Five Blog Posts Worth Reading – December 2012

Playing the role of Internet DJ, here are five blog posts worth your time:

Ten Things Entrepreneurs Should Be Tweeting About – This is a great list of subject matters you can begin tweeting about today. I previously offered a list of 50, but Lewis’ list offers a few I had not considered, such as tweeting a nugget of wisdom from a book you’re reading. Consult these two blog posts the next time you have Twitter writer’s block.

Business Lessons From a Former Gang Member – My favorite tip was “Make people earn your trust.” When it comes to both business and life, I’m very glass-is-half-full. Mr. Blair advises against the natural inclination to trust the nice people you’re meeting. Test their intentions and work to identify their motives.

Why The Microsoft Surface is Doomed – We’re an Apple house, touching a PC only when platform and browser testing a website we’ve built. The author is no fan of Windows, answering the “what’s the alternative” question with “Anything other than the Surface.” Ouch.

Social Media and the Boardroom – Critical Questions Directors Need to Ask – We work every day to convince large corporations that it’s time to begin using social media to advance your business agenda. Clients like Belden really get that. My favorite question is the simplest one to answer: #2 – How are our competitors utilizing social media? That’s often a good wakeup call for companies that have not started using social media.

Your 2013 Social Media Strategy – Grow a Pair – Mark is one of my favorite bloggers, and here, he brilliantly lays out the case for starting … procrastinating is over, excuses are out the window. There is nary a business that can’t benefit from a deeper, more meaningful relationship with its customers and prospects, and there is nary a business that can’t tell great stories about its processes, beliefs and employees. If you haven’t started using social media, now is the time. And as the doctor says, “Help is available.”

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Easy, Delicious Slow Cooker Chili

Just right for the busy holiday and football season

Jerre's Black Bean and Pork Tenderloin Slow Cooker Chili

I had only a little extra time to prepare dinner for my grandson’s 13th birthday a week before Christmas. I found this slow-cooker chili recipe, and what a lucky find! Rave reviews!

This is the best chili I have ever made – and the easiest. What made it easy?
1) Almost no chopping – just an onion and a red pepper – the rest of the veggies are in the salsa.
2) No browning ground meat. Just slice the pork tenderloin and toss it raw into the slow cooker. I did cube the meat rather than using slices. Note that the recipe says to break up the pieces of pork to thicken the chili when you serve it – it works.
3) I served it right out of my Crock Pot with corn bread baked in a cast-iron skillet and a salad. What could be easier?

Jerre Wippermann, the creator of the recipe, won third place in the St. Louis Slow Cooker Cook Off. I can understand why.

Do you have easy, delicious recipes to share for tree-trimming parties or football-watching marathons?

Jerre’s Black Bean and Pork Tenderloin Slow Cooker Chili
8 servings

1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 2 inch strips
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder

Combine pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, black beans, salsa, chicken broth, oregano, cumin, and chili powder in a slow cooker. Set to Low and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
Break up pieces of cooked pork to thicken the chili before serving.

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 99 | Total Fat: 2.3g | Cholesterol: 37mg

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Our Most Hated Fonts

There seems to be a lot of disdain for Comic Sans these days. While we all agree on its place at the bottom of the heap for most-admired typeface, even Comic Sans has its place. For the sake of transparency, I used it this year – very, very, very, sparingly.

We thought it would be fun to poll a few designers in our office on what typefaces leave them at a loss. Luckily, not for a loss of words, as each of our designers had a few words to share about their most loathed ligatures.

Steve Harrison hates Peignot

I HATE Peignot. What a completely ugly face. I remember it was used in the credits for the old Mary Tyler Moore show – the one with Ted Knight, Valerie Harper and Ed Asner. What a perfect show – except for the credits and title sequences. Peignot is really an all cap font, so there’s two strikes against it at the get-go. Reading it is like getting an email from someone typed in all caps. IS THERE REALLY A REASON FOR ALL THIS SHOUTING?? So to soften this, you can mix smaller font sizes of the cap letters to stand in as lower case letters. Really? It’s a grab bag of ascenders and descenders in an all-cap font- like the “lower case” letters want to be capital letters when they grow up. And they do, right in the middle of a word. Ugh! Peignot, I HATE you.

“willy-nilly” set in Peignot

The font Peignot - willy-nilly.

Matt Falk says Brush Script is worse than Comic Sans

The Worst Font in the World that is NOT Comic Sans – without a doubt – has to be Brush Script.

If Brush Script were a food, it’d be unsweetened white chocolate. Or maybe candle wax… candle wax with a faint promise of cocoa. No, wait – I have it. It’d be cocoa butter flavored with pencil shavings: somewhat benign and nostalgic (in a slightly creepy way), but ultimately unsatisfying when used as anything other than the butt of a typography joke.

Brush Script was originally designed by Robert E. Smith, and released into the wild by American Type Founders in 1942. In his book “Just My Type,” author Simon Garfield mentions that “if you were ever persuaded by government posters to bathe with a friend or dig for victory, then the persuading was probably done in Brush Script.” I cannot fathom why the public as a whole would be subjected to such a font, especially when compared to the much more clean-cut and graphically appealing nature of Gil Sans (from “Keep Calm and Carry On” fame).  Had the world not been embroiled in war, we would have had the resources and foresight to recognize the threat of Brush Script and stamp it out. However, wartime priorities clearly took precedent, and this abomination was given a foothold to grow from.

