#66 Plain & Simple


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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

65-black-blue


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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, cyan, and one oth­er blue which I’ll get to lat­er. All my favorite blues are some­where in-​between CBG and cyan.

I am not fond of sky blue, navybaby blue nor roy­al blue. They are cold. (Yes, I know, my very favorite col­or—black—is def­i­nite­ly 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 the tires before pow­er steer­ing (that acces­so­ry became ille­gal because when the steer­ing wheel snapped back the knob could remove a fin­ger or two). & the cool red tail lights with the blue dot in the mid­dle, which cre­at­ed a mag­i­cal col­or effect.  They’re pop­u­lar again today but I remem­ber the orig­i­nals on my dad’s 1950-​something auto­mo­bile. Prob­a­bly no oth­er rec­ol­lec­tion of cobalt blue is stronger for me than the bot­tle of Vicks VapoRub. That stuff felt ice-​cold as the col­or of the bot­tle it was pack­aged in. I’m also par­tial to cobalt blue because it is the favorite col­or of my moth­er and my broth­er Rob. So that is the oth­er blue in this Amper­Art piece.

Vicks-jar-with-lid-circle

Just look­ing at this Vicks jar opens my sinus­es! Oth­er prod­ucts in cobalt blue bot­tles were Noxze­ma, Phillips Milk of Mag­ne­sia (sounds appe­tiz­ing, does­n’t it?), Bro­mo Seltzer, Nivea and Blue Coral.

In fair­ness to navy, roy­al blue, sky blue & all those that are not my favorites, com­bine them with var­i­ous oth­er col­ors & they cre­ate out­stand­ing col­or schemes. Of course, the same could be said for poop brown.

I am releas­ing #65 Black & Blue dur­ing the play­ful days of sum­mer, because that’s when I recall we’d get the most bruised up falling off our bikes, skate­boards, or just play­ing in the back­yard. I did, any­way. I was a real klutz. Still can’t ride a skate­board.


listen up! Black is a col­or! Not the absence of col­or, nor the com­bi­na­tion of all col­ors. It is col­or. So is white. So why do peo­ple say it’s all the col­ors or no col­or? Because they don’t know the def­i­n­i­tion of col­or. “Col­or” means the descrip­tion of the hue, val­ue & tone. Pure yel­low is a col­or that has a hue some­where between orange & green on the col­or wheel, a very light val­ue (high-​key, or very bright com­pared to very dark such as navy blue), & min­i­mal tone (gray­ish­ness; mauve & sage green have medi­um tone).

The col­or black is defined by no hue (red, yel­low, blue, etc.), the dark­est val­ue, & zero tone. White is defined by no hue, the light­est val­ue, & zero tone. So you see, black & white have no hue & no tone, but they are both col­ors.

If you want to have some fun with all the oth­er col­ors, check out the Cray­ola web­site, espe­cial­ly the his­to­ry & the Cray­ola Expe­ri­ence where kids (includ­ing big kids) get to play & cre­ate among all things Cray­ola, & see how they are made. If you can’t make it to the fac­to­ry in Eas­t­on, Penn­syl­va­nia, watch this video: How Cray­olas Are Made.

I love Cray­olas. (I won’t use any oth­er brand; the col­ors aren’t as pure, they’re waxy & they just aren’t Cray­ola.) I remem­ber when the box of 64 pre­miered, with the awe­some Built-​In Sharp­en­er. I prob­a­bly have the few stubs that are left of my orig­i­nal set some­where, but today I have The Ulti­mate Cray­ola Col­lec­tion — 152 dif­fer­ent col­ors! — on my desk. I use them fre­quent­ly, & always to sign impor­tant legal doc­u­ments. For that task, of course, it’s Cray­ola Blue Green.


PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Lettering: Hand-​lettered by Chaz DeSimone
Colors: Cyan, cobalt blue, Crayola Blue Green & black
CREDITS:
Vicks ad: flickr​.com/​p​h​o​t​o​s​/​2​8​1​5​3​7​8​3​@​N​08/ “SaltyCotton” has nearly 2000 photos of vintage ads in pristine condition. An ad designer’s or collector’s eye candy overload!
Vicks jar: Joe Corr on pin​ter​est​.com/​p​i​n​/​2​7​4​9​3​0​7​5​2​2​2​5​6​7​2​7​32/ and etsy​.com/​s​h​o​p​/​o​w​l​s​o​n​g​v​i​n​t​age Beautiful collectibles and antiques.
 

#59 Weights & Measures

59-Weights-Measures

 

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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.


PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Rockwell
CREDITS:
Pointer: ruby​lane​.com, Antique French Kitchen Scale: Balance de Famille
Apple: http://​www​.fowler​farms​.com/​a​p​p​l​e​-​i​n​t​r​o​d​u​c​t​i​on/ (5oz or 150 g is the average weight of an apple, according to the “great chart of apple varieties” at this website)