The Lap of Luxury – a preemptive critique

Luxury fonts were originally designed by Christian Schwartz and available via Orange Italic. I was excited, my family business is jewelry and these typefaces are intended for the upscale market. The type family names are Diamonds, Platinum and Gold, a cinch that I would want to use them. In 2006, House Industries purchased the rights to sell them (at least I think), and added a 3 text weights in the deal. Well, this is a partial review…

Why Do Chickens Fly?

I am not sure that the original set of Fonts, the Display faces, were meant to be a serious attempt at a typeface. At first, I imagine it was conceived as the typographic equivalent of “sprockets” from SNL. I, however, was enthralled at the simplicity and the utility of 3 display faces, all aligned and weight matched and looking like they stepped out of a Gucci ad. Joke or not, I was obsessed with having them, and even e-mailed Orange to request an update about when and where I could buy them. I remember learning of them from a trade pub, but I don’t remember which one. With a whimper, it was gone, with just a tease remaining.

I guess the very infrequent use of something specialized didn’t warrant the attention of the greater type community, as I found only one review-which was positive but lacking robust testing. Like chicken wings, which aren’t great for flying, but are great for eating, these faces are limited in optimal application.

Models Enjoy Cocaine

As mentioned before, the Display set is the the money. Three full sets of characters, with lots of fun extras. I have examined most of the set, there are also Greek glyphs, the control points are impeccable and the kerning is excellent. On the other hand, as I mentioned before the faces are so specialized that they preclude use in most other design, without a certain amount of cheek. The glyphs are so unique and perfect, they exude sexy sophistication in such a way that they are permitted a certain amount of leeway. If Luxury Diamond were caught doing lines in the ladies room, it would probably just get more work.

Duck Tape and Fairy Dust

As there are 2 major parts to this set, the text set seems to be the bastard child in this family lacking the refinement a youngster would, yet holding onto the arcane elements that found the Display sets. I can’t understate this, they aren’t just ugly, they are homely. Damn homely. With the exception of the masterful kerning, they are beyond salvation. It would be a difficult task to match one text face to 3 distinctly dissimilar Display faces, only tied together by their use in Upscale advertising. Understandably, the text falls into indistinct indirection. I would take ugly and interesting, in fact, I took her to the Prom, but this is practically unusable.

Sparse haut design

So is it worth it to buy the whole set? If you need a wealth of contextual alternatives to set Romanized Czech, Polish or Greek (without accents). Then yes, this is a very special case but for everyone else…

No. $250 for 3 Display, 1 text weight and a plethora of extras… not hardly. Why, you ask? Well this appeals to a very small market in the first place, people who can afford it (and then pay the licensing on commercial production, not included in the price) and people who already have type for these ads. The second group already has typefaces that work, and I am here to help with the first group.

Alternatives on the cheap

The biggest issue that I see here is the redundancy of faces. With a quick little bit o’ research, I was able to secure cheap alternatives that lack the refinement, but wholly inhabit the style and function of 2/3 the faces.

These examples are gleaned from myfonts.com(an invaluable resource to the budget conscious fount-a-soir) and may not reflect accurate kerning/character spacing/etc.

To find alternatives, I cross-referenced serif, sans-serif and humanist; which is the primary style of the three typefaces and then added engrave(d) to the search. My search yields a few contenders:

For Luxury Diamond:

Engravers SB | An excellent choice for an engraved serif, the medium is very close in design to Diamond. What it lacks in distinctiveness it makes up for with a light weight version and a decent character set. Medium and Light weights, $17.50 each. This is a subset of:

Engravers General | This is a list of other Engravers versions, all stemming from an origin set cut in the late 1800′s. This is just a line up of the alternatives, there are VERY FEW differences besides price. As most of you will do a bit of hand kerning, the well-kerned and higher-priced versions are moot.

For Luxury Gold:

ITC Blair | A san-serif geometric that echoes the engraved process that it would have come from 100 years earlier. Lacks the distinct flavor of Gold, but meets the need for a classic sans that could be letter-spaced nicely or used on a watch face.

Engravers Gothic | Notice the trend? Just you wait. This is a more basic and less refined sans that comes to us from the early 1800′s as far as I know. There is little subtlety in the strokes, terminals or intersections and it smacks of utility rather than aesthetics. But it is still better than Bank Gothic.

Aviano Sans | This is less like the Gold font set but still deserves inclusion for its usefulness. It comes in 3 weights and is $21.99 per. This is an excellent, elegant type that would serve as a decent alternative to Gold.

For Luxury Platinum:

I had an exceptionally difficult time finding a replacement/alternative for Platinum. But I am sure my first pic will guarantee my place in typography hell.

Optima | There, I said it, and to ensure my fate I will add that you should expand to 125% to match some of the letter forms of Platinum. The price is right, as most windows users have it on their machines, and it is ubiquitous… not to mention you can match it with a text block easily. Brb, my riot gear is done at the cleaners.

Donatello Alternates | This is a less-than-great typeface which bears a little passing resemblance to Platinum, but the Alternates have the wider E, F, Etc. which hint at the House Type.

Honorable mention:

Cotoris | Another close but no cigar approximation that deserves inclusion as a serious display contender is this gem. A truly attractive typeface fresh and slightly fantastic. Cotoris would be at home on a variety of products and is a natural for green products sporting the universal leaf icon. I would like to see a more even width variation, which would be fantastic in this category.

In Summary

I love the work at House, all of it. It is interesting to look at the history of a fairly new foundry and see evolution, valuation and a commitment to typographer’s rights. This set, unlike many others from the folks at house, is not worth the expense. Most would do better to read a book on the history of engraved type or even an essay from The Tubes. Just about an hour on Myfonts would also be worth while, I know I could use the education.

