Category: Design

22 May 2017
poor-design-decisions-35__605

For those who say, ‘Design doesn’t matter’

Recently, someone asked me what I like about being a graphic designer. My wheels started spinning because there are so many reasons. Besides the fact that I’m obsessed with color and typography, design, in my humble opinion, affects almost every aspect of our lives. Design is not just about making things look pretty (although, that is part of it). Design is about functionality, making things work or read a certain way so anyone can understand.

For instance, have you ever seen a parking sign that had so many words and symbols on it you couldn’t read at a quick glance if you’re allowed to park there? That’s because the sign was poorly designed. What about a door that says “Push” but has a pull handle? Bad design. Or the image above where the insect poison and cooking spray look the same?

Very. Bad. Design. I’m all for brand consistency, but that’s just dangerous.

Remember in 2015 when Steve Harvey announced the wrong name for the winner of Miss Universe? Look at the card he was reading from…

miss-universe-1

At first glance, it’s a bit confusing. And whether the card was the reason for the screw up or not, there probably would have been a lot less confusion if the card was more appropriately designed and laid out.

Poor design leads to confusion, frustration, and even embarrassment in Steve Harvey’s case. If your brand is associated with flawed design or faulty functionality, it could cost you, in more ways than one. I think good design often gets overlooked because it does what it’s supposed to do: deliver the right message or function properly. As a designer, I constantly try to be more aware of what good design looks like and how it functions, and can appreciate it more.

Being a designer is both a blessing and a curse. I flip through a magazine, and I don’t look at the pictures or read the articles. I applaud the layout, column, and grid structure. I buy certain products over others because I like the packaging design. And I can’t go to a restaurant without admiring or gawking at the typography and hierarchy on the menu (it’s a sickness, really).

Putting my design-related OCD aside, I love being a designer because design impacts our lives positively or negatively every day, and I want to be a part of creating positive experiences. I’m relatively new here at bloomfield knoble, but I’m glad to be a part of a team that supports and understands the intricacies and importance of good design.

 

01 Sep 2016
panda-img

Browser extension…look like a Panda

Check out this content aggregator for design inspiration and creative industry news

panda

One of my absolute favorite internet browser extensions has to be the Panda plug-in. Panda, as it’s known, is a widget that displays design-specific content as the default page when opening a new tab in your browser. The widget is semi-customizable, in which you can pick and choose from various layouts and sources of aggregated design content from all over the web, ranging from news feeds of creative publications to tiles of user-submitted artwork.

Not only does it dish out the low-down on the industry’s trending topics, but it also provides an environment where contributors can showcase their skills and exchange ideas and techniques. As a creative myself, it’s nice to have a constant source of relative inspiration and news regarding the industry of design today. It’s an easy way to browse through a wide variety of artistic styles.

To download the Panda plug-in/extension, follow these links:


About the Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is Director of Digital Services at bloomfield knoble. He possesses the hybrid skills of a strategic business executive and a creative, problem-solving designer; someone who is a catalyst for transformation and the agent of cultural change.
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

27 Jun 2016
blog-feature

“Make it Sweet” with Customizable, Preset-Based After Effects Plug-ins

If you have ever created motion graphics on a large scale, sometimes the simplest tasks (such as full-screen transitions and graphic emphasis) can be very tedious and time-consuming. As I’ve covered in recent posts, it’s completely acceptable to streamline repetitive tasks with the use of plug-ins and extensions. These tools automate many different types of program actions, so you don’t have to manually create each transition you want to use throughout your video. Trust me, no one is going to discredit your ability to create these elements on your own…you’re just working smarter, not harder!

In this video tutorial, I take a look at the Ae Sweets After Effects plug-in, which uses AE shape layers and inherent transform properties to generate a wide variety of interesting transitions and graphics. This tool is incredibly robust and fully editable. I definitely recommend checking it out…it may end up being your favorite tool!

Click below to play the video.


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

26 Nov 2014
wireframe

Why We ‘Wireframe’

The concept of “wireframing” finds itself near the beginning of the creative process, in which a blueprint of a website or interface is laid out to represent the skeletal framework of the content before any major design work has begun. It is a pivotal part of understanding the larger picture on an extremely simplified level.

Wireframes involve little or no color at all, minimizing the distractions and stripping the layout down to the bare bones.
Wireframes involve little or no color at all, minimizing the distractions and stripping the layout down to the bare bones.

