Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.
I don’t go in for most covers of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”, but I’ll make an exception this time because Ingrid and Leslie nailed it. In contrast with Carey’s triumphant holiday anthem, this version is more subdued and slow-burning, with a stunning performance by dancers Chantel Aguirre and Ehizoje Azeke to back it up. Just wonderful all around.
Design director and typographic enthusiast Bethany Heck runs the Font Review Journal, a site where she reviews and analyzes typefaces so designers can make better typographic choices. It sounds a bit dreary when described that way, but trust me when I say she always makes it worth your time to read:
My goal isn’t to prescribe a number score or valuation on a typeface — rather, I want to celebrate, analyze, demystify and inform designers who are looking to improve their typographic choices. I won’t be reviewing any fonts here that I don’t personally use and see value in. Designing a typeface is a herculean effort that takes hundreds of hours and often years of time to refine and complete. My aim is to show appreciation for these works of art through thoughtful discourse, aesthetic studies and historical context. There is often a gulf in the communication between the type design community and the designers who put their work to use, and I hope this site serves as a sort of bridge to bring the two practices to a closer understanding of each other.
I discovered this site via Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s Meanwhile newsletter:
Elsewhere, Bethany Heck’s Font Review Journal continues to be one of the finest corners of the designweb. Content, design, research, and imagery all pulled together with great care. For her latest piece, she looks at the history and use of that odd yet irresistible duckling Windsor. As she says, “designers will put up with a lot of grief for a distinctive lowercase a”. Would love to see these pieces pulled together into a book at some point.
Expect to spend many hours poring over these reviews. I know I will.
The Kurzgesagt YouTube channel has once again put up a video that will leave you dour about the future:
Space travel is the most exciting adventure for humanity, but in an irony of history we may stop ourselves from going into space the more we do it. With every rocket launched we are creating a deadly trap for mankind.
You know that scene in WALL-E where the rocket launches through a human-made junk field? That’s the basic idea here, except the junk won’t just bounce off harmlessly — not by a long shot.
Alan Taylor’s photo essay for The Atlantic shows the weird and novel ways in which smartphones are being used by people around the world:
For many, these versatile handheld devices have become indispensable tools, providing connections to loved ones, entertainment, business applications, shopping opportunities, windows into the greater world of social media, news, history, education, and more. And of course, they can always be put to use for a quick selfie.
With so many devices in so many hands now, the visual landscape has changed greatly, making it a rare event to find oneself in a group of people anywhere in the world and not see at least one of them using a phone. Collected here: a look at that smartphone landscape, and some of the stories of the phones’ owners.
Demi Adejuyigbe — previously here and here — gave a bonus “talk” at XOXO 2018 (the main talk is here) presenting his personal guide to jazz. As usual, the guy is hilarious and has a real penchant for the absurd.
A month ago, Armin Vit of Under Consideration reviewed the new branding for West Coast Tasmania — no, that’s not some obscure brand, I mean the actual place — the results of which are astounding (bold emphasis mine):
Launched last week and rolling out over the next few months is a new identity designed by Sydney, Australia-based For the People who worked with the West Coast Council through an open process, inviting the region’s 4,000 residents, tourism operators, and councillors to participate in the making of the brand. After a 10-month process, the result is an open source brand toolkit that allows the different constituents of the region to put together their own materials using a shared visual language. Spoiler: Do not let the barebones logo image above dissuade you, this gets crazy good.
Go browse the photos to understand what that bolded part really means and how it works in action. This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen.
Neat Stuff We Published This Week
- Don’t let your friends and family down with lame gifts: Remember to check out our collection of holiday gift guides, featuring the latest ones alongside the still-great guides of yesteryear. We promise you’ll find all kinds of great ideas for everyone you know.
- A classic color theory manual, made new again: Color Problems by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel
- Premium, reusable water bottles designed to fit where other bottles don’t: “memobottle” Notebook-Sized Water Bottles
- Keep your beer bottles cold and in one piece: BottleKeeper Insulated Beer Bottle Holder
- Now with wireless Qi charging: Studio Neat’s Updated Material Dock
- Effortless pizza slicing: OXO Good Grips “Clean Cut” Pizza Wheel
- Using marbles to teach kids how computers think: Turing Tumble
Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.