Simply inexcusable

I saw this at Tienda Inglesa, and was absolutely appalled.

No, not that the ham was upside down. That only made it worse. Can you see it?

OK, let me give you a clue:

Ah yeah, you’ve got a point: that’s not much of a clue. That’s me in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1983. On the right. I have absolutely no memory of the photo being taken BTW (by someone named Lisa Ebright).

Having extricated myself from teaching at a vastly under-studented international school in Malta, I spent a few years working as a school yearbook rep out of West Germany, consuming multiple Eurail Passes with a job that took me to 14 countries.

Not bad, but: in the twilight of my 20s, in an “is this all there is?” moment, I signed up for a School of Visual Arts (New York) summer course in North Africa, whose teachers were Milton Glaser, Marshall Arisman, Ed Benguiat, and Eileen Hedy Schultz (not to be confused with Eileen Caddy, founder of Findhorn, whom I met a year or two later in Germany). All very cool people – well, for the first and most famous, perhaps that’s too strong an adjective – a couple of whom I later visited in New York.

Powerful stuff which, alas, did not exactly lead me down the path to a career in typography, illustration, graphic design, or stock photography, though all kept singing sweetly in the background over the next few years.

So, back to the ham, oddly less offensive now right side-up. But still egregious – what the hell is this? Do you let your ten year-old do package design?

Yes, I’m talking about kerning….

How to treat a hero

José Gervasio Artigas Arnal is the national hero of Uruguay, predating political divisions which rendered such universal accord mostly impossible. Artigas’ story is complex, involving Spain, England, and Portugal, and eventually banishment in Paraguay. But hero he is, and it seems every town in the Oriental Republic has a street named after him. There’s a departamento (state) called Artigas. You can find his statue in Washington, D.C., New York, Caracas, Athens, Mexico City, Newark, New Jersey, and Quito, Ecuador .

And in Pando:

There, screen-printed plexiglas panels proclaiming tolerance, peace, union, family, and love shield waterworks that are – can they be described any other way? – pissing on his monument.

The pigeon temporarily perched on his head adds a further bit of indignity.

Maybe I read too much into it? I guess I have this design thing.

In case you need sound:

Design Notebook 20181217

Uruguay "negro" lawn ornament

Ah, Uruguay! Every day that I walk dogs with Syd, we go by this house. FWIW, only 4% of Uruguayans are black. 

If you’ve been with me a while, you might recall similar remarkable coffee packaging (which El Palacio Del Cafe subsequently changed).


On another note, weather here went from very rainy to very hot. How hot? Just before I took this photo, all six dogs were in the recently filled swimming hole. I don’t remember ever seeing that before.

dogs in swimming hole