#103 Long & Short

103 Long & Short
#103 Long & Short
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In a nutshell
The gist
Summing it up
The long & short of it

I’m sure scholars of the English language have written lengthy essays on the origin & evolution of the phrase “the long & short of it” but here, simply, is the long & short of it:

This expression, originally stated as “the short & long of it,” dates from about 1500; later “the long & short of it” was established by the end of the 1600s. It is also stated “the long & the short of it.”

Source: The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary

The long & short & condensed & italic

AmperArt #103, Long & Short, features typography set in just one type family, Bodoni, but with many styles. It is a beautiful & versatile typestyle, having many variations designed by several foundries over the years. This piece has purposely been set with fonts from four different foundries.* 

Demonstrating just how versatile Bodoni is—how one type family can render so many personalities—Long & Short was set as follows, indicating style (followed by designer or foundry):

103 Long & Shortthe, of it set in Bodoni Condensed Italic (Berthold)

LONG set in Bodoni Poster Compressed (Adobe)

SHORT set in Bodoni Black (Bauer)

set in Bodoni Oldface Italic (Berthold)

 

Bodoni, typographer

1818 Manuale-Tipografico, Bodoni
The 1818 Manuale-Tipografico specimen manual of Bodoni’s press, published after his death.

Bodoni is the name given to the serif typefaces first designed by Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813) in the late eighteenth century & frequently revived since. Bodoni’s typefaces are classified as Didone or modern. Bodoni had a long career & his designs changed & varied, ending with a typeface of a slightly condensed underlying structure with flat, unbracketed serifs, extreme contrast between thick & thin strokes, & an overall geometric construction.

When first released, Bodoni & other didone fonts were called classical designs because of their rational structure. Bodoni’s later designs are rightfully called “modern” but the earlier designs are now called “transitional.”

In the English-speaking world, “modern” serif designs like Bodoni are most commonly used in headings & display uses & in upmarket magazine printing, which is often done on high-gloss paper that retains & sets off the crisp detail of the fine strokes. In Europe, they are more often used in body text.

Bodoni, printer

Bodoni page decorations
Proofs of page decorations from the Bodoni printing house

Although to a modern audience Bodoni is best known as the name of a typeface, Bodoni was an expert printer who ran a prestigious printing office under the patronage of the Duke of Parma, & the design of his type was permitted by & showcased the quality of his company’s work in metal-casting, printing & of the paper made in Parma.

Writing of meeting him in the year 1786, James Edward Smith, English botanist and founder of the Linnean Society, said:

A very great curiosity in its way is the Parma printing office, carried on under the direction of Mr. Bodoni, who has brought that art to a degree of perfection scarcely known before him. Nothing could exceed his civility in showing us numbers of the beautiful productions of his press…as well as the operations of casting & finishing the letters…his paper is all made at Parma. The manner in which Mr. Bodoni gives his works their beautiful smoothness, so that no impression of the letters is perceptible on either side, is the only part of his business that he keeps secret.

Dazzle (not what you think)

The effective use of Bodoni in modern printing poses challenges common to all Didone designs. While it can look very elegant due to the regular, rational design & fine strokes, a known effect on readers is “dazzle,” where the thick verticals draw the reader’s attention & cause them to struggle to concentrate on the other, much thinner strokes that define which letter is which. For this reason, using the right optical size of font has been described as particularly essential to achieve professional results. 

[And for other reasons as well, fine typography should be entrusted to a professional designer. Yeah, that would be me. —Chaz]

Bodoni, busy

Bodoni has been used for a wide variety of material, ranging from 18th century Italian books to 1960s periodicals. In the 21st century, the late manner versions continue to be used in advertising, while the early manner versions are occasionally used for fine book printing.

