#66 Plain & Simple

Click image to view full-size or download hi-rez file for gallery-quality printing and framing. (But why would you want to hang this boring thing on your wall?)  This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download. Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Everything about this release is plain & simple. Just like it says.

Not even the usual long-winded article. A thoughtful gesture for those of you who skip reading the story but feel guilty afterwards.

There’s no “chaz sez” column, either.  And you know how much I love standing on my soapbox. (I would expound on the virtues of professional, world-class design—in plain & simple terms, of course.)


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#65 Black & Blue


Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.  This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download. Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

My favorite colors are black & “Charlie Blue.”

Black is actually my very favorite color & yes, it is a color. (See “chaz sez” below.) “Charlie Blue,” as my friends know it, is anything between Crayola Blue Green to cerulean to turquoise to cyan (one of the four printing ink colors). AmperArt #65, Black & Blue, features CBG as I call it, and cyan. All my other favorite blues are somewhere in-between.

I am not fond of sky blue, baby blue, navy nor royal blue. They are cold. (Yes, I know, my very favorite color—black—is infinitely freezing. But we’re talking blue here.)

There is a very deep blue that does tingle my color bone. That’s cobalt blue. My first memory of that color is my father’s blue cuff links. Also the knob on his steering wheel to help turn (more…)

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#59 Weights & Measures



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This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

So the other day I pop into my local supermarket which happens to bake the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had—delicious peanut butter flavor & loaded with chunks of peanuts. I love peanut butter cookies & it’s always a treat when this store bakes them, which is too infrequently. They come in a tray of 50 for $5 which is a good deal itself, but it’s the special peanut butter flavor I’m after.

I put a tray in my basket & did the rest of my shopping. In line at the register, I sensed something was wrong with my tray of peanut butter cookies (I had bought many trays before). I counted the cookies through the transparent lid & there were only 44. I told the checker I’d be right back & to take the next people in line.

I was gone quite awhile.

Back in the bakery section, I counted the cookies in each & every tray, and they varied from 37 to 46—not a single one was the full 50. I went back to the checkstand (where my ice cream was melting) and asked for a manager. Not to make a scene, but rather to inform of the issue & save the next unaware customer from being cheated. The manager was rather surprised upon counting several of the trays herself & quickly offered to “rob from Peter” to bring my tray up to the full measure.

She opens the lid, stops for a moment & says “These don’t smell like peanut butter.” Handed me one gratis to confirm & sure enough it was their new disgusting “apple crisp” cookie. (Attention bakers: apple crisp is done in a baking pan, not in a cookie.) The little bits of apple sure looked like peanuts but sure didn’t taste like them. & yes, all the trays contained apple crisp cookies, not peanut butter as labeled.

So one more thing to add to the list in this little hick town I live in: people can’t count & they can’t read, either. But they sure can bake excellent peanut butter cookies…when they’re actually peanut butter cookies.

listen up!

Why isn’t the United States on the metric system? I’ll tell you why—we’re too damn lazy, and I got proof. Back in the 70s or 80s several freeways in California installed highway signs that were black, not green (that alone was beauty to my eyes), displaying the upcoming exits in kilometers. And several gas stations switched their pumps to liters. How easy and efficient that was, computing distances and volume simply by factoring by 10, 100, or 1000. Easy and efficient while it lasted, anyway. Soon everything was converted back to our convoluted miles and gallons.

I can’t understand why architects try to scale things by 8ths and 16ths when using millimeters and centimeters is so much easier and accurate. I measure everything in metrics–times 10, divide by 10, etc. Anyone who can’t figure out simple metric calculations probably still uses a slide rule just to make math difficult.

Why are soda bottles in the US labeled 1.5L and so on? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a sneaky way to reduce the volume without anyone noticing. Remember half-gallon ice cream tubs? Today they’re 1.5L, which is far less than half a gallon. (1/2 gallon = 1.892 liters). I’m all for it, though. Maybe the metric system will catch on in this so-called progressive country after all.

