September 2006 archives

Entry no.: 6

29 Sep 2006, 1:24 AM

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Personal Fourth

This blog enters the fourth year

Like a dog that doesn't want to be walked.

At first I was puzzled: why would a reader (from Germany, it seems) write “Happy anniversary Kit” in an email addressed to me a few days ago? What was that I celebrate these days? Damn, this is what happens for not marking dates in that calendar application. I was lost. I read it twice, and then some more, unable to see past the point that separated the words, twisting the message: my reader was saying “Happy anniversary Kit.blog!” How could I possibly forgot? Thank you! This blog was about to celebrate its birthday.

It does today.

After three years of blogging I have to confess in front of you all: I'm not an easy writer. I do not write easily, that is. Not in English, anyway. And then I'm chronically dissatisfied with my writing skills.

I tell you, sometimes this blog is like a dog that doesn't want to be walked.

But I am stubborn, too.

Entry no.: 7

28 Sep 2006, 1:24 AM

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Internet Counting

Bloggers, one at a time

Antonio started it (he claims he got tagged with it by God, actually), I got it from Eduard and I'll pass it over to Dragos.

The list looks like this:

01. Antonio Eram
02. Ciprian Stavar
03. Radu Ionescu
04. Cristi Manafu
05. Andressa
06. Catalin Tenita
07. Ionut Buzoianu
08. Eduard Koller [previous]
09. Cristian “Kit” Paul [current]
10. Dragos Novac [next]

Rules: when tagged, post at least the list tail (if not all the list) comprising the number & name of the blogger that tagged you, your number & name and the number & name of the blogger you're tagging.

Let's see how this goes — during our life span.

Entry no.: 4

26 Sep 2006, 1:22 AM

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Romania Summit

The full half

Dsc00065-Dog

This XIth Francophonie Summit in Bucharest will paralyze the centre of the city and the hysteria already begun. Closed streets, police, helicopters, poker-faced guys with swollen armpits, unavailable parking spots, closed institutions.

Even dogs have to get passing permits in order to have access on the closed streets.

We're opening up towards Europe by closing down the city to its own citizens.

However, let's see the full half of glass in the story — I think this is a reasonable price to pay for all the refurbishing that's going on in Bucharest for the last few weeks. We now have a cleaner city that hopefully will educate the citizens that cleaner is better. Even the Victory Square and its surroundings turned into a more civilized place.

Entry no.: 5

23 Sep 2006, 1:23 AM

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Photography Cosmin Bumbuț

'Professional Photographer of the Year' at IPA

Cosmin Bumbut

Cosmin, Bucharest, July 2005

Cosmin Bumbuț confirmed his professional stature once again at this year's edition of International Photography Awards Competition / International Photographer of the Year Competition by winning a 1st place in Editorial category with images from Aiud prison series and a 3rd place in Travel-Tourism category with images from Transit series, along with no less than 12 Honorable Mentions.

This results qualify Cosmin's work for inclusion in both IPA 2006 Annual Awards book and 2006 IPA Best of Show exhibition.

I am very proud I could contribute to his outstanding results by sponsoring the cutting-edge custom pre-press process of his Transit book, a first in Romania.

Entry no.: 40

10 Sep 2006, 8:48 PM

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Design Follow the money

Uncovering the genocide

While in a previous post I was pointing toward an anonymous drive-by hit-and-run, my friend Bogdan takes a step further and authoritatively exhumes the prominent victims of a high-profile genocide—nicely embalmed corpses we're happy to carry around each and every one of us, everyday, as a zombified bunch of ignorant undertakers.

As Bogdan Dumitrache puts it:

Lack of diacritics? Well, today I changed my mind regarding the topic. After I've seen them used wrong on the Romanian banknotes—look at the caron instead of breve in "BANCA NATIONAL ..."—and in many other public places, I think I prefer them not tő bê ŭşed åt ãll.

The A-caron doesn't even exists in any language. I guess they worked a bit to make it wrong, haha!

Now for the forensics enthusiasts, here it is, the body (looking alive to the untrained eye):

Typography crime on Romanian banknote

Enlarged, the inconspicuous plague that caused the death becomes hideously obvious (not for the fain of heart), the infamous A-caron:

Typography crime on Romanian banknote - A-caron detail

What a massacre—right on the money!

