Chicago Reprise

Just when you thought that you had heard enough about the Lewis/Caputo vacation to Chicago, I go and drop this post. I will do my best to avoid direct references to pizza and sausage since we are now in a post-sleeved-meat detox (which began on Monday), as appropriately coined by Paul’s wife Sheila. The Lipitortinis have really helped with the cleansing process.

Much like Paul’s “Live from Chicago” post, Observations: Type on a Curve, Which Way Goes the Dollar?, Proud to Be an American Cubs Fan, and One Creepy Bear, I had a few additional observations that I wanted to share with you.

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DSC02921Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago: Our experienced guide brought about the element of discovery to us like no other tour I have ever been on. She also brought lots of cookies and lemonade. Her passion allowed her to transfer a boatload of information into an interpretive experience. It was a very tourist thing to do in Chicago but the guide transformed it from a touris trap into a memorable experience. Of course the skyline was great participant as well. Despite what you see here, the tour was great.

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An alternative to Papyrus: Paul is to Comic Sans as Shea is to Papyrus. I have a sick obsession with Papyrus and in Chicago finding Papyrus was as difficult as finding a place serving New York style pizza (sorry pizza reference). I only found it in two places. We did find an interesting Papyrus-esqe type at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Paul and I discussed that on the initial design drafts Papyrus was likely used but a great design decision was made switching to this organic type.

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Sky Deck Logo: We write about logos often and here’s an interesting one. The jury is still out on it for me. What do you think about it?

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Here’s a picture of my daughters on the sky deck.

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Zookeeper Note: I love the function of this simple sign. Suction cups allow it to be easily moved and updated. It also allows for it to be re-hung upside down and possibly stolen (not that a thought like that would cross the minds of two design geeks). The message is timely, appropriate and cute. And what’s not cute about breeding hippos. The aggressive element to me was not the message but the over-centering.

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Sense of place at Wrigley Field: Visitors come to interpretive sites because they are special places. Simple things can be done to make a site special or unique. The flags flying atop the scoreboard at Wrigley Field are a simple element that make it a special place. In today’s world of jumbo-trons and high-tech, high-definition, super scoreboards the Wrigley board stands out as unique, providing visitors to the park with a nostalgic feel. The flags serve a purpose as well. Each series of flags represent the divisions of the National League. The flags for each team also fly in order, from top to bottom, representing the current standings within the division.You will notice (and to avoid an additional comment from Paul) the NL East division (on the far right of the board) has the flag of the Philadelphia Phillies flying on top.

It is undetermined if the Caputos and Lewis families will ever be together in full force again. Perhaps if our wives read this blog, they could answer that question for us. Until then like gravity it will remain a mystery.

It has been determined that I will never be allowed to own an iPhone.

Our Final Message from Chicago

It’s late on Friday night, there’s packing to be done, and a week of eating traditional Chicago delicacies has left our fingers too fat to effectively operate our computer keyboards, so we decided to end the week with a video blog. Then we realized we were tired, so we left it to our youngest children, Shea’s son William and Paul’s daughter Maya, to convey our final message from Chicago.

Interpretation Underfoot

We came across a series of these interpretive messages on the sidewalk outside the Shedd Aquarium here in Chicago. I find this to be an effective and fun way to impart information and to provoke further interest in the aquarium itself. And now I’m hoping that I get a question about rockhopper penguins the next time I’m on Jeopardy.

The “Friendly Confines” of the Chicago Children’s Museum

children2After a day at Wrigley Field enjoying the national pastime within the “Friendly Confines,” we returned to our families and found another version of the “Friendly Confines,” the Chicago Children’s Museum. Paul and I presented the option of us taking the children to the museum while the women enjoyed some much needed (and lightly demanded) downtime. They accepted. I’m not sure that we negotiated to the best of our abilities based on their quick acceptance. Note to self: start low and work yourself up in the negotiating process.

There was no better place for our childlike minds (also for our children). The Children’s Museum is well planned and well designed. The children loved it. The strongest design element that we noticed immediately was the impact of color. The use of type was effective, but secondary to the use of color. Paul was especially happy that the museum was devoid of Comic Sans. (This post is not about type, but we want to point out that designers had found multiple child-friendly typefaces without resorting to Comic Sans.)

The color palette used went far beyond the primary red, yellow, and blue. In fact, the colors used in particular exhibits reinforced the children’s experiences. Reds and yellows used in the “Play It Safe” exhibit evoked danger, but not in a scary, overpowering way. Multiple shades of blues and greens were used in the water works area. (However, if these colors were meant to have a calming effect, it didn’t work on our children.)

children1Even the donor exhibit, which was designed for adults, had an appealing childlike quality that could be appreciated by children while read by adults. This was achieved through bright colors and stylized, oversized hands.

The festive colors used in other portions of the museum looked to the visitor that they could have been chosen by a child with a box of crayons, but were in fact carefully selected by designers thinking like a child. For some, this could be difficult. Based on our wives’ comments this week it should be easy for us.

Observations: Type on a Curve, Which Way Goes the Dollar?, Proud to Be an American Cubs Fan, and One Creepy Bear

In the book Outside Lies Magic, author John Stilgoe encourages readers to carry a camera, a sketchpad, or any other recording device to document the minutiae they find noteworthy in the everyday world around them. (The author needed an iPhone. There are apps for that, you know.) One of the things I’ve enjoyed about writing this blog is that it has encouraged me to document things I notice as I’m out and about. Here are a few from the last few days in Chicago:

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Typically, typographers advise against placing type on a curve (just because Adobe Illustrator lets you do it doesn’t mean that you should). However, we’re always on the lookout for effective instances of breaking the rules, and this circular exhibit at the Field Museum offers just that. The type here follows the curve of the contours of the exhibit itself.

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Our posts this week have been generally positive, which is surprising because Shea and I are typically angry, negative people. So here’s one for the grumps: There are two different diagrams of dollar bills on this machine in the train station, each of them oriented differently. The one on top showing the accepted denominations has the bottom of the bill to the right, while the one underneath is the opposite. Sure, the two diagrams have different purposes, but orienting them the same way could help avert confusing the weary traveler.

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How about making an artistic statement with your sales rack? Among the countless vendors hawking logo paraphernalia outside Wrigley Field, this one stood out.

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This bear tracking down a foul ball at Wrigley Field is creepy and adorable.