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Type Matters by Jim Williams

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Why would I care about a book like Type Matters? Back at the beginning of the PC era; Apple sought to differentiate itself through its understanding of design. Steve Jobs had the Macintosh team apply the knowledge he’d gained dropping into a college course on typography. Fonts and kerning became important.

Type Matters

Jobs also drove his team to distraction. The original Macintosh operating system had a 2D graphics library called QuickDraw that was a core part of the system. It could create primitive objects such as lines, rectangles, polygons and arcs. Jobs berated his developers. They didn’t have an oval or a rounded rectangle in its capabilities. He took them outside looked around the real world and pointed these shapes out to them.

Decades later, we care about the principles of UX; but don’t pay quite the same attention to typography. Books are often designed to be to be read on screen and then a paper version is printed from the same layout. Often the sole consideration that will be given to typography will be by the digital designer who will be wondering what web font will be used. Spacing and kerning won’t have that much attention paid to it. Instead we accept ‘good enough’ in the way that the word appears on the web or in an app.

Which is where I think Type Matters comes in. Jim Williams brings decades of experience of graphic design to the book. The book is a thin Moleskine sized volume that provides a good guide to fonts and their use. It’s a book that is easy to read cover-to-cover, or dip in and out of as you feel like it.

It combines good design practice with a history lesson on the elements and consideration of putting words on a page: whether its made of velum, paper or pixels. Williams’ writing is accessible for the non-designer. It provides a better understanding about readability and legibility considerations. More design related posts here.

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Things that caught my eye this week

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House music producer Roy Davis Jr put together an amazing mix for Phonica Records and I have been vibing off it for most of the week.

Roy Davis Jr for Phonica Records

An old, but good music video put together by my long time colleague Haruka. It’s a mix of found footage and painting done on 16mm film.

Gates to the city by Haruka Ikezawa

I’m not so sure if it was the best portable stereo; but the JVC / Victor RC-M90 was an archetypal boombox of the 1980s beloved by hip hop fans and gadget lovers. Techmoan does a good tour of the device. What’s interesting is how quality seems to have reached a peak in the late 1970s, early 1980s in hi-fi equipment. Quality seems to have declined as more overseas manufacturing was undertaken by the Japanese brands.

If you are buying a major Japanese brand like Sony etc; try to buy a ‘Made in Japan’ product is still a great rule of thumb. More gadget related posts here.

Leo Burnett did a great advert for McDonalds. It tells the story of story of a single mum trying to get her son into the Christmas spirit. However, she faces an unresponsive child; until his inner child wins out. The Drum did a walk through of the ad with the creative team who worked on it at Leo Burnett here.

Leo Burnett for McDonalds UK

Finally, the IPA did a three hour webinar A New Way to Track Consumer Demand, that is now available online.

Finally Sony launched the PlayStation 5 in the UK this week. As I write this, there is a strong secondary market at three times the original retail price of the consoles. They’re the hot item for Christmas.

This was supported by buzz marketing with a takeover of London Underground signs at Oxford Circus station. The square logo (all the shapes are from the PlayStation controller) contrasts with the closed Microsoft store behind it.

Social media spread images of the signs and it was all very nice. I think part of its success was the counterintuitive aspect of a stunt in a high footfall area in central London – during the COVID19 lockdown, when other brand marketers are spending their budgets online…

playstation5 taken by Ian Wood
London Underground sign photo by Ian Wood

Bonus content: Clifford Stott is an expert in policing. He walked away from a Hong Kong government review into the 2019 protests. He goes into failings of the review and everything that went on in this report: Patterns of ‘Disorder’ During the 2019 Protests in Hong Kong: Policing, Social Identity, Intergroup Dynamics, and Radicalization by Clifford Stott, Lawrence Ho, Matt Radburn, Ying Tung Chan, Arabella Kyprianides, Patricio Saavedra Morales.

He talks about his findings with the Hong Kong Free Press.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Apple’s M1 ARM Pivot: A Step Into the Reality Distortion Field | Chips | TechNewsWorld – pretty much many of the points that I was thinking about. More here on the M1 Apple M1 Processor, Passing on the Chiplets | EE Times 

BMW Unveils Anime-Like Electric Scooter Concept – Core77 – nice but I would still want Kenada’s bike

The Biden team’s tug of war over Facebook – POLITICO – Facebook is the new Goldman Sachs….

5G has been heralded as a tech game changer but consumers in China are underwhelmed by spotty coverage and hard sell | South China Morning Post 

How to appeal to Gen Z in Asia | Vogue Business“Chinese luxury consumers’ offline and online lives are becoming increasingly intertwined,” says Mark Morris, Burberry’s senior vice president of digital commerce. “They are demanding a more seamless blend of content and capabilities across their two worlds.”  Working with local experts like Mr Bags and relatively lower-tier influencers (Ching has 6.6 million fans on Weibo, which is mid-range for a Chinese KOL) helped reach this level of engagement. “Gen Z wants to be approached in a narrow and deep, insightful way instead of using a mass approach with a big talent [and] hashtag ads,” says Rie Tanaka, senior business strategist and senior researcher at Japanese PR firm Dentsu

Europe is ready for Biden to start, says E.U. foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell – The Washington PostWestern governments may have been “a bit naive” about Beijing’s manipulation of global trade rules – strategic reset inbound

Five-Year Plan, 15-Year Vision by Geoff Yu, Bank of New York Mellonat the outset a new long-term objective for 2035 was established: China is expected to “largely realize socialist modernization” by that year. Specifically, this means achieving GDP per capita of a “moderately (or mid-level, depending on the translation) developed country”. Again, we underscore that the FYP itself does not contain a corresponding numerical target, but during his remarks at the plan’s launch, President Xi Jinping remarked that “it is fully possible for China to realize a doubling of the size of the national economy by 2035”. Assuming the doubling happens in real terms, this comes to around 4.7%y/y p.a. real GDP growth over the next 15 years (PDF)

Micron Leapfrogs to 176-Layer 3D NAND Flash Memory | EE Times – everyone else is on 128 layers

Japan gov’t may turn to YouTubers to promote ‘My Number’ ID cards – The MainichiTo publicize the system, the government has inserted advertisements in newspapers and used digital signage to stream commercials at stations and in the streets, among other methods. However, it has not received as many applications as anticipated, and now places a big hope on the YouTubers’ power to transmit information. The choice is also apparently because labor costs are not as high as appointing nationally popular actors, celebrities and other public figures. Moreover, the Japanese government, by eradicating its image of stubborn bureaucracy and having people watch videos on YouTube without reserve, aspires to remove anxiety and concerns about possible personal information leaks that accompany the My Number system – surprised that Japanese influencers would be that cheap relative to their reach. More on marketing here

Resharing this as many people still don’t know about this old paper from Ogilvy on Facebook organic reach