  • Poster Bodoni is used in Mamma Mia! posters.
  • Bodoni is one of the two typesets that is used by Hilton Hotels for restaurant or bar menu content.
  • Sony’s Columbia Records (owned by CBS from 1938 to 1989) also utilizes Bodoni for their wordmark.
  • Nirvana’s logo is written with Bodoni (specifically Bodoni Poster-Compressed).
  • Bauer Bodoni Black is used for Carnegie Mellon University‘s wordmark.
  • Bauer Bodoni Roman is used for Brandeis University‘s wordmark.
  • Tom Clancy used Bodoni font for the artwork of all his affiliated works until his novel Dead or Alive.
  • A variation of Bodoni called “Postoni” is the primary headline font for The Washington Post newspaper.
  • Bodoni was the favorite typeset of Ted Hughes, UK Poet Laureate, 1984–1998.
  • Roman Bauer Bodoni is used in Slow Food‘s logotype.
  • Bodoni has been used in Manila Bulletin‘s headline text until the early 2000s.
  • Bodoni is used for the English translation of the logo for the Ghost in The Shell series.
  • Bodoni is used for the current logo of Time Warner.
  • Bodoni is used in THX‘s early trailers like Broadway & Cimarron.
  • The logo for the Canadian teen drama series Ready or Not is in Bodoni Poster-Compressed.
  • Book covers by Chaz DeSimone for Piano Pronto (see next headline).
Source: Wikipedia

Bodoni by Desimone for Piano Pronto

A few years ago I was commissioned by Jennifer Eklund, a charming client, to design her Piano Pronto logo & piano instruction books. Talented in her own right as a pianist & publisher, Jennifer also has a keen sense of design & visual style. She fell in love with the typeface Bodoni when I presented it as a complement to her logotype and as the main title font for her books. The front and back covers of her Primer are shown here. Two fonts are used for the cover, one being Bodoni Black. The back text is primarily Bodoni, showcasing bold, regular and italic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have ever wanted to learn piano, Jennifer’s course is one you’ll really enjoy. It features“accelerated learning for all ages & all stages.” See all her piano instruction books and listen to some beautiful piano music at her website, pianopronto.com.

 

 

*Type terminology

“Foundry” of course is usually associated with metal works, & that’s exactly how type was produced for the first couple hundred years after moveable type was invented by Gutenberg. The term “foundry” is still used to designate a font publisher.

The term “font” used to mean something very specific, not just a typeface. It was the package of metal type that was one type family (Bodoni, Garamond, Helvetica, etc.), one weight (regular, light, book, bold, black), one style (roman—meaning upright, italic, small caps, etc.), & one size (6, 8, 10, 60, 72 point). That was a single font; i.e. Helvetica | bold | italic | extended | 36pt.

“Leading” is the space between lines of text. In the days of hand-set type & metal linecasting machines, strips of metal ranging from 1/4 point to 36 points (approx. 1/2 inch) or more were inserted between lines of type. (Anything thicker was usually spaced with wood blocks.) The metal strips were actually lead, & resulted in lead poisoning for many typesetters & printers.

“Cut & paste,” one of the most familiar terms associated with computers, used to mean literally cut the sheet of text, image or clipart with an X-acto blade & paste it in the layout with rubber cement or hot wax, to be photographed by the camera for offset platemaking. (& hold your breath to see if anything shifted around or fell off completely as the printing emerges from the press.)

Please comment here.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.


Production notes for #103 Long & Short:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font family: Bodoni
Ampersand: Bodoni Oldface Italic
Credits:
Reference text: Wikipedia (verbatim & edited)
Manuale-Tipografico specimen: Wikipedia (public domain)
Proofs of page decorations: TypTS 825.18.225, Houghton Library, Harvard University (public domain)
You may repost the AmperArt image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#101 One Hundred & One

One Hundred & One

 #101 One Hundred & One
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-quality printing & framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Do you see spots?

The idea for AmperArt #101, One Hundred & One, was easier than giving a dog a bone. After struggling with a concept for #100, this one was fun & easy.

