Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Copyright it...

Yea... If the Bulls can copyright "three-peat", you should be able to copy something that actually took work to do. I'm suprised you can't copyright it. I actually thought you could copyright everything. I wouldn't think paying for typefaces it not that bad for a business, but I could be mistaken. At least you would supporting your profession. Yeah, that's what I think.

-Chris Ritter
(c) 2005


I believe whole-heartedly in grids. I find myself using some form of grid each time I go to design anything that involves type. I feel like a good grid is comparable to the human skeleton; vital to an organized anatomy. When a grid is used improperly, it is like seeing someone with way too many vertebre or tiny femurs.

I do find myself using very simple grids, however. I typically don't use increments smaller than an eighth of an inch, because too much math makes my head spin.

Although I think most students will acknowledge the importance of a grid system, I can't really think of a single class that extensively covered the subject. I'm not really sure where it introduced, because obviously the majority of us understand the concept.

It sometimes becomes irratating to me when a grid is too apparent. I'm not really sure why, since it technically means the design is well-organized, but if every single object is perfectly aligned to the same guideline, it is too easily visible and drives me nuts.

This response is really less a cohesive writing as it is a series of thoughts tied together poorly. Sorry to whoever reads this, I am having a poor writing day.

Troubled type

I had no clue that type could not be copyrighted. I am impressed by the people who spend their time making a typeface, knowing that it is just going to be copied over and over again, while they do not get any credit for it. I admit that I have downloaded typefaces for free off the Internet; I even downloaded Kabel for my poster. I am not sure how I feel about this whole issue. On one hand I am pissed that people aren't get recognition where they deserve, but on the other hand it kind of sucks having to pay an ass load of money every time I want to new font. But maybe that is the way it should be.

A little late

Tim said he might be a bit late on finishing his blog...


Its hard to comprehend why someone would spend so much time creating a new typeface when "The United States is one of the few, if not only, industrialized nations in the world that does not extend copyright protection to typeface designs." Almost everything else I can think of has copyright protection, so why not typeface design. As stated in the article, typefaces are expressions of an idea. "And as expressions of an idea, they constitute orginal works of authorship." Its sad to say, but like we have discussed before, morals and values are thrown out when money is involved. Some companies dont care who they rip off as long as their making money.


A grid system can be used for alot of things including good ole graphic design, I agree with whats said, grids can make layouts easier to organize and easier and cleaner to present information. Grid systems are easy ways to create a good compostion, but then again some grid layouts can be extremely boring. I read something somewhere sometime, and dont know why I remember it, but someone said that life and society is like a grid. Everyone living in a society lives in their own grid area and normally no one leaves their boundaries of the grid. Life is has certain layouts that the norm follows. But he continued to say that, the people who leave their grid boundaries are the ones that make an interesting difference, good or bad. Someone might do something great with their life by leaving the normal boundaries, but then people can end up in bad positions. I think this is similar to to design. Grids are good, but sometimes when you break that grid the design can be that much better. Thanks to Tim he let me see a book called Making and Breaking the Grid, or something like that, and it showed ways that a grid system can be used good when the boundaries of the grid are followed, but then it also showed ways that breaking that constraint can make the design so much strong. Thanks Tim. Anyways, thats really all I can think about to say for this. And me unlike some others are only 30 minutes late. Oh well...I guess we'll talk more tomorrow about this wonderful topic.

Troubled Type

After reading this article, I started to realize how often people download type from the internet and use it over and over again without ever paying...myself included. Now thinking on that, is it okay to use it for your design work if you're a student? I guess my opinion on that would be long as your not getting paid for that design, but it is really unfortunate for the person who designed that specific typeface and never get the benefits of people using it...

Another point I'd like to mention is the part in the article when it talks about how the design of type isn't what it used to be...people today are so caught up in making money, they don't care if their craft suffers. It has become more about how much you can produce in a short amount of time to get lots of money, which sounds good, but looking back at our history of type, the pride in the work isn't there anymore.


Grids and such

GRIDS are Great, but chaos breads creation— everyone strains to see the twisted mess of a car accident as they drive past. A grid is a basic box, a formation for constraint. I think that if we as designers find the middle road (what we are best at) and what is our personal nich we we ultimately fit into the society of design. I do not mean that we should stick to a formula. Everthing eventually comes to a point of evolution, design or otherwise. Maybe being a chameleon in the design world is not a bad thing? It is too early in our design life, we need to explore our creativity - find the best solution for ourselves as creative thinkers and designers.

The grid system is present in all things around us and it may be practically used in all types of design applications, but thinking outside of the box is a great for expanding your the mind. Things like information design feels like it is the right place for grids to be used, because obtaining the proper information is vital for communication and commerce. There is a time and place for everthing [in design] especially grids, and even chaos.


There’s an adage that goes something like, “With chaos comes order, and with order comes chaos.” And this essay began to give me nervous tics. Frankly I found it a little annoying when Muller-Brockman began going on and on about measurements, Pythagoras, proportions, and mathematics (the source of my tics, I’m sure . . .), and felt my whole life in graphic design flash before my eyes. That could also just be this migraine but I digress.

Yeah, I’m all for grids. Go grids. Woo! God knows we need grids to herd the sheep from home to work and back again. Without organization in design, I can understand perfectly how grids are “vital in sociopolitical life,” you adorable constructivist you. “Constructivist design means the conversion of design laws into practical solutions.” (198) Agreed. The less we have to explain ourselves, the better.

(In the meantime, I find it funny how with all this talk about grids and structure, Muller-Brockman refuses to implement correct punctuation in spots, just thought I’d point that out and now I’m done.)