While Brush Script is supposed to be a “quaint and consistent type that looked as if it was written by a fluid, carefree human,” Garfield points out that “no one you had ever met actually wrote like that.” In fact, Brush Script is so soft and so bland, that it has lost any trace of humanity in a sea of regular curves and even weighting. As a typeface, Brush Script is akin to a mannequin standing in for a person – sure, it’s a reasonable way to display an outfit in a department store, but a terrible conversationalist in any other circumstance. And don’t even think of cuddling up to Brush Script. Like the mannequin, you’d find this font comes with nothing more than a cold, smooth shoulder.

And its progeny – oh, what Brush Script has done to the world. While our tastes seem to have evolved beyond the original lines of Brush Script, we’re currently awash in a sea of pseudo-handwriting and brush style fonts (each of which can trace a branch of their lineage back to the scurvy Brush Script). Maybe the use of these fonts is an effort to represent humanity that is lost in messaging, or maybe it’s a way to reach people on a level that doesn’t smack of blatant consumption. “Hey, Guys – I’m a handwriting font, so I’m not evil or corporate – you can trust me.” But much like a doorbell that plays a snippet of electronically rendered classical music, Brush Script (and its ilk) are bland to the point of being obnoxious.

People aren’t fooled – there’s not a string quartet sitting in your living room, waiting to play a merry little entrance march to announce the arrival of a dinner guest. And Brush Script isn’t the work of a caring sign-painter or concerned matron giving you a kind-but-necessary reminder in the form of a handwritten little note.

PS. Every opportunity you have to send a handwritten note, using an actual pen and some paper? This is your chance to tell Brush Script to stick it.

“Faux” set in Brush Script

The font Brush Script is Faux

Ed Mehler loathes Blippo BT Black

Just because someone had a straight edge and a compass doesn’t mean they can design a good font. It was reflective of the times, and maybe that says something about the quality of the times too! And yes, I can remember both the times and the font from first hand experience.

“Heavy” set in Blippo BT Black

The font Blippo Black BT is Heavy, Man.

David Kendall’s letter to the estranged Mrs. Eaves

Dear Mrs. Eaves,

The prefix in your name leads me to believe that you are married. Why then are all your characters divorced from one another? The distance in their relationship is obvious. Is it just that you and your significant other are “separated?”

“divorce” set in Mrs. Eaves

Jessica Goldman says Papyrus isn’t all that exotic

Just because a font is different, or unusual doesn’t mean you should use it. The overuse of Papyrus even earned the font it’s own “I HATE PAPYRUS” facebook page.

Note: Grade school students doing a project on ancient Egypt get a pass.

“Ubiquitous” set in Papyrus

The Font Papyrus - Ubiquitous

Steve Hartman discounts Hobo

It’s the first font that comes to mind when I think of a font not to use. Yes, I confess. I’ve used it. BUT, only as one of those irreverent inside designer jokes. But, what barbeque stand or going-out-of-business sale wouldn’t be successful without the use of Hobo – America’s feel good font.

“discount” set in Hobo

The font Hobo - Discount

Andy Pickering disses Mistral

Although I’m not the first to think this, Mistral, like many handwriting typefaces, falls victim to overuse and misuse. For me, it’s indicative of kung fu movie titles, loud 80’s fashion ads and craft stores/coffee shops located in Nostalgiaville, USA.

I understand the draw towards adding a personal touch to a project with a handwriting element. You want to communicate spontaneity and personality, but don’t kid yourself in thinking that something from your font list will make the grade.

If one were to use a handwriting typeface, they should tear themselves from the computer, get out their pen and ink and create their own. It may take a little longer, but the result will be original and most likely better than anything found on the computer.

Now, let’s go buy neon Swatch watches, get some salt-water taffy, and rent a king fu movie. Tubular.

“Schmistral” set in Mistral

The font Mistral - Schmistral

We could go on. Matter of fact, others on the list that our designers shared were Handwritten – Dakota Fajita, Fajita, Caliban, Arial Round, Arial, Times, Bionic, Parish Flash, Anna, Rosewood Standard Regular, Carpenter, Bernhard Fashion, University and, of course, Comic Sans.

There are hundreds of thousands of fonts and typefaces to choose from, each with their own characteristics and personalities. But, that doesn’t mean you can use them all. If there is one little nugget of advice we can give on choosing the perfect font to support your message – imagine the font as a great actor and ask yourself, “Is it James Cagney or Jimmy Stewart, or is it Richard Little doing James Cagney or Jimmy Stewart?” Avoid the font that’s trying to be something it’s not, and go for the classics.

What is your least favorite font?

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Discover the Remarkable: The Falk Harrison Promotional Brochure

We have recently updated our promotional brochure with exciting new projects we’ve completed over the last year. Thank you for taking the time to review it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or give us a call if you would like a printed version sent to you or a colleague.

Feel free to share this with your friends using this handy link:

Open publication

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Design Legends of St. Louis – Robert Falk

TOKY Branding + Design and the AIGA St. Louis chapter have embarked on a wonderful project called “Design Legends of St. Louis.” I am very glad to see some of the local greats in our industry get the credit they’re due, and I am especially proud to have Falk Harrison’s founder Robert Falk on the list. Congratulations are also in order for Robert’s fellow St. Louis Design Legends Frank Roth and Dick Juenger.

This first video is just a teaser, with a longer version forthcoming. Thank you to our colleagues at TOKY for the production of the videos.

(note: the video screenshot below is Frank Roth. Click “play” to see Robert – he’s the third speaker in the video)

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