If you’ve read anything on this site or if you’ve met me personally, you know I’m opinionated. I have unconventional beliefs, design-related or not. I don’t always follow the crowd (because the crowd is usually obsessed with some moronic, momentary fad), but I do stick to doing things professionally—such as using “its” or “it’s” correctly which, if nothing else, separates the amateurs from the pros. I rave and rant about such issues, including whether or not black is a color. Leave your comments. I just might agree. —Chaz DeSimone designer, typographer, lettering artist & the black sheep in the herd (which is okay because it's my favorite color)
Do you believe in perfection?
NO?Do you (like most people) say perfection does not exist? Totally unattainable? Pursuing it is a waste of time?
Then I suggest you leave right now, as this site will hold no credibility for you, especially in the appreciation of what makes good design good.
On the other hand, if perfection resonates perfectly with you... Continue reading
No more diaper poo
What a refreshing change from last year's infantile Colors of the Year for 2016, Rose Quartz and Serenity. I can still smell the whiffs of diaper poo. This year it's the fresh scent of tall trees, green beans, Granny Smith apples, tart limes, fresh mown grass, and mint*:
I hope this vibrant color catches on, because it will certainly brighten up our days, whether in print, paint, or products. I'll proudly wear a T shirt in Pantone Greenery with the CMYK specs printed on it (54 0 100 0). You wouldn't have caught me dead wearing baby pink or baby blue last year.
*Add this secret ingredient to your homemade meatballs: a few chopped fresh mint leaves.
Subscribe to AmperArt.com if you're a fan of the fun & fabulous ampersand, where it's featured as a cross between graphic design & fine art. You'll also discover interesting facts about this quirky character, such as:
Did you know that the English alphabet used to have 27 characters?
Yes, & used to be at the very end. In fact, that's how it got its name. School children would recite "a b c d e f g, h i j k l-m-n-o-p, q r s t, u v w, x y z, and, per se, &" —meaning, "and, by itself, 'and.'" Say "and, per se, and" real fast and you get "ampersand."
Now would you like to know how it got its shape? And how it's used as "fun & fabulous art" by designer and typographer Chaz DeSimone?
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That’s right, colors—with an s.
For the first time, Pantone has chosen two Colors of the Year, not just a single Color of the Year:
Rose Quartz and Serenity
Apparently, the colors seem to be more suitable for fashion and home, as they are exact matches to the color swatches and formulas. For print and web, which of course we’ll need when showcasing anything made with those colors—or as stand-alone graphic design colors—the Pantone chips and formulas are approximate (closest match). See color specs at end of article.
I doubt I’ll be using Rose Quartz and Serenity much, unless someone has a baby. Of course, to introduce the newborn to the world of fashionable color, they* will paint the baby’s room in one of these, rather than standard pink or blue.
*Whether he or she, “they” is now a correct grammatical term. It’s also the Word of the Year for 2016. Read more…
To Do & To Don’t List
Okay, I admit, I did already use these Colors of the Year for the fun & functional 2016 To Do & To Don’t List. Download and print a few copies here. Also visit AmperArt.com, which inspired the list (because it contains a fun & fabulous ampersand).
Try it. It really works, if you absolutely DON'T no matter what. Place the list wherever that "DON'T" invitation exists: email, tv, steering wheel for unnecessary errands, cell phone, beach chair.
(Scratch the beach chair; that's my recharge.)
He? She? It?
Whether it’s a boy or a girl or a man or a woman or a cat or a dog, we can now just say “they.” As in:
“Whoever is working on the formula, they better not blow up the building.”
It’s perfectly acceptable, as of recent (to say “they,” not to blow up the building).
Don’t you agree it’s always been awkward, when you didn’t know the gender of the person in a sentence, to have to write “he/she” or “he or she”? Frankly, I usually write “it” whether it’s a person, animal or a slice of pizza (which is sometimes a dangerous formula considering one's choice of toppings). So we’d just say “they” which up till now was not proper grammar, especially in professional writing such as a newspaper column.