Wireframes usually consist of placeholder content and images with very little detail or enhancement. Once the overall concept of the layout is agreed upon, the full design is executed using the wireframe as a guide. This preproduction concept has many advantages, but the most important are the organization of content and the optimization of productivity and time management.

Content Organization

Traditional website and interface design usually calls for the layout and presentation of information to be organized in such a way that communicates the message most effectively to the user. Because of this, the distribution of content must be thought out and purposefully considered.

There is a reason why most navigational menus are linear in design and hug either the top or side edge of the webpage. It’s also common to see an account login in the upper right corner. Over the course of time, the user has defined what these preferences are and will tend to look for familiar content in familiar places—the mastery and application of these tendencies is known as user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) design.

Some wireframes can be done the old-fashioned way, drawn by hand.
Some wireframes can be done the old-fashioned way, drawn by hand.

Therefore, the content should drive the design on both a macro and micro level. Understanding UI in terms of content layout as well as specific details in graphic appearance will allow the message to be digested more easily by the user.

All things considered, the guidelines of UI design are exactly that: guidelines. Designers can incorporate unique approaches to the layout of the content, and wireframes help them achieve that without wasting valuable time and effort.

Optimized Productivity

Time and effort are highly important resources to those in the creative arena, just like any industry, so the use of wireframes is almost necessary to prevent the excessive use of them. It would take a general contractor a lot more time to complete a structure, room-by-room, making it up as he goes. The master plan allows him to allocate his time and effort accordingly.

Many people don’t realize that websites and interfaces can be made up of a large number of content elements, such as a rotating image masthead, navigational areas, search bars, social media feeds, blog posts, etc. Picking and choosing where and how to layout these particular elements can be like solving a tangram puzzle. Each and every little piece has its own specific place; a wireframe expedites that delicate placement process.

Having a blueprint set and approved can also help manage the expectations of the client. If a consensus on the layout is achieved before any actual design work begins, the receiving party won’t be unpleasantly surprised when comps are provided. There’s nothing worse than pouring hours and hours of time into a design that doesn’t meet the client’s expectations.

Wireframing Tools

There are many resources available to designers to help generate wireframes. At bloomfield knoble (bk), we take advantage of the Balsamiq Mockups application, which provides various templates for websites, device interfaces and other user applications.

Balsamiq Mockups also offers a library of different shapes and placeholder content elements commonly used and supported by proven UI design fundamentals. The drag-and-drop functionality makes the application extremely easy-to-use, further enhancing productivity. The service also incorporates a feedback feature, allowing clients to easily review and comment on the wireframed layout. Axure and Pidoco are a couple of other tools available online.

When developing designs for websites and user interfaces, best practices suggest the use of wireframes to assist with content organization and responsible production resource allocation. It will only make your life easier.


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

21 Aug 2014
We were looking for an intern to help edit a video. We found Christian.

And Now, a Word from the Intern

We asked our summer intern, Christian Rusli, to write a blog summarizing his time here at bk and some of the lessons he learned while working with us. While we’re not sure about the “dysfunctional” part, we’re happy that he viewed his time here as being as valuable as we did.

***

I suppose it’s a little late for introductions seeing that in just a few days, I will no longer be working here, and that makes me sad. I’ll explain why, but first, I guess I should tell you who I am.  My name is Christian, I’m 18, and for the past few months, I’ve been bloomfield knoble’s resident intern. By the time you read (or skim, I won’t judge) this, I will be a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Radio-Television-Film. I enjoy watching football, American football, and Formula 1, and I love trying new, interesting foods. Also otters, I love otters. Okay, so now that we have the boring stuff out of the way, I can delve into my real purpose of writing this blog post: remembering my time here at bloomfield knoble. Also, putting off packing for college. But that’s just an added bonus.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege and the pleasure of working with the creative team here at bloomfield knoble, and I’ve learned and experienced a whole lot. It’s certainly been a journey, and I’m more than a little sad that it’s coming to an end.

Christian's last Fish City Friday
Christian’s last Fish City Friday

When I first walked through the door, I was nervous, and just between us, a little frightened too. This was my first internship and having heard and seen so many horror stories about the cruel and unusual things that interns are subject to, I didn’t know what to expect. But right off the bat, I was welcomed with open arms and treated (for the most part, I am still an intern) as an equal. Not limited to doing things like getting coffee or cleaning supply closets, I was given the opportunity to actually get involved in various projects around the office.

