Fun fact: One of my favorite pieces of memorabilia in my office is an autographed Dr. Ruth program from when she visited the University of South Carolina in the mid 1990s, signed “Bob, Great brochures! Thanks, Dr. Ruth.” She signed autographs for hours after her talk. RIP Dr. Ruth.

Stopped by Rutledge on my way across campus today.

A brick pathway flanked by benches and lush greenery leads to Rutledge Chapel at the University of South Carolina.

The South Carolina Women’s Basketball team deserved the ESPY for Best Team. Undefeated national champs. Glad they won. 🏀

Early in my career, the president of the insurance company I worked for told me “When you are losing money, you can’t make it up in volume.” I thought about that when I read this collection of clips and links that Michael Tsai pulled together about the economic realities of AI.

So tonight, I’ve learned that Lego is releasing a Jedi Bob Starfighter that will be released on my birthday. And my family thinks that Jedi Bob bares a striking resemblance to me. So I guess I know what I’m getting for my birthday this year.

According to Facebook Memories, 13 years ago, I was sharing Google+ invites with friends. 🤣

I’m taking (and sharing) a lot fewer pictures this year compared to past years. I’m not actually sure why… It’s not a conscious decision… I think I just need to get back in the habit of taking pictures of the world around me.

What an exciting British Grand Prix. As a new F1 fan, I never got to see Hamilton when he was dominant. So cool to see him win this one at Silverstone.

I’ve decided to publish a Now page again. I’ve tried it before and I didn’t stick with it. I like the concept though so I’m going to give it another go.

Then: 7.6.24

I’m giving the “Now” page concept another go. I love the idea, but I just haven’t figured out how to make it work for me. For now, I’ve settled on an opening paragraph and three category prompts: feels, projects and entertainment. Should capture a nice snapshot of what I’m focused on and how I’m feeling. When I update these, I’m going to copy them over to Notion so I have a weekly journal.

Feels

  • Looking forward to an upcoming vacation.
  • Leadership changes at work are never easy to navigate.
  • Anxious about the state of our country.
  • My sore foot is feeling better, but that means I need to turn my focus back to getting healthy.

Projects

  • I’ve decided to give this “Now” page a try again.
  • Finishing up a couple of fonts that I want to release soon. You can see previews at SbB Fonts.
  • I’ve got a paper that I need to update and submit to for publication. I’d really like to get it wrapped up this summer before the new semester starts.

Entertainment

  • Star Trek: Prodigy on Netflix. Working through the episodes slowly. I suck at binge watching.
  • F1, because my daugther got interested and now I’m hooked.

Posts in the “Then” category are archives of my “Now” pages.

My 12-year-old tried again to watch the Lord of the Rings, but gave up after about an hour. He really wants to like it, but he just can’t get into it.

Dead Mall Memories

I know that enclosed shopping malls have fallen out of fashion, but I’m of an age where malls played a major role in my childhood. An abandoned mall in Columbia is being torn down and I was thinking today about all the malls that have played a role in my life. I figured I’d share a couple of memories of malls that are no more…

  • Richland Fashion Mall. The mall that’s being torn down is in Forest Acres, South Carolina. I drove past it today so I’ll start with this one. Being close to the University of South Carolina campus and my first apartment, I took a bunch of trips to Richland Fashion Mall.1 We occasionally visited the movie theater on the rooftop before nicer theaters came to Columbia. Liz and I frequented the Barnes and Noble when we were dating and registered for our china at the Dillards when we got engaged. Liz even got her hair done at the Belk’s salon for a few years. Lots of good memories, but the mall had been pretty much abandoned for years and it’s good to see the redevelopment finally starting with the demolition of the old structure.

  • Dutch Square Mall. We lived in Illinois when I was in elementary school, but our family was still in South Carolina so we’d travel down twice a year to see everyone. One reliable stop was always Dutch Square Mall in Columbia, South Carolina near the intersection of I-26 and I-20. Back when Chick-fi-A was only in the South and only in mall food courts, this was an easy option for some delicious chicken sandwiches. Cromer’s Peanuts had a location in the mall where we could buy bags of boiled peanuts and see some monkeys.2 (I’m pretty sure my parents wanted to wear us out before we got to my grandparent’s house about an hour away.) Much later, the mall was renovated to have a 14-theater movie theater and the Dutch Square Theater became our go-to theater. I saw countless movies there including a midnight showing of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. With the opening of nearby Columbiana Mall, shoppers and retailers moved to the trendy new spot. Years later, I worked at an insurance company nearby and would occasionally run over to the Chick-fil-A, but it was clear by then that the mall was slowly dying and AMC closed the theater. The mall is actually still open and the movie theater is operated by a small chain now, but there’s not much out there any more. A nearby church is in the process of purchasing it and has plans to completely redevelop it.

