Little Broken Robots

Little Broken Robots is a really cute puzzle like game available as an app. It’s cute and is actually engaging, unlike some other games *cough* Neko *cough* Atsume *cough*.

littlebrokenrobots

I typically like this kind of typeface, that has rounded edges. This visual quality is what first caught my eye, since it reminded me of comic sans. Except I noticed that there was a difference between the two. It was playful but didn’t have the tacky look, for some reason. It was only until I directly started comparing the two that I noticed the differences.

^ from
http://designforhackers.com/blog/comic-sans-hate/

The type in the game handles the weight of it’s unmodulated strokes better (more similiar to Helvetica). It also doesn’t have the random, curvy quality of the strokes in comic sans. Compare the ‘n’ of both the typefaces. The type in the game has straight vertical and horizontal. Even the arcs and shoulders of letters are mostly horizontal and curve very slightly.

 

I think these qualities of the typeface make it a good choice for the game. The rounded ends make it playful and ‘cute’. But the straightness of the strokes keep it looking minimal and professional. Apart from the looks, the straightness adds to the concept of the game. You have to repair robots by joining dots in straight lines (can’t be diagonal). The robots themselves are mostly box shaped. The theme of the game is based around hardwares and the equipments in a supposed robot making factory, the straightness adds to this factory setting.

Neko Atsume

Discovered this type when I got curious about the game ‘Neko Atsume’. At first I was distracted by the fact that I couldn’t understand the purpose of the game, but soon I noticed the conscious decisions that were made about the type.

NekoNeko2

The game was originally created in Japanese, this is important because the English version seems to have gotten directly inspired from it.  Now I don’t know much about legibility of Japanese type (katakana?), but the purpose of it is pretty obvious: it’s meant to be cute. If anything, the purpose of the game is to be cute, so the type is used to help that purpose.

Now even though the type helps the cuteness along, I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing that the colourful bubble letters are slightly illegible (in the Japanese version). It’s clearest in the green one, where the details of the letters are getting lost amongst the bubbles. This doesn’t happen as much in English since the type doesn’t have ligatures or any such crossing areas.

What I noted was that the Latin type was also meant to resemble the Japanese type, in the way the letters are formed and angled, it isn’t simply bubble lettering. From an aesthetic point of view, I like it, but I don’t think it’s good design. It makes the game look cute, but also a bit tacky.

What is a good design choice though, is that they chose to stay away from the colourful bubble lettering for the smaller type, where there are lists. It’s good since it makes sure legibility isn’t an issue. Although, it could be better by choosing a typeface that looked softer (more rounded), but also legible.

Kahramaa

Found this in the parking lot for Souq Waqif.

IMG_9771 copy
^
Had to get someone to translate fit for me later. It says:
upto 10,000 QR fine ‘for water leakage’

IMG_9773 copy
^
on the left it says ‘all bad habits cost’ which would mean ‘bad habits cost dearly’.

I’ve seen similar campaigns around the country recently, where electrical wires were shaped into snakes and scorpions. It helps to know that Kahramaa is the electricity and water regulator of the country and Tarsheed (National Campaign for the Conservation and Efficient Use of Water and Electricity in Qatar) was launched by them. It caught my eye because of the way the pipes and wheels were used to create the type (not too different from our  word project. I’m not an expert at this, but I think the reason it appeals to the eye is that it looks real enough to not look boring. Usually when you see something that looks like it’s been digitally created, we tend to overlook it (overly photoshopped or airbrushed images). Here, it looks subtle.

Again, I’m not an expert so I don’t know whether it’s a digital drawing or not, but the fact that it’s made to look like actual taps create the words ‘for water leakage’ adds to the concept.

I like it and it looks like good design. It’s purpose is to interestingly remind people to not let water leak. It shows the image of it and the words together. What would otherwise be a problem, lack of legibility, works well here. It’s not illegible. But the words aren’t read immediately. The image is interesting enough to keep your attention for long enough to read the word. The time it takes isn’t long, so again, the word isn’t illegible. The fact that it engages the viewer in this way, however, is what I think works well for the poster. These kinds of posters are rarely seen here, which also works in their favour.

Arabic Type in the Souq

Went material shopping in Doha’s Souq Waqif for our next Imaging and Design and Form of Communication project.

arabic

I tried Google translating:

غيث للسيوف الجوهر والتراثيات
Ghaith swords essence and Turathiat

Something’s not right for sure. Either way, it wasn’t the meaning that caught my eye (since I barely understood it). I guessed the sword part, especially since the shop seemed to be full of antique-looking objects, souvenir like things and, of course, swords.

