treatment of Helvetica Now on a card, a phone case, and a cylindrical container

Helvetica Now

Monotype.com: Helvetica Now

This is the first major update to Helvetica in 35 years.

Helvetica® Now is a new chapter in the story of perhaps the best-known typeface of all time. Available in three optical sizes—Micro, Text, and Display—every character in Helvetica Now has been redrawn and refit; with a variety of useful alternates added. It has everything we love about Helvetica and everything we need for typography today. This is not a revival. This is not a restoration.

This is a statement.

monotype.com

Victor Hugo On Notre Dame

Vox pulled this passage from book three, chapter one of Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) to illustrate the importance of all that the cathedral of Notre Dame represents.

Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of centuries. Art often undergoes a transformation while they are pending, ~pendent opera interrupta~; they proceed quietly in accordance with the transformed art. The new art takes the monument where it finds it, incrusts itself there, assimilates it to itself, develops it according to its fancy, and finishes it if it can. The thing is accomplished without trouble, without effort, without reaction,—following a natural and tranquil law. It is a graft which shoots up, a sap which circulates, a vegetation which starts forth anew. Certainly there is matter here for many large volumes, and often the universal history of humanity in the successive engrafting of many arts at many levels, upon the same monument. The man, the artist, the individual, is effaced in these great masses, which lack the name of their author; human intelligence is there summed up and totalized. Time is the architect, the nation is the builder.

However, all these shades, all these differences, do not affect the surfaces of edifices only. It is art which has changed its skin. The very constitution of the Christian church is not attacked by it. There is always the same internal woodwork, the same logical arrangement of parts. Whatever may be the carved and embroidered envelope of a cathedral, one always finds beneath it—in the state of a germ, and of a rudiment at the least—the Roman basilica. It is eternally developed upon the soil according to the same law. There are, invariably, two naves, which intersect in a cross, and whose upper portion, rounded into an apse, forms the choir; there are always the side aisles, for interior processions, for chapels,—a sort of lateral walks or promenades where the principal nave discharges itself through the spaces between the pillars. That settled, the number of chapels, doors, bell towers, and pinnacles are modified to infinity, according to the fancy of the century, the people, and art. The service of religion once assured and provided for, architecture does what she pleases. Statues, stained glass, rose windows, arabesques, denticulations, capitals, bas-reliefs,—she combines all these imaginings according to the arrangement which best suits her. Hence, the prodigious exterior variety of these edifices, at whose foundation dwells so much order and unity. The trunk of a tree is immovable; the foliage is capricious.

Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris, Book 3, Chapter 1

To Victor Hugo, Notre Dame was a monument to human accomplishment. All the more important, it was a call to rebuild and restore the great cathedral fallen to disrepair and vandalism. It was rescued once from the brink of destruction. I have faith it can resurrect from these ashes once more.

via Vox.com

Instagram and World Wildlife Fund logos recreated in the Bauhaus style

100 Years of Bauhaus

In celebration of 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement, 99designs has shared a couple of great posts you should check out.

100 years of Bauhaus: what today’s famous logos would look like in Bauhaus style

And 2019 marks the 100th anniversary since this one-of-a-kind design revolution first started. To celebrate its impact, both then and now, we’ve asked our community of graphic designers to reimagine the most popular logos of today in the Bauhaus design style.

Aside from being fun, educational and demonstrative of their skill, what our designers created just goes to show how the timeless principles of Bauhaus design still hold up after all this time.

Matt Ellis

Everything you need to know about Bauhaus: an infographic

Bauhaus is one of the greatest design movements of the 20th century. Founded in 1919, the famous design school has influenced all kinds of cultural fields with its revolutionary ideas and theories. Its indelible mark has been stamped on art, design and architecture. But you don’t need to be an artist to have heard about Bauhaus. We all have a feel for what Bauhaus design looks like, but can’t necessarily explain it. Until now…

We’ve put together this Bauhaus infographic to summarize everything you need to know about the movement. Scroll down and let us take you on a Bauhaus journey, from its principles and characteristics to the history, milestones and evolution of the Bauhaus movement in graphic design today.

Monique Zander

via Kottke.org

The WWF’s Hidden Human Cost of Their War on Poaching

1.Buzzfeed News: WWF Funds Guards Who Have Tortured And Killed People

This was a sensitive moment for one of the globe’s most prominent charities. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) had long helped fund and equip Chitwan’s forest rangers, who patrol the area in jeeps, boats, and on elephant backs alongside soldiers from the park’s in-house army battalion. Now WWF’s partners in the war against poaching stood accused of torturing a man to death.

WWF’s staff on the ground in Nepal leaped into action — not to demand justice, but to lobby for the charges to disappear. When the Nepalese government dropped the case months later, the charity declared it a victory in the fight against poaching. Then WWF Nepal continued to work closely with the rangers and fund the park as if nothing had happened.