Shoppers at the Aiken Mall
Shoppers at the Aiken Mall. Photo by Tim Dominick accessed via the Walker Local and Family History site at Richland Library.
  • Aiken Mall. This mall in Aiken, SC opened right as I started high school. For a small town, it was a big deal. It had a bunch of undersized anchor stores, but it also had everything a teenage me needed: an arcade, a Babbage’s video game store, a B. Dalton bookstore and a music store. My mom had us get family portraits taken at the Sears Portrait Studio many, many times. My car broke down in the parking lot at least once. As anchor stores JC Penny, Sears and Phar-Mor started to close, they tried to reconfigure it a couple of times, but the mall was already in a death spiral. At some point, they added a Books-a-Million and my in-laws would take our children there when they were babysitting. Redevelopment was promised for years, but they’ve finally torn most of it down and have started building a mixed-use development. Apparently, a Chicken Salad Chick will be opening soon in the new development.

All three of these locations are finally being redeveloped and I’m really happy about that, but as a kid that grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, these old hangouts will always hold a special place in my heart.


Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.


  1. Originally, there was an open air mall on this spot called Richland Mall. Then it was redeveloped and the name was changed to Richland Fashion Mall. Eventually its name was changed back to Richland Mall. ↩︎

  2. Seriously! The store had a display high in the back with several monkeys. ↩︎

Rok-Tahk on Star Trek Prodigy is one of my favorite new Star Trek characters. 🖖 Enjoying the new season of Prodigy on Netflix.

Holding down the fort with a skeleton crew at the office on the Friday after the Fourth of July.

Micro.Blog as my home base

I was thinking this week about how Micro.Blog has become the home base for all of my online activity. I’ve had an account since I backed the Kickstarter in 2017, but recently, I’ve started slowly moving everything from my old Squarespace1 site:

  • Blog Hosting. This blog is hosted on Micro.Blog. I’m in the process of migrating my favorite old posts from Sketchbook B here so everything is in one place. At the $10/month premium subscription level, I can even add a few more blogs if I want to.

  • Site Hosting. SbBFonts.com is a static site hosted on Micro.Blog that features my typeface designs. I’ve got other ideas for simple sites I want to build. These “single page sites” are completely underrated feature of Micro.Blog and included with the premium plan. I love the flexibility of adding these kind of sites quickly and easily.

  • Social timeline. I use Micro.Blog’s timeline to interact with other Micro.Blog users and to follow Mastodon and other Fediverse accounts. It’s not the most active timeline because there is no algorithm pushing content at you. I consider that a feature, not a drawback. It’s not a replacement for other social sites like Mastodon, Threads or Bluesky, but it is a nice alternative.

  • Crossposting. Social media is fragmenting. When I post to Micro.Blog, I have it configured to automatically crosspost to Bluesky and Threads. I could also crosspost to LinkedIn, but I don’t want everything I post copied over there. People on Mastodon can follow my Micro.Blog posts at bobwertz@bobwertz.com. And the service keeps evolving. Micro.Blog founder Manton Reese is great about adding features as new APIs are released or updated.

  • My Tweet Archive. Just because I left Twitter didn’t mean I wanted to lose all my tweets. Manton built a way to import my tweets and I now have a searchable archive of 15 years of Twitter posts on my own site.

  • Third-party Tools. The web interface for Micro.Blog is fine, but I like using different apps, too. I can post directly to Micro.Blog from Ulysses and MarsEdit. Feedbin has a nice little integration, too, but I don’t use it much. It’s nice to have options, something that Squarespace doesn’t offer.2

There are other features that I don’t take advantage of yet like email newsletters, podcasts and narrated posts. All of these are included with my plan, I just haven’t gotten around to using them yet.


I know that Micro.Blog isn’t for everyone. It’s easy to get started, but to get maximum customization, you need to be comfortable with tinkering. The text editor uses Markdown, which I like, but many people have never heard of. It’s worth noting that Micro.Blog has no built in metrics. This is by design and I think it’s a good thing, but if you are the type of person who wants to dig into the metrics of every post, this probably isn’t the service for you.3

Micro.Blog is exactly what I want in a service. A home for all of my random thoughts, projects and experiments. The service provides an incredible amount of value for $5 or $10 a month and it feels like the web I fell in love with. If it aligns with your needs, there really isn’t a better service.


Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.


