Here I come at the end of the week when all you’re thinking about are margaritas, am I right? Well, focus; most of my posts will be about two things anyway: the pretty and the engaging. Seriously. I know it’s not exactly the cool thing to say to a ~creative~ crowd, but I like pretty things and I often like things because they’re pretty. And if something interesting doesn’t happen in fifteen seconds, I move on. I got a short attention span like-
Now my first post subject, School House Rock (SHR), seems to be the perfect intersection of where pretty meets engaging.
I began my love affair with fonts during the grammar episodes of SHR. Come on, don’t act like you don’t remember! Painted on the side of a boxcar was a conjunction… and young tikes the world over were asking the deeply profound question, “what’s your function?” They were like magic words, words that didn’t have to be ordinary. Words that made you look at them. From adjectives to adverbs, the block lettering transformed into whatever it needed to be.
Sometimes the words embodied what they were supposed to sound like or what they were supposed to look like, but they were always bold, clean, and fun. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned the word ‘typography’ and I’m absolutely convinced I would’ve gotten to it sooner if they had covered it in an episode of SHR. But even now, as I’m hipped to cool sites like Da Font , I can still appreciate the uncomplicated, brightly colored stenciling of School House Rock and the love affair it gave me.
And what about the engaging part? Well, you know what else School House Rock got right? Tutorials! Who knew tutorials about verbs and multiplication could be so crafty and creative? Which leaves me wondering…as a design newbie, why do tutorials about creative software need be so bland? I cannot tell you how many Photoshop and Final Cut demos I’ve sat through that have me pushing the next button just to keep moving.
And don’t say it was just about the catchy tunes with SHR because…ok, it wasn’t all about the catchy tunes. It was a mixture of clever animation, catchy tunes and fun storytelling. Now I’m not saying design tutorials are the proper format for all of that, but a great challenge for software users and teachers alike would be to make something remotely as dynamic as SHR. Maybe it does exist, maybe I just haven’t heard of it. I know it’s Friday but if you’ve seen one or come up with one, please post a link and let me know.
And I’ll see you back here next Friday… bring the margaritas!