Sunday, 27 June 2010

The numbers game


Are England and Germany’s typographic cultures represented in their football strips? The England team’s numbers stay close to the Johnston/Gill model, while Germany’s have more than a nod to DIN stencil forms, and Herbert Bayer’s universal alphabet. Humanists or technologists to win?

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Why paper-based publishing will survive


Edit If you think the strip above is too small to read (because it has to fit the Blogger grid), then click on it to see it in situ at the Doonesbury website – and look here, too.

Edit For a take on Murdoch’s on-line pay-wall, see here.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Confessions of a justified reader


Apple has built a Reader option into Safari 5 (above) that clears the clutter of adverts and marginal items from news articles on web pages. But it isn’t as customizable as Readability’s offering (below) – for example, Apple expects you to read text that is justified, and offers no options of typeface, column width, or background colour.


(The article on Polaroid photography shown is these screen shots is well worth a read.)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Convicted by ephemera

Shotguns required (still require?) material to be inserted between the powder and the shot, to prevent gases from leaking past the projectiles at firing. Gun-wadding was frequently torn-up waste-paper, whatever was to hand. As it was ejected with the shot, it could survive to provide much-needed evidence. In Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, Lady Dedlock is incriminated in the murder of the lawyer Tulkinghorn when detective Bucket discovers that wadding near the body is ‘a bit of the printed description of [the Dedlock’s] house at Chesney Wold’.

Judith Flanders points out in this week’s TLS that Elizabeth Gaskell uses a similar plot device in Mary Barton, and that these (and several other) authors drew on a real-life case in 1840, when wadding proved crucial in identifying the murderer. And, Flanders continues, ‘life finally caught up with fiction in 1884, when John Toms was convicted of murder on the evidence of a piece of wadding which was identified as matching a broadside in his possession.’

Johnson’s Chemistry of Common Life (illustrated) was the wadding in the murder weapon in ‘The Judgement of Conscience’, Female Detective, ?1862/3. Judith Flanders will give a paper on female detectives in 19th-century fiction at the Second Annual Conference of the Victorian Popular Fiction Association.