  1. Squarespace seems to be trying to serve a business audience with a ton of features that I really don’t need. Plus, they recently announced they are going private again with the help of private equity. This makes me nervous. ↩︎

  2. When I first started using Squarespace, there was an API, but they phased out support for that a long time ago. ↩︎

  3. You can add metrics through some other third party services, but I personally want to remain blissfully ignorant. Maybe I’ll write a post about that some day. ↩︎

Happy Fourth of July, designers. 🇺🇸 The red, white and blue. 🇺🇸 The Pantone 193C, White and Pantone 282C. 🇺🇸 The #BF0A30, #FFFFFF and #002868.

I had numerous captions on some of my old posts over on Squarespace. I didn’t want to lose the captions when I move the post into Micro.Blog. Today I learned that the Figure and Figcaption HTML elements work really well.

I missed that Lego released a refined visual identity a couple of weeks ago that includes a new typeface, Lego Typewell, based on brick proportions. I really like it. The best detail I’ve found on the typeface is on this review from BP&O.

SbB Fonts: My new two-color type design site hosted on Micro.Blog

I decided a while back that I wanted to separate my typeface designs onto their own site. They’ve always lived alongside my blog and other creative projects, but they needed a home of their own, especially since I plan to expand the offerings in the near future. I’ve been noodling around with options, but today, I’m finally ready to release SbBFonts.com out into the world with a design inspired by two-color printing.

screenshot of sbbfonts.com

The Inspiration

When I became a designer in the mid-1990s, the web was just becoming a thing, and printed documents were the primary job of a designer. Two-color projects used only two spot ink colors — say green and black — for the entire job. (You also had a “third” color with the paper, which was usually just white.) Four-color printing or full-color printing was reserved for only the most important pieces with the largest budgets. For young designers in a pre-web world, two-color work paid the bills. Two-color printing presented challenges, but the process had a particular look. Designers who knew what they were doing could use duotones for images or print on colored paper to get a different look.

Two-color printing isn’t dead. Screen printing and letterpress still use spot colors, but full color printing has gotten cheaper and as a society, we don’t print nearly as many marketing materials as we used to. The craft of designing has moved past the lowly two-color press run.

I guess that’s why when I started to design a home for my typeface designs, I knew I wanted the site to resemble a two-color print job. Much of the inspiration for my type designs comes from my nostalgia for old tech. Two-color printing seemed like the perfect inspiration.

The Execution

The first question was what two “ink” colors to use? Since I wanted to use a dark background, I chose white and the bright green since I use that color for all of my Sketchbook B projects. I picked two dark greens to be backgrounds — essentially a dark mode and a darker mode.1 Accommodating the two background colors meant that I also needed to use transparency on all of my example graphics, including my fake “duotones” and my animated GIFs. You can see the example below of one of the images I used placed over white, dark green and darker green backgrounds. I’m happy with the result, even if there are far easier ways to accomplish this look.2

three examples of the duotone approach using an image with shipping containers and a crane

This site is hosted as a “single page” on Micro.Blog. This might be the worst named feature on Micro.Blog since you can absolutely have more than one page. It’s simply a static Hugo site that doesn’t include a blog. I built everything on the Tiny theme by Matt Langford — the same version that I use for bobwertz.com. This feature is included in my Micro.Blog subscription, so my additional cost is essentially nothing.3

To get the look I wanted, I had to write a bunch of HTML and CSS. My old site was on Squarespace, so it has been a while since I worked so closely with markup. I spent a good bit of time digging through reference guides to make sure I was doing everything correctly. But honestly, if you look under the hood, it’s probably a mess. Just a warning.4

I still have a little refinement left, but I’m happy with where the site is. I need to finish proofreading and rework some of the copy. I’m thinking about future development… I’ve got a plan on how to change the home page when I add a few more typefaces. Right now, I think the five fonts currently presented in this way is about the maximum.

Head over to SbB Fonts and let me know what you think.


Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.


  1. The print designer in me would like to acknowledge that I’d likely need to use two hits of white on dark paper to get this effect. Meaning that it would likely need to be a three-color job. I’m ignoring that inconvenient truth. ↩︎

  2. Or, you know, not having a “light mode” version… ↩︎

  3. I did choose to buy a domain name. ↩︎

  4. The last time I built a site by hand, tables were an acceptable construction method. ↩︎

Can we stop for a second and appreciate that “Wookiepedia” is the best named web site on the Internet?

Watched the Austrian Grand Prix. Quite a race. Feel bad for Norris.

I love pixel fonts, so I was absolutely delighted with this presentation from Marcin Wichary. Enjoy!

After watching a particularly violent episode of The Acolyte, my son turned on Bluey for a much needed change of pace.

Saw a bald eagle circling over our neighborhood today. Pretty uncommon sight in Columbia, South Carolina.