The Fourth Wall

8.19.08 Beach Type

I try so hard not to “work” during the little vacation time I take each year. It’s important to get away, relax, see and hear the ocean, eat boardwalk fries drenched in vinegar and salt, read a couple of books, &tc&tc&tc!

And for the most part, that’s exactly what I did last week. Interspersed with just a tiny bit of email, a few office calls, and my usual hyper-awareness of color, texture, forms, design-in-general, and TYPE. I love type. I can’t help it. Type is everywhere; good, bad and ugly, and in the case of Rehoboth Beach Delaware (and so many other locales), it can truly define place. Pictured above, the super iconic Dolles Salt Water Taffy (since 1910!) signage. So big! So retro! And so wonderfully ominous (especially for a candy shop) against the darkening sky.

I love the fat serif type in circles (Bodoni Poster?) above and especially the crazy-colorful palette. However, I would highly recommend Snyder’s Candy shop over the ever-present Candy Kitchen. Snyders has some amazing gourmet chocolate covered pretzels and TONS of retro candy that you’ve forgotten how much you once loved.

Neon is always fun, no matter what. This signage hangs in the window at Louie’s Pizza (best at the beach in our opinion, forget Grotto’s and Nicola), where a waitress named Noelle remembered Molly and I from two years ago. I am NOT kidding!

The above specimen was found on the seat of one of the long white benches that line the boardwalk. Abstract, weathered and so cool.

This sign appeared to be hand-painted in a turn-of-the-century carnival style, but I think it was done fairly recently and faux distressed. Great job… . I love the font, colors and overall feel of this piece. The Boardwalk 5&10 is super fun too, with terrific tacky souvenirs and sundries.

The type above isn’t of great interest (especially those irritatingly misaligned bullets!) but the image of the surfing ice cream cone is great! Best soft-serve frozen custard on the beach: Kohr Bros (since 1917!), with a new flavor that mixes caramel and cappacino. YUMMMMY!! Observing and documenting typography gives me sheer pleasure, to be sure. But the real satisfaction comes later, when these images and memories work their way out of my files and my mind and into my creative projects.

8.10.08 Sweet New Suite

It’s official, we are happily relocated on the 8th floor of the Takoma Business Center! Info appears above with new stuff in RED. I know what a pain it is to ask you to update your files, and I appreciate you doing so.

By the way, the drawing pictured above is the one I used in order to solve the problems of moving. It’s hard to see that it’s done on graph paper… 1/4 inch square = 1 foot.

Because three dimensional design is super challenging for me, I’ve employed this technique for 3 moves now, at the office and at home. And it really works! I highly recommend this for anyone… whether you are design-minded… or (especially) if you are not.

For the office move I had the space planner’s scale drawing to work with. Unfortunately, it really was not done very accurately, which caused problems. For two home moves, I’ve measured the rooms myself, and it worked out far better.

If you’re moving, or even planning a new room, give this technique a try. Mark the windows and doors on your drawing and then measure existing furniture you think you want to include… and any new furniture you’re considering buying. Cut the furniture out of the same graph paper and put double stick tape on the back. Then… play! In many situations, the best plan will quickly present itself. I recommend you ask another person to also work with you, both on paper and in real life when the move occurs. In two instances, I’ve had the help of friends and colleagues who brought a different (and ultimately, better) eye to the process.

There will always be things you’ll change. What looks good on paper may not have the right feng shui in real life. But it will definitely give you a solid start, and will help you as you plan what to take, what to buy, and what to leave behind.