Panter’s Playhouse

Elements of Gary Panter’s style have been widely—if anonymously— experienced by countless viewers of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. As production designer for that series, Panter bore responsibility for the show’s unmistakable (and heavily merchandised) aesthetic and earned three Emmy Awards in the …

Stereo Types

You might see it every day and never notice, but there it is, on your takeout box of Chinese food, on your morning coffee cup, or on the cover of a favorite book or album: “ethnic type,” lettering or type …

Lakeside

Looming over the baseline like long shadows on a rainy night, the characters in Mark Simonson’s  Lakeside are an homage to brush-script titles of 1940s film noir. Simonson has spent many hours screening the typefaces of period films and evaluating …

Introduction to the 2007 European Design Annual

A Scotsman, a German, and a Swede walk into a design magazine office—you know how this one goes, don’t you? They judge an invitational competition that includes work from all over Europe, from countries and firms big and small, and …

Good Type Gone Bad

Typefaces don’t come with an instruction manual. Although type designers can produce fonts designated as display types, or package their products with a set of implied hints—the right proportions of the characters for each size—they have little control over their …

Click to Run

—   [An update to this article is appended below. -Ed.]   Every time I go to the SXSW festival, I have interesting discussions with the other designers there about trends in music, movies, and technology. Last March, though, we …

Watch This Space

— When President Clinton appeared—in video!—on my laptop screen in the fall of 1998, his index finger jabbing at Kenneth Starr, the future arrived with a shock: The news was no longer something you either watched or read. Somehow, the …

Upward Mobility

— My 17-year-old daughter, Alexa, is a typical tech-savvy teenager: When I walk into the living room after a long day at the studio, I’ll find her sitting on the couch with the television on, usually playing a TiVo’d episode …

The Constant Reader

— Among the legends of computer typography, two stand out. There’s an 18-year-old Steve Jobs stumbling into a calligraphy class at Reed College and learning about serifs and spacing—useless stuff, he thought, until it came time to design the first …