I have yard work to do… so obviously, I’m reading up on how to customize the Tiny theme with microhooks.

Today, I was surprised to learn that my 16-year-old daughter is a secret F1 fan.

Just a reminder on Memorial Day that using the Stars and Stripes in advertising is a violation of the U.S. Flag Code.

15 years of Fontstruct

I realized this morning that I’ve been using Fontstruct for 15 years. Fontstruct is an online tool for building modular typefaces. My first typeface design — Big Thursday — debuted on May 26, 2009. Since then, I’ve publicly released 49 fonts on Fontstruct and 19 have been selected as “Staff Picks.”

The original version didn’t have a lot of flexibility,1 but over time developer Rob Meek has added new brick types, construction methods, kerning, support for color fonts and other features to Fontstruct to make it more powerful. My work tends to be a little brutalist, but if you want to understand the flexibility of the tool, check out the gallery to see what amazing creations people can craft with this online tool.

I don’t use the most complicated features, but I sometimes use Fontstruct to prototype an idea for a new typeface. One of Fontstruct’s best integrations is that I can download a file that I can open and refine in Glyphs.2 I recently created a design, moved it to Glyphs and built a variable font out of it.

Balancing work, family, grad school and other obligations, I don’t have a ton of time to spend in Fontstruct. But when they rolled out the Patron level of support for 5 euro a month, I subscribed immediately. I’m happy to support independent tools that are constantly improving.

I pulled together a sample of some of the designs I’ve created over the years on Fontstruct. Feel free to head over to my page and download anything you like. Or better yet, sign up for an account and start experimenting.

Examples of typefaces designed with Fontstruct

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

  1. And was built in Flash! ↩︎

  2. Glyphs is my type design software of choice. I love it. ↩︎

A designer on Threads asked what tool he should use to build a simple portfolio site, and the answers were anything but simple… get-a-good-text-editor-and-build-it-yourself, Wordpress, Squarespace, Adobe Portfolio, a bunch of services I’ve never heard of…

Finally got around to finishing X-Men 97 on Disney+. I read X-Men in the 1990s and watched the cartoon. What a wonderful reboot and a delightful nostalgia trip. Looking forward to the next season.

Project Repost: Moving select posts from Squarespace to Micro.Blog

I started a blog in early 2008. Over the years, I wrote hundreds of posts and articles. Some of it good. Much of it forgettable. I authored a bunch of InDesign tips that generated search traffic, but over time, I became less interested in writing about Adobe Creative Cloud and design issues. A few years ago, I moved all my writing over to this site. As part of some work I’m doing this summer to clean up my various sites, I wanted to figure out how to save the posts from this old Squarespace site.

I tried to export the entire archive, but had limited success. The Squarespace export uses the Wordpress export format. And the export kinda works, but Squarespace’s software has inserted random code blocks throughout that would have to be removed manually. I thought about just shutting down the whole blog, but changed my mind. As I scanned over the list of articles, there were too many posts that I didn’t want to lose.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, a friend of mine (who also happened to have an old Squarespace site) mentioned that he moved selected posts manually to a new site, and let go of the stuff he no longer focused on. The more I looked at my old writing, the more this seemed like the logical path forward.

I’ve decided that I’m going to slowly move selected posts to bobwertz.com. Several of them were written at a particular time, about specific events so I’ve decided to post them on the new site with the original date. I’ve added a sentence at the top, to explain that the post has been moved. I’ll make minor grammar or spelling corrections, but otherwise I plan to leave the posts as they are now.

As a test, I’ve moved two posts already: B.A.R.E. (Bad Acronyms aRe Everywhere) from 2015 and I made a red velvet cake from 2018. I’ve got about 70 posts that I want to move, and I plan to move a couple of posts each week.

I think it’s worth noting that one of the reasons I feel comfortable moving everything to Micro.Blog is Manton’s commitment to ensuring the content you create can easily be moved, archived or backed up. I’ve turned on Micro.Blog’s Github backup feature, and I know I can export my content in a number of formats if I need to, including the blog archive format that Manton proposed. I wish more services realized the value of allowing easy export of content, and I’m appreciative of Micro.Blog’s commitment to portability and interoperability.

I’m happy with this solution and even though it will take time to move the posts manually, I truly believe it’s the best option for this situation.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina. He’s been blogging since 2008.

A former coworker was arrested two years ago on a collection of shocking sexual assault charges, but at the time, there were few details. Now that court filings are beginning, our local paper has details and it’s somehow worse than I thought. Nauseating. It’s a strange feeling to have worked with someone 15 years ago and see them in the papers accused of truly horrific behavior. Were they that monstrous when we worked together? Probably. I’m not going to link to the article because I read it and wished I hadn’t. You don’t want to read it either.

Reading back over 14 years of blog posts... and deciding what to do with them.

Several years ago, I moved all of my blog posting from my Squarespace-hosted sketchbookb.com to my Micro.Blog-hosted bobwertz.com. I’ve been happy with the move. My plan was to switch my Squarespace blog over to more professional posts, but that never really happened — and I don’t really feel like posting more InDesign and Creative Cloud tips. Last week, I decided that I need to do something with the old site and I’m working through my options.

One of the options was just to bring the site down and redirect sketchbookb.com to a new site. I’ve got over 600 posts, though, and while most of them don’t see any traffic, I’d hate to see them all disappear. I started to go back through the site to see what I’d lose.

