What's Your Type?
talking about your personality type (that's a topic for a future Urbach Letter).
I'm talking about type as in typewriter. Type as in font. Type as in
typesetting. Not just the digital equivalent of "hot lead," but the art
and science of formatting pages (web or paper) to dramatically enhance all your
Clueless or criminal?
You're sitting at your computer, creating yet another document in Microsoft
Word. Like most people, you're concentrating on your words… not giving a single
thought to the shape of the letters appearing on the screen or page. 95% of the
computer-using population never changes the default font. They're stuck on Times
New Roman, or Arial, or Courier. Four percent have discovered what happens when
you click on [Format][Font…], usually when trying to create a bulletin board
flyer or invitation, or something "attention getting." You've seen the
unfortunate result all too often: a mishmash of fonts and sizes that resembles a
ransom note more than an invitation to the company picnic. That leaves the
remaining one percent who already know all about graphic design and typography.
If you're that one-in-a-hundred person, this article isn't for you. Check back
with me next month. Everybody else, listen up. Your knowledge about this stuff
is about to increase by at least an order of magnitude (I love that kind of
nerdly science talk).
A word of caution:
you've been exposed to this month's topic, and become "type aware," you'll never
again be able to watch the opening credits of a movie the same way. But that's
the least of it. You'll start noticing common things around you that were
previously "invisible," and suddenly realize there's an entire subliminal world
of communication that's been influencing your thoughts and actions all your
life, without your knowledge or awareness.
Something new for April
As usual, to get the goods, you must subject yourself to my video tutorial.
All the essential things you've got to know about this important topic will be
revealed to you in a fast-moving streaming video session. Too busy right now to
kick back and watch the video? No problem. I have the perfect solution: my
brand-new autoreminder service.
Just enter your name and email, and click the button to receive a courtesy
reminder message tomorrow.
That's all good. But my advice is to break off a couple of minutes of focus
time at this very moment, and join me for a little video edu-tainment. Click
here to begin:
(Please click once and wait for the video to start streaming on your
You didn't click? Grrr. <Victor makes angry face at you> Why not?!!? Are you so sure
that insipid make-work project you've been fussing over all morning is more
important than what I have to show you now?
Fun With Fonts
Time for a little fun. Here's a link for the
Library. Click it and you'll see a page that looks like this:
Next, click on one of the type themes. (I chose
"Decorative"), and enter your last name or company name in the box in the upper
right hand corner. The gold arrow is pointing to it in the screen shot
Now the fun begins. From this point
forward, the Type Library will render your name in every type style you click
on. I've got to warn you though, you can waste some serious time on this
activity; it's very engrossing. So, I recommend you go at it with some business
purpose in mind. The decorative fonts are really fun, but consider selecting a
"signature font" for yourself. I did just that 15 years ago when I started The
Optran Group. I chose "Gill
Sans" as the Optran corporate typestyle, and have been using it as the default
word processor font ever since.
If you find a typestyle you like, and think
you'll be using it in print, you may want to consider buying it from Adobe or
another type foundry. Of course, there are tons of free fonts available for
download all over the net (start here,
or do a Google search), and they're fine for casual use. However, there *is* a
quality difference in the commercial products you'll notice (once you know what to look for).
By the way, if you enjoyed this little diversion,
I know you'll really enjoy April's video.
Fine typography is art.
That's all for now. I'll be back in May with
more. In the
meantime, please feel free to drop me a note with feedback, suggestions, or attaboys. I'm very reachable at
I hope you liked this issue of the Urbach Letter.
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© Copyright 2005 Victor Urbach
In this Issue
Cool Things of the Month
The iSlice & Envelopener
In my never-ending quest to bring you the latest in strange and unusual
office paraphernalia, I now present two new things you never knew you needed
before today. First, the iSlice. It's a tiny little paper slicer, that uses a
miniature ceramic blade. The blade is imbedded in the plastic holder, with just
a sheet-of-paper-deep amount of the edge exposed. Even though it's incredibly sharp, you
can run the blade over your finger and not get hurt.
Therefore, unlike a pocket knife, no problem bringing your iSlice onboard an
You'll use the iSlice to cut out newspaper articles, open CD/DVD cases,
remove shrink wrap, even cut through that horrible blister packaging most
small electronics and toys come in nowadays.
The Envelopener uses the same type of miracle ceramic blade in a recess to
cleanly trim a tiny bit of paper off the edge of your envelopes. No more chopped
up correspondence caused by your old-school letter opener.
The iSlice/Envelopener pair is just $8.95 at the repository of
Cyberguys. Buy them.
Keep Your Day Job Steve
93% of all greeting cards are purchased by women.
Most toilets flush in the musical note E flat
A blink lasts approximately 0.3 seconds.
A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for approximately sixty-nine
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
There are more chickens than people in the world.
All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" are stuck on 4:20.
The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."
"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt."
Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
Los Angeles's full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los
Angeles de orciuncula" -- and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A.
Tigers have stripped skin, not just stripped fur.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.
It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a
chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
Prosopagnosia refers to the inability to identify people by their faces. In
severe case of prosopagnosia a person may not be able to identify themselves in
The largest number of children born to one woman, who was a Russian peasant
Coconuts kill more people in the world than sharks do. Approximately 150
people are killed each year by coconuts.
A galactic year is 250 million Earth-years. This is the time it takes for our
solar system to make one revolution around the Milky Way Galaxy.
A jiffy is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
Bamboo plants can grow up to 36 inches in a day.
The Saguaro Cactus does not grow
branches until it is 75 years old.
The temperature of a lightning bolt is sometimes hotter than the surface of
The tip of a bullwhip moves so fast that it breaks the sound barrier. The
crack of the whip is actually a tiny sonic boom.
Where's the Backspace Key on this Thing?