New U.S. $100 Even Uglier. Daring Fireball (2010-04-22):
Why are we making our money ugly? We’re ruining one of the greatest visual brands in history. ★
John Gruber, linking the story at Daring Fireball, asks "Why are we [sic] making our money ugly?" I don't think it's hard to explain. The answer is that "we" (you and I) aren't doing anything to the U.S. Federal Reserve notes, because we don't design them and we don't have any meaningful market choice about what kind of money to use, either. The "visual brand" here is a brand in a completely uncompetitive market.
The people who do exercise effective choice over the design of U.S. government monopoly money (Treasury, the Fed, and the Secret Service) have no need to work to attract customers; their work is solely concerned with confining customers. Hence they have no incentive to be concerned with keeping their "visual brand" strong or attractive; the incentives point towards just making it as complicated and inelegant as possible, in order to make the design hard to counterfeit. Money that was produced in a competitive market, and which relied on customer choice rather than government fiat as its basis for value, has typically been attractive and well-designed.
Here’s some sights of some of the commonest things in the world. The commonest things in the world, seen in a new way. These are living insects, resting on plants outside, and becoming covered in the morning dew.
A common house fly and water.
A moth resting on a twig, covered in dew.
This and more from the Daily Mail Online (2010-03-26).
These photographs were taken by Miroslaw Swietek, a physiotherapist and amateur photographer who lives in Jaroszow, Poland. He takes the photos because he loves photography, and he wants to show something wonderful to the world. Sights of miracles and wonders that he can capture, and we can witness, because Technological civilization is awesome. Sights so wonderful that they look like a glimpse of another world — a world that is strange, wonderful, and new. And yet is the very world we all dwell in now. A world where creatures so common that we think of them as nothing more than annoying pests, and a substance so plentiful and ordinary that we use it to flush our toilets, can, when you catch them at the right time and look at them the right way, shine in the darkness, like creatures of light, shimmering in their living skin of diamonds.
(Via John Gruber @ Daring Fireball 2010-03-30.)
… by legally prohibiting web designers from taking advantage of elegant standards-based methods for using their favorite fonts in web pages, unless the
owner of the font has specifically written them a permission slip for that. Note that if I prepared a copy of the same document using desktop publishing software, and printed 1,000,000 paper copies to distribute by snail mail to Internet users, I would not be breaking any legally-imposed monopolistic restrictions on
web embedding. If I then took one of those paper copies, scanned it as a PNG image, and then distributed that image through my website, I would not be breaking any legally-imposed monopolistic restrictions on
web embedding, either. If, on the other hand, I try to do the right thing and make my content available to users in a standard hypermedia format that can be properly indexed, searched, reformatted for accessibility, etc., I would be putting myself at risk of a lawsuit. In other words, your web design can be either ugly, broken, or illegal. Pick one.
Thanks, Intellectual Protectionism!
(Link via John Gruber.)