Linked: Comic book lettering

The evolution of a lettering style

My friend Kris Black posted the video below from Vox on Comic Book lettering. I love lettering and comic books so this was right up my alley. It’s a really smart piece that clearly explains the difference between lettering and fonts, shows how lettering design is connected to production limitations and best of all, doesn’t mention Comic Sans a single time. If you are interested in lettering and/or comics, check out this video:

Side note: The creator of the video, Phil Edwards, has done a bunch of awesome videos for Vox on a wide range of topics. I really enjoyed his history of Wingdings and his video on the origins of the Oxford comma.


Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he tries to explain the difference between type and lettering. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.

Linked: Now is never

Invest in tomorrow.

Seth Godin’s short post this morning was exactly what I needed – a reminder that everything is a process and that projects take time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you aren’t seeing results yet. 

If I write any more, it will be longer than his post… so just go read it.


Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he works on way too many side projects. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.

Linked: Political Polarization

I'm a big fan of "data" journalism — the kind of story that you see over on Five Thirty Eight where they dig into data and statistics to find the real story. I enjoyed this report from the Pew Research Center about the about the political polarization of the American voting public. The interactive graphs encourage exploration and enhance the story.

My original college major was journalism and I remember in orientation being told that math wasn't important for a journalism major.* In retrospect, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Typographia's Best of 2015

I’m always a fan of Typographica’s Year in Review. Each year, they assemble a panel of experts who select amazing type that debuted in the previous year. And while I’ve seen many of the designs throughout the year, I always find more than a few typefaces that I missed.

The 2015 edition continues the tradition of excellence and offers up a wide variety of designs. Stuff you don’t see highlighted elsewhere. Each selection has an accompanying essay to give context to why the piece was included. 

Among my favorites:

  • Tripper. I love a stencil font and this gem from Underware is awesome. I especially love the T and the W.
  • Hobeaux. A reimagined “Hobo!” I have no where to use this, but I love that it exists.
  • Garibaldi. Classy and elegant. A nice, large typeface family. It’s got a nice energy and I bet it looks sharp in long documents.
  • BC Mikser. What a odd monospace design and yet… I really like it.  Five weights and italics. Quirky in a good way.

If you love type, do yourself a favor and take a look at the entire selection.

Linked: Sean Adams Basic Etiquette for Designers

We've had some great speakers come to Columbia for AIGA South Carolina, but Sean Adams was one of my favorites. A talented designer, great speaker and all around good guy. He recently released a pretty awesome slide deck about etiquette for designers. I'll definitely show these to my students this fall.

Linked: The Oregon Trail Generation

My friend Kerry finds the best links. And I love this story he posted on Twitter about the "Oregon Trail Generation." A great article if you, like me, are stuck between Generation X and the Millennials.

Because we had one foot in the traditional ways of yore and one foot in the digital information age, we appreciate both in a way that other generations don’t.  We can quickly turn curmudgeonly in the face of teens who’ve never written a letter, but we’re glued to our smartphones just like they are.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I became a designer just as that industry was changing and I feel like my appreciation for both the old way and the new way makes me a better designer. In the same way, I’m part of a generation that didn't have email in high school, but had it in college. That watched the internet become a thing. A generation that remembers a social life before social media, but now actively uses Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The world completely changed in the middle of my formative years and it absolutely influences the way I look at the world. 

If you want to find more of Kerry's awesome links, subscribe to his email newsletter and get five (or more) links every Friday.

Linked: How to spell 'Internet'

One of my first majors in college was journalism. And as a journalism major, you become intimately familiar with “AP style.” The Associated Press has published the definitive guidelines for newspaper writing for decades, but it’s influence spreads beyond just news publications. I’ve used AP style at pretty much every company I’ve worked for.

One of the things I hate about AP style is the capitalization of “Internet” and “Web” as proper nouns. But thankfully those days are over and, starting in June, the official AP recommendation is to use internet and web in lower case. I’m very happy about this, and I’m completely aware of how geeky that is.

Five Thirty Eight has a great little article showing that maybe we’ve already started the transition.

Link: Seth Godin on perfection

Do yourself a favor and read this very short post from Seth Godin on striving for perfection. As designers and creative professionals, we struggle with this. When do we let go of a project? When is a project complete? In my experience, a project is never perfect and I don't think I've ever finished a project that I didn't want to change the minute it was done. I'm particularly bad about holding onto typeface designs until they are perfect... and the end result is that they are never finished. 

Anyway, a good thought to take into a crazy Monday.

Extra! Extra!

The Newspaper Club is a printing service in Glasgow that prints digital and traditional newspapers in small quantities. They look pretty cool and I could completely see using this for a project someday. I may have to order print samples to see what I think.

Print’s not dead, but the way we buy print is radically changing. MagCloud for magazines. Moo for business cards. Newspaper Club for newspapers. All of these services have a standard set of specs and are then marketed to a global audience. Just upload a PDF. The purchase process is simple and straightforward, but the trade off is that these services offer less customization.

I look forward to seeing how this online purchasing marketplace continues to grow as digital printing continues to mature.

Linked: Simplify!

Most people are surprised that I actually like math. I didn't necessarily enjoy it in high school, but I'm completely fascinated by it now. And I really wish I paid more attention. People assume that as a designer, I don't need to do math. But that's not true at all. I use geometry and algebra all the time. I occasionally even need to break out a spreadsheet that – gasp – has some formulas. 

One of my favorite blogs is Math with Bad Drawings. I love how Ben simplifies really complex concepts into simple drawings. Today's post – Simplify! – is wonderful. And if you like math, you should check it out.

Linked: Goulet Pens matches Pantone's Colors of the Year

Last month, I posted a note about Pantone and fountain pen inks. Specifically, one of my thoughts was that someone could market special edition "Color of the Year" inks and pens.

Well, Goulet Pens has a blog post that lists inks and pens that match up nicely with Pantone's Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz and Serenity. A nice post, beautifully photographed. 

Linked: Upgrade #65

Earlier today, I posted about how confused I was about what direction to take with my next mobile device.

Then on my way home, I was listening to podcasts and caught Upgrade #65: Holiday Firewall with Jason Snell and guest host Merlin Mann.* At about the 1:30:00 mark, they talk about how confusing it is to pick the right Apple product today. Good to know that others are as confused about their options as I am.


* Merlin Mann is also the creator of Inbox Zero.

Linked: The Advent Resolution

Just a heads up, really. I've started a little project on the Off Topic section of the site called The Advent Resolution.

The Advent Resolution is simple: Prayerfully prepare for the coming year. 

Because of this, I'll be writing significantly more in Off Topic through Christmas. I'm still planning to write daily, though, and hope to stick to my posting schedule. Follow along and let me know what you think.

Kickstarter: Get your Secret Species children's book!

in honor of Black Friday! My friend Marius Valdes has a Kickstarter for his new Secret Species children's book. It's already funded, but if you want to get an awesome book, you have until Wednesday, December 2 to back the project and get a copy. 

Marius and I have collaborated in the past on many projects including Valdes Clarendon and Valdes Poster Sans. If you love his artwork as much as I do, back the Kickstarter today!