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting in the Alex Theater (Glendale, California) with my family, enjoying this humorous, entertaining, upbeat movie by Disney, One Hundred and One Dalmations. We sure laughed at the antics of ever-hungry Rolly, the chubby dalmation puppy. Even as a youngster, I could tell there was something unique & contemporary about the styling of the animation. It was sketchy in a contemporary fashion due to the first-ever use of scanning the pencil sketches directly onto animation cels with the Xerox process. The color was still brushed in by hand between the lines, but the tedious tracing of the animators’ pencil lines with pen & ink was removed from the process. 

This process could easily have been used as an example for the previous AmperArt #100, Milestones & Goals. But the movie itself is the milestone, so I saved the artwork for #101 One Hundred & One.

Please comment here.

 Incongruent styles.

One Hundred and One Dalmations Movie PosterI was intrigued by the innovative Xerox process & the sketchy style it rendered for this movie. Not only did the revolutionary process create efficiency, it rendered a whole new style of artwork. Researching the lettering for the movie title, I was not so impressed with the colors for the poster. While the movie’s styling of characters & backgrounds was snappy & contemporary, the poster was not. It was all primary colors & a less-than-cohesive assemblage of visual elements. But I did go ahead & trace the lettering (originally hand-drawn) & designed an ampersand to match, for the AmperArt #101 One Hundred & One edition. The edges of the spots & shadows are just slightly blurred, to retain the mostly hard-edge style (due to technical limitations) of the period.

If you wish to study the styling of the dalmations & other characters, this thumbnail will enlarge to a sizeable image.

Image shown for reference & educational purposes only. ©Disney 

Sacrilegious?

Many critics boo-hooed the rough-hewn look of Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmations. They said the lushness of hand-inked line had vanished. Well, yes, it did. But it was replaced by a snappy new look, akin to jazz vs classical. They each have their place, & they each have their fans & followers. I really like the look of this film, & the new Xerox process made animating all those spots possible. It was the perfect story concept to make use of the innovative imaging tool.

Who is to say animation must be hand-inked & hand-painted? Some of the finest animation today has never been near a brush, pen or even acetate cel & it blows away the crude animation of even the finest early Disney classics. I will admit, though, that I will always prefer to watch the original 1938 Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to the most incredible CGI remake.

 Please comment here.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.


Production notes for #101 One Hundred & One:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Programs: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop
Lettering: Traced from original movie poster
Ampersand: Designed to match style of original movie poster lettering
Credits:
Movie poster: ©Disney (shown for reference & educational purposes)
You may repost the AmperArt image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#100 Milestones & Goals

100 Milestones & Goals

 #100 Milestones & Goals
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-quality printing & framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

We did it! We hit the 100 mark! 

Thanks to you, ampersand fan & loyal subscriber, AmperArt #100, Milestones & Goals, is the one-hundredth issue of an AmperArt poster, for which my goal has been one per month since this project began in June, 2011. 

I have issued, without fail, one AmperArt piece per month (even if it meant stretching the month to the last hour in a remote time zone that hadn’t yet reached midnight, such as Baker Island & Howland Island, tiny outlying islands of the US).

Until now.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Ironically, I missed the deadline on this milestone achievement, the one-hundredth creation of AmperArt, Milestones & Goals. This was to be issued during April, 2017. It never made it. 

Why? Because I could not come up with an appropriate title for the theme of “one hundred.” Should be easy, right? A big, important number like that?

On the other hand, I’ve had #101 in the works for months. That one’s easy: black spots all over a white background, alluding to one of my favorite movies of all time, especially for the snappy pencil-drawn stylized effect—and the first to use the Xerox process for animation which gave it that distinctive style.

Isn’t 100 supposed to be an important number?

