Merry Xmas, Happy Holidays, &cetera

Xmas etymology“Xmas” has been used in English for centuries. The X is an abbreviation for Christ, from the first letter of Greek Christos. First appearing in English in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle in the early twelfth century, it was spelled with Xp or Xr, corresponding to the Greek “Chr,” thus Xres mæsse meant “Christmas.” read more…

One plus one makes three

two color matchbooks

Old fashioned two and three color printing often overprinted spot colors (colors generated by a single press run) to create a third color. Both of these Hungarian matchbooks are two-color press runs of the same red and turquoise green. The print on the left makes use of a third, “black” color by running the red on top of the green (overprinting). read more…

The long s is often mistaken for an f

seersucker with long s's look like "feerfucker"

The long s (∫) has its roots in Roman cursive and was common in print in Europe from the 15th through the 18th centuries. It still appears in the German Eszett (ß), which is an ss ligature (a connected long s and short s) that was common in European printing before the19th century. read more…

Lovely, short letterpress documentary

Firefly Press, Sommerville, Massachusetts

“If I were to be sat down at a computer and told, ‘here, you can do whatever you want,’ I wouldn’t know what to do. There would be too many choices,” says John Kristensen, of Firefly Press in this gorgeous short film. Take a moment to enjoy the rich artistry and craftsmanship in the everyday work of the Firelfy Press in Sommerville Massachusetts.

Chop Suey typefaces

Chop-suey typefaces

“Ethnic” typefaces do have a place in graphic design, though you’re well advised to avoid them, unless your client insists. After all, who would give the carry-out box in the illustration a second thought if Moishe had used the typeface Shalom? Even so, sensitivity is recommended. read more…

Raster (or Bitmap) vs Vector images

bitmap-raster-image

Raster (or bitmap) images are fixed-resolution images, made of a grid of pixels. If enlarged they will be blurry and pixelated, with a “stair-stepped” edge.
Common raster file formats are jpg, gif, tiff, bmp and png. read more…