My main task was a fly fishing video, for one of bloomfield knoble’s clients, Temple Fork Outfitters. The goal of this project was to create a complete guide to the art and science of fly fishing. Doing so involved watching hours and hours of footage of all types of different casts, tips, and analysis. I reckon that I’m a better fly fisherman than a good number of people and I’ve never even held a fly rod. Also in editing this video, I was exposed to a whole host of programs I had never used before like Premiere, After Effects, and SpeedGrade. In this industry, learning things from a textbook will only get you so far, which is to say, not far at all, so having the opportunity to learn about editing hands-on has been invaluable. I’ve loved getting to apply my creative touch to the project instead of being handcuffed to a certain way it had to be.

In addition to the fly fishing video, I also got the chance to work on a short video for bloomfield knoble and I got to go on a video shoot for Nationstar Mortgage. All the work I’ve done here at bk are things that students my age don’t typically get to do until much later down the line.

And as much as I’ve loved the work that I do, I daresay I’ve loved the work that I don’t do just as much. The team here at bloomfield knoble are like a family. A weird, sort of dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. From afternoon Ping-Pong tournaments, to Fish City Fridays, to Rodeo Ball, and our very own Fantasy Football League, the office culture here is something that I will truly miss. Surely this isn’t the drab and dreary adulthood that I’ve been warned to prepare for all my life, right? At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment while it lasted.

In just a few short days, I’ll be packed up and headed off to UT, ready to start the adventure that is college, but I’ll never forget my time here at bk. I won’t forget the work that I did, the fun that I had, or the things that I learned. No, those are things that I’ll take with me down to Austin, then wherever else I go later in life. Because of my time here, I am now squarely ahead of the competition, and better prepared to start my future.

I’m starting to get a little misty eyed now so I think it’s time to wrap this blog up. Besides, I’ve got to finish packing now.

– Christian Rusli
University of Texas Class of 2018

***

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

12 Aug 2014
5-worst-typefaces-infographic-thmb

Look Out Below!

Choosing a typeface for any project can sometimes prove to be a cumbersome task. Not only do you have to identify the type of typeface (e.g. serif, sans serif, script, display, slab serif—the list goes on and on), but you also have to make sure you don’t pick a dud! A poorly chosen typeface can really sandbag your creative efforts. It’s almost as important to know the bad typefaces as it is to know which ones are great. Truthfully, the design world is almost over-saturated with thousands of different typeface choices, but luckily, a vast majority of designers actually agree on the worst typefaces to use. Below is a short list of what we think are the ones you should avoid.

5-worst-typefaces-infographic


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
twitter
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

08 Jul 2014
starburst

Do Looks Really Matter?

As designers we grow accustomed to the trends in the web design world and try to utilize them to the best of our abilities while also trying to initiate our own trends in the process.

Sometimes a trend is truly progressive and takes the field as a whole in a new direction – like flat design. Other times trends were bad to begin with and somehow gained popularity anyway.

Here at bloomfield knoble we strive to pursue the best design possible for any given project. That often means guiding the client away from what they have previously seen and taken a liking to. Below you will find the top 5 trends that we find the most repulsive.

 

1. Popup Windows

While traditional popup windows are mostly now reserved for spam websites, they have actually started morphing into automatic window overlays that take the form of ads, newsletter signups or God forbid, surveys.

It doesn’t really need to be said here but I will anyway; ads are good for the site’s revenue but terrible for the user experience. In the end we need to find a better solution to generating ad revenue without turning the end user away from the site’s content.

popup-killer-bypass-website-barriers-without-signing-up-completing-surveys.w654

2. Flash

With the ubiquity of mobile devices and mobile browsing, there’s no excuse for a site in 2014 that still uses Flash.

Yes, animation is cool on a website but only when used in a subtle and effective way. Plus there are so many other, better ways to accomplish that now. Also, do not forget those all-important mobile users that you may be leaving out.

 

3. Skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphic design is essentially designing something to resemble, as closely as possible, a real tangible item. For example putting a leather texture on a web calendar so it resembles the calendar one might find on a desk.

While skeuomorphic design had a time and a place while trying to bridge the gap between technology and “real world” items, it is not needed anymore and users will much prefer a more simple design that focuses on functionality instead of overly designed flourishes.

fmfSmall

4. Images Used for Text

There is no reason a site designed for modern browsers should need to use an image for text. Google Fonts API is compatible with every browser since IE6 (and shame on you if you inherently support that browser anyway).

