SASD students offer fresh concepts for the Bridgeport library

Library plan by Micah Boyd

Library plan by Micah Boyd

Plans for the renovation of the Bridgeport Library created by interior design students at Shintaro Akatsu School of Design will be unveiled at an opening reception 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday, May 24 at the library’s downtown Burroughs & Saden branch, at 925 Broad Street.

The opening reception will feature hypothetical plans for the future renovation and repurposing of the former first-floor Popular Library. They were created by students working under the direction of professor and architect Seung Hyeon Park, AIA. A bank and a cafe before you get to the books? Why not. Come and take a closer look, and get a taste of the creativity coming from the U.B. campus these days.

Cherokee: Now in more than 1 font

For the first time in its history the Cherokee Nation has more than one font to express its native language in written form, thanks to design help from Gary Munch, an award-winning letterpress designer who teaches at University of Bridgeport Shintaro Akatsu School of Design.

Munch’s contributions, unveiled recently and now being put to use in Cherokee schools, are the key to preserving their native language, say tribe elders.

“Native languages across the world are disappearing and Cherokee is at risk of being lost, even with all the successful programs we have had. ” says Joseph Erb, of language technology and education services at the Cherokee Nation. “How do you excite your community about your language again? Beautiful fonts are one of the answers. As we continue to grow our language back in the youth, they demand quality technology from our language. Fonts are a very key part of that.”

Until Munch unveiled his designs, the Cherokee only had one font in which to properly express their language in writing, and it had been designed in the 1820s. Other fonts for Cherokee had been “designed by people who did not speak or write Cherokee and had characters that were not correct,” Erb says. “Think about a world with only one font.”

Without the Garamonds, Times New Romans, and Bodonis that color the printed world of English and other romance languages, things look pretty dull. Crisp and modern—or curlicued and rooted in tradition—fonts’ structure and appearance send strong subliminal messages about text, content, and image. Show one of Coca-Cola’s cursive C’s or the dromedary-like arches of the McDonald’s golden M to consumers in the farthest reaches of the world, and odds are, they’ll instantly match the fonts to company brands.

With that in mind, Erb attended a design conference called Typecon 2011, searching for help. It was there he met Munch from the University of Bridgeport.

The original Cherokee font, says Munch, “had formalized letters had similarly shaped but differently sounded letters in Latin, Greek or Cyrillic, with a very high contrast of weight on strokes and very thin on horizontals. This was fashionable the early nineteenth century, but the Nation wanted a selection of typefaces that were different, expressive, even fun—just as anyone else who uses typefaces looks for just the right one for a variety of messages.”

Munch produced three new options: Chancery Modern ProCherokee, a sleek sans serif semi-cursive font; a multipurpose “workhorse” design that he dubbed Neogrotesk Cherokee; and finally, the so-called Munch Chancery Cherokee, a calligraphic font that resembles handwriting, and, says Erb, “is beautiful to look at.” In fact, the Nation is using Munch Chancery at its Cherokee Immersion School and by some of the translation staff.

“It would be very difficult to describe how nice fonts of different kinds are in a language that has so few,” Erb concludes. “Gary did amazing work. He may not have the ability to read and write our language, but he has very good instincts and ability to work with suggestions to create something new and exciting. He heard our plea for a better written word and used his talents to make our written world better. That is something special.”

Courtesy of Leslie Geary at University of Bridgeport

Follow #snd33 this weekend

I’ll be guest blogging for SND starting tomorrow, through Tuesday, as a panel of judges decides which newspaper is the world’s best designed.

This is my second year doing this, and it’s a privilege to have a front-row seat on the process.

I’ll have judge bios, gather their perspectives on the state of design, and maybe take a peek at what designers are doing in other countries.

Here’s the post that capped off last year’s competition. 

SND Symposium at Syracuse: You can virtually be there

Syracuse UniversitySociety for News Design members are invited to take part in the SND Foundation Student Symposium, Friday, Feb. 3, in Syracuse.

This offers a great chance for our student chapter members especially to take part and to hear from top minds in visual journalism.

We have an excellent line-up of speakers:

Jonathon Berlin of the Chicago Tribune
Richard Johnson of the National Post
Adonis Durado of the Times of Oman and Al Shabiba

The seminar precedes the Best of News Design competition judging. (Lee Steele will return as guest blogger at during the World’s Best Design judging Feb. 10-14.)

Send in your questions and interact with us through Cover It Live or send them to @SND on Twitter. If you’re tweeting about the program, use #sndsyracuse in your tweets.

Click the SND Symposium page for more information.

SNDCLE: Discounted rate (might be, may be, are possibly) still available

SND ClevelandI can’t promise it, because this offer was capped at 25 people, but last week there were still some registration discounts available for SND’s Cleveland Workshop.

Plan early and save some dough the SND Annual Workshop, Oct. 11-13, 2012, in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Capital of the World, Cleveland, Ohio. Register here.

Bonus tip: Become a member of the Society for News Design and save even more!

The editor preferred paste-up

In 1985, I was entering my senior year in college and about to begin my tenure as editor of the campus newspaper.

The computer lab approached us and offered to produce our newspaper. They had this new thing, a Macintosh, that offered “desktop publishing.”

Crazy! the young fogy in me said. We paste up our paper, hiring a contractor to typeset our words on photo paper, run the through a waxer, and cut ourselves with X-ACTO knives.

What did I know, and probably I was right to refuse an emerging technology [Read more…]

Exploring the’s new design

As part of the Design Museum Boston traveling lecture series done in collaboration with AIGA, Dan Zedek and Miranda Mulligan will talk about the design process behind the newly released

John Design Museum Boston along with co-hosts Boston World Partnerships and AIGA Boston at The Boston Globe for a UNITE event 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. In addition to an enormous printing press, the Globe’s halls are filled with Boston history including a World Series ring and the paper’s many Pulitzer Prizes.

Dan Zedek is  the Globe’s assistant managing editor for editorial design and Miranda Mulligan is editorial director for digital design.

The Globe will provide food and drinks and will raffling DMB prize packs. Globe HQ are right on the Red Line (JFK/UMass) and there’s plenty of parking.

Tickets are available here. Globe employees get in free and can contact Robert Powers for registration.