Earlier this year I made a ukulele under the expert and most enjoyable tutelage of two Big Island luthiers—Dennis Lake and Bob Gleason. It’s a pineapple uke with a solid koa body, and this picture shows one of the processes involved in attaching the top to the sides. I discovered that making a uke has a lot in common with bookbinding. Cutting, glueing, grain direction, accuracy and attention to detail, clamping, measuring, checking and double-checking, and then experiencing a sense of wonder that I was actually able to make such a thing.



Hard to imagine really—the water looks so benign. But this is a huge mass of water, the closest land probably being San Francisco at a mere 3700 or so kilometres across the ocean. The sign, on Coconut Beach, Kauai, looks like it’s been warning swimmers for quite a few years, but I was too busy looking out for whales and watching the tropical fish in the shallows to be tempted to wade in more than ankle deep.



I had an email from my friend a couple of days ago. She’s in Tasmania this week, so I was not expecting to hear from her. She had attached a couple of photos of a pub sign, but it was the message itself which was inordinately pleasing: ‘I love how the H has extended