The Big Screen Behind You Part II: Gertrude Stein and Slides

  We are giving a talk, say, about growing roses, so we put a slide of favorite rose varieties up on the screen behind us. Then a slide of tips for growing roses in different climates. Okay. That could work. Visuals for our talk could help our audience to understand and remember. And while the…

The Big Screen Behind You Part I

You stand in the front looking out at glazed-over eyes. Behind you, your PowerPoint slides. You are an instructor in a big auditorium or a boss at a meeting. Perhaps the eyes before you are not fogged at all, but riveted to little glowing rectangles held in hands. Everybody gets so much information all day long…

Good Rags No Widows No Orphans

What is a Rag? What is a Good Rag? And Why Should We Care? Something beautiful there is about letters in words across a page. We read for the pleasure of the eyes as well as the mind's sense of what the words mean. To know just a bit about what makes a page of…

Rags and Justified Text

This post is an introduction to alignment typesetting and an encouragement to look at the details of alignment choices out in the world. Regarding text alignment, there is left aligned, centered, right aligned, and justified text. In left-aligned text, the words are in rows one right below the other on the left side of the page,…

Between the Lines with Word

Can a good page be designed with Microsoft Word? If you work with Adobe InDesign every day, this blog post may not interest you, especially if you are part of the design gentry offended by a question that contains both "design" and "Microsoft Word" coming from the commons. Alas, there is much to lament about MS…

The All-Caps Hazard for Writers

  Most readers of English have no trouble reading the HOT BEER sign above, even though the letters are all uppercase, generally considered a typography hazard (a practice that risks confusing, alienating, or losing readers). So right away, this HOT BEER sign in this post is an alert that there are many great exceptions to…

Letterform Basics for Writers

When grapefruits were 5 cents and oranges a penny, grocers hand printed their own signs and they did well. They just wrote: "APPLES DELICIOUS 4 LB 25¢" and they sold apples. Union Leader, 7-Up, Beech Nut, Copenhagen Cigars, and Model Tobacco (the advertisers) thought the letterforms were just fine, even though the advertisers had their own…

Design-It-Yourself and the Possibility of Uncolonized Minds

D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself, Ellen Lupton, editor. As drawing, painting, theater, dance, and music classes have disappeared from many American schools and so too from our homework-help sessions, some parents wonder where our children will begin to learn how and why to make something beautiful and meaningful. Everyone is a scientist/engineer now, everyone is a writer,…