Nicely done AFR

Today I spotted a rather nicely executed piece of typography. This is probably done many times over in news prints everyday, but this one caught my eye over breakfast and I thought it worth highlighting and celebrating.

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Here we have a photo of the front page of the Australian Financial Review. Running down the left side of the page is a list of headlines. Two things to notice here.

  1. The headlines alternate between black and red making it easy to scan through the headlines.
  2. The names of the journalists as well as the page number for the related article remain in black.

Now consider the options for presenting such a listing.

  • Column 1 has everything in black. You get a wall of black text rather than 5 distinct headlines.
  • Column 2 alternates the whole chunk in black and red. While this distinguishes the headlines most effectively, the readability of the author/page number subtext for the red headlines are compromised.
  • Column 3 tries to maintain readability of the author/page number subtext, but now we’re not sure who wrote which piece. Is “QR chairman backs the team” by Fleur Anderson or Jenny Wiggins?
  • Column 4 (which is what the paper opted for) is genius. Let’s take a closer look.

Can you spot it yet? What the typographer at the AFR did was keep the alternating red/black, spell out the author/page number subtext in black readability goodness, but used the dot between author name and the page number to subtly hint to the reader that “QR chairman backs the team” was indeed written by one Jenny Wiggins and you can find the piece on page 14.

For many readers, this would have been the difference between a split-second double-take and being propelled to page 14 by a subliminal confidence afforded by a scarlet dot.

Anatomy of applause control

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Make an announcement “Our graduates will be coming up in groups of 10 or less. So that we can hear all our graduates’ names called clearly, please save your applause for the end of each group.”

First few graduates take the stage. Isolated applause emerge from family/friends of graduate, followed by a feeling of¬†embarrassment for disobeying the announcement. Being caught out as the cheering minority in the group also reinforces “it is not time to clap yet”.

First group completed, people on the stage clap Рcueing the crowd to cheer along. Conditioning is complete. The crowd knows when to clap, and when not to.

Inevitable, a rogue group would cheer and clap loudly. The crowd snickers and scoffs at their irreverence. Immediately after one such an event, the friends of the next graduate attempts a similar feat but quickly backs off in shame.

Crowd feels sorry for them and vows never to find themselves in such a position.

Problem solved.

At the airport

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In theory, taking a photo from phone to blog in 20 seconds is just a matter of pushing bits through an invisible pipe.

In practice, it is freakin’ awesome!

A fresh start

This is me starting afresh with a clearer idea of what exactly should go on my very own dot-com. It’s been awhile now, but I’m glad it is finally here.

First, a list of things to do to get setup

  1. Pick a theme. Make it my own.
  2. Import and consolidate posts from previous blogs.
  3. Write a useful “About” introduction for myself.

Hello again, Internet!