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Posts Tagged ‘John Gruber’

Layer Tennis Finals: Be There!

layer tennis.jpg

It’s hard to believe, but the Layer Tennis season has come to an end, just as abruptly as it began. We look back upon the last few months now with a disturbing level of nostalgia. We worked behind the scenes, we cheered from the sidelines, we even sweated through a match doing play-by-play (easily the most stressful, frightening and ultimately rewarding afternoon of our lives).

To celebrate the Layer Tennis finals, two simultaneous matches will be going this afternoon:

Chris Glass vs Shaun Inman
with John Gruber doing play-by-play

Jason Koxvold vs James Hutchinson
with Rosecrans Baldwin in the booth

And maybe at the end the winners will have some kind of sudden death emboss-off or something. Catch all the action at 2pm CST (that’s 3pm EST and noon PST) right here on the Coudal Sports Network.

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Are You Ready For Some Tennis?


Long ago, designers played Photoshop Tennis, a sport beloved for both the euphoria of the creative volley and agony of the slow-rendering defeat. Champions were made. Well, sports fans, prepare yourself for the return of Photoshop Tennis, in the form of the even more strenuous Layer Tennis (yes, it’s beyond Photoshop since there are so many programs that can make juicy, delicious layers). But how does it work, you ask?

Two artists (or two small teams of artists) will swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work. Each artist gets fifteen minutes to complete a “volley” and then we post that to the site. A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action, as it happens. The matches last for ten volleys and when it’s complete, everyone visiting the site votes for a winner.

On September 28 the season kicks off with Shaun Inman vs. Kevin Cornell and commentary by John Gruber. That’s Layer Tennis, live every Friday, only on the Coudal Sports Network.

“Law of Optical Volumes” Finally Defined By Wired (And Guess What? It’s Kerning!)


A few months ago, we wondered what the hell Wired was talking about when discussing their redesigned logo:

“…it now adheres to the Law of Optical Volumes”

We went to the most trusted names in typography to inquire about this term that was so innovative we had never heard it before. As you may have guessed, we came up empty. Now, thanks to the keen eyes of John Gruber, we have an explanation from Wired, posted by senior editor Paul Boutin:

Here’s the skinny: The Law of Optical Volumes is Wired creative director Scott Dadich‘s term for a typography rule that governs the spacing of characters within a font. The theory behind it has been evident on newsstands for years now, thanks in part to typography guru Jonathan Hoefler, whose firm Hoefler & Frere-Jones designed Wired’s new typefaces used throughout the magazine.

So…the Law of Optical Volumes is defined as a typography rule that governs the spacing of characters within a font which has been evident on newsstands for years now thanks to Hoefler & Frere-Jones.

We don’t even know where to begin, but we’d probably start with the word “kerning.”

Boutin gives little credit to the typographers who have been slaving away for centuries by explaning that “the Law boils down to the science of kerning.” Then he offered this little gem of insight:

Unfortunately this advanced, scientific approach to font layout is still only available in ink on paper. Web fonts in 2007 still don’t have kerning pairs. We don’t know why. To see and appreciate the Law in action beyond our logo, you’ll need to pick up a copy of the magazine.

So not only is kerning no longer available on computers in 2007, you can only see examples of it in Wired magazine. Luckily, a few of you set him straight:

UPDATE: I’m completely wrong! See the comments below for Web-based solutions.

The funny thing is, if Boutin had just read down a little further in the Wikipedia article he linked to on kerning (you know, Wikipedia, a great tool for serious journalists everywhere) he would have seen this:

Kerning is implicitly part of digital type design, and advanced typographic systems allow the specification of kerning.

Getting Soaked At SXSW


After our Frank moment, we splashed across the street to carouse with our interactive cohorts in a reunion of sorts. We slugged Stellas and watched drenched co-eds come in from the rain with Khoi Vinh (Mr. Subtraction) and Jim Coudal (aka Steve’s Day Job Daddy), who had just dined with Helvetica director Gary Hustwit. Metropolis/Wired editor Andrew Blum and Daylife’s Liz Danzico bailed early after their panel-participating duties. John Gruber gave wistful advice for Microsoft and extolled the wonders of emollients. Media Temple‘s Chris Leu and Apple‘s Michael Lopp bought the drinks (thanks…and, we’ll see you guys again tonight, right?).

Chris Fahey showed up later with an extra-long umbrella which we stared at enviously as the gutters began to overflow. After waiting 30-plus minutes for the rain to let up so we could walk the three blocks home, we gave up and hailed a cab. Best $2.00 we’ve ever spent.