Design of Everyday Things

Recently, I had the chance to read the book The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman. You never realize how much user testing/thought must go on to make sure that an objects’ design can guide a user in proper use and workflow of that object. In that vain, I thought I would share an object design journal I have been keeping using the methods outlined by Norman to determine the overall design of everyday objects.

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Graphic Design Work

I have been doing a lot of graphic design work lately and I thought I would share them with you!

Italian Heritage Club of America - Utica, NY
Tutor Training Program at Rochester Institute of Technology
Business Card for Laura Morris

Creative Business Cards for the Small Budget

In preparation for GraphExpo (yay!), many of the RIT students are busy printing their first ever business cards. Everyone is in a quest to standout from the norm and be remembered with a small 2″x3.5″ piece of paper. However, the real problem with business cards is that it always seems that when you “Google” creative business cards  that you find cards that if you do the math in your head would cost a student their grocery budget for two weeks! My love for these cards are super strong, don’t get me wrong (I look forward to the day when my business card can be made into a spork, it does exist and it is awesome). But for now, I thought I would demo three more expensive cards paired down for a smaller budget.

The Fold

This card from Signa is really interesting it not only has a dye cut on it but it folds to reveal more information! For this style of card with a fold the price would be pretty hefty since not only are you paying someone to fold the card but also you have to deal with a custom dye cut cost. To get around this, you could make a trifold card which would be three business cards “stacked” together. This allows you have more space and fewer cuts come press time. Also the folding can easily be done by hand if you are only making a few. The best part is…you get to put more information about yourself. Maybe  you could add your goals, an abbreviated resume or an example of your work…the possibilities are endless!!





These great cards are from Bethany Flannery a graduate of RIT! Check out her site:












The Embossed

Embossing is so wonderful! It adds that extra punch to many printed products even business cards and this card by John Henry is not exception. As usual embossing costs money and for those short on cash and equipment, it can really be a pocket drainer. Yet if you look at the card closer you can see other design elements being used within the card. For example, scale of the initials, typographical contrast and positive and negative space. By playing off these elements and using them as the driving force of the design you can easily imitate the general feel of the design.



Chris Little a senior in SPM at RIT's card














The Dye Cut

The coolest business cards are usually the dye cut ones. They feel different in your hands and look really cool. However, I have noticed they do get lost a lot easier in the shuffle since they are usually smaller but hey to each their own. The card done by Timebomb Custom Letterpress is AWESOME but considering they are a print shop they probably have a dye cutter on hand and made these pretty cheap. However, if you were to order these from someplace…it’s another story. There is hope and it is called AC Moore. If you go to AC Moore they have dye cutters that run from about 14 to 20 dollars each allowing the every man to have their own dye cut business cards. If you do it yourself you can really save on finishing costs from a shop. Fair warning though make sure you make the cards a bit bigger to compensate for the dye cutter!!









This Dye Cutter is only $3.95 used!
This Dye Cutter is only $3.95 used!











What did I make for GraphExpo? You will just have meet up with me to find out!

Want to see more cool business cards? Check out for some more cool ideas!!

I’ll stick with Caslon until I die. A Brief Evaluation.

The Italian Renaissance saw the rebirth of the arts within Italy and so the typography from there also evolved. This category of fonts based off of the handwriting of the Italian Renaissance is known as Oldstyle.

Oldstyle types have been evolving since 1470, first starting with the Venetian Oldstyle. Nicholas Jenson of France designed this typeface. Jenson was a successful foundry owner and when he served in the court of King Charles VII of France was sent to Maintz, Germany ( par 1). Jenson’s type was copied throughout the 1500s creating such typefaces as the French and the Aldine Oldstyle ( par 2). The descendents of these humanist Venetian fonts can be found within the work of William Caslon.

Caslon, born in 1693, was an English font designer. During Caslon’s early career “English printing was at a low ebb and was dependent on Holland for its types. Caslon changed all this and stopped the importation of Dutch type. Thus, Caslon heralded a turning point for English type-founding” ( par 1). A group of printing firms in London asked to use Caslon’s new type when making copies of the New Testament to be sent on ships to the new world of America. It was the publisher’s hope and also that of the English government to convert the natives of America to Christianity.When his work reached the new world, the taste for the typeface spread across America. It’s most famous use was in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was printed and distributed among the people of the new world. The author “George Bernard Shaw insisted that only Caslon be used for all his books” ( par 3). The Caslon font became one of the most used fonts of the 18th century.

