Not the New Name of ROW142

It’s an open secret that my colleagues at ROW142 are decamping thirty-nine steps down Richmond Street to occupy the space formerly occupied by Ristorante (and before that, Café) Diem. Which brings to an end the ROW142 coffee brand and the coffee bags I’ve been printing since it started.

During this transitionary period, while the coffee’s still roasting and brewing at 142 Richmond Street and the renovations are proceeding down the street at 128 Richmond Street, there was a need for a transitionary coffee bag, and I was left to my own devices to conjure something up.

After some orienteering work on Friday afternoon, this is what I came up with:

Walk Thirty Nine Steps South West (piles of printed coffee bags)

Walk Thirty Nine Steps South West (type inked and in chase ready for printing)

I should caution that this isn’t the new name of the coffee shop or the coffee – it’s just an catalyst to tell a story about whatever is to come.

Tracking my Moves

For six months, between October 2013 and April 2014, I walked around Charlottetown with my iPad in my pack running the Moves location-tracking application in the background. It was, and remains, an elegant app, and a great, simple way to track “moving around,” whether by foot, bicycle or otherwise. Alas Moves was acquired by Facebook at the end of April, and I just couldn’t conscience the idea of constantly telling Facebook my whereabouts, so I uninstalled the app and cancelled my account.

Before I did so, however, I requested an archive of my data, and, to the credit of Moves’ developers, what I received in return was an elegantly-structured data dump of everything in formats ranging from iCal to GeoJSON. I took one of the GeoJSON files provided – a record of all of my Moves “activities” over that six months, and loaded into Quantum GIS and the result was a rather accurate (and beautiful) picture of my day to day life in Charlottetown:

MOVES map from October 2013 to April 2014

Between Moves and Foursquare and Plazes and Twitter and Flickr and the late Google Latitude and all of the other applications I run that leave a geotrace, I have almost a decade’s worth of my geolocation archived away in various formats; one of the items on my Hacker in Residence to-do list is to develop a unified visualization tool for all that data so that I can fly through time and explore my whens and wheres.

Charlottetown Guardian Flag, 1919

While we’re on the subject of newspaper design and newspaper flags, get a load of this version of The Guardian’s flag from 1919:

The Guardian Flag, 1919

(Did you know that those boxes to the left and right of the flag are called “ears” in newspaper parlance?)

Here’s a look at “Guardian” up close:


Is that not a dreamy typeface that makes you want to go back and live in 1919?

Thanks to Isaac L. Stewart for the pointer to 1919.

Ottawa Citizen Redesign

As someone who used to make up the front page of a daily newspaper using bits of paper and wax, I take more than a usual interest in the design of newspaper front pages. And so it was interesting to see the redesigned Ottawa citizen today.

Here’s Saturday’s paper, with the old design, on the left, compared to today’s paper, with the new design, on the right:

Ottawa Citizen Cover: before and after redesign

The new design certainly owes a lot to the USA Today redesign from 2012, albeit using squares rather than circles and a calmer colour palette. I was always a fan of the old flag – the “Ottawa” and “Citizen” separated by a rendering of the clock tower on Parliament Hill – but I admire the newly-conceived “works as an icon” version too. I’d love to get my hands on a paper copy; I’ll have to wait until it arrives at the public library later this week.

Droopy Quotes

You may recall my “krisis,” written about here last week, wherein I found myself without any capital K in 12 point Bodini, an important gap as I had to set the name Carl F. Klinck as part of the Confederation Country Cabinet project.

I’m happy to report that the krisis has been averted: my typefounder performed yeoman service and quickly cast and shipping sufficient K to keep me going. While he was at it, I had him cast some capital G, some capital B and some quotations marks, the later allowing me to change:

— from Letter to Canadians by Jack Layton (1950-2011), August 20, 2011.


— from ‘Letter to Canadians’ by Jack Layton (1950-2011), August 20, 2011.

The type arrived on Friday, and I sorted it into the type case this morning and in doing so I learned that not all quotation marks are created equal: there are “droopy quotes” and “66/99” quotes.

For my #375 Bodini, the Swamp Press type catalog entry looks like this:

Bodini 375

Notice how the quotation marks in the face look like this (and are “droopy”):

Droopy Quotes

Compare this to the Swamp Press type sample for #137 Caslon Old Style:

where the quotation marks provided are of the “66/99” style:


What this means is that there are actually two ways of setting the quotation marks for ‘Letter to Canadians’:

These variants are described in the book Designing Type as follows:

Although modern digital systems now provide a specific key and code for quotation marks, the form of the quote remains the same: a pair of evenly-spaced commas. While some designers prefer a top-heavy orientation (also called ‘droopy quotes’), the normal configuration is ‘66’ and ‘99’.

In my case it will be less “preference” and more “circumstance” that makes me a “droopy quote” man.

I thought it might be useful to print myself a visual aid to help setting quotes droopily, but it turned out that all I need to concern myself with is that the “tails” of the quotation marks point inwards:

I had no idea about any of this until an hour ago: setting type is a neverending learning experience.