 

5. Bad Stock Photos

This is a tricky one because clients often cannot afford an on-set shoot for every ad they produce. Plus, stock photos that don’t come across as looking like stock photos can either be expensive or hard to make/produce yourself.

At the end of the day though, a good rule of thumb is that having no photo at all is still better than a horrible stock photo, so weigh your options carefully.

 

The solution…

A lot of these issues can be taken care of before they ever start. Good design is about taking risks, exploring new ideas, and creating something that works well in the end. There is no need to use technology just for the sake of using it. Too many HTML5 websites appear to be a sample of how talented the designer is. That is never the goal with a client’s website. Design is important, but so are business goals. In the end if your design does not accomplish the goal that was set forth in the brief then you have failed as a designer.

Designers need to check their ego at the door and remember that good design, when done right, will be an easy-to-use tool that not only looks good but also can perform, convert, and fulfill its purpose.

 


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshot

Clark Bachelot is a Senior Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His passions include cajun cooking, the outdoors and beer. In his role at bk, he likes to inspire audiences with his design and focuses on “usability” to make sure the targets of his creative understand what action to take. He is not very good at Fantasy Football.
Connect With Clark Bachelot
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Las Colinas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

01 Apr 2014
yolo

An open letter from a millennial.

 

To whom it may concern,

I speak cautiously as I represent roughly 80 million Americans born between the 1980s and the early aughts, but yes, I am a millennial. Listen, I understand if you can’t really keep up with our blazing fast lifestyle, our innate urge to publicly document every fleeting moment, our overindulged sense of entitlement or our steadfast yearning for acceptance and attention. It’s cool—don’t sweat it. We like to live life in the fast lane. We “go hard in the paint.” #YOLO! (You only live once, duh.)

I’m kidding. Well, kind of.

As I take my bow for such a convincing performance of a generation gone awry, I also slowly sink my face into my palm. It is difficult, sometimes, to be so closely associated with a demographic that partially believes Mick Jagger is just some dude who has great “moves” in a Maroon 5 song. I quite frequently wonder what the long-term side effects of my generation will be, especially in the realm of design.

Design is a delicate practice that is directly influenced by those who use it; therefore, design is finicky. And unfortunately, so are millennials. This generation takes pride in being different and unique. This means that design must be organic in order to really grab hold of the momentary attention span of this audience. Although mostly annoying, this actually could bode well for creativity moving forward.

Millennials generally see through traditional gimmicks in creative messaging, sifting though the nonsensical bells and whistles and focusing mainly on the content. In a world where “Googling” provides instantaneous fact-checking, content and delivery must somehow project authenticity. Ah, the method of delivery—that is where design enters the fray.

Flat. Period.

Flat design is all the rage nowadays. Well, what exactly is flat design? To be “flat” is to approach user interface in the most simplistic way possible. It is the use of solid colors, hard corners, minimalistic iconography and interpretive usability.

It is also a direct response to the recent design trends of skeuomorphism. Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan of Gizmodo explains skeuomorphism as a medium that “boils down to visual trickery, or the use of details and ornamentation to make one thing look like another. In architecture, false facades are skeuomorphic. In car design, fake wood paneling is. Skeuomorphism in UI design usually refers to a digital element designed to look like something from the physical world.”

Flat design is the antithesis of all those things. It is what millennials crave—a simplified avenue for what is most important: the message. Why does the notepad icon have college-ruled lining? All I care about are the words being written. Why does the volume slider need to look like it belongs on a vintage Marshall Super Lead Model 1959 Plexi amplifier? All I care about is how loud it is…duh.

Needless to say, content has become king once again. Adrian Taylor of Smashing Magazine emphasizes this, in which “media consumption, whether of text, audio or video, is probably the activity we engage in most on our devices, and for that use case, we just want the interface to get out of the way.” Millennials are driven by the outcome, not the ride. Flat design gives them what they want, when they want it. (Which is almost always “now.”)

Get to the point. Yesterday.

Did I mention how short the attention span of a millennial is, yet? Let’s face it, we have to abbrieve ev (translation: abbreviate everything). While flat design aides in communicating the message effectively in a minimal amount of time, it is not enough to appease the appetite of a content-hungry millennial who is exposed to multitudes of information within a given minute.

This generation feeds on the most up-to-date, accurate “news” regarding anything and everything. This sounds like a job for… SOCIAL MEDIA! I use the term “news” very loosely in reference to social media; however, although “social” by nature, this form of media can (if used correctly) provide a wealth of information to audiences of all shapes and sizes.

