« March 2011 | Main | Archives | May 2011 »

April 2011



Electro-Tutor! It’s like the game Operation, but for maps! From today’s French Friday post HERE.


Us do opposite of all earthly things!

This actually works pretty well for most of the protagonists in John Waters films, too.

Web Fonts: Type Choice & Type Use

Everyone in the type world seems to be talking about web fonts, which is a bit of a bummer when you find other typographic challenges more fascinating. Nevertheless the subject has become something of a juggernaut in the past couple of years, and it's not one you can easily ignore if you're working in type. What can be frustrating, though, is how little people seem to be talking about web fonts outside the world of type design. I don't think people making and using web sites are uninterested, but I suspect they're still waiting for font vendors to say: "Right, all this stuff we have works just fine so here's how you use it."

Realistically, though, that day is far away, if it's even likely to happen at all. The ideal solutions to the technical and design challenges of web typography are moving targets, and are likely to remain so. Complicating matters a bit, font vendors are being challenged to invest an enormous amount of time and money without being entirely sure there will be a payoff at the other end.

There's a some great discussions about the subject brewing, but I want to point out this follow-up comment to Ross Mills's great post at Typographica:

No doubt web designers just want something that ‘works’, but my point is that the type industry isn’t enabled to instantly produce hundreds or thousands of fonts that will be adequate as text web/screen fonts. And, yes, they should be ‘adequate’. The font industry needs to communicate with the web designers what constitutes ‘adequate’. Web designers should educate themselves and not blindly implement new technologies that make the web a uglier place to be. Such technology should be let into the wild carefully, lest its supposed benefits bite its own head off.

Brand Perfect TourThis is the issue that's been on my mind quite a lot lately, mostly because I've been preparing a workshop around that very thing. Web Fonts: Type Choice & Type Use will be part of the Brand Perfect Tour coming to London, Hamburg, and New York in the next couple of months. I'm going to present a look at a bunch of the typographic issues involved in using web fonts. (Note that I say "typographic" and not "type design" there — this is about type use more than font creation.) I'll review what the challenges are at the moment and offer some advice about using web fonts well, but the real point is to get designers and developers to look closely at available type and how it behaves on the web, and make informed choice about which web fonts they use and how they use them.

Essentially, I don't think the use of web fonts is a seismic shift in the practice of typography. Rather, I think web fonts are yet another technological shift requiring sensitive, informed use of the typographic resources available and an understanding of the medium. Smart use of web fonts, after all, is probably the best way to figure out what to demand from the people offering the fonts themselves.

Donut Queen

I've been called worse.



From the scrapbook

Knowing glances


Athletic Model Guild

The Heiress



shop front

Power couple


Black Canary/Green Arrow - Esquire July 1972

Modern Styling


Here’s my submission to the exhibition. I spent a long time researching the correct names for all those hairstyles! This will also be available as a print at some point.

I’m so pleased this painting has generated so much interest but I would greatly appreciate a credit to me or link to my website shown with each re-blog. Thankyou!

My website is www.chrislamberttattoo.com 

From the scrapbook

Fantastic achievement


Congratulations (Taken with instagram)

Noise pollution


An anti-noise poster designed by Müller-Brockman, Switzerland. Scanned from Graphic design: visual comparisons by Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes and Bob Gill,Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York, 1964.


I hope these Youtube videos stay online for a while, so you can all see this British documentary about John Waters, made around the time Hairspray (the first, non-musical one) was released. It's a little annoying to listen to Jonathan Ross's voice-ver, but it's so charming to see the interview with Divine in the first section:

Divine died only a week after the release of Hairspray in 1988, and this is the only footage I've ever seen of him enjoying the well-deserved praise for his work in the film. It also makes me sad all over again to think that he never got the chance to see how big Hairspray eventually became.


Candy you can eat

I need to just embrace my inner Etta Candy and accept my prospects.


I love wonder woman so fucking much.

“my constitution has lots of room for amendments”

From the scrapbook


Jason Vaughn

Fucking dope!

Bionic Showdown


Hair envy



(via richard warwick as wallace in “if”)



Dirty old man



Teen fags rule this hood

The Pink Mince mood board

Ready for battle




Retro Future Realness

Not many people can cha cha cha


Dance the Ska brought to you by Red Stripe beer…

The Pink Mince mood board


The Strange One, Times Square, by Frank Paulin. NYC, 1956.



Catherine Schell, Space:1999, 1976

Acres of tattoos


(1940 Life Magazine, via Rivet Head)

See more here

The TV Party!


The Lost Art of The Hip Hop Flyer - Talk about “original street art”, using extinct tools and resources like Rub on Letters, Wax Machines, Exacto Knives, Graph Paper and Photocopiers, you had to have some serious SKILLZ to cut around an afro-puff, and jheri curl while “collaging” that shit together. Afrika Bambaataa Soul Sonic Force AND Wanda D, damn that’s hot.

Spandex party

Wow, remember when Byrne didn’t destroy everything you loved?


Byrne X-Men

House Industries sticks it

I have been wrapping EVERYTHING with this stuff lately.


Letter tape from House Industries, via Design*Sponge.

Trusty sidekick


Buster Crabbe & Jackie Moran with a racketeer, Buck Rogers 1939

Perennial Favorites

Batgirl vs. Spider-Woman by George Perez



The Kiss

Damn her!