A title for #101 is easy. But #100? I figured there would have been a surplus of phrases, idioms, themes, ideas that allude to the number 100. But Google was practically dry. There’s the 100th Anniversary stone, the diamond. And the anniversary color, purple (not my favorite color; can’t use that). There are plenty of news stories about 100k marathons. But nothing all that significant about the number 100 itself. I thought & thought & thought, but just could not come up with anything. 

April 30, 2017 came & went, and the string of one AmperArt per month was broken. Frantically, I tried to think of other titles to celebrate the 100th issue: Grin & Bear It, Deadlines & Quotas (that wouldn’t do—I missed the deadline), Day Late & Dollar Short, Slow & Steady, Congratulate & Celebrate…on & on. 

Finally, I had to rely on the philosophies of Live & Let Live as well as Patience & Determination; just let it go until I come up with the appropriate title. I’ll issue two pieces in May.

Finally, a milestone

Yesterday I hit on the word “milestone” and realized that would make a nice title. Not about the number 100, but about an important milestone. So, what to pair that up with? Milestones & Achievements? Milestones & Deadlines? (After all, it was each monthly deadline that kept me on track to achieve this milestone, even though in the course of most projects & business teachings it’s the milestones that lead to meeting the deadline.)

I had Milestones & Deadlines all set to go, when I came across the phrase “goals & milestones.” That sounds sweeter to most people than “deadlines.” And it’s really what I am trying to accomplish: my goal is to keep churning out one AmperArt per month (okay, on average) until I’m dead. So, I guess “deadline” would be meaningful afterall, but I chose to rewrite the title as “Milestones & Goals.” (Goals & Milestones makes more sense, but it sounds weird & looks weirder.) Finally, here’s the April 2017 AmperArt, #100 Milestones & Goals…in May.

Our little secret

I feel defeated about missing the deadline on such a milestone piece, and I hate to be dishonest. So here’s the deal: You, my dear AmperFans, are privy to the truth. But between you & me, no one else has to know that I blew it. It’s just easier to continue boasting “I’ve issued one edition per month since the very first” than confessing “I’ve issued one edition per month since the very first except I missed the deadline for the one-hundredth which was such a milestone piece I feel like a worthless piece of crap.” Or maybe I’ll just admit I’m human. We’ll see how it goes.

 Please comment here.

Why I love Photoshop

Reviewing several photos for Milestones & Goals, I was focused on some sort of rock or boulder…until I saw this beautiful old wood post to which was attached a modern sign, against a gorgeous background. The blue of the sign is my favorite color blue, a cross between cyan, cerulean, turquoise & my all-time favorite, Crayola Blue-Green. So that one got downloaded (and paid for, by the way). I guess it’s also significant that I chose this image to represent Milestones & Goals, as I used to own a sign company. That business was a milestone to where I am today.

I didn’t care for the dullness of the signpost, being it was backlit. Photoshop to the rescue. Here’s the before & after. I toned down the background blue haze just slightly, but really brought up the light on the post & sign:

 
Original photo
After retouching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are probably criticizing the lousy “photoshopping” on the edges of the sign, right? Quite obvious that it was plastered on top of the original image, correct? Well, I thought so too—that the photographer did a half-assed job of copy & paste (no, it wasn’t me). Guess what, though—it’s the actual photo. Upon enlarging (see below) I discovered the sign is a piece of sheet metal to which a decal is pasted. With the slight border of the metal showing around the decal, it sure does look like a crude retouching job. But no, it’s real. (Click to enlarge.)

Clever one-piece sign

The final deadline.

Now that we’ve achieved this milestone of AmperArt #100, it’s onto #101, #102, and so on, creating a new piece each & every month (maybe with a little time shifting here & there) for the rest of my life…the final deadline.

 Please comment here.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.


Production notes for #100 Milestones & Goals:
Original size: 12×18 inches

Programs: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Bank Gothic, Ebrima
Ampersand: Ebrima
Credits:
Kilometer Pole Photo: © Afhunta | Dreamstime.com (modified by Chaz DeSimone)
You may repost the image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!