The advent of this medium has found its way into design as well—more specifically, web design. More and more, websites are including various feeds for continuous information. Even Twitter, Google and Facebook have applications for websites to display this type of content—these applications are called APIs. Poynter.org describes an API, or application programming interface, as a web functionality that enables software programs to communicate with one another.

This means that millennials expect a piece of each website to be carved out solely for continuous information, whether it be for RSS feeds, social media, etc.

One such example comes from an industry not necessarily instantly associated with the high-tech world, a fly-fishing manufacturing company—Temple Fork Outfitters. At TFORods.com, a site developed by bloomfield knoble (bk), users are exposed to a different kind of “news feed.” It is one that’s not only visually appealing but relevant to the content of the site as well. In order to bridge this gap (aesthetics v. relevance) and give fly-fishers something beautiful to look at while also being exposed to exciting adventures of fellow anglers, bk chose to implement the functionality brought forth by Tint (a social media interface aptly created by millennials). Tint provides a unique approach to continuous content layout, specifically for social media.

For TFORods.com, this functionality displays recent tweets and Facebook posts in a grid, complete with pictures as well as content. Users are able to quickly scroll through visual representations of relevant matters happening in the world of fishing, allowing for the “big fish” tales to materialize and fulfill their preconceived embellishments.

———

Whether instrumental or detrimental (thanks, Bieber) to the ever-evolving concept of design, millennials will leave their mark.

Who knows how long it will last, though, as the next generation may completely reverse the entire movement. I can’t say that I agree or disagree with the direction my craft is heading; all I can do is buckle my seatbelt and enjoy the ride. Regardless, one message is clear: the generation in control of the way things look and the way things work is always the next generation.

Right now, that seems to be in the hands of the millennials. In my hot and humble opinion: so-far-so-good. I enjoy a good shake-up of the status quo. I’m eagerly awaiting the further development of concepts like flat design and continuous information integration, but I also wonder what great things the next generation of designers will bring.

True to form, a millennial can only hope for better. In the meantime, on behalf of my fellow millennials, I apologize for all of the cat videos.

#YOLO,

Andy


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

04 Mar 2014
helv-thumb2

One Helvetica life

One of my greatest inspirations, Mike Parker, died last Sunday, February 23rd at the ripe old age of 85. He has been described as “the font god” which, to be fair, is probably an accurate description for the man who helped bring Helvetica to the world. However, he is also credited with the development of more than 1,100 typefaces while at the Mergenthaler Linotype Company.

helvetica
Image by Ben Blinman – DeviantArt

What is it about the Swiss and their sans serif typefaces? Helvetica emerged from Switzerland in 1957 and went out to shape the modern world. The Helvetica typeface would sort out not just transport systems, but whole cities. The font appeared as Europe emerged from the shadow of World War II and was already making strong contributions to midcentury modernism. Helvetica was perfectly suited to this period, and its use reflected another pervasive force of the age–the coming of mass travel and modern consumerism.

Helvetica is a font of such practicality and beauty that it is both ubiquitous and something of a cult. The typeface even inspired a compelling and successful movie (Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica), whose premise is that on the streets of the world, the font is like oxygen; you have little choice but to breathe it in.

To entrench something so deeply into a society takes a level of understanding and passion that is hard to describe. So I will not begin to try. I will simply let Mike Parker do it himself.

“When you talk about the design of Haas Neue Grotesk or Helvetic, what it’s all about is the interrelationship of the negative shape, the figure-ground relationship, the shapes between characters and within characters, with the black, if you like, with the inked surface. And the Swiss pay more attention to the background, so that the counters and the space between characters just hold the letters. I mean, you can’t imagine anything moving; it is so firm. It is not a letter that bent to shape; it’s a letter that lives in a powerful matrix of surrounding space. It’s… oh, it’s brilliant when it’s done well.” Helvetica (2007), directed by Gary Hustwit

Every person is affected by Helvetica in some way. Whether you’re taking the bus, shopping for clothesenjoying a meal, or even decorating the offices here at bloomfield knoble (see below), Helvetica is part of your life in some way.

Thank you Mike Parker for making the world easier to read.

 

 


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshot

Clark Bachelot is a Senior Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His passions include cajun cooking, the outdoors and beer. In his role at bk, he likes to inspire audiences with his design and focuses on “usability” to make sure the targets of his creative understand what action to take. He is not very good at Fantasy Football.
Connect With Clark Bachelot
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Las Colinas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.