Rube Goldberg Machine: Big Bang to Apocalypse

This record-smashing Rube Goldberg machine developed by engineering students at Purdue University takes you on a journey from the Big Bang to the Apocalypse in 244 easy steps — culminating in the watering of a flower.

Via Nerd Approved

“Who says two spaces is wrong?”

Typographers, that’s who. The people who study and design the typewritten word decided long ago that we should use one space, not two, between sentences.

That convention was not arrived at casually. James Felici, author of the The Complete Manual of Typography, points out that the early history of type is one of inconsistent spacing. Hundreds of years ago some typesetters would end sentences with a double space, others would use a single space, and a few renegades would use three or four spaces. Inconsistency reigned in all facets of written communication; there were few conventions regarding spelling, punctuation, character design, and ways to add emphasis to type. But as typesetting became more widespread, its practitioners began to adopt best practices. Typesetters in Europe began to settle on a single space around the early 20th century. America followed soon after.

Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It’s one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men’s shirt buttons on the right and women’s on the left. Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, used widely in the social sciences, allows for two spaces in draft manuscripts but recommends one space in published work.) Most ordinary people would know the one-space rule, too, if it weren’t for a quirk of history. In the middle of the last century, a now-outmoded technology—the manual typewriter—invaded the American workplace. To accommodate that machine’s shortcomings, everyone began to type wrong. And even though we no longer use typewriters, we all still type like we do. (Also see the persistence of the dreaded Caps Lock key.)

The problem with typewriters was that they used monospaced type—that is, every character occupied an equal amount of horizontal space. This bucked a long tradition of proportional typesetting, in which skinny characters (like I or 1) were given less space than fat ones (like W or M). Monospaced type gives you text that looks “loose” and uneven; there’s a lot of white space between characters and words, so it’s more difficult to spot the spaces between sentences immediately. Hence the adoption of the two-space rule—on a typewriter, an extra space after a sentence makes text easier to read. Here’s the thing, though: Monospaced fonts went out in the 1970s. First electric typewriters and then computers began to offer people ways to create text using proportional fonts. Today nearly every font on your PC is proportional. (Courier is the one major exception.) Because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.

Type professionals can get amusingly—if justifiably—overworked about spaces. “Forget about tolerating differences of opinion: typographically speaking, typing two spaces before the start of a new sentence is absolutely, unequivocally wrong,” Ilene Strizver, who runs a typographic consulting firm The Type Studio, once wrote. “When I see two spaces I shake my head and I go, Aye yay yay,” she told me. “I talk about ‘type crimes’ often, and in terms of what you can do wrong, this one deserves life imprisonment. It’s a pure sign of amateur typography.” “A space signals a pause,” says David Jury, the author of About Face: Reviving The Rules of Typography. “If you get a really big pause—a big hole—in the middle of a line, the reader pauses. And you don’t want people to pause all the time. You want the text to flow.”

This readability argument is debatable. Typographers can point to no studies or any other evidence proving that single spaces improve readability. When you press them on it, they tend to cite their aesthetic sensibilities.

But actually the aesthetics are the best argument in favor of one space over two. One space is simpler, cleaner, and more visually pleasing (it also requires less work, which isn’t nothing). A page of text with two spaces between every sentence looks riddled with holes; a page of text with an ordinary space looks just as it should.

Is this arbitrary? Sure it is. But so are a lot of our conventions for writing. It’s arbitrary that we write shop instead of shoppe, or phone instead of fone. We adopted these standards because practitioners of publishing—writers, editors, typographers, and others—settled on them after decades of experience. Among their rules was that we should use one space after a period instead of two—so that’s how we should do it.

Besides, the argument in favor of two spaces isn’t any less arbitrary. Samantha Jacobs, a reading and journalism teacher at Norwood High School in Norwood, Col., told me that she requires her students to use two spaces after a period instead of one, even though she acknowledges that style manuals no longer favor that approach. Why? Because that’s what she’s used to. “Primarily, I base the spacing on the way I learned,” she wrote me in an e-mail glutted with extra spaces.

Several other teachers gave the same explanation for pushing two spaces on their students. But if you think about, that’s a pretty backward approach: The only reason today’s teachers learned to use two spaces is because their teachers were in the grip of old-school technology. We would never accept teachers pushing other outmoded ideas on kids because that’s what was popular back when they were in school. The same should go for typing. So, kids, if your teachers force you to use two spaces, send them a link to this article. Use this as your subject line: “If you type two spaces after a period, you’re doing it wrong.”

Via: Neatorama, Slate

The Santa Claw

Have you ever wondered what happens to Santa’s leftover gifts? The ones that never appeared on Christmas wish lists. Well…nothing. Until now. This year the Fat Man sent his friends at Real Art all the unused presents, and we gave them a home in The Santa Claw.

Yep we said claw. We built the biggest claw game ever. And you—or anyone in the entire world—can play the game from your own computer. Best part…if you win, we’ll send the leftover Santa goodies straight to your door.

Visit www.thesantaclaw.com for all the details. Check out the prizes, leather chaps, Dokken records, hand-held crossbows, t-shirts, Lenticular Sacred Heart Jesus, games, balls, models, scooters, skateboards and much much more. Log in now, create your customized avatar and be prepared for a clawsome good time!

