Benoit Mandelbrot, RIP

Mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot has passed away at age 85. He only received tenure at Yale ten years ago.

Dr. Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to refer to a new class of mathematical shapes whose uneven contours could mimic the irregularities found in nature.

Here’s a photoset with a few examples of his work, or you could watch this amazing video of the Mandelbrot set in action. Rudy Rucker offers a tribute to Mandelbrot with some more examples and memories of a meeting with the man.

Update:From the BBC, How Mandelbrot’s fractals changed the world.

Finishing Touches

For Hoefler & Frere-Jones, it’s all about the sweating the small stuff. While developing Gotham, they noticed that the fractional one appeared naked and needed a serif. So, they decided to add it to all of the other fractions.

It’s something that we added because we felt it mattered. Even if it helped only a small number of designers solve a subtle and esoteric problem, we couldn’t rest knowing that an unsettling typographic moment might otherwise lie in wait. We’ve always believed that a good typeface is the product of thousands of decisions like these.

That’s called attention to detail.

Typographic Maps

Typographic Map sample

Axis Maps has released a Typographic Maps art project, which accurately depicts the physical features of the cities using nothing but type. So far, they’ve only created maps of Boston and Chicago, but I imagine there will be more down the road. Their blog entry has a few additional details about the process, including the fact that they were created through manual tracing and adjustment, nothing automated.

Time-lapse book cover design

A two minute time-lapse video of a book cover being designed. Lauren Panepinto, the creative director of Orbit Books, lets you see the process behind creating the cover for Blameless by Gail Carriger. You can read Laura’s blog post about the video to glean a few more details about the process.

Over 6 hours of my onscreen compositing, retouching, color correction, type obsessing, all condensed down to a slim sexy one minute 55 seconds of cover design. Trust me, no one wants to watch it in real-time.

Lastly, design:related has a few more details about the cover, including one of the early comps from the series.

GBV Database

Guided By Voices collage

The Guided By Voices Database has everything you need to know about the band’s discography, as well as the various side projects that Pollard and crew are involved with.

This site allows you to navigate & search the Guided By Voices discography and gigography. Information includes catalog numbers, scanned album images, track times, credits, vinyl color, pressing information, release dates, setlists, and gig ticket/poster images. Song details include the releases the song appears on and gigs where the track was played live.

I found a copy of the setlist from one of two back-to-back shows that I went to at the Horseshoe Tavern years ago. Both nights were epic, featuring three hour sets with double encore.

Original Marble and Granite Co.


The Original Marble & Granite Co. Ltd. is based out of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. They don’t have a website and are probably not aware of the sheer internet greatness of their name.

The photo was taken with my crappy phone camera on the way home for work the other day.

Update: Actually, I think this might be their website.