Friday, September 30, 2011

Lack of posts

Sorry folks for the lack of posts last week and this week. I'm currently swamped here: full time job, teaching college typography night classes, freelance work and then my home life. Posts from here on out will be not so structured as before. I hope to start back up here soon. Stay tuned and thanks for visiting as always.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Retro '71

Welcome back to another edition of the Retro '71 Apparel Line. This week we'll continue our Journey around the World Showcase with our emphasis on France.
We know we're approaching France when we catch sight of the Eiffel Tower, the typical kiosk in the park bordering the canal, and the colorful umbrellas that announce the sidewalk café.  Investigate the boulevard, "La Promenade," with its handsome fountain, gardens, ironwork and elegant belle époque shops. Note the ironwork at each end of the Arcade—it's fashioned after the famed entrances to Paris's Metro. Around the corner, we find ourselves on a rural street where the shops are provincial.  At the Palais du Cinema, we can treat ourselves to a grand tour via an exciting motion picture, Impressions de France. By the way, the musical score of this film is based on the works of some of the greatest French composers, among them Debussy, Dukas, Saint-Saens, Satie, and Ravel. 

Following suit, this week’s design incorporates the France logo in a similar fashion as the previous shirts. The colors are inspired by the flag of France. Finishing the design is some slight wear and tear with a textured finish, which ties it into the branding and overall vision of the Retro '71 apparel line. 

Well that does it for this week’s edition of the World Showcase shirts. I want to thank everyone who has contacted me in regards to the line thus far. Your comments have been such great motivation. Hope to see you back on Friday as we dissect more fonts used for classic Disney Park attractions. Hope all of you have a great week and see you back soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

For this week’s case study we find ourselves back in Fantasyland, looking at one of the most popular attractions within the Disney theme parks, Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a simplistic carousel-like attraction, where guests can board one of 16 pachyderms on an aerial adventure. Each elephant "gondola" vehicle has its own joystick that allows guests to control how high or how low they want to go. As guests whisk through the air to jovial circus music led by Timothy Mouse, they can catch spectacular views of Cinderella Castle and the rest of Fantasyland.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant will soon be moving as we all know by now. Its new location will be Fantasyland Forest, which is a part of the new Fantasyland expansion. Dumbo's new home will come with various upgrades and enhancements. I look forward to seeing it in its new surroundings with all the wonderful thematics and atmospherics, and of course, the type treatments those Imagineers are plussing into this time-honored classic.
From a typography standpoint, Dumbo’s pickings are slim. Not much signage or pathfinding is used around the attraction, so most of my research comes from attraction posters and what little signage there is. It comes as no surprise that Dumbo the Flying Elephant is branded heavily with circus-looking display fonts, also classified as Tuscan display fonts. Other prevalent classifications are Woodblock, Western, and Slab Serif, and let's not forget some of those classic medieval fonts used to brand Fantasyland, which also make guest appearances. All of the display fonts and typefaces are crisp and clean compared to the look of the fonts used on the billing for Storybook Circus. I'm excited to see which look will win out once the new land opens.

Well that does it for Dumbo. Tune in on Monday as we continue our Epcot Center World Showcase Retro '71 shirts. Until then, have a great weekend.

Technical difficulties

Sorry folks but the attraction case study for this week: Dumbo the Flying Elephant is currently being refurbished for your enjoyment. Please check back later this evening. I apologize for any inconvenience, in the mean time please visit other Designerland posts. Thanks for you understanding and patience.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Retro '71

This week’s Retro '71 shirt concept continues the Epcot Center World Showcase series.
When our walk along the World Showcase Promenade weaves into a cobblestoned square with charming shops, gabled rooftops, and a warm and inviting waterside pub, you know we've arrived at the United Kingdom.  On Tudor Lane, don't be surprised if you meet a strolling troubadour with his lute, or the Pearly Kings and Queens whose comedy style is as bright as the pearly buttons adorning their costumes. A bounty of fine products from Her Majesty's realm can be found here in the many smart shops. Britannia Square affords the cool greenery of a formal English city park where you can enjoy music and theatrics performed in the handsome gazebo.

For this week’s design, I used the United Kingdom logo and icon in a similar fashion as the main shirt for the Canada pavilion. The colors are inspired by the Union Jack. Finishing the design is some slight wear and tear with a textured finish, which ties it into the branding and overall vision of the Retro '71 apparel line.

That does it for today's post. Hope to see you back on Friday as we dissect the fun fonts used for classic Disney Park attractions. Hope all of you have a great week and see you back soon.

A new color palette has been added to the DisneyDesignerland Kuler account! Before you jump on over to check it out can you guess where this color palette is used?

Give up??? Find out the answer over at Disneydesignerland's Kuler page found here.

Check back for more random updates to Wonderful World of Kuler.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Splash Mountain

Welcome back to another edition of Designerland's attraction typography case studies. This week we'll head to our laughing place as we look at the various specimens used for the popular Critter Country/Frontierland attraction, Splash Mountain.
Guests board a hollowed-out log and drift along with Br'er Rabbit in his search for a little more adventure, all set to classic tunes from the 1964 Disney full-length feature, Songs of the South. Splash Mountain opened at Disneyland in 1989 and became an instant hit. Shortly after, the Walt Disney World Resort would have its own version, followed by Tokyo Disneyland.

Splash Mountain uses a wide array of decorative display fonts in its signage and place finding. The typography falls into several categories, with the four main classifications being Western, Woodblock, Antique and Victorian. Also featured are some comic-like fonts that help set the tone of the attraction and its storyline, which is based on cute, animated woodland creatures. Perhaps the most impressive type treatment was used for the attraction’s main logo. The original font used for the logo is nearly impossible to track down because it is so heavily modified with flourished terminals and curly serifs, all finished off with a rugged distressed edge. What's even more interesting about the logo is that Disney designers have used two different logos to brand the attraction on the signage throughout the area. One logo is more flourished and flowing, whereas the second logo is more Western, vertical and stiff. Next time you're in the parks, see if you can spot the two different logos.