The Caslon typeface has undergone many revisions during its existence and continues even today. Most commonly, the font referred to as Caslon Old Face is the truest example of the font designed by William Caslon. The “Caslon Letter Foundry” currently owns this font. During the revival of Caslon, the American Type Founders created the Caslon 471 font based off of a book sample found dating back to 1865 ( par 1).  The American Type Founders have continued to create variations of the font throughout the years.

With in the Oldstyle font there are general classifications that can be found within any of the families. The first is the minimal variation of thick to thin strokes with the letterforms. Also the x-height of the letterform is very small. The small compactness of the letterform continues with its small serif often causing a concave looking base of the letter. Since the design of the Oldstyle font is to emulate handwriting, there is a small oblique shift within the round curves of the letter causing a stress to be on the diagonal. The ascending line of the letterform and the capital line are always almost nearly separate from each other ( par 2). The Caslon typeface does keep with many of these attributes but does vary as well. Caslon was revolutionary for its day so it does contain some unexpected variations.

When William Caslon created his type it was said that he used Dutch letterforms as inspiration for his work. Many compare his work to that of early Dutch typographers, Van Dijck and Janson (Bigelow Class Lecture). His font shares the characteristics of Dutch forms in that short ascenders and descender characterize the font, serifs are short and the text is of high contrast. There is a modulation of the stroke and the “A” contains a concave curve within the apex ( par 12). The capital “G” does not contain a spur. In the style of imitating handwriting Caslon’s italic forms are in the style of calligraphy and contain a stroke with movement. Lowercase italic letters, especially the p, q, v, w, and z “all have a suggestion of a swash” (Wikipedia par 1).

The Caslon typeface has fallen in and out of favor over time, with its most recent revival in the 1980s. Caslon, since it has so many variations, can have many different uses. For example, Caslon 540 is a bold typeface that is mostly used for advertisements and large posters. More recently, a custom version of Caslon 540 is used for Vogue Magazine for their cover headings ( par 2). During the 1700s the Caslon typeface was so popular it was used for all the British newspapers. This theme continues today in magazines and newspapers that use Caslon typefaces. The magazine, Boston, uses the Williams Caslon Text, a modern version of Caslon developed by William Berkson (Boston Magazine par 1).

People really love Caslon, as George Bernard Shaw once said; “I’ll stick with Caslon until I die.” The Caslon font family is a very readable and legible font family. It contains strong contrasting letterforms that allow the typeface to be easily read. “To the question, ‘What is the best type for all purposes which has been designed from the beginning of printing until the present day?’ there can be no uncertain answer. The type is that designed and cut by William Caslon. It can be used for years for all purposes without palling on the taste” (McMurtrie).  Its success as a display and body text shows the versatility and staying power of Caslon.There are those who believe that the Caslon font family is a predictable choice: “I am not a great enthusiast over Caslon. It is at most a safe type for general use and moderately picturesque” (Rogers).

William Caslon passed away in 1766, and with his death his font family fell out of style. Yet almost a hundred years later his font has undergone a revival, most recently seen in the Adobe Caslon typeface. Caslon continues to be a readable functional choice for any printed material.

Works Cited

“Nicolas Jenson – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Adobe Caslon.” My Fonts. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

Bigelow, Charles. “Email.” N/A. N/A. Gmail, Utica, NY. 21 Dec. 2009. Web.

Boston Magazine. “Issue Archive – Boston Magazine.” Boston Magazine – Boston’s Guide to Restaurants, Shopping, Nightlife, Arts & Entertainment and Culture. – Boston Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Caslon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Caslon 1776.” Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

Christensen, Thomas . “Typeface: Caslon.”, Presented by Thomas Christensen. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Families of Type.” SFCC Graphic Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

Gretchen, Smelter. “Boston Pops: A Conversation with Patrick Mitchell – Grids – SPD.ORG – Grids.” SPD.ORG. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Identifont – ITC Caslon 224.” Identifont – Identify fonts by appearance, find fonts by name. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Identifont – Nicolas Jenson.” Identifont – Identify fonts by appearance, find fonts by name. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Identifont – William Caslon.” Identifont – Identify fonts by appearance, find fonts by name. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“The Dutch Font Scene.” Carleton. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2009.

“Type, Typography and Fonts.” Graphic Design & Publishing Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

“Typographic Collaboration | Typophile.” Typographic Collaboration | Typophile. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

US Goverment. “Declaration of Independence.” N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.