The Pink Mince mood board

The Funny Pages

I’m really proud of this one, and totally think you should pickup a copy. “The Funny Pages” is a special giant-sized edition of Pink Mince, a loving tribute to the comics. Featuring the work of James Bainbridge, Drub, Sina Evil, Howard Hardiman, Jessie Johnson, Luke Jones, Bill Roundy, and Timothy Thornton. 

Pink Mince

Astronaut pajamas

Astronaut Pajamas


found NASA photos from the 1960s and ’70s courtesy of ParkerNow’s Flickr Photostream

Alpine Ski 29


Alpine Ski (by Boldover Design)

Are we not men?



Photo finished!

I have been eagerly waiting YEARS for this to be ready. SO EXCITED! I made this thing as an excuse to play with the fonts.


Photo Lettering, Inc. is alive! It’s really cool—for those of you who don’t know, it is a long-awaited site from House Industries where you can set a headline (say, for a magazine), pay just $7, and get a download of the text setting for you to use forever and ever. The all-star designers that have contributed their letters (be them digitizations of the PLinc back catalog or original designs) include Ken Barber, Tal LemingChristian Schwartz, Paul Barnes, Erik van Blokland, Kris Sowersby, Martin Wenzel, Dan Milne, Mitja Miklavčič, Donald Roos, Kai Bernau, Susana Carvalho and more.

It's here!

It’s here!

Superrollins, pt. 2

And the flip side (via)

Superrollins, pt. 1

Superboy as Henry Rollins, by Rob Clarke (via)

Reed Richards is a dick


pure gold right here

The eyes

At sea

Another Sunday on the water with the Dutch members of the Reading mafia


Arnhem, the Netherlands


Down with singles

Batman unfair to Batgirl!


Irv Novick.



1963 (by Skinny Ships)

From the scrapbook

Andre the Giant DID have a posse


Debbie Harry & Andre The Giant

Oh l'amour


Andre Beato type/design, via GrainEdit.

Art department



The Pink Mince mood board

Made in Japan


Vintage Japanese Safety Match label, via Design Related/Karen Horton.



Lovely @adrianlourie took some photos of me yesterday.

We had such a great time! 

Ride it

Trouble Maker


Troublemaker Invades Walker Art Center: “Can artwork sexually attract each other? Does minimalism make pop horny?  Does pornography elevated to high art lose its erotic power? Does size matter or can a tiny joke compete with a maximalist icon?  Can art ever be ‘funny’ without losing academic enthusiasm? … Maybe the entire museum-going experience is in need of intervention. Why is there no art in the parking lot? Wouldn’t a symphony of car crash sound effects remind visitors not to drink too much and drive home after an opening? And shouldn’t the public know how much this show cost? Why not display all the expense receipts (shipping, insurance, construction) in a vitrine like artistic ephemera and let the museum-goers snoop at the endless price of exhibition? Who says simple sculptural vandalism somewhere in the building make the whole experience of visiting an art museum sexier? And what if the blue-plate special being served in the restaurant is a photograph rather than an actual meal—isn’t that nutrition of a different kind?”

- John Waters @ the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; see also, and previously

From the scrapbook

Pre-order your Mince

Pre-order your copy of Pink Mince #7 — The Funny Pages — and get your hands on a copy as soon as it arrives back from the printer! (Or pick up a 6-issue subscription and always get the latest copy.)

Dr Linn's Bronchial Wafers

Camp Crystal Lake

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY — March 2011

Gothic exercises

Earth 2


Huntress & Power Girl by Terry Beatty

From the scrapbook

As of now — I quit

(via http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewsutton/4580802370)

Nubia! My black sister!

The Superhero Women

Dream date


1966 Superman Card Game (by andertoons)

Official business

April Fool's Day is probably a bad time to make a major announcement, but I swear this one is for real. As of today, I am employed full-time as a senior type designer at Monotype Imaging, based out of our office in Salfords, a bit south of London. (I live and spend most of the time working in London itself, however.) I will probably spend most of my time for the next few months continuing to work on Indic typefaces, and doing a bit more speaking about type design and typography. And actually getting paid for it. Is that awesome or what?

Hooray! Did you know that I've spent the last few months whining about my work visa issues, and living back in New York while I waited for all this to fall into place? After working for two years on a collaborative project between Monotype and the University of Reading, and then waiting for the visa stuff to get sorted, I feel like I have finally completed the longest job interview of my life. I am relieved, and excited.

Sparky typefaces

[Note: This is as good a time as any to point out that this is my personal web site, though, where I generally speak off the cuff, and occasionally talk some shit. Those opinions are mine, not the company's. Obviously.]

Let me adorn you, the bold design of you


If you are a regular here at Ultrasparky, then there's a good chance you're either a type nut, or kind of a homo. (Those are both wonderful things, and I applaud for either. You may still be lovely even if you are neither.) If you are either of those things, there's a chance you've heard this song. If you are both of those things, than I would be horrified if you were not aware of this beautiful moment in time when Towa Tei (formerly of Deee-Lite) got Kylie Minogue to sing a song about a typeface.

Not to brag or anything, but I have been obsessed with this song since the moment it was released in 1998. It may have been the first time I ever encounted Kylie Minogue, and it's still the only thing of hers I really love. The original CD shipped with a font called German Bold Italic, but as you can see, it was dreadful:

German Bold Italic
« March 2011 | Main | Archives | May 2011 »
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.13Creative Commons License