Good Reads: ‘Never Use Futura’

Book reviews are not something that I usually do on here, but whatever. I got a couple of books for xmas that I really enjoyed and I decided that I may as well pass along my thoughts for any like-minded people who may come across this and are looking for a good read. I had actually not even heard about this book. But B heard some design nerds say some good things about it and naturally thought that I would enjoy. She was right.

The book is a good mix of history, design, opinion, wit, and dry humor. I don’t even hold it against Douglas Thomas (the author) that he has affiliations with Brigham Young University. For those who don’t know me well, it is a pretty big deal for me to be able to overlook that fact, hehe. Futura is a typeface that was originally developed by a guy named Paul Renner and released in the late 1920s by the Bauer type foundry in Germany. In the past couple of decades, it has been popularized by the artist Barbra Kruger, then Shepard Fairey (as a nod to Kruger), and Supreme (as a blatant rip-off of Kruger).

Reading this book was like taking a guided tour through the museum of Futura. The text is pleasantly broken up by visual examples of the subject matter. Whether it is examples from old publications or overlaid examples of modern variations to illustrate distinction, the visual aides are always on point. It is one of those books where I couldn’t help but think the entire time I was reading “I wish that I knew as much about ANYTHING as Thomas does about Futura.”

It is a super easy and fun read, barely 200 pages. I read it in a single sitting, partly because I couldn’t put it down, partly because of its relatively short length. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is into design aesthetic, art and/or history.

SRAM’s Super Bike Friendly Office in Chi Town

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Even thought I don’t consider myself a hardcore cyclist (I don’t own any spandex), I do appreciate the culture. Of course there are a lot of aspects about it that can rub people the wrong way. Despite one’s opinion about cycling culture, I think that most could agree that SRAM’s office in Chicago (by Perkins + Will) looks like a pretty amazing space to work. It seems to be a¬†true marriage of form and function. Video tour below, or more looks here.

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Bike Rack and Bench Built the Old Fashioned Way (from scratch)

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Anyone will tell you that keeping a bike in a NYC apartment can be kind of tricky. They have such awkward dimensions that it seems like they are always in the way. Two bikes? Forget it. There are a lot of options for hanging bikes. Most of them are fairly unsightly (i.e. a large vinyl covered hook that screws into the wall or ceiling). Have also seen people use those tension rod racks. They seem really good from the perspective that they don’t require putting any holes in the wall/ceiling, but in my opinion are more fit for a dorm room than an apartment occupied by two gainfully employed adults. I have been trying to figure out a solution that isn’t hideous, basically since last August when we moved into this place. There are a lot of cool wooden shelf/racks that mount on the wall. But I wasn’t super keen on getting two separate racks. Also, the ones that I liked the most seemed pretty pricey for something that I could make by myself if I had the stuff and time.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a relatively minor surgical procedure on my ankle that severely limited my ability to get around for the short term. I decided to take advantage of the extra time that I would be spending stuck inside of my apartment, and broke out the power tools. I took some measurements and sketched out a quick design for a rack that would support most its own weight, and hold two bikes. I made a list of lumber, and my GF drove us to Home Depot to pick up supplies. I cut all of the parts and assembled the rack in an afternoon. I should mention that we also built a bench. More on that in a bit. We spent the next couple of days sanding, painting and staining. As a finishing touch, I added raw leather to leading edge of the wood that receives the bike frame. It isn’t perfect. But I really like it. I have posted the plans/instructions here, for anyone who would like to build their own.

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Couldn’t help but include Lola in a couple of the shots.

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The bench is basically the same story. My GF was looking at some benches on one of those super hipstery looking furniture websites and saw a bench made from reclaimed pirate ship wood or some BS like that. The makers were asking $500+ for the bench. Again, something that could be so easily built if I had the lumber and 20 minutes to spare. The bench is made from an 8′ 2×8 that I cut in half and joined with bevel cut 2x4s (if I did it again I would probably use 2x2s instead). The hairpin legs were purchased from some dude in Philly who makes them and sells them on Etsy. We stained the pine with a walnut stain. Boom– reclaimed/upcycled pirate ship hipster wood!

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More Lola

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