As for the rangers who were charged in connection with Shikharam’s death, WWF Nepal later hired one of them to work for the charity. It handed a second a special anti-poaching award. By then he had written a tell-all memoir that described one of his favorite interrogation techniques: waterboarding.

Shikharam’s alleged murder in 2006 was no isolated incident: It was part of a pattern that persists to this day. In national parks across Asia and Africa, the beloved nonprofit with the cuddly panda logo funds, equips, and works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people. As recently as 2017, forest rangers at a WWF-funded park in Cameroon tortured an 11-year-old boy in front of his parents, the family told BuzzFeed News. Their village submitted a complaint to WWF, but months later, the family said they still hadn’t heard back.

Katie J.M. Baker & Tom Warren

2. Buzzfeed News: A Leaked Report Shows WWF Was Warned Years Ago Of “Frightening” Abuses

After he delivered the report, Mwenge presented his findings in Yaoundé in front of top WWF staffers, including a senior manager from Switzerland. The meeting resulted in a series of draft recommendations, obtained by BuzzFeed News, for the charity to improve its relationship with the local community. One was to create and promote a new complaint system for locals to report forest ranger abuses; another was to thwart “corruption among eco-guards and establish harsh consequences.”

But a month after the report was filed, Lambertini, WWF’s chief executive, sent a strident letter to Survival International asserting that concerns the group had raised about indigenous rights were “most directly matters for the Government of Cameroon,” not WWF. He called the campaign group’s claims that WWF had “done nothing” for the local Baka people “untrue and insulting.”

Internal documents show WWF still supports rangers at Lobéké and continues to help park officials organize raids.

Katie J.M. Baker & Tom Warren

3. Buzzfeed News: WWF Says Indigenous People Want This Park. An Internal Report Says Some Fear Forest Ranger “Repression.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) told its European Union funders that indigenous people were “favorable” to a new national park despite an internal report highlighting fears of “repression” by forest rangers, BuzzFeed News can reveal.

The EU agreed to send WWF 1 million euros for the proposed new park in an area of the Republic of Congo, known as Messok Dja, on the basis that it would seek the consent of indigenous people.

But omitted from a copy of a WWF filing to the EU in 2018, obtained by BuzzFeed News under Freedom of Information laws, were passages of a consultant’s confidential report that found some locals vehemently opposed the park.

Other sections of that report were copy-pasted into the EU filing — but the document does not contain sections discussing how some villagers were worried the park would drive them off their ancestral land, prevent them gathering food for their families, and subject them to mistreatment by forest rangers, known locally as “eco-guards.”

Katie J.M. Baker & Tom Warren

Conservation is important. Every species that dies out makes our world less ecologically diverse and threatens to unbalance our biosphere. But human life is valuable too, and treating indigenous peoples as expendable in a war against poaching is not an acceptable course of action. I have to believe that there is a way to protect vulnerable species and vulnerable peoples at the same time.

ProPublica Investigates Audits

ProPublica: Who’s More Likely to Be Audited: A Person Making $20,000 — or $400,000?

Budget cuts have crippled the IRS over the past eight years. Enforcement staff has dropped by a third. But while the number of audits has fallen across the board, the impact has been different for the rich and poor. For wealthy taxpayers, the story has been rosy: Not only has the audit rate been cut in half, but audits now tend to be less thorough.

It’s a different story for people who receive the EITC: The audit rate has fallen less steeply and the experience of being audited has become more punishing. Because of a 2015 law, EITC recipients are now more likely to have their refund held, something that can be calamitous for someone living month-to-month.

by Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger Dec. 12, 2018

Put simply, budget cuts to the IRS have resulted in a situation where a program that was once meant to help the working poor now makes their lives even more difficult. Combine this with a recent bill that will effectively keep tax preparation privatized and expensive, and it’s yet another way we are failing our citizens who are the most in need.

image showing iPad Pro, iPad mini, iPad, and iPad Air together

What Air Means to Apple

An Abridged History of Apple Product Names

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the late 90s, he found a product line that was too confusing for most consumers, so he simplified things. At the 1998 MacWorld Expo, he shared a simplified product grid that would serve as the foundation for Apple’s product lineup for several years. It looked something like this:

DesktopPortable
ConsumeriMaciBook
ProfessionalPowerMacPowerBook

The intended audiences were clear, and everything from the components to the industrial design reflected this approach. Of course, there were multiple choices in each category, but it was clear to potential customers which machine was for whom.

