Creative roundup 19 May 2008

look at this book

Armin at Speak Up recently listed some new book recommendations for those interested in design. Time to give Amazon some cash.


Daniel Schutzsmith (of Graphic Define) has launched his new company website, DSGN +DVLP. Part of the website is the DSGN + DVLP blog, and a recent article focuses on defining online visibility.

DSGN + DVLP was founded in early 2008 as a web studio creating sites that are visually inspiring, fun to use, and easy as pie to update. All with a no fluff attitude!

Daniel, best of luck in your new venture. I hope it all goes excellently.

Font Burner

Adrian Hanft, of Be A Design Group, has been working on a neat side-project, Font Burner.

Font Burner is a website enhancement tool that makes it easy for you to add new fonts to your website. Websites are basically limited to the default fonts that come with all computers. That’s because a user must have the fonts installed on their computer in order to have it show up in their browser. Font Burner bypasses this limitation with our archive of fonts that work universally in all browsers and on all computers. By adding a simple block of code to your webpages you can transform your headlines from boring system fonts to any of the quality fonts found here at Font Burner! There is nothing to install, and best of all, it’s free!

I’ve often wondered just what fonts are common across all computers, so this sounds like a nice idea. If you give it a shot, I’m sure Adrian would greatly appreciate any feedback you may have.

important sign

Russell Davies, a fellow UK-based design blogger, published an article on the goodness and badness of advertising.

If a movie’s unpopular or a piece of product design is obviously bad it disappears really quickly, if an ad’s unpopular you’re highly likely to see more of it – the business processes of advertising haven’t tended to demand cultural success, just repetition.

A short but interesting read. Thanks Mr Davies.

And finally…

David Airey glasses

I’ve now joined the spectacular people who choose to wear glasses. Here’s a shot of me in my first ever pair. Handsome eh? *cough*

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  1. Look at you! You’ve got your “designer badge”! I really do find that wearing my glasses acts as an instant placard to passersby, as if to say “ask me how to get a well designed website”. Ha!

    Thanks for the support and all the fish!

  2. That’s great to know, Dan. I only need my glasses when at the computer, but perhaps I should sport them around town, business cards at the ready. ;)

    You’re very welcome for the support, and I see you switched to WordPress for the blog. Nice move.

  3. Hi David,

    I’m extremely interested in the Font Burner project… thanks for sharing that. It would be great to be able to use an array of fonts in html rather than the few web safe ones. I will try this out and see how well it works.

    Also, you look so different in each different photo of yourself! It’s like a different person in each one! I also wear glasses a lot, contacts when Im out in bars and things… did you just get glasses because your vision is worsening or is it a style thing? I am interested in Lasik surgery, but the thought of having surgery on my vision is slightly scary!

  4. Thanks for Font Burner, I am going to try that.
    Excellent Information. Fantastic Blog.. Thank you for sharing this info with us.

    By the way Cool Picture:) You look different than your profile pic.


  5. Brian,

    Do let me know you get on with Font Burner. As for the glasses, I’ve been getting regular headaches for some time now, mainly whilst working at my computer, and as I’d never before had an eye test, I felt it was overdue. Turned out glasses help my sight, especially when it comes to reading off a monitor. Good thing too, considering the price. ;)

    A friend of mine had laser eye surgery. She said it was very strange witnessing her cornea being lifted off the surface of her eye, but is 100% delighted with the results (20 20 vision). I’d be scared about it too, but the surgery seems more and more commonplace these days (for those who can afford it anyhow).


    You’re very welcome. I’m thinking about updating my main sidebar photo, now I’m wearing glasses for computer work.

  6. David, I’ve got a confession to make I am also a “just for computer” spectacle wearer! There is a whole army of us graphic designers in our designer glasses beavering away. We should be proud!

    I’m considering the laser treatment too but its just the word “laser” that worries me! :-)

    Off to check to fontburner, thanks again. Gareth

  7. Nice glasses! 8)

    Unless i’m missing something? FontBurner looks like it is a watered down version of sIFR.

    Maybe it’s a little easier but you are limited to their selection of fonts. You can use any with sIFR.

