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I love doing things for the family. Here’s my grandson’s nautical wall ‘thingy’ as we call them, with the young lad already posing like a pro in front. My daughter Eryn, that’s her hand holding him up, picked the sailing theme and once I found the great cap ‘N’ I knew we had to have it. Funny the way these letters set, because casting the whole name in a script wouldn’t have been ‘something’, as David Letterman said in his great game, ‘Is This Something?’ That’s always my standard, somethings must rise above, become memorable, pop out to become noticeable in our overstuffed world. In this case it must be worthy of Nolan, and of course Eryn’s exquisite taste demands a standard of quality.

After all, luck be with us, our family will be looking at it for quite some time.

So, after the rather extravagant letter N, I stuck in the modern caps for the rest of the little guy’s name and it all came together. I once had a man come to me to ask, ‘How many fonts make a design look right?’ I struggled for an answer, the question being so wrong on so many levels. It’s difficult to walk back a sense of typography. Why does this work, and not that? Frankly, I don’t know. Here’s another ‘frankly’, I don’t think you can fake it and not sure that it is a teachable thing either. My wife hates the phrase, ‘It is what it is.’ I find it useful.

I work at the fonts until they just look right together. What’s the standard? I don’t know. Working in John Brook’s agency, I looked up to find the man himself looking down at my work, a bread package. He told me, ‘In case you don’t know, you’re good at the type.’ From John, high praise.

Nolan’s wall thingy isn’t baby cute. That was one of our goals. We wanted it to last through his teen years, so no teddy bears, bunnies or froggies… and no baby blue. Of course, we looked through Pinterest for ideas. There’s tons of stuff there. Pinterest asks, ‘How do I do this?’ Where other social media sites are more like, ‘Look what I can do.’ LinkedIn. Or ‘Look at what I’m doing now.’ Instagram. There is a lot of design on Pinterest, especially home décor. It’s not an easy site, all the images being so vertical…  Certain aspects of it remind me of classified ads, all a tumble on the page, but each fitting into a proscribed box.

Thanks to my wonderful daughter and husband Chris for first, the child who needs the wall and second, for letting me use this picture. Granddaugher Avery’s wall thingy appears later on in this series.