Portfolio Site Redesigned

In an effort to remove my sites off Typekit, I redesigned my professional site using Bild and Roslindale, designed by David Jonathan Ross. These two typefaces came from Font of the Month Club.

The redesign is obviously typography driven. I just wanted to make it huge. Huger than Huge. Bild is quite a striking typeface. I am not in the market for a new job. Scalia Law School still treats me well. Therefore, I don’t have to play safe and follow any convention. Just do it for the fun of it.

I hope you enjoy it.

RIP, Typekit

Adobe has pulled the plug on standalone Typekit plans; therefore, Typekit subscribers are screwed. I am forced to subscribe to Adobe products to use Adobe Fonts. I already have my Adobe products through the law school, but I want to keep Adobe Fonts separately for my own projects.

It would be ridiculous and wasteful to have two subscriptions of Adobe products, but if I don’t go with an Adobe plan next year, all my sites that are using Typekit will have no custom fonts.

The “Type Recommendation” on Vietnamese Typography will be heavily affected. To keep this resource forever, I will have to pay a monthly fee of at least $120 a year for Adobe XD or take down that section completely. My other option is to get rid of all the typefaces that are served through Adobe Fonts.

In the future, I will only recommend typefaces that I have a copy of the font files. If you are a type designer and would like to showcase on Vietnamese Typography, please contact me.

Jelle De Laender has also written about his concern.

Catching Up With Gutenberg

I am glad that the release of WordPress 5.0 has been pushed back. After testing out Gutenberg, the new, controversial editor, I can see why Matt Mullenweg is pushing hard to get it into core. Gutenberg will define WordPress as a powerful CMS and no longer just a blogging platform. It gives users more flexibility to create richer experience.

I can also see why it is alienating many designers and developers. For this blog, which I have intended to keep simple from the start, I won’t be using Gutenberg. I have no photos, no video, no audio, and no gallery. It is just simply text. I do put up large hero images once in a while, but they do not go into the database. I want the complete control of the text. My theme still just have 3 files. I don’t see the need to use Gutenberg, but I will see if I can develop a theme from scratch like I always had in the past decade just for this site.

I played with the new Twenty Nineteen. It looks impressive, but the theme has tons of files. I might be wasting my time developing a theme from scratch. I just have to roll with what already developed and just customize it for my needs. Once WordPress 5.0 is out and Twenty Nineteen is officially released, I’ll use it to develop a theme for Scalia Law School. It will be beneficial for the school sites than my own personal site.

Gutenberg isn’t solid yet, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. It is understandable that people don’t like new changes, but they will get around to it.

George Mason Homepage Redesigned

George Mason relaunched its homepage two days ago. According to the Office of Communications and Marketing, “The new design is based on data analysis of visitor traffic on the homepage over the past three years and is intended to make the page more user-friendly for all visitors.”

The visual has not changed too much, but I do notice the big four action buttons: visit, apply, jobs, and give. A couple of years ago, our dean showed off our website to the president and the president immediately pointed out the action buttons we have on the Scalia Law website: visit, request information, and apply now. It makes me wonder if the president requested those buttons based on what he liked on our site.

Maybe it is just a coincidence, but I am glad they made that change. This is what the previous design of the GMU homepage looked like and this is the new homepage redesign.

Friday Finds

Oh No type has a jaw-dropping redesign. It is a wonderful showcase of its typefaces. It loads quite slow on Chrome though.

The New York Times also redesigned its homepage. It does not look too different, except a huge-ass ad at the top.

The Complete CSS Demo for OpenType Features is a useful reference. Bookmark it.

Mona Franz shares her work-in-progress editorial typeface called Bridge.

David Jonathan Ross writes about Map Roman, font of August. It’s a great alternative for the overused Trajan.

Table tennis in NYC’s Bryant Park brings all walks of life together. A short, inspiring documentary.

Finally, a sneak peak at the website for the Biennial Scalia Tribute Dinner. An individual ticket only costs a grant.

Friday Finds

A useful cheatsheet for CSS Grid created by Malven Co. The Flex cheatsheet is also helpful.

Frank Grießhammer released the Source Serif italics. Sadly, no support for Vietnamese yet.

The Forecaster has a stunning design with great example of typographic hierarchy.

Chris Dang used to have a blog. I admired the way he incorporated his striking illustrations into his blog layouts. Unfortunately, he had abandoned it a long time ago and moved on. Now he simply puts his work on SquareSpace.