I’ll give us credit for the currency system, though. That’s close to metric efficiency. The Euro has denominations similar to the US, but each bill is a colorful contemporary design, not black and green on every single note. Needless to say, America is behind on design, too. That’s another topic, though. And then there’s our prudishness about nudism. Yet another topic.

Gotta go get me a cup of coffee…or is that .23L? Cup is one US term I’ll stick with.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Rockwell
Pointer: rubylane.com, Antique French Kitchen Scale: Balance de Famille
Apple: http://www.fowlerfarms.com/apple-introduction/ (5oz or 150 g is the average weight of an apple, according to the “great chart of apple varieties” at this website)

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#61 Father & Daughter

Click to download hi-rez image

Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing. 
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

I wish my sister could have experienced that special occasion called the “Father-Daughter Dance” when she was in elementary school, but our father died from emphysema when she was 7 years old. The father-daughter dance, also called “Father & Daughter Dance,” “Daddy Dance,” or “Dad & Daughter Dance,” is usually held in 5th or 6th grade.

According to this article,

The first strong male bond girls have is with their father’s and this event teaches young girls what it means to be treated with love and respect.  The goal is that father’s will continue to be positive role models and that these girls will have healthy relationships as teens and adults as a result.

Fortunately, my sister did have a positive childhood and married a wonderful man who proudly took his daughter to their Father-Daughter Dance . . . or should I say, she took him?

One last thing about this AmperArt piece, is that our dad was a barber, so I selected a lock of my sister’s brunette hair (via computer graphics) as the ampersand. Daddy would have surely been proud of her hair.

listen up!Shoebox Letters: a precious gift for Father’s Day

I had the privilege of setting the type in a very special book for author Clayton Brizendine. This book is a collection of actual letters written from daughters to their fathers. It is pure raw emotion, stating everything from admiration to fun times to bitter upsets, but always mentioning love.

Shoebox Letters: Daughters to Dads

Every review is 5 stars, including mine:

I didn’t buy this book, and I didn’t read it as a normal person would. I set the type.

As I was designing this book for the author, I found myself laughing out loud at some of the experiences the daughters relayed about the dumb things their dads would do, and found myself sobbing at tear-jerking moments of deep love and bonding, or of loss and hurt. The most endearing part was retouching the precious old photographs and placing them next to words that described the daughters’ most cherished moments with their dads. Finally, in proofing the text, I did read the entire piece front to back, and it was a truly astonishing compilation of letters that range from the greatest love and devotion and pride for fathers to sorrowful accounts of resentment and brokenness. Every letter, however, does express a love of some sort for each dad from his daughter.

Clay Brizendine’s profound essay for each set of letters—and his passion for enlightening his readers, showing how to heal and bond relationships through the power of letter writing—makes this book a real joy to read and to learn from. This is the ultimate Father’s Day gift.

Finally, in working with Clay I have realized he is truly a man of character, honest and sincere, and wishes most of all to give his readers an enlightening, entertaining and memorable experience.

This could have gone to press sooner, if tears hadn’t clouded this designer’s workspace.

Am I promoting Clay’s book? You bet I am! This book  is one of the most precious gifts you could give your dad this Father’s Day, whether you’re a teen, mid-age or a senior daughter yourself. There’s bound to be a story that both of you relate to.

Read all the moving testimonials, or order a copy for your dad, here.

To all fathers, Happy Father’s Day. And to my sister and brothers, you turned out real good, even without a dad for most of your childhood. (Fortunately, our family was rich with friends and relatives who stepped in when needed. Thanks especially to Gilbert. He deserves his own AmperArt piece!)

Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Vladimir Script
Bow image: www.hawaiikawaii.net (a blog by a student in Sweden about “kawaii, unicorns, flamingos, rainbows, and cupcakes…cute and fun in any shape or form”)
Hair color reference: www.latest-hairstyles.com (my sister’s a brunette; I think I got the color pretty close)


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