    Also, check out this Font Matrix at

    It lists which fonts are installed with popular software packages such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite, as well as Mac OSX and Windows XP & Vista.

    You will find that some fonts are a lot more common than you would expect! (So no excuse for everything to be in Arial or Verdana ;) )

  8. Steve O

    Fontburner looks to be very useful – thanks for the heads up! I may even use it for mine once it’s green lit.

    Nice choice of eyewear. I used to wonder if I should wear plain glass eyewear just so I look how people expect! Maybe I should go for an eyetest… it’s been a while…

  9. Fontburner looks very good – I have always found it very limiting using system fonts (and quite hard to explain to clients why they can’t have their fancy font on their site)

    Thanks for the info.


  10. Hi again David,
    if you’re curious about what fonts are more or less web-safe, you’ll enjoy this really nice post:

    A great little speech on web typography, very amusing and also useful.

    Ángel Domínguez / Globulart Diseño.

  11. Font Burner does look like a great idea.

    Is Daniel’s business “Design and Develop”? It took me a while to figure out what was going on with those letters :P

    Nice photo. More interesting than the glasses, thought they’re fine to be sure, is the use of flash (or light). Looks like you’ve got some kind of off-camera thing going, such that the shadow points up, but the camera looks down. Is that right? It’s interesting.

  12. Hey, David, nice specs :) Welcome to the club.

    I had to do this about two years ago. I was beginning to squint to see things far away and waking up with headaches and I realized it was time to get some glasses. It took me quite a while to get used to them, but now it’s like second nature.

  13. Oh, I was going to say that I don’t think corrective laser surgery works for problems caused by strain… problems developed by computer nerds and old people are usually because of the muscles inside your eyes getting tired, so there’s not much lasers could do, especially if you have thin corneas.
    There are probably exceptions, but that’s my understanding.

  14. David, Thanks for the link and kind words about Font Burner. And thanks to the commenters. Font Burner is brand spanking new so if anyone uses it and has questions or suggestions that is a big help.

    Shaun, yes Font Burner doesn’t hide the fact that it is powered by the woderful sIFR project. Watered down? That’s one way to put it. Font Burner tries to simplify things so that you don’t have to be a developer to implement it on your site.

    Thanks everybody for the comments!

  15. Well I would say that having to choose from your selection of fonts rather than unlimited fonts does make it watered down, yes.

    It wasn’t intended to be a criticism though, I did also state that it looks easier. Which i’m sure will appeal to some people, I was simply pointing our that sIRF has been around for a while and is a more powerful option for people that need it and have the ability to use it.

  16. Gareth,

    You’re very welcome. If you have any thoughts about Font Burner, do let me know.


    Thanks for the links. I’ll have a gander, and glad you like the specs. ;)

    Steve O,

    Eye tests are free on the NHS once every two years. That was the first I ever went to, and glad I did.


    No worries at all.


    It took me a while to decipher the DSGN + DVLP too. The strange shadow you see in the photo is actually from my arm. I was holding the camera :) Thanks for the tips on corrective laser surgery. I wasn’t aware of that, but the thought of paying (in the future) had crossed my mind.


    Hope your glasses cured those headaches? I know what a pain they can be.


    You’re very welcome. I hope it’s a success.

  17. The DSGN + DVLP blog article is great, thanks for sharing. Fontburner seems nice but I get all kinds of browser errors and the browser crahses. Will check it later, at the moment I´m with Shaun with sFIR.

  18. Thanks David for telling about FontBurner, however, I amn’t sure if it’s working with me, I tried adding the code and kept picking and trying few of the fonts on the website, but It still doesn’t show up at all. It didn’t even apply to any of the headlines i tested it for.

    I would like to know if someone has been faced by this.

    I won’t forget to say: Welcome to the team of glasses :)

  19. Jenna

    Wonderful post — as always.

    I’m really interested in the Font Burner project you talked about — sounds like an excellent tool — and its free!! :]

  20. Heh, there is that shadow next to your head, but the one behnd you looks lke it’s coming from a different angle… oh well :P

    I’m sure every case of eyes is different. It’s worth asking the question, but I suspect for most later-developed problems that answer is a quick no.

    I think the best resource about web safe fonts is by Jon Tan.