A fascinating look at how Trajan, designed by Carol Twombly, dominated movie posters.

That’s pretty much it for this week. I am taking the last vacation of the summer next week. Have a great weekend!

Friday Finds

I want to get back to finding design inspirations, particularly websites with strong typography.

Let’s kick off with my own portfolio site. I made some realignments. I dropped the grid to make the layout simpler. I am still using Roslindale and Bild, designed by David Jonathan Ross for his Font of the Month Club. I made the text much bigger.

Also setting in Roslindale, Jason Pamental redesigned his site using Roslindale’s variable font. I dig the resource section. Thanks for including my websites.

Yesterday, I noticed Vassar has a new design. Congratulations to the talented web team. Under the new director, they appear to be unifying the look and feel rather than letting it loose like when I was still there over a decade ago.

I came across twin soul studio. Very nice use of big types, colors, illustrations, and subtle motions.

The Intercept is definitely not new, but I like the typographic treatment. The infinite scrolling, however, drives me nuts. TechCrunch isn’t new either, but I like the grid layout on the homepage.

I took a recent issue of the Magnolia Journal at my brother-in-law’s house because I was impressed with the typesetting. I am feeling the itch to redesign this blog a bit. I want to make the text bigger, but also keep it readable. Will see.

No Free Ads for Car Dealers

After 15 years together, my poor 2003 Acura TL is in devastating condition. Its transmission is failing and it is spreading to other parts like cancer. I am still driving it, but I am afraid it will just die on me one of these days.

My wife and I have been shopping around for a while and we decided on another Toyota Sienna because it has the most room for our growing family. Our forth boy is coming out soon so just want to be done with the car situation.

Late Wednesday night, my wife and I went adopted a brand new 2018 Toyota Sienna SE. It’s a beautiful minivan and it just cost me a big fortune. I need to just let it go about the money issue. I hate making a big decision like this, but it is now a done deal. Just get over it.

The next morning I discovered a decal of Priority logo glued below the left rear headlight. The sales guy also attached its logo on the front and rear of my license plates. The plates I can easily take off, but I am not going to scrape off the decal and leave scratch marks.

I am not going to advertise for the dealer for free after it had charged me a huge amount of money. I wrote to Priority and asked for a small fee to have its logo displayed on my minivan as well as the front and rear license plates for the lifetime of the car. Of course, I did not get any response.

After work, I drove back to the dealer to have the decal remove. The sales guy was shocked that I wanted that done. He asked me if I was sure I wanted it to remove. Of course, I said yes. I don’t want to display the dealer’s logo on my car. I guess except for designers, most people don’t care.

It is ridiculous how much money the dealers have made with the car sales and they also want the buyers to advertise for them for free. We need to demand discounts or remove the logos. We can’t let them take advantage of us.

The Economics of Web-based Books is Not Viable

After PayPal fees, I made exactly $9.99 on the second edition of Vietnamese Typography. I had put tremendous amount of effort into the revision, but it is not paid off. My only hope left is that the book still provides the value for anyone who is interested in the Vietnamese language and that I will get some advising work with type designers.

As for me, I have learned an invaluable lesson on publishing web-based books. When I first read Practical Typography, I was intrigued by Matthew Butterick’s experimentation. His writing on “The Economics of a Web-based Book” inspired me to take this route. I am glad it worked out for him. I am not a business savvy. Putting up the entire book for free is a terrible marketing strategy; therefore, I do not recommend this approach. The web is a great place for sharing information, but it is still not a good platform for getting paid for the knowledge you shared.

With that said, I still feel good about my small contribution to the web design community (Professional Web Typography) and type design community (Vietnamese Typography). I want to thank those who have read and supported my effort.

Job Title Matters

When I was promoted to Director of Design and Web Services, I did not think much of it. I had a raise and a part-time web developer/editor reporting to me, but not a whole lot changed.

Recently I was invited to be on the hiring committee for the position of Director of Communications. My role was to make sure the candidate have sufficient technology to do basic tasks including putting together a monthly email newsletter, writing a blog post, and, of course, using social media.

After all the interviews, the committee discussed the best candidate to make the recommend to the Dean. We all came up with the same candidate, however, I was concerned about the lack of technical skills from a potential candidate. When I voiced my concern, one of the committee members suggested that I should be reporting to the new Director of Communications. I was shocked, but my reply was, “You can’t direct a director. I am the Director of Design and Web Services.” The committee member didn’t say anything.