Gallery Links for January 2004

Monday, January 19, 2004


Part of the National Design Museum in Manhattan.

I don’t have much new to say. Sorry about the three-month pause between serious posts. That people kept approaching me at parties wondering what had happened should’ve been some indication that I needed to get my web-based ass back on the train, but so it goes. Since I’m a “professional” I get cranky with myself when my own site looks like shit, so over the winter break I rewrote my blogging code once more and redesigned the site. Today I’m happy with it, but we’ll see how this one weathers the long haul…

I’ll kick this version off, as seems to be the tradition, with design links — a list of a few sites I’ve been poking around lately for inspiration. Though they’re a bit random, think of them as my Gallery Links for January 2004. Maybe in the future I’ll get more formal and try to post more tightly “curated” selections of links. Hell, my bookmarks folder is monstrous.

Anyway, posting a photograph I took of the National Design Museum, which I visited last fall, seemed relevant. Their National Design Triennial will be up for one more week, and if you live in the area I’d recommend checking that out.

So. We’re off.


Good fonts are really compelling. Sucks that I can’t use any more interesting fonts that Georgia or Verdana for my sites, but I still enjoy keeping an eye on what’s going on in foundryland. I don’t buy fonts, but the foundries often give away a few of their fonts for free and just picking these up when you find them can help you build up quite a collection.

  • - Simple, but they provide some good links and a squirt of opinion.

  • Typophile - Though the useless Flash tomfoolery irks me, their Found Type gallery is fun to look through. It’s also one of those web things that’s cool and simple enough in concept to inspire new ideas…

  • Identifont - This is a genius tool and I have used it on numerous occasions when I need to ID a font.

  • Letter Labor - A quick, cool animated explanation of the patterns used to create a font. I’d recommend taking their advice and picking up a copy of the Unibody™ pixel font, as well.

Blog Design

I wanted to balance a professional look with a personal one for this site and I looked to a handful of sites which, I thought, did this nicely. What these people had to say interested me less than how they said it (not that they don’t say good things).

  • Brookelyn - She’s got a really sexy site and I used her color palette as the starting point to develop the palette currently used on Auscillate. She does a good job balancing the bold and the soft and the photos are really lovely. The body fonts would cause a usability guy to whine, being white text on a light tan background — but whatever. Anyway, the sad fact of the matter is that her page looks much better than mine. Dammit.

  • Fireland - Another Josh. I like the book-like simplicity and the subtle colors. The bright blue-red-white-black look has worn seriously thin for me, and if I had to make a web design prediction for the coming couple of years it would be that color choice will take a turn towards the earth-toned and designers will learn to better balance rich colors with softer ones and explore outside the traditional 216.

  • Squidfingers - This guy has an attractive site, as well, but his patterns really take the prize. I remember back to the dark ages of web design — back in 1997 when pages existed that featured collections of gaudy background patterns you could use to tile behind your webpages, rendering them mostly unreadable. Squidfingers takes that concept and usefully modernizes it to the modern web. And if you surf around a bit, you’ll start noticing sites that use his patterns all over the place…


  • Dream Dollars - Local currency from Antarctica, these look gorgeous and have a whole backstory to them about the lost colony of Nadiria.

  • Flight404 - A surreal blog-as-fiction piece about the lost flight 404.

  • Eboy - Pixel-art that you’ve probably seen before. I get into the little city scenes and I’d be tempted to buy the book if they didn’t have so much on their site.

So there you go. Enjoy. And I’ve got more coming soon, I swear.

Oh, also: If you have an opinion about the way this site now look (or if you notice something going wrong in your browser), post a comment. I’d like to hear it.

The New Look

Posted Tue, January 20, 2004, 4:47am EST by Carl Durrenberger

Very nice, Josh.

I don't know how the site should ideally look, but there appear to be two main divergences between how the page loads in Mozilla versus IE:

1. In Mozilla, the "Auscillate" banner merges invisibly into the surrounding background. In IE, the banner appears with a light gray background that seems to be sitting atop the colorific overall background. (In both, the posts layer is still on the very top of the stack).

2. In Mozilla, I see bulleted text in the right box array ("INSIDE," "PAST POSTS," and "LINKS..."). In IE, the bullets are not shown and the text is not indented to accomodate them, either.

Overall, this is a fine incremental improvement over all previous Auscillate efforts. I particularly like the color pallette and the layout of the posts section.

I must be honest and admit that I'm not a big fan of the "boxy" motif, but it seems to be your (and many others') signature style. I just question if every little section really needs its own compartmentalized rectangle. All those boxes get a little busy, after all, kind of like an apartment with over-zealous use of shoji screens and wall partitions. However, I admittedly am not a "professional."

I'm a lover of typefaces, too, and likewise find their restricted use on the web frustrating. My personal favorite: a Futura derivative called "Twentieth Century Monotype" which, true to its Bauhaus ancestorage, sports a very clean, abstract geometry. I use it quite often for titles against a black background. (And did I subconsciously steal this from Wes Anderson?).

Perhaps eventually stylesheets will evolve such that the basic mathematical language of fonts can be embedded in them. Given how compact these representations of fonts are (around 60K, I believe), it's kinda amazing that they aren't currently worked into our stylesheet standards. I mean, we're talkin' less bandwith than a garden-variety JPEG! Why do images get a free ride while fonts aren't even allowed to board the bus?

More Redesign Details

Posted Wed, January 21, 2004, 12:27pm EST by Josh Knowles

In response to 1. and 2.:

The Auscillate logo is a .png file -- I didn't want to have to make a bunch of versions for each background color so I used the .png's ability to be semi-transparent and sit on top of a background color that changes. With a little PHP randomness and a bunch of semi-transparent .png images, you could probably create some very cool web page FX. Not every browser supports this right now, though.

Same with the styles I used for the lists. You should see a little double-carat widget in front of each list item, and they should be slightly indented.

If neither of these things looks right, you're using a browser that ain't up-to-date. And the unfortunate fact of the matter is that most users use browsers that aren't up-to-date. Sorry. I'll get around to making sure everything works everywhere at some point soon. I might have the kill a couple little indulgences...

As for embedded fonts: I remember back in the day (1998?) secure embedded fonts were a big deal. Both Netscape and Microsoft (and Adobe, possibly) had their own standards -- but they all fell through for some reason. I wonder if some legacy IE code still reads these downloadable font files? Or maybe some smart person at the W3C will some day come up with a standard of some sort.

It'd be magical.

Typographica has moved!

Posted Mon, August 30, 2004, 11:29pm EST by Stephen Coles

Hi there.

Typographica is honored to be mentioned at your place.
Just a note to alert you that our URL has changed to Thanks so much for updating
your link.

Related reading:

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A Journal of Typography.