My first post is in 2008 and my last post was at the end of 2021. There are many tips and tricks for InDesign that generate significant traffic even though they are very old. I also have a large number of reviews for iPhone apps that no longer exist. I wouldn’t miss those posts, but reading back through my writing, there is much that I do not want to part with. A reflection about being on a beach on a moonless night. My series of Twitterless posts and a handful of somewhat prescient rants about social media. My 52 Shirts project. New typeface introductions. Writing about our COVID reality. My original attempt at hosting my microblogging on Sketchbook B. My successful attempt to bake my mom’s red velvet cake recipe.1

So what should I do? I’m not going to delete Sketchbook B without saving the posts somehow. I have first drafts of most of the writing in Ulysses, the app where I’ve done most of my writing for almost a decade.2 But the final posts often have custom illustrations or additional copy edits, so the Ulysses version is somewhat incomplete. I’ve experimented with trying to export and move the posts from Squarespace, but that hasn’t gone well. One of my friends recommended saving the posts that matter to me and moving them manually to bobwertz.com. That would work for some of the posts, but it would be a tedious process. A couple of them — like my examination on viewscreens and interfaces in Star Trek — really could be updated. I may start updating and reposting select articles to bobwertz.com and just add a note to the beginning about when and where they were originally posted. We’ll see how that goes.

I will still try to move them to another site. I have a full backup of my tweets, and I’d love to have Sketchbook B as well. The problem is that Squarespace exports using the Wordpress format, but they have some extra code in the export that causes problems.

Finally, the print designer part of me wants to pull together all the posts that matter and make a physical book. Place a copy on my bookshelf. It seems appropriate as a way to close an old chapter and start a new one.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina. He’s been blogging since 2008.

  1. I’d link to them, but I may be moving them somewhere else. ↩︎

  2. I know because there’s a post on Sketchbook B from 2015 about starting to use Ulysses. ↩︎

Web pages are disappearing. Links are broken. This Pew study tries to assess how bad link rot is…

But even as users across the world rely on the web to access books, images, news articles and other resources, this content sometimes disappears from view.

When I was in high school in 1992, an alternative radio station popped up in Augusta, GA. Channel Z 95.1 was amazing, but by 1996, it was gone. I just discovered that someone launched a website for the now defunct station, complete with a “reproduction” of the live broadcast and Spotify playlists.

So I ended up in the Threads test group with TweetDeck-like columns. And you know what? It’s really good.

Jay Kuo dissects the NY Times Battleground Poll:

The New York Times is out with its Battleground States Poll, so time for everyone to panic. But not me! I’m here to make sure everyone takes a deep breath and puts out any fires they may have set to their hair.

I’ve got an old Squarespace site with over a decade of posts. I’m hesitant to scrap it all and start over, but I feel like I need to scrap it all and start over.

Does social media content become popular because people like it? Or does it become popular because the algorithm likes it and that is the only content that users see?

CNN has an article about how Victorinox might create new Swiss Army Knives without knives. I stopped carrying mine after 9/11 when security tightened and kept forgetting to leave it at home. Personally, I’d love a knife-less multitool that I could attach to my keys.

My wife is about to start a PhD program. She has a Dell PC for work, but her home computer is an iPad with a keyboard case. It works for what she needs now, but looking ahead to grad school, some of the apps she’ll need won’t run on the iPad. We’ll get her a Mac, but if Apple wants people to use iPads as primary devices, they need to lift some of these restrictions to allow for more complicated computing needs.

Just had a fun conversation with my girls about how Gen X and Gen Z use social media differently. They are baffled about what I post to Instagram. I didn’t even try to explain how I use Micro.Blog. 😂

I’ve always picked up wiper blades from my local auto parts store, but I have two really short blades on this Buick that are hard to find. So I went to Amazon and found a company that will assemble a set of all three blades specifically for my car. Massive timesaver and significantly cheaper.

Now that the semester is over and I’m not teaching classes or taking classes, I’m really looking forward to working on some personal projects. I want to do a little more customization to my Micro.Blog theme, I’ve got some fonts to finalize, and some merch to design.

Connections Puzzle #329

I haven’t been playing Connections lately, but today, I got them all, but from the hardest answers to the easiest. Never done that before.

Strands #61 “A shade envious?”

I’ve been playing the NY Times’ Strands for a couple of months. Still in beta, but a lot of fun. Didn’t need any hints today…

Bad Batch finale was wonderful. Loved every moment.

Glad to see Instagram is trying to shut down the accounts that simply rip off original content. I’m interested to see how well the algorithm changes work.

What value does a national organization offer?

I’m noticing a tension growing between national organizations and their local affiliates. Just three recent examples that have crossed my path:

  • I was once an AIGA1 chapter president and stepped down to go back to graduate school, but I was also disillusioned with the mission and how the national organization treated its chapters. Now AIGA National is struggling with finances and relevance, while member’s loyalty (and all the value of the membership) is tied up at the local level.

  • Churches are going through the same thing. When the massive Methodist church near us left the denomination, they didn’t join one of the new organizations. They essentially became a non-denominational church. And pointed out in the news article that they get to keep all of the money they used to send to the churchwide organization.

  • The organizers of the local NaNoWriMo2 group in our area became frustrated with the national organization, and essentially became an independent writing support group. They were running a year-round organization anyway, and didn’t see the need for the national organization. Their Facebook group wiped all mention of NaNoWriMo

National organizations were once necessary to provide credibility, structure and support. Local organizations could provide local services and the relationship was mutually beneficial. Over time, that equation has shifted. Less value is provided by the national organization. Loyalties are with the local clubs, churches or groups. If the local leadership and the national leadership disagree, the local leadership has the leverage to take their organization independent. And in many cases, that seems like it’s happening.

I do think there is value in national organizations, but organizations like AIGA need to better understand what value they bring to the table and strike a new balance with their local partners. Or risk becoming irrelevant.

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

  1. Formerly the American Institute for Graphic Arts, but now just “The Organization for Design.” ↩︎

  2. National Novel Writing Month ↩︎