Sunday, December 28, 2008

Can you believe what some idiot did?

My friend Ken Avidor is working on a gigantic project about the post-apocalyptic Twin Cities. It's called "Bicyclopolis" and it is set in the future ruins of our current-day consumer's paradise. To more accurately draw the future destruction, he does research by drawing the suburbs as they are now.

While Avidor's vision and James Howard Kunstler's vision ("The Geography of Nowhere," "The Long Emergency") are not the same, they agree that suburban sprawl is a tragedy. So it makes sense that Avidor would draw art for Kunstler's podcast Web site,

When I saw Ken's KunstlerCast drawing on my iPod, I thought someone had taken Ken's drawing and slapped some ill-considered type on it. And I whined about it to Ken, at his house, in front of a bunch of other people. I said, "Can you believe what someone did to your drawing!" Ken said, "I did that." I said, "Oh." I blustered on. "Well, it should look better. I'd like to take a crack at it." Ken said, laughing, "I'll send you the art."

He sent the art the podcast picture was from. It's also the header for Wading in ever deeper (it's so much easier to rant and rave against people you don't know!), I redid the type on both pieces. He said he liked what I did and he said I should blog it.

Okay, Ken.
Looking at the podcast square, I'm not so sure it's better. The type is smaller and harder to read. But it does look more stylish. And isn't that what design is all about?

As always, click on the picture to make it bigger.


Avidor said...

Dave, you are right because you are His Awesomeness, The God-King of Type.

I rue the day I first learned to scratch the alphabet on a Wacom tablet.

No typographic blunder can escape Your Awesomeness on the internet and now on your all-seeing cellphone.

I will no longer insult/annoy/defy the Type God-King with my pathetic P-Shop lettering with the tasteless layer treatments without sacrificing a goat and a six-pack of Dr. Pepper...

David Steinlicht said...


Ooh -- Dr. Pepper! Thanks!


Duncan said...


I like what you did with the font on the podcast image. And I'd be happy to swap your version with the one I'm using now if that would please you.

Alas I can only express thanks for your typesetting work, I can't pay you for it.

As far as the banner goes, I like the direction you took with the font, but I think the black might be a little too dark.

Thanks for the blog post.

David Steinlicht said...


I would be delighted if you would use the design for the podcast icon! I did the reworking for my own amusement.

Wow, this is so cool!

And while I have your eyes, thanks for doing a great job on the podcast. I enjoy hearing what you and James Howard Kunstler have to say week in and week out. Keep up the good work!


Steven Stwalley said...

Just to rile things up some more, I suggest further revision to your type, Dave. I'd make the top type 80% or so smaller to have more air around the edges, and left justify the r in the second Kunstler with the far end of the big T in CAST above it (and with the type at the bottom, which I would bump down to match the width of the top text, minus the floating "the" it starts with). I'd play around with right justifying the K in the first KUNSTLER with the first light pole after the flags as in the first treatment... flags are getting in a little closer to the type than the rest of the stuff. Alternately, you could play with a type treatment where THE and CAST both have the same treatment as CAST currently does, to avoid the weird floating "THE." Most of all, though, I'd probably ignore this message. Nice work, Dave, and goddamn gorgeous ugly drawing as usual, Ken.

Steven Stwalley said...

Actually, since you killed the "the" on the li'l square images, can you kill it on the big one? The "the" needs to die, I tell you.

David Steinlicht said...


Why do you come over here to rile things up? Don't you have your own blog? Oh, that's right, you do.

Actually, good suggestions.

My type treatment in the banner is perhaps a little bit too aggressive and cramped. Making it smaller would probably not hurt.

As for the "The" -- it was in the original piece, so I kept it. And I think the "The" being small and hanging from the top sorta echos with the curve of the original artwork.


Avidor said...

Oh, crap, more banner art... this time I didn't even touch the lettering:

I'm sure Mr. High-Freekin'-Horse will have some freekin' thing to say... he always freekin' does.

Go ahead, make my day.

David Steinlicht said...


(Rising to the bait.) A-hem.

Nothing wrong with the type. Times Roman Bold is a good typeface.

I personally would not have put your subtly-colored art on such a brightly colored background. I think that treatment overwhelms the art. I would have put the art on a light or white background. And why isn't the art bigger?

But that's just me. There are many ways to do things. And many reasons.

A-hem. (Pretending I didn't rise to the bait.)