For the foreign readers: the correct spelling is BANCA NAȚIONALĂ A ROMÂNIEI (The National Bank of Romania), where the "Ă" (A-breve) in NAȚIONALĂ was sloppily replaced with an "Ǎ" (A-caron), a letter that doesn't exist in Romanian language. It may seem like a small thing, but it's not. Misusing the language on official items is a bad thing and quite a shame. A banknote is an important national symbol and ignorantly designing it reflects a general lack of respect for the country, a bit like wiping your ass with the flag.

So much for the "money talks" proverb—it talks gibberish sometimes, it seems. And in the meanwhile "money is the root of all evil" proves right once again. Thank you, Bogdan, for your sharp eye.

Now for real, joke aside: let's make a wall of shame, a place somewhere all this bad design can be exposed, e.g. as an on-line gallery of horrors. There are plenty of them, in those free glossy magazines, on posters and I've even seen some horrendous A-tilde (Ã) supers on TV (ProTV seems to excel in this regard, it seems). It would be a public service announcement that many (especially young) designers could benefit from. I'm seriously thinking about hosting or at least mirroring it.


Update: More on this subject in Romanian diacritic marks article.

Entry no.: 3

5 Sep 2006, 1:21 AM

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Design Typography crime

Cold blooded, in broad daylight

 Dsc5891

Sometimes it's hard to figure whether to laugh, get mad or cry when such freakish clowns are encountered. But when they're right on main street it can only mean one thing: this damn city needs more designers.

Food for thought, SDPR guys. Food for thought.

Entry no.: 2

2 Sep 2006, 1:20 AM

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Internet On-line stores

Off-line reputation

Have I told you?—I am a huge fan of the Romanian rock band Timpuri Noi. I’ve bought all their CDs back when they were released, but during various office and home address changes they somehow vanished. All of them. A couple of nights ago I was watching the band in a live transmission from Stufstock rock festival when I decided that life without their music is inconceivable and I have to buy as many of their albums as I can find available on-line, on the spot.

On-line, yes, but where? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.

Radu Ionescu, I remembered, had a post about a Romanian on-line music store, it was a bitter post nevertheless but—hey!—I won’t find these guys on Amazon so I have to start from somewhere. So I paid a visit to Musicmall.ro only to recapitulate Radu’s dissapoinment: no trace of what I was looking for.

After zigzaging the net for a while, I arrived at CD.ro and—look at that!—they have three albums. All good except that I never, not ever heard of this store. Is it legit? Is it a fraud? I did a whois query on the domain name, I googled (yeah, the verb) the company that hold the domain—it looks legit. But I cannot easily find any opinions about the store from people who actually bought something from them. It remains one way to find out—there are not even 20 bucks for the three albums, so why not? I’ll use a card linked to a monitored account that I can keep a close eye on in case things go berserk.

Finally, I placed the order and paid (after the net provider’s link died on me right in the middle of the transaction and only got up again an hour later or so).

I'll keep you posted about the outcome, but that's not the main point here. The point is: why on earth don’t I trust Romanian e-stores the way I trust most of the foreign ones? Is it only me or do most people feel suspicious of them? I frequently buy products and services on-line from abroad, but I never needed to buy anything from a Romanian store. I do now. So then again, why the prejudice?

Because their reputation. Or complete lack of it, that is.

Virtual stores need at least as much reputation—if not more—than brick-and-mortar ones because you have to trust them with your credit card and the goods you're blindly buying. And that's pretty hard when you never heard of them and information about their services is difficult to find, sparse or downright unavailable. People fear the unknown when taking out their wallets. Not having an 'About Us' (or similar) menu item in a visible place is a nicer way to tell customers “get the hell out of here”.

Let's say they don't have advertising budgets for making themselves known, they didn't hear about PR and they never issue press releases because they don't have anything to say. But why don't they simply use design? When unknown, design is relatively inexpensive (compare it with media costs) yet one of the most efficient reputation builders. A good corporate identity and a clean page layout can speak up for them.

It's hard to trust them because they're oblivious to their own reputation.

1st update:

It's September 8, a week passed—no word from the store yet. But they didn't take the money, either. Current order status: Pending.

2nd update:

After eleven days I received an e-mail stating that the requested albums are not manufactured anymore and thus not available. I was offered the option to cancel my order, which I did. End of story. Still, I wonder why albums unavailable for years are offered to be purchased.