time. That’s their purpose. Sadly they are mostly used for what I call “we’re gonna get ya” messages. They tell us not to speed, not to forget our seatbelts and all sorts of other unnecessary information. They remind us that “they” are watching and we will be caught and punished should we stray.
I hate thinking that I should take heed to these helpful orange letters only to be told that drinking and driving is bad and will not be tolerated. Thanks.

Anyway, I was delighted to see this sign this morning (click on it for a larger size). At last, an honest VMS.IMC
I fell over and don’t where I am. Or who I am. Somebody rescue me.
It’s a sad robot’s cry for help.


Letting Roxy go

15/04/2013 § 2 Comments

The leached and faded colour of the photo tells us it’s time to take down the posters. This is one of the few on which beautiful Roxy is still sort 0f recognisable.roxysunset

Lost Roxy posters were put up around my local area about five months ago. Why are they still there? Are Roxy’s owners hopeful or just lazy?
I hope they don’t leave the task to some local council worker. Taking down these posters would be a good way to acknowledge and accept that Roxy’s not coming back. Closure.

I remember driving past one of these posters in late December and my daughter said: “I don’t know whether to feel sad for Roxy’s owners or happy for the kid who’s getting her for Christmas.”

Typography 101

21/10/2012 § 5 Comments

There’s a nice gang of kids in out street. Lot’s of activity and they are always polite when you have drive through their cricket game.
I was putting my kit in the car one evening and:
–      Toby: Do you play drums?
–      Me: Yes, I do.
–      Toby: So do I. In the school band.
–      Me: Good on you.
–      Toby: But I’m not very good.
–      Me: That’s ok. Neither am I.

Anyway, it looks like they found a dead lorikeet and buried it. Lots of time and effort seems to have gone into this grave.
The inscription is written on a handy piece of foam which means it can be stuck with a stick. But there’s not much room for the lettering. It might have gone at the top but it’s too late – the RIP and scribbly bit is already written. So it had to be broken up. Oops, the hyphen seems to be an equals sign.
Typographically speaking, is it wrong? No. Because, as well as the actual words themselves, good typography has meaning. Characters have character. There is a visual story as well as a written one.
The words say a lorikeet is buried there. The sign says so much more.

The shape of things to come

08/08/2012 § 2 Comments

I love my sci-fi and I love stories set in the near future which are actually about the present. Orwell’s 1984 immediately springs to mind.
One of my favourites is MT Anderson’s Feed. It was written ten years ago and still works. Plus it has a first line that puts it up there with A Tale of Two Cities and Anna Karenina. “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”
Here’s something more recent. It’s by students at the Bezaleal academy of arts.

via Empty Kingdom.

And don’t forget. Project glass is scheduled for next year (I think).

Unless we forget

25/04/2012 § Leave a comment

That’s what children often say at an ANZAC service because they have never heard the word “lest” before. It comes immediately after the line “we will remember them” so to a kid it would make sense to be adding a little disclaimer just in case we forget to remember.

The Ode of Remembrance.
   They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
   Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
   At the going down of the sun and in the morning
   We will remember them.
The response is either the last line repeated or “Lest we forget”

Here in Australia we are not big on nationalism. Sport excepted, we see ourselves as just another country (although it is God’s) in a global community. Patriotic sentiment in US media is usually met with stomach-turned groans. When gung-ho seppos get their comeuppance we laugh up our sleeves. We can’t help thinking that Superman’s vow to fight for “Truth, Justice and the American way” is contradictory.
But ANZAC Day is an exception. It’s a very important holiday to us. It’s not like Labour Day where everyone goes off on a long weekend and most people probably don’t  know (or care) why. ANZAC Day is respected and celebrated by every generation.
And we are remembering not a victory but a loss. It’s not about how great we are as a nation. It’s about the selfless soldiers (some lived, some died) who fought.

Poppies: we went to Canberra last weekend and visited the Australian War Memorial.

My wife was at funeral a couple of weeks ago. The man had been a serviceman and one of his colleagues read For the Fallen – a poem by Robert Laurence Binyon. She was surprised that the fourth stanza was the ode. This was news to me too. We googled it and noticed that it is the mid-point where the poem turns. Stirring words made more powerful when read in context.
Check it out.

btw: “Lest we forget” is from a repeated refrain in Recessional by Rudyard Kipling.

A nice pair

09/04/2012 § Leave a comment

I stumbled upon this on the interweb today. It’s an album design from the 1970s by the British design duo Hipgnosis. Two thoughts* struck me.

1. The pun. If I was designing this today I would hesitate to suggest the pun. Clients are very serious about their works and their image and sadly today’s rock bands are more serious about such things than anyone. They might want something that’s fun and may well be enticed into a bit of bare bottom action but if it’s cheesy it must be clearly seen as ironic cheese.
2. The  montage. This was done long before Photoshop had been thought of. Today, I would be photoshopping like crazy to make it look real. But I like the fake look. The message is clear and it just adds to the whole we-don’t-take-ourselves-too-serious feel.

When the revolution comes puns will be considered high art and unconvincing visuals will be the new black.

*Two at once. That’s pretty good for me.

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