What caught my eye was the traditional looking display. The type looked very calligraphic, not like a designed typeface. Apart from that, it also looked very Perisan. It’s similarity to urdu writing might be what made me like it so much. That, and the fact that the rest of the board reminded me of opulent, Mughal architecture in India. The fact that the overall feel of the board reminded me of this makes sense, since not only did Persia have an influence on India, but also Qatar.

The readability of the type I have to say was not that great. The type on the overly detailed background was difficult to read, especially in the daylight. Despite this, I think the colour choices are good. I’m not sure of my own colour choices often times, but when I look at compositions like this one I can see that the colours go well together.

Going by the poorly google translated meaning, and the general mood of the board, the idea this type is trying to display is that it’s a shop full of traditional (maybe expensive things). From the conceptual point of view the choice of gold for the naskh type makes sense—it might not be that readable but it adds to the traditional and expensive look.

 

Marbled type?

Again, where I found this type is very obvious. Found it on an Instagram account called mrkylewilkinson

merci copymerci2 copy 2

The post description explained that he made it for “The Design Jones’ first birthday”. After a bit of research I found that they’re a podcast that focuses on  uk based designers. I liked it as an image. In fact, it reminded me of our project where we focused on type as image.

What looked interesting was how such organic and fluid lines were contained in a san serif typeface. What I liked even more was that it was clear that quite some physical hardwork went into it, instead of digital manipulation. At least that’s what it looks like. Like our word project, the edges of the letters don’t look like the product of a ‘clipping mask’. There are areas where the ripples show at the edges. This unevenness despite the extreme control is what I really liked.

I can’t really judge whether it’s a good or bad design. It’s purpose seemed to be to thank the podcast company, so with that context in mind it does a good job. How can you go wrong with saying a word? Actually you can, but this didn’t go wrong. It states the word cleanly, beautifully, but also shows care and sincerity—like the word ‘thank you’ should be stated. ‘Merci’ could have been solid black. It could have also been an image of marbled paper that had a clipping mask over it. Except it isn’t that. It shows effort.

Chewing Gum

Where I found this type is pretty  obvious:

gum

Now there are a bunch of different fonts on the gum packet. I like them all. I also think they’re all good (maybe apart from the word curiously).

Why? I noticed it because of it’s interesting composition. The type is flowing and being framed by the illustrations around it. This kind of type looks like something that is from an older time.  Vintage?

The choice of type for both the cursive part and the all-caps parts give the packet a classic look. The illustrations also help this look. It seems to want to attract people that want to think that they have a strong or refined taste. The underlying concept is probably that: this gum is for classy people/you eat this gum you are a classy person or have good taste.

What I dislike and think is a bad design is the hierarchy of the type. I also think that from a design point of view, reading the word curiously is a bit difficult (although I really like the type and think it looks pretty).

They way the words are arranged and scaled I first read them as “curiously strong mint gum”. Then I see “quality strong mint gum”. Now I’m a confused reader. Curiously quality strong mint gum?? I just realised how frustrating this is that even now I don’t know which order I’m supposed to read it in. Maybe it’s “curiously strong mint quality gum”.

If it were in my hands I would just get rid of the word “quality” altogether. It’s so small and uninteresting in comparison to the rest that I don’t even want to read it. “Curiously strong mint gum” just sounds so much better without “quality”.

Now the cursive “curiously” is placed on top of a striped background. Even though curiously is italicised and the stripes are vertical, I still think it would make it easier to read if the stripes weren’t there. A lot of things, like mint leaves, the framing and non-linear wavey type are already there to make the overall image interesting.

The Martian

I was looking at how I liked the ‘space-like’/futuristic feel of the type on the book cover of The Martian that I thought of using this as one of my inspirations.

TheMartian

Not only do I like it, but I also think it’s a good typeface choice (at least for it’s current purpose). Good, because it fits the context of the story, it fits into the kind of types that are always associated with technology and space. Why I like it is probably because of the same reason. It looks like something that belongs on a NASA space station. A typeface that you’d find on the exterior of a spaceship.

The inner concept of the type was also to do with telling a futuristic story (the way the D in Andy is the only letter with a serif, adds to this). The concept behind the design and it’s unconventional (in the sense that it’s not very common in an everyday situation) look was what caught my eye in the first place.