That concludes this week's attraction typography case study. Tune in on Monday for another Retro '71 World Showcase t-shirt concept. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and have a swell weekend.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Retro '71

Welcome back to another installment of the Retro '71 apparel line. Last week kicked off our World Showcase series and we'll continue our journey as we make our way around the World Showcase Lagoon, counter clockwise.
Our first stop is Canada. Our tour takes us from a Northwest Indian Village to the chateau in Ottawa and through the quaint streets of Quebec. You can experience the awesome majesty of the Northern wilderness with its soaring rock mountains, rushing streams, cool pines, and cascading water. Footpaths and bridges take you through a simulated mountain gorge. Along the way, enter the "Moosehead Mine" where you can relax while you are visually whisked away on a glorious tour of Canada through the magic of Circle-Vision 360. There are statuesque totem poles, Indian and Eskimo craft shops to explore, and at the end of the trail, the beauty of Victoria Gardens. Everything is designed to let you experience the spirit of America's neighbor to the north.

I opted to do two different designs for this week, mainly for my good friend who is Canadian and a big time Epcot Center fan. He just recently moved to the States along with his wife so that he could pursue his life's dream to work for Disney. These designs are for him.
The first design I came up with is based on the Moosehead Mine theatre inside the Canada pavilion. I tried to approach the shirt in a retro "summer camp" way. The design incorporates the main Canada and World Showcase logos along with a simple icon of a moose's head and the name of the mine. The colors are simple shades of red with white to pay homage to Canada's colors.  The second design once again incorporates the two logos in order to keep the branding constant, coordinated, and cohesive. I kept the colors the same on this design as well, but I decided to go with a different color option for the garment.


That concludes the latest additions to our vacation wear with a vintage flair. Hope you all enjoy your holiday off and be sure to tune in Friday for another installment of our attraction typography case studies. Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Healthy Obsession

I've been rather obsessed with the Dole Pineapple whip that I thought it was time to try another Disney Park must: The Mint Julep in order to see what all the fuss was about.

During my time at Disneyland (during the D23 Expo weekend) I had time to experience this tasty brew. It was love at first sip! I was and still am obsessed. I may have drank 10 while in the park over a 3 day time frame. I knew when I came home that I needed to try to make this tasty concoction on my own.

I googled a fair few recipes and narrowed it down to one. It needed a bit of retooling but I think I have a good mixture that comes pretty close. Not 100% but close enough to whisk me back to New Orleans Square every time I take a sip.

Below is the recipe:

16 oz plastic cups
2 lemons
Maraschino cherries (with stems)
Long plastic drinking straws
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons water
2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
1-12 oz can of frozen lemonade concentrate
13 Tablespoons of Creme de Menthe syrup (I used Reeses brand)

In saucepan over medium heat mix sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Remember to keep stirring, burnt sugar is tough to get out of saucepan!

Add in lime juice, lemonade (thawed), and creme de menthe. Raise temp and stir... be sure not to boil the mixture. Use a candy thermometer to ensure mixture does not boil.

Take off heat and cool.

While mixture is cooling slice your lemons and place on toothpick with a cherry.

Fill cups half full with ice. Mixture should begin to slightly thicken in saucepan.

Add 3 - 4 Tablespoons to each cup. I used 4 Tablespoons and thought it was a touch sweet but I enjoy it like that, not to mention once the ice melts it counterbalances the flavor.

Fill cups with water and stir.

Add fruit garnish and two straws and enjoy.

Note: I bought a glass olive oil jar with spout to store my mint syrup in for later use.

Let me know how it turns out and if you have some of your own alterations to the recipe let me know. Always up for fine tuning.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Welcome back to another attraction typography case study. This week we'll be looking at Disneyland's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was originally designed by WED Imagineers for the 1964 New York World's Fair.  The New York World's Fair version was slightly different from what we would experience today in the parks—the original show focused more on the great state of Illinois, as the show was originally designed and developed for the States Pavilion at the World's Fair. Voiced by Disney character actor Royal Dano, Lincoln addresses the audience, giving a speech about his life, American liberty, justice, inspiration and the U.S. Constitution. Over time, the classic show has been branded and rebranded for guests: The Walt Disney Story, The Walt Disney Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the American Civil War version, Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years and the current version we have today, spearheaded by Imagineer Tony Baxter.

When looking at the typography used for this attraction in the posters, merchandise and signage, we see a wide array of specimens from many type classifications. The type can be broken down into two main categories: decorative display fonts and "classical" looking serif typefaces.  Some of the various specimens used by Disney designers to brand this experience over the years are: Tuscan, Woodblock, Western, Victorian, Slab Serif, Italianate, Geometric, and Script. While it may not seem like all of these classifications would work together, Disney designers paid close attention to the themes of early Americana and patriotic pride to create a seamless font palette that is both historically accurate (with a few flourished liberties) and visually beautiful. Generally speaking, we can pinpoint all of the typography to the late-18th to mid-19th century. Most, if not all the fonts you see today are professional commercial fonts from one particular type foundry, the same type foundry that designers have been using throughout Main Street USA both at Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln set the standard for Disney theme park technology and storytelling—without, it we may never have had pillaging pirates or hitchhiking ghosts. Well that concludes this week’s case study. See you all back here on Monday for a new Retro '71 shirt concept. Have a great weekend and see you soon.