Portland shot of the day 01072011

Portland In Progress Shot

Portland Regular by Gus Nicklos @ Future Grid Systems

Coming together with adjusted x heights.


Yet another change for Portland

I have been working on Portland for over 5 years in between other projects and fonts. Maybe working is too direct of a description. I have been tinkering with Portland for over 5 years. Taking time off and stepping away from it has given me insight that I had not imagined. Uncertainties on “this way” or “that way” for a particular aspect have stayed uncertain until the presents itself.

I thought that I was 100% done with the U&lc and had moved onto carrying over the minor adjustments to the rest of set a few weeks ago. About 20 minutes ago I decided to increase the x height! It just called out to me as necessary. I want Portland to be highly effective for contemporary uses like the web and mobile, but have the air of a 1900s designed face such as Univers or Avenir. The balance of beauty and function is what has been driving my edits over the past few years.

What is this? Amateur night!

Some people knit or train spot in their free time. I… organize my font library. Serif or Sans Serif – Blackletter or Didone, there are standard classes that exist. I have been forced to create one class in my library reserved for an elite group called “WTF/Amateur Night”.¬† I don’t want my eyes to burn from your horrible designs any more. Please follow these guide lines before committing any further glyph genocide.


  1. …you designed 15-30 letters for a typography II / graphic design class.
  2. …you really like a logo and want to turn it in a font.
  3. …you are modifying five glyphs in a classic font (I’m talking about you “Coolvetica”).
  4. …you run an existing font through effects or filters. (It’s not the 90s ¬†anymore).
  5. …you don’t know what kerning is.
  6. …you can barely use the program.
  7. …you don’t understand the concept of path direction.
  8. …you are a beginner.

The above listed are all great explorations in design and I urge you to explore and tinker until your heart is content. Just don’t generate the font. Once you create a font and email it to a friend it is carved in stone. Years from now it will find it’s way into thousands if not millions of font libraries as debris – visual noise to wade through like a flooded basement after your septic tank bursts.

Don’t do it!

Which way do we go?

I keep thinking about the industrial revolution and wonder what it was like to live through it. It must have been exciting. The ideas that became the automobile, the assembly line and our modern way of life.

20 years ago today’s Internet would be considered science fiction… but here we are and It’s just the beginning. But where will we go from here? What will our great thinkers come up with next? How can you and I be a part of it?

New versions of HTML and CSS are here. Javascript and Ajax are conceptual relics. Flash, Papervision and After Effects have made their impact. The cloud is even old news.

In 2001 I was in Greece digging up pottery that hadn’t seen light for 2500 years. The site had aqueducts and complex street layouts. It is amazing to me that cultures were so advanced even back then.

Can you even imagine what culture will exist 2500 years from now? I don’t know if I can. If the world is still dominated by our species, relics of our customs and technology will most certainly be the building blocks.

Enjoying the fall sun

There are certain days when the weather is truly perfect. Today is an amazing sunny fall day. The trees are still full of turning leaves and the air shifts from warm to cool. The smell of the decaying leaves and burning fires mix and noise of the city seems quieted.

The world that we design should free us up to enjoy more of these moments. The programs, websites and tecnoledgy that we conceive should help optimize our work time and free up our play time.

With love and best wishes,



I went to bed at 1:00 – up at 6:00. It’s a surprise that I’m thinking so clearly. Sometimes I realize things about myself -this morning it is that I really enjoy pushing my limits.

As I drove down an empty Broadway street I passed the old gym that my dad use to go to. He would wake up at 4am to go play raquetball. He’d get to his office first and make coffee, go ever his day, etc. If he were around, I could ask him things big and small. I think that he would tell me to stop thinking about those things and enjoy the fact that I am here: alive and taking full advantage of each breath.

Living Will – Virtual Parent

I was running and letting my mind wander – thinking about a long life, children, passing of wealth and knowledge. I was thinking about how if I was gone that I’d like to leave something “more” behind. If I was gone suddenly, I wouldn’t want my child to be a lonely trust fund, waiting for the check – becoming lazy – wasting his/her life. I’d want to be there to lend support.

So here’s the concept: A company that sets up a will based on a series of conditions that the principle would create before passing. It would be calibrated from birth. You would log in and answer questions so that a series of algorithms log and dynamically quantify your decision making process pertaining to said child. If he/she goes though a rough patch, you would log how you handled it. The database would run in the background so you could test it and see how it was responding – this way you could course correct. You could plan on sending messages on future birthdays and graduations that pic up on your personal humor.

Your bereaved would login to attain any trust fund, inheritance and to set up “deceased access” based on how much after life contact that they want. If it’s to hard to get a text message from dad saying “I love you”, that could be turned off or on. If the packers won the super bowl maybe you’d get a text saying “We did it!” or if your favorite team just got a great new player you’d get a message saying “This team is going to be great now!”.

Also the distribution of inheritance could be situation based. It would be dispersed by the deceased based on situations over the course of his lifetime. You could have videos of the deceased answering questions and giving life lessons, stories and memories. If the bereaved was feeling blue, they could “call dad” and get some prerecorded kind words that relate to the situation… “Remember when you were six and you fell of the swing…”

just a thought…