School of Advertising Art

Shot by Showdown Visual’s Kenny Mosher this recruiting video tells you what The School of Advertising Art is all about. Way different than the old digs that I graduated from way back in 1991. Props to Kenny for a sweet promo video and to the good folks at saa for their ongoing efforts to raise the creative bar.

Deckled Edges

The deckle edge dates back to a time when you used to need a knife to read a book, The word appears to be related to the German word “decke” which means cover. Those rough edges simulate the look of pages that have been sliced open by the reader. The printing happened on large sheets of paper which were then folded into rectangles the size of the finished pages and bound. The reader then sliced open the folds. Often the deckled edge is part of the publisher’s “house style” along with certain other flourishes and fonts. It is typically used for more literary-oriented books and they see it as “something that harkens back to an older way.”

If you look closely at a deckle edge, even if you are looking at two copies of the same book, you’ll see slight variations in the edges from title to title and publisher to publisher, the quality and pattern of the edges varies more extensively, from a tight saw-tooth, when looking from the top of the book down the edge of the pages, to a more free-form ragged look.

Prized by collectors. “Deckle is not merely “untrimmed.” It is sort of “untrimmed” on steroids. The French have also been known to produce books with an edge that they call “Gilt on the Rough,” which means that gilt, or gold-leaf has been applied to the deckle edges as well as the close cut top and bottom edges.

In manual paper making, a deckle is a belt used along with a mold to gather up wood pulp from a vat for pressing and drying into sheets. It helps to control the size of the paper produced. Paper with a feathered or soft edge is often said to have a “deckled” edge for this reason as opposed to a cut edge.

Paper can have two types of deckled edge: natural deckles or tear deckles. Natural deckles are the result of the deckle used in mold-made paper, whereas tear deckles are the result of tearing the paper. Often mold-made paper will have a combination of deckled and cut edges depending on the specific size of paper required.

Business-card that shoots pennies


Via: BoingBoing

Thingverse user Clide has invented a business-card that fires US pennies, handling them in lots of 10.

The thick components get sandwiched between the two thin layers. Start by gluing the two identical thick pieces to the thin side without the magazine. Use the other thick piece (the slide) as a guide and make sure it can slide easily between the parts and close flush. Then glue the side with the magazine on top. Take care not to glue the magazine down and make sure the slide can still move back and forth. The slide must be in place before you glue it together because it can not be installed after the rest of the card is assembled. Two #32 rubber bands are needed to use the card.

Penny Shooter by clide (via Make)

Connecting the Dots – 2009 Cincinnati Children’s Annual Report

Via: Tom Immen, By Way of: Real Art Blog

We were lucky enough to work with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital again this year on their annual report. In 2009, they launched the first of three institutes – a model that will bring doctors and researchers together in a new way that will keep docs current and researchers surrounded by real world case studies. We developed the theme “Connecting the Dots” as a way of explaining how Cincinnati Children’s is aligning research, education and patient care.

Major props are in order to Patrice for leading the design and art directing the photo shoots. Supporting credits are due to Mary for assisting in the layout, Jenn and Andrew for creative input, Crystal for the cover design, and Rob for managing a major print run that included a 24+ hour press check. Finally, thanks are due to Ryan Kurtz for the great photography, and RR Donnelley for the beautiful printing.

If you think the annual looks sharp online, you need to hold it in your hands to enjoy its unique size, gorgeous spot uv cover, and rounded corner goodness.

This annual was printed on RR Donnelley’s 16-unit KBA perfecting Rapida 105. For more info about the press or last year’s annual report visit the previous circa71 posting: G33K FIX

Vitamin. Live-action. Design

Vitamin is a design-driven production company located in Chicago. Offering an eclectic collection of directors and artists from a myriad disciplines. their work combines forms and genres from live action, animation, motion design, stop motion, photography and many other forms.

You can see their 2009 show reel here

DCS Guest speaker: Ben Nicholson of Lightborne

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Ben Nicholson, Creative Director at Cincinnati-based Lightborne will be joining DCSAdobe User’s Group to share some insight into his creative process and show off some of the projects that were born from that creativity. Lightborne’s work is focused on motion graphics, but anyone can benefit from Ben’s advice and perspective on the creative process.

This meeting is the first in a three-part series of meetings on video and motion graphics. We are not planning to discuss technical design or animation techniques, but rather focus on broader creative topics. So whether you’re a print designer, web designer, or photographer, you should be able to gain something from attending this meeting.

Details

Agenda

  1. DCS/AUG announcements
  2. Ben will discuss his creative process as it relates to his company’s work with motion design
  3. We’ll watch various clips of Ben’s work accompanied by his notes/anecdotes
  4. Brief Q+A
  5. Door prize giveaway (2 books, chosen by winners)

About Ben

Since Joining Lightborne in 2000, Ben has overseen the development of a once one-man motion design department into a fully staffed global creative force. Ben has directed and animated both live-action and animated national Ad campaigns, music videos and tour visuals. At Lightborne, Ben is the dreamer and the technical limit pusher who is always looking for a new way to not only execute motion design but also to display it. This want comes from years of prior experience working on media for Disney rides, robotic projection screens, and just about every other surface where video should not be seen. Creative collaboration is the fuel for his fire and he loves helping clients execute, grow and implement their vision.

Ben’s credits include work for MTV, Death Cab for Cutie, Kenny Chesney, Puma, and many others.

Please RSVP at our Adobe User Group website or just show up!
(Must be signed in to RSVP. Not a member? Join today for free!)