But now it is. “He/she” can now be properly referred to as a singular “they.”
According to the Washington Post,
“We know about singular they already — we use it everyday without thinking about it, so this is bringing it to the fore in a more conscious way, and also playing into emerging ideas about gender identity,” said linguist Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Wall Street Journal, who presided over the voting…”
Word of the Year for 2016
The article also announces:
“Singular ‘they,’ the gender-neutral pronoun, has been named the Word of the Year by a crowd of over 200 linguists at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.…”
I’d never heard of WOTY, but I do of course follow Pantone’s Color of the Year. This year it’s Colors of the Year — yes, plural, as in “they” (or is that singular?). See the 2016 Colors of the Year. I doubt I’ll use them much unless someone is having a baby.
Just do it?
Sorry, but the Uike logo just doesn't do it.
Yes, Uike. That famous swoosh looks more like a “U” or a “V” when it could represent an “N” for its namesake.
See that mark up there? That's what I would have done. It's a lowercase "n," not a "u."
But what can you expect for $35? (A college student was paid that sum for the logo design. I heard that later she was paid more, which is respectful of Nike.)
It’s gratifying that the creative fee was only $35, not $35,000, because I have always pointed to the Nike logo as an example of “missing the opportunity” for excellent design. If a designer would just analyze a creation before casting it in stone (or on a shoe), a superb rendition might result. In this case, just rotating the image 180° would render the perfect mark: a lowercase “n”—abstract, albeit, but still the first letter of the company’s name. I believe a logo should not only represent the name, but also convey a feeling as well, if possible. Here it’s all possible! My version (their original logo turned upside-down) not only looks like an “n”, but it would also no longer feel like it’s bouncing off a wall—it would instead feel like it’s leaping into the air.
When Nike realizes the value of this simple change, I’ll send them a bill for $35,000. No, make that $35,000,000.
Till then I’ll continue wearing New Balance rather than Uike.
One of my favorite sayings is “HA!”
I never know when it’s going to happen, but when I get a chance to shout an authentic “HA!” it’s so loud it scares people into jumping back a few feet.
It stands for “happy accident.”
Like when you take a wrong turn that happens to end up in a better place than you were headed for.
That happens in design a lot, too. Like when the cat jumped on my shoulder and the straight line I was drawing turns into the perfect squiggle for a logo. (On the other hand, once the cat jumped on my shoulder once when I smoked a pipe, and the hot ashes flew out all over my freshly-inked artwork, ruining it. Should I keep the pipe or the cat? They both provide pleasure. I kept the cat—my pipe never purred for me.)
There’s also the famous saying I use when things go seriously, irreversibly, devastatingly wrong without a happy ending…but we won’t print that here.
The ™ symbol, which stands for "trademark," and the ® symbol, which stands for "registered trademark," are often overused or used improperly. For one thing, they are not interchangeable. (Actually, the ™ can be used in place of ®, but that defeats the purpose or registration. However, the ® cannot be used in the place of ™ if the trademark is not registered.)
By definition, a trademark is a unique name, symbol, phrase, motto, or graphic design that is specific to a company name, or its products and services.
™ simply "warns" that the mark or words Continue reading
Those of you who know me have heard this a lot:
“Damn good design is sometimes nothing more than a lotta luck and a little talent. Or vice versa.”
It’s a principle I realized early on in my career.
Here’s how that formula has manifested some of my best work, including my own studio logo:
Desimone Design my design studio logo This logo is an excellent example of my favorite formula: luck + talent = damn good design
The luck behind the logo
Realizing my last name and the word “design” shared the first four letters, I sensed there was something I could develop into a logo. But it took several pages of sketches, trying combinations of uppercase, lowercase, upper and lowercase, intertwining, and nearly giving up. Then I saw Continue reading