Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Filters on Flatiron building - Classic Toronto architecture

I was back downtown, around the St. Lawrence Centre and the Flatiron building last week. I have dozens of photos of the Flatiron, none really turn my crank and I don't post many of them. But I love the building. I took a few more photos when I was down there, sweltering in the heat and looked at them over the weekend. I have a nifty filter on my phone that applies some great special effects (I'll review the app this week) and made me start thinking about what filters would bump up a rather mediocre photo into a posterworthy one. 

I really like photos that have slightly over saturated reds and the Flatiron lends itself beautifully to this: Toronto Flatiron building - filtered and posterized

I upped the reds along the building using a NIK filter first.  I focused the saturation on the right side between the 4th and 5th and 2nd and 3rd floors. I pulled the orange on the sign way down so it didn't stand out like a sore thumb. I tossed in a filter to bump up the edges and then posterized it a bit. Then used a couple of Photoshop tricks like multiply and overlay to get the effect. I especially love the little tourists at the foot of the building.  They lend something to the photo, giving it a bit of life. I'm playing withg throwing in a large TORONTO along the bottom or on the left side. So far, I haven't found a satisfactory font, I think it needs to be a classic older one. I'll let you know if I wander down that particular path and show you the results.

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My giggles are now your giggles - the Rio Olympic logo

I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with me. The first time I looked at the Rio Olympics logo I snickered.  I didn’t see the people holding hands I saw …

... a condom being unrolled:

Rio olympic logo

 The two people look like they are trying to contain the .. er ... extension.

And then I thought this:

Olympic logo and baby pacifier

Apologies to all. I doubt you’ll see the logo the same way ever again.

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Where's our roof, dude? Bad photoshopping & questionable marketing

Where to start with this one? I have an example of dodgy marketing techniques and truely ridiculous photoshopping that I stumbled across on the weekend.

A new condo build is going up on the site of the old Chum radio building in Toronto around St. Clair and Yonge. The Chum building is an ugly, squat little site, so anything will be an improvement. The new owners are marketing it as upscale, exclusive living in a hip, urban neigbourhood... which makes me snort with laughter. Great neighbourhood, don't get me wrong. Wonderful as a matter of fact. Good places to eat, grocery stores, clean, parks, two subway stops within walking distance etc, but the people who live around here tend to be pretty down to earth and quite honestly, hip we ain't.  I've been watching people come out of the sales office and stroll down the street to check out the neigbourhood. Some have looked at the apartment building south east of the Chum building with a bit of consternation and confusion. That's been happening off and on for months now so on the weekend I began to wonder why.

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Refreshing a classic logo – Mastercard gets it right

I stumbled across the new Mastercard logo recently and have given it a bit of thought. Well, to be honest, I kept looking at it trying to figure out what was different – I knew something was, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Can you spot the difference?

Mastercard's old logoMC newLogo

I even pulled out my card to look at the logo before the penny dropped. A couple of subtle changes have refreshed the old logo. The words across the logo, with all the stripes created a bit of visual noise. By removing them, MC has created a clean, simple and leaner logo. Shifting the words off the logo and underneath, squares it up, creating a nice sense of symmetry.

I’m pleased they kept the classic design and didn’t make huge changes. If a logo doesn’t translate well over time, ok, make that radical shift, but this is a case of “don’t fix what isn’t broken” - the two circles are instantly recognisable around the world. These small changes create a clearer visual when shrunk down on a smaller screen or on a credit card itself. Even if the word is cut from the logo, it’s immediately understood.

I have to say, changing the lettering to black and moving it off the colours, makes the wording easier to read as well. Nice touch of clarity. However, I really like the change in typography the most. The new font ditches the hard edges and now flows with the circles. The combo of lower case, rounded edges and complete vertical alignment has fresh feeling. Don’t know if their intention was to create a slightly friendlier logo, but that’s the end result. Keeping the old, but giving it a bit of a facelift has worked well.

Small changes sometimes create the boldest impact.


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Oh the horror, the horror – typography battles for your affection

Remember this:

Sample of Comic Sans

If you didn't slam your laptop's lid down and run screaming from the room, read on. For those who remain uninitiated, it’s the much reviled Comic Sans font. I don’t think there is another font that evokes such an extreme reaction.

Comic was designed by Vincent Connere when he worked for Microsoft way back in 1993. His name may not be familiar to you, but his other fonts (far more respected) Trebuchet and (fun) Webdings might be. Even if you aren't a designer, you'll be familiar with those cute little Webding icons like _ and !.  Ah, but will he be forgiven for Comic Sans?

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"To make my meal in a box taste better, I decided to tweak the logo, rather than the ingredients."

- Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

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I've left some content in their old categories. Instead of having readers hit the dreaded 404 Not Found error, I'd rather leave the pages where they lay. Here are the pages:
- Poster Design 2 - breaking out of a rut
- Something a little different - a poster for the site
- Slide show confusion - another candidate for Ring of Hell
- First Ring of Web Hell - the never ending slide show

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