The windows to the soul

Sometimes I get the urge to write about something, and it hits me quickly, almost hard. When I get hit with an urge like that it’s usually to write something about my mother, which at times is easy for me to do and other times is extremely hard. Sometimes I write about her and intend to post the piece, but end up sitting on it instead, because like writing about her, there are times when it’s easy for me to post something about her and times when it almost scares me. And there is a part of me that wonders if you, my readers, get tired of me writing about my mum – yet when I wrote about her recently, I was touched by the supportive comments that were left. I was thinking of how it was to be a teenager, but my mind drifted back to my mother…

Continue reading The windows to the soul

This Is The Blog Post I’ve Wanted To Make For A Long Time

Friday in work was just like any other day. Big delivery came in, we worked it and I did the money and paperwork. Boys were in a mood with each other and no matter how hard I tried to get them to cheer up they still were bitching at each other most of the day. I’m slowly getting used to this, if they’re working a shift together they bounce off each other and create an atmosphere. It’s annoying, but usually by being fun and a bit silly I can manage to bring them back to normality.

The highlight of my day was a visit from my area manager. Usually he doesn’t come into the store when the manager’s off. He doesn’t have a need to speak to supervisors, he deals with the managers most of the time. Turns out he was in the store to speak to me specifically. Office door closed stuff. That always worries me, I thought perhaps I’d made a mistake and failed a test purchase, maybe something else serious?

Continue reading This Is The Blog Post I’ve Wanted To Make For A Long Time

Being a new student anywhere is tough, and college is no exception

Being a new student anywhere is tough, and college is no exception.  While in college I wanted to meet people and find friends and enjoy my time in college. I wanted to learn how many other students got into college though a GED, as I earned mine via online lessons that I followed for my GED test, I don’t say online learning is bad for you. I am very grateful for online prep but they will not help you with your social life. If you have some solid friends right there by your side you have emotional and psychological support. Making those friends, though, can be the tough part. Some people are lucky and able to make friends easily, yet for others it takes a bit of work.

Although you can make friends any time, it’s easiest in the first couple weeks of school, before many groups of friends become solid. Continue reading Being a new student anywhere is tough, and college is no exception

Closer

I go into my closet sometimes and pull my jewelry box down from where it’s hidden on the shelf, underneath winter sweaters and clothes from my thinner days that I can’t bear to part with. I sit down on my bed with the box in my lap and when I close my eyes I hear my mother’s voice telling me about the day she saw it through a storefront window, how beautiful she thought it was and how grown-up it made her feel, her first real jewelry box. I remember when she gave it to me, at a pivotal point in my teenage years. I look at the images she chose to decoupage the leather with before passing it on, images that are, without a shadow of a doubt, decidedly ‘me’.

I open the lid and breathe in the familiar smell – the sweetness of the Tiger Balm she’d rub on her forehead during a migraine spell and the musty smell of old leather, of history, of years passed. I breathe in deeply. The smell makes me feel close to her somehow.

I know I was a spitfire when I was a kid. I know I gave my mom a run for her money and my dad sometimes, too. I gave my mom a harder time because she was safer – I knew I could act like a maniac and she’d still love me. I wasn’t so sure about my dad back then.

“Wait ‘till you have kids,” my mom used to say to me. Continue reading Closer

Doing Rome in Luxury

Whether you are doing Rome in luxury or figuring out a way to get the most out of Tuscany, Italy certainly will not disappoint eager honeymooners seeking a romantic and memorable experience.
3278768778 8aea229c6a z Doing Rome in Luxury

Rome is a city packed full of fabulous architecture, rich with culture, overflowing with amazing restaurants and mouthwatering cuisine and full to the brim with beautiful people. Unsurprisingly, the popularity of this passionate city has ballooned over the years and it is now one of the top European destinations for everything from romantic proposal weekends to stylish hen holidays and Euro-railing stop offs. With the influx of tourists, hotels, restaurants and bars in the city have grown in numbers, from the smallest street side snack shop to some of the most spectacular restaurants in the world.  If you are looking for luxury in Rome then you won’t have to go far to find it as pretty much every need is catered for here and the Romans are particularly good at fabulous decadence.

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Top 5 Unusual Places to Visit in Australia

As the only country on Earth that is also an entire continent, it should come as no surprise that Australia boasts thousands of potential destinations for visitors who head to the outback each year. However, many of the most popular destinations can become inundated with tourists, making it a less than authentic experience. For an Australian vacation that goes beyond the urban cities of Sydney and Melbourne, consider these top 5 unusual places to visit in Australia:

Blue Mountains

334761088 2255857dd7 Top 5 Unusual Places to Visit in Australia

Blue Mountains © by joe.lipson

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A May Date at the Cannes Film Festival: More Romantic than You Think

Head out to London, Paris and Rome on an exquisite tour with a detour to the Cannes Film Festival during your stay next May.

5752695109 8c03ef0f27 A May Date at the Cannes Film Festival: More Romantic than You Think

Cannes Film Festival 2011-1978 © by soaringbird

Secluded getaways have become passé. Couples want to experience the hub and vivacity of colourful and picturesque destinations. One of these is Cannes, and a good time to visit this beautiful French Riviera city is during the month of May. Why? Because this is the time when the weather is warm, mild and enjoyable. Clear blue skies greet you while the occasional spring showers add an extra dash of romance. And it is also Cannes Film Festival time, an annual event where stars from across the world descend, and movies from A-list directors and first-time talent are showcased.

Continue reading A May Date at the Cannes Film Festival: More Romantic than You Think