Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beat Dis

dejablu, Scotty and I, are named-checked in Craig Reynolds piece about Buffalo, NY's DJ history, post 1990. It was very cool to get the little plug as our place in Buffalo DJ-history is noted.

When Scotty and I abandoned our rock-n-roll bar DJ gigs to started spinning records in Oct. 1997 on the corner of the bar at the Kingsnake on Chippewa, we would have never thought a whole scene was going to blow up around us. Delving into, what was later to be known as acid jazz, we played records on a Tuesday night. In our primetime we played such cool spots as the Kingsnake Lounge, 658, Osaka's Blu, O, Off The Wall, old Pink, Rendevous, Calumet Arts Cafe, the Tralf, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Mohawk Place, Daemen College Gallery, WNYBAC, CEPA Gallery, Allen St. Hardware, Third Room, Central Train Terminal, old Burchfield Penny Art Center, many more that I have long forgotten, and had a drink named after us, the dejablu martini!

The older I get, the more I wanna rock! Excerpt from the AV article:

"Atomic Cafe and the Kingsnake Lounge in the early years of the Chippewa Street resurgence were ground zero, attracting fashionistas and Elmwood’s denizens of cool, and later, Club e (formerly the Icon), 658 on Main Street, where the Knowmatic Tribe held residence once the Kingsnake closed, and the Opium Lounge, all opened their doors to electronic music. By now, there was a healthy community of experienced DJs, all pursuing their own personal styles—like DJ Zuk of Deep Soul Plug, who started playing cosmic lounge, and Dr. Wisz and Scotty, who as Deja Blu spun acid jazz."
> Read extensive AV article here.

> Click here for dejablu discography.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let's Pretend We're Married

Finding the right typeface for a logo takes a lot of courting before a commitment can be made.

There a lot of fonts out there to choose from when designing. Too many, some might say... But the subtleties that get missed by your average viewer are what make a font special. When you are designing a logo and you are making some logo-typeface decisions, you really start to notice those subtleties. By paying close attention, you notice the way a letter has it's own personality, each letter being a small part of a bigger family- which is more than just the alphabet but includes numbers, character, punctuation and assorted what-cha-ma-call-its.

When a typeface is being explored for use on a logo, you are really only concerned with a limited number of characters. For instance the 'OtherWisz' logo is built from Century Gothic- the 'less-square' cousin of Avant Garde. I need only worry about the o,t,h,e,r,w,i,s and z. I don't really need to care about the remainders- I simply didn't need to be bothered with the 'a' or pesky 'q'.

Let's Get Together
Certain letters that often follow each other in common words are build (originally drawn) to balance with each other, fitting within each other, often nestled together. But you can't rely on the set kerning (the space between the letters) of characters when building a logoface. When letters and words are set into a block of copy or paragraph, you are often at the mercy of that font's set kerning. And that is fine it this situation. But when you are dealing with a microcosm of each individual letter up against another letter- you can and should move them yourself. By moving the letters closer, or further from each other, you can work to achieve the right balance between letters and (even as important, if not even more...) the space between the letters. When an inexperienced graphic artist sets headlines or letters in a logo that often just type it 'as is' and let it be. Often ignoring the fact that certain letters just have to be moved manually-- for instance an 'A' next to a 'V'- newbie designers often leave enough space that you can drive a truck through.

Big In Japan
I am working on a logo design now and find in interesting some of the very subtle elements to the typefaces that I have chosen to work with. Some little things you would never notice until it is blown up HUGE! You think a character has a straight edge until you see it big and then notice it is all wavy. Is this done on purpose to add personality to a font or poor, sloppy design?

When I view newer fonts against the classics- and I mean fonts originally hand drawn, eventually converted to digital-- it seems more care may have been put into those old design. Now I don't mean every new font obviously- I have friends that are type designers and they put a lot of care into what they do, agonizing over every last element of a font. But often I will look at a recently designed FREE FONT and find it to be of poor quality when viewed in close. Free fonts are usually worth that, next to nothing. As well I should note that 'classic fonts that have been digitized' are at the mercy of the digitizer and the foundry that made them, certain subtleties have been known to get lost in the translation at times.

When designing a logo, take care to choose a typeface that has the personality you want and explore the font's history to get a sense of what the designer may have been thinking. Choosing the right font is a combination of character, style, quality and history, but sometimes it is just a lucky crapshoot. And of the million of fonts out there, you will find just one that is right for the logo you are designing.... or at least a half a good dozen alternatives!

The attached graphics are few of the latest logos we have designed at OtherWisz Creative. The top is the logo built from Baker Signet, Aurther Baker's 1965 slight-calligraphic face. The second logo is for a new catering service for daycares, Cater Tots and it is built using a fatty- Rudolf Koch's Kabel (this is the 1975 computerized version). Lastly, we have the Tracy Diina Communications logo which is designed using Stone Informal, a font originally designed in 1987 to look good when printed on laser printers plus a subhead set in Adrian Fruitiger's wonderful Avenier 35 Light.