Over the years, Apple’s customer base has grown considerably, and their business model has evolved. The four-quadrant grid was never going to last forever, especially with the growing prosumer market and Apple choosing to move beyond computers as their primary hardware products. If you were to try to grid out their products in 2004, it might look similar to this:

DesktopPortableLifestyle
ConsumereMaciBook
ProsumeriMacPowerBook 12″
ProfessionalPowerMacPowerBook 15″
EveryoneiPod

The laptop line was already beginning to grow a little confusing, with the smaller PowerBook targeting a humbler audience than those who would buy the larger models. This approach remained fairly consistent over the next few year and saw Apple through the Intel transition, with the Mac mini replacing the eMac in the consumer category. Then came the MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air and a New Product Category

Steve Jobs holding a MacBook Air in one hand
Steve Jobs at MacWorld 2008

It was one of the most memorable product reveals in recent history, even compared to the much-anticipated iPhone announcement from the year before. Steve Jobs held up a manilla envelope, the type you might see for old interdepartmental messages, and pulled a computer out of it. No one had seen a computer so thin or light before. It made compromises; it had almost no traditional ports; but it was cool.

Over the years, the MacBook Air had different places in Apple’s product lineup. For a time, it existed in its own category for early adopters. Then, it evolved into a replacement for the white plastic MacBook, serving as the only alternative to the MacBook Pro. Then Apple brought back the MacBook in a thinner, lighter form-factor, and the Air became its heavier, slower budget sibling. Now, the MacBook serves as the thin and light machine with compromises, the Air is the mainstream consumer/prosumer machine, and the MacBook Pro straddles prosumer and professional customers.

The 2019 iPad Air. Looks a lot like a 2017 iPad Pro…

The Air and the iPad Lineup

The word Air has had a similar journey in the iPad lineup. The iPad Air came our in November 2013 and completely replaced the iPad line. There was no iPad Pro yet, but there was an iPad mini. The iPad Air was thinner and lighter than previous iPads, and that’s where things maintained for a couple of generations.

In 2016, the iPad Pro came out; the very next year, Apple dropped the Air branding from any iPads, so now their lineup was iPad mini, iPad, and iPad Pro. The updated iPad had some concessions compared to the iPad Air, but it was still a good update and smoothed out a rather odd naming convention.

But now the iPad Air is back, basically reviving the 10.5″ screen of the 2017 iPad Pro, while that line has moved to 11″ and 13″ screens. The no-modifier iPad is still around with its 9″ screen and slower processor, and the iPad mini lives on with the faster iPad Air architecture and a 7″ screen. When Apple announced the new iPad Air and iPad mini, I felt they needlessly complicated the product line, but a pattern may be emerging.

Currently, Apple seems to be filling out a MacBook product line that moves from entry-level to mainstream to premium. Forget any notion of consumer, prosumer, or professional usage and think in terms of desirability instead. Yes, premium machines have better capabilities than the lower tiers, but they also come with desirable features — things like Touch ID and the Touch Bar. The iPad line seems to be taking a similar approach.

TabletLaptopDesktop
EntryiPadMacBookMac mini
MainstreamiPad Air
iPad mini
MacBook AiriMac
PremiumiPad ProMacBook ProiMac Pro
Future Mac Pro

And now things start to make sense*. All of the entry level machines are for consumers who may not know what they want and will gravitate toward the most affordable option. (I expect the MacBook to see a price reduction in the near future to clarify its place in the lineup.) The mainstream machines are for most of us. They are good enough for most needs and don’t carry the sticker shock of the premium models, and those premium models are for those of us who want the latest and greatest innovations Apple provides.

When I started writing this piece, I began writing about an Apple that had lost its product strategy; now I see an Apple that may actually be in the final stages of solidifying of a new strategy, and I don’t dare guess what the last pieces of that puzzle will be. Whatever it is, Apple is always evolving, and they’re always thinking several steps ahead.


*The exception to things making sense, of course, is the Apple Pencil. That Apple sells two different devices with the same name that have different capabilities and compatibility is confounding.

Link: Tim Berners-Lee Has Some Regrets

Link: “I Was Devastated”: Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets

Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation. His prophecy came to life, most recently, when revelations emerged that Russian hackers interfered with the 2016 presidential election, or when Facebook admitted it exposed data on more than 80 million users to a political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s campaign. This episode was the latest in an increasingly chilling narrative. In 2012, Facebook conducted secret psychological experiments on nearly 700,000 users. Both Google and Amazon have filed patent applications for devices designed to listen for mood shifts and emotions in the human voice.

For the man who set all this in motion, the mushroom cloud was unfolding before his very eyes. “I was devastated,” Berners-Lee told me that morning in Washington, blocks from the White House. For a brief moment, as he recalled his reaction to the Web’s recent abuses, Berners-Lee quieted; he was virtually sorrowful. “Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different state.” Then he went on to recount, at a staccato pace, and in elliptical passages, the pain in watching his creation so distorted.

This agony, however, has had a profound effect on Berners-Lee. He is now embarking on a third act—determined to fight back through both his celebrity status and, notably, his skill as a coder. In particular, Berners-Lee has, for some time, been working on a new platform, Solid, to reclaim the Web from corporations and return it to its democratic roots…

Katrina Brooker for Vanity Fair

This is a great read. I can’t imagine having invested so much into a world-changing project only to see it derailed to such an extent by corporate greed and political hubris. It’s trite to say it this way, but the story of the Internet is a classic example of why we can’t have nice things.