But if there is so much structure to design, where’s the risk taking? Where’s the swashbuckling adventure? Where’s the guts? “Work with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity.” Eh? The universe is all order and no chaos? I like a healthy teaspoon of chaos with my cup of order in the morning, thanks, I don’t know about you. “The use of the grid system implies . . . the will to adopt a positive, forward-thinking attitude.” (198) So without grids we’re backward emos?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for grids. Go grids. But I’m wondering about monotony in design if everything was plotted down to the last dotted I and crossed T. If you plan everything precisely to solve a visual problem without experimenting outside of grids, you lessen your chances to discover something new. I think you need to find a balance between order and chaos here, to keep your design organized and communicative—but also keep your viewers on their toes.


Ok...I agree? This essay about the limitless uses for the grid system would be very informative for the uninformed, but since I already know everything, I got kinda bored and kept playing with my dogs instead of reading. Sure, the grid brings order and makes things easier to lay out, but is it "the basis for democratic behavior"?

Then he starts talkin bout Pythagoras and the Greeks and the Golden Section, and it kind of starts to make sense. I think about what I know about these thinkers (then I think about that movie Pi) and it becomes clear to me that the grid IS necessary for the continuation of life! Just like the spiral and the Golden Section can be found everywhere in nature, so too can the grid be found in all that is good design. If there were NO grid there would be BAD design and

people would be pissed off all the time from looking at ugly stuff all day
they would take it out on everybody else and there would be all kinds of domestic abuse
people would start fights with strangers cause they get no lovin at home, wars would break out over stupid shit, those in power would manipulate all that the public knows, civil unrest would run rampant, and everybody would die all because some jackass designers refused to use the grid to make things pretty and make people happy...

...or is this happening already?

troubled rudy

First, I don't think we should worry so much. "Type is only half the story and how type is used is what really counts. Educate users and crummy rip-off versions will simply disappear." I agree with this, and think it expresses my beliefs as well.

I think it's ridiculous that typefaces cannot be copyrighted. why would anyone spend a whole lot of time to make a fantastic typeface, only to not be able to protect it and have everyone steal it. i know i'd rather make a copyrighted illustration myself.

Where do we draw the line though? I honestly don't know. It seems almost as impossible to define what a typeface is as it is to define art. is type utilitarian, and when does it become too illegible to be called a typeface? I really don't know and don't think there will be a solution. just make em copyrightable, and we won't have the problem.


The one thing about this essay that really bothered me, and even had me talking to myself was on page 225 when the author asked ". . . if a typeface is considered illegible, is it still a typeface?" Huh? Well, if you can't distinguish a typeface as being letters, I would say no, it definately is not a typeface. If you can't makeout the alphabet, then it is just a series of pictures. It still maybe good design, but not a typeface. Now, if a designer uses a typeface (that was originally legible) in a design in such a way as to make it illegible, thats a different story.

I really had no idea that typeface designs weren't copyrightable (is that even a word?) and while I do understand the logic behind it somewhat, it still seems pretty stupid. I mean, what person with reasonable intelligence can't see the obvious difference in design between say helvetica and garamond? Do they really think that someone could claim the copyright to the alphabet itself just because their typeface design was copyrighted? Would someone? Hm. People are pretty much jerks these days, maybe someone would. But anyhow, it seems that VanderLans' main argument is that we need to be able to copyright typeface designs in order to prevent people and companies from ripping off pre existing typefaces and to save the beauty and integrity of type. Unfortunately, I don't think that it would work that way. First of all, even if the copyright laws were changed, wouldn't it be pretty easy for someone to just change a typeface ever so slightly and then say "Eureka! It's my own, completely original typeface!"? Seems like they probably would. And also, even if you did prevent people from stealing typeface designs and making cheaper, uglier copies, that doesn't neccessarily mean that the original ones that were produced would be any better. Unfortunately, people are always looking for the thing that is easier, faster, cheaper. And as long as these "knockoff companies" are producing typefaces that anyone can easily buy over the internet for cheap, theirs are the ones that will abound.


CRAP! ok tobias i swear i had this done on time. i did it at like, 3:00. but chris just called me and said "i can't read your thing, it is green and says draft" so now i am going to try to send it again as the real thing. i hate fucking technology. fuck blogs. blogs and text messaging make me feel old and incompetent:

that is total bullshit that you cannot copyright a typeface. whose idea was that? i would like to kick his ass. at first i thought this was going to be a napster-esque sob story about copyright infringement and stealing and whatnot. i mean people are always going to take shit that isn't theirs and take credit for it. but the fact that in the united states it is perfectly legal to do that with a typeface is just ridiculous. the argument about type being "utilitarian" and one typeface not being artistically different from another just doesn't make any sense. i mean yea yea, a lot of typefaces look really similar, especially to people who aren't nerdy design majors, but there is still enough difference in them that they can be considered individual artistic creations. thereore they should be copyrighted. this is not rocket science. i mean i don't really have that much to say about this article other than i totally agree with it, but i do think it is sad that type companies are having a hard time staying open because they can't make a profit because everyone is stealing their shit. and i mean i guess you could say that we don't need the big companies just to have people who want to create new typefaces. i mean in the past, typeface design was an individual endeavor. However, i doubt if somebody like baskerville or whoever would have been inspired and motivated and kept churning out type if he new that his shit was going to get jacked and he would get no recognition for it. i mean the process of creating a typeface is long and frustrating and i would not really want to do it if i new all my hard work was just going in the toilet because some asshole in new jersey or wherever can just copy it and be like "yea, this is my original type design, what bitch?". ok i have to go on a field trip. later.

yea, so that was it, and i swear it was totally done on time.