Veer has exquisite typefaces.

My favorite among those shown on the first page is Savoir Faire.  Clean, crisp, elegant, 083107savoirefaire.giftolerably illegible at times.

When I first got into desktop publishing – a latecomer to it, I’m sure, in 1986/87, which I subsequently left in 1990 – I went through a brief affair with Palatino along with the rest of the Mac world, and then flirted with Copperplate for headlines.  Juxtaposing Helvetica Black and Helvetica Light, and using 60% screens for heads, was my next fling.

All in all, I was a rake, never settling with one for very long.

Savoir Faire I could commit to.


Unfinished Gaudi

A writer on New York Moleskinecity mentions Broken Angel as one of the treasures of 082606passionchrist.jpgBrooklyn.  The owner of this building, a “self-taught” architect and painter, has added some interesting and intriguing quirks to the facade and interior.  However, goes too far and calls it a tenement version of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.


Sagrada Familia is a work of ineffable sublimeness.  When I first saw it, in 1990, I was tripping through Spain by myself on a 17-day vacation from my job at Wiley.  In Barcelona, I was visiting a friend, Alejandro Par, whom I had as a camper at Camp Carolina for Boys five years earlier.

When I came across the nativity facade, which faces east and “is dedicated to the birth of Jesus and his life,” I was dumbstruck.  The larger-than-life image of Christ carrying his cross makes you feel as one witnessing the scene along the Via Dolorosa, watching him scrape the cobblestone pavement with that weight of deathly torture on his back.  You can feel the rough splinters of it digging into the same back that took the scourging only hours earlier.  The muscles strain, the sweat beads, the heart beats faster and faster.  In his eyes is a sadness of what must come and a mercy without end.

No wonder Gaudi could not finish the cathedral.  How could anyone ever finish telling that story?

Little square screen

Veer has exquisite typefaces.

My favorite among those shown on the first page is “Savoir Faire.”  Clean, crisp, elegant, eminently readable.

082607macintosh2.jpgI first worked with fonts — I have always been a dilettante with them — on a Macintosh at John Wiley & Sons, my first job out of college.  After working first as an editorial aide and then promotions assistant for such well-worn professional reads as Head & Neck Surgery and Journal of Applied Polymer Science, I landed a job as Communications Assistant (“Associate”?) in the PR department.  It was there that I first worked on a Mac.

I was responsible for producing internal company newsletters, a front-and-back 8-1/2 x 11″ format, on a tiny screen, much like the one pictured above left…as many of you remember.  It was also around this time that I first got glasses.  Six months after working on this tiny screen, to be exact.  The optometrist said that rarely did environmental factors influence eyesight.  I found that hard to believe, since before then I could read newspaper classified ads from across the room.  Or so it seemed.  I might have found my vocation as a Reader Of Small Print Across The Room to amaze people or, as my sister-in-law Sandra suggested, perhaps I should just go into contortionism.  This would garner a pretty penny on the streets of NYC. Or it might get me elected mayor.

Ralph Lauren specs were the first pair (Oliver Peoples and Armani since then:  three pair in 21 years; the Lovely K has plunked down good money for 12 pair in 20 years).  I remember coming out of the shop on 42nd Street between Lexington and Third Avenue and looking across at the Daily News building.  The shadows from the noonday sun danced and popped off the window sills.  I never recalled seeing things so clearly.

The internal newsletter, then, that I set down to produce with my new Ralph Lauren specs, was called the “Bulletin Board,” because it purported to replace the myriad daily and weekly memos and thereby save money and time.  It was canary yellow, so everyone called it the “yellow rag.”  I bristled at first, then took it as a compliment once I realized that everyone was reading it (out of necessity, of course, to see who was hired and who was fired and whether paychecks were coming early on Thanksgiving week).  I had a captive audience.

The typeface we used was Palatino.  Seemed most things produced on these little Macs had Palatino.  Eventually I experimented with heads in Helvetica Black or Copperplate.  Since there were a number of us at Wiley who used Macs and always went to the same guy to ask troubleshooting questions (he was in book production and not an IT guy, but he knew tons about Macs), to keep his insanity intact, I started a Mac users group called “MUGWUMP.”  Can’t remember what the acronym stood for, but I liked the word, no matter that it was more appropriate for a political context, so I shoehorned it in as our name.

Eventually, I purchased a reconditioned Apple laptop so I could do freelance work on the side.  I used it also when I worked at ICON Thoughtstyle Magazine to spare the company budget from purchasing me one, and then 082607macintosh3.jpgit died a quiet death.

It is either upstairs in the closet of Memaw’s room (the guest room that Grandaddy and Memaw use when they come that we have named after her), or it is illegally wasting away in some landfill.

I live in Massachusetts and must be careful about what I admit in blogs about industrial trash.  The people downtown in Boston monitor these posts, you know…all the time…with secret cameras and tools and little creatures that crawl the web.

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