  21. Font Burner’s concept is interesting, I actually have done some experiments in adding new and unusual fonts in websites but fails. This should be nice, and more over, it’s free. Thanks for the information, David.

  22. Kristarella is sorta right about the LASIK. As you get older, your eye muscles actually become more stiff and can’t constrict as tightly, which makes it difficult to see up close. When you squint, you are using other muscles to make the viewing area smaller (not a good habit, though!). So yes, LASIK cannot correct muscle problems, only mis-shapen eyeballs. I had LASIK a few years ago and I absolutely love it, especially for SCUBA diving ;)

    Oh yeah, and great reads above, too!

  23. It’s definitely an interesting idea behind Font Burner. However, I see that they’re simply offering the use of sIFR linked to their site. The good thing is that they offer over 1000 fonts to choose from, the bad thing is that my site’s headlines, text would be relying on their server, if it’s down, nobody will see my fancy headlines. I would love to see more typefaces added to the list of the core web fonts.

    Should I be referring to you as Professor Airey from now on, David? ;-)

  24. Hi David, good choice to share.

    Enlarging what fonts I use has been on my mind for awhile. Especially now that the field is wide open.

    And Daniel, congrats on your new launch! I’ll have to do some sort of announcement this coming week (I’ll need more bits from you).

    Glasses. Ah, love to hate them. I’ve been wearing glasses since my mid 20s. My first year I was so devastated I hid out from the world. Couldn’t wear contacts, so no relief there.

    As for laser eye treatments, it’s common out here because it’s so cheap.

    And I’m not sure if it was a competitive thing, but when I had my eyes checked in the UK the last time the assistant pooh poohed my suggestion of getting my eyes done.

    She said that:
    1) Eyes are constantly changing so one operation is not enough.
    2) I’d still have to wear glasses to read.

    Now, I dislike glasses but this week when I dropped them off to put the new lenses in, I felt totally naked walking home without them. I also couldn’t see very well so that was an additional worry! Dodging tuk tuks, beggars, motor cycle taxis and buses in a busy city was a bit of a strain going both ways.

    But, I do know people who’ve had both eyes done and they love it … so … hmmm …

  25. @cat, I certainly love it! And I don’t think the doctor was totally right about your eyes changing. Here in the US they make us wait until our prescription is steady for at least 2 years. Mine was the same for at least 5 when I finally had it done and I’ve not had a problem. The reading thing is true though (see above comment).

    Sorry for all the off-topic discussion, David! I just love my LASIK so much!! :D

  26. Sander, Sherif,

    Sorry to learn of that Font Burner wasn’t working for either of you.

    Jenna, Didik,

    There may be some teething issues with it, as Sander and Sherif mention, but I’m glad it’s of interest.


    Thanks for the link to web safe fonts. Bookmarked.


    No need to apologise for the off-topic discussion. It’s good to read, and any chat is better than none. :)


    That’s a good point about the Font Burner server being down, and whether it would affect your website. As for what to call me, yes, Professor Airey is suitable. Or simply ‘Sir’.


    Perhaps I’ll pop over to Bangkok, have eye surgery, then use my newly fixed sight to enjoy the disco lights in your bathroom. ;)

  27. Lauren, my eyes have steadily gotten worse over the years so I guess that means I’ll never be eligible. Darn. I always had it at the back of my mind to do it. One day.

    David, Hey, now that’s not a bad idea at all. I mean, someone needs to get some use out of that tub :-)

    Surgery holidays in Bangkok are a big deal out here. People fly in, get things done, then fly out. All cheaper than they can do ‘back home’. I have gal friends seriously thinking of dropping by and getting a tuck here and there. And by staying with me, they won’t have to wander through hotel lobbies and deal with room service and all.

    (am I off topic, or what? :-D

  28. Thanks for the link to FontBurner, I’ve been looking for a way to use a wider variety of fonts on my websites! It’s just what I needed.

  29. Cat,

    No need to worry about off-topic comments here. They’re a great way for me to get to know you all better. :)


    No worries. I hope it proves useful for you.

  30. This is a great blog! I think web presence is really important in business and the more creative the better. Different fonts can also make a huge difference. Really good web designers are hard to find!

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