A tangled forest of 1000 letters

Wrangling pages of copy all day. Setting letters and words into rows and columns. Aligning headline copy and main body copy. Kerning. Leading. Placing an image — photo headshot of a person featured in the article. Assigning pagination to each folio.

Often I am too busy hammering out page layout designs and meeting a deadline for a press date that the elegance and beauty of each letter is missed. The leg of the letter K, the arm of the letter V, the shoulder of a lowercase N, the spine of the S become a swath of gray in a field of white space. The stoke of an A, the swash of a fancy uppercase B, the bowl of the letter D, or the counter — the closed space — of the letter O become a tangled forest of 6000 characters.

In a culture where everything seems instant and ephemeral, it is a delight to enjoy a timeless typeface inspired from a two thousand year old Roman edifice. If only for a few moments.

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Analog desk, mostly


This is a story about fighting for something that is worthwhile. It starts with attention fragmentation due to disruptive media. Data explodes across small and large screens. Time confetti. Tools designed to build stuff now maximizes a user’s attention. Algorithms exploit weakness.

A CEO of an internet technology company once told me that the best way to prevent a data/security breach is to unplug from the internet — air-gap. Does that work for your brain?

Last year I built a desk from salvaged materials. The idea was to create a retreat by the east window. Books, Boston ferns, dwarf palms, pens, paper and a manual typewriter populate the desktop. Mostly. A smart phone routinely finds its way to the desk. And a laptop computer. Vigilantly I try to maintain low-tech/no-tech policy with the desk by the window.

The space has allowed for a renewed energy for illustration projects, writing efforts, and — most importantly — reading and thinking about books. The discipline of maintaining this sanctuary is more difficult than initially perceived.

NOTES:
“Air-gap” According to a Wired magazine’s article: “An air-gapped computer is one that is neither connected to the internet nor connected to other systems that are connected to the internet.” https://www.wired.com/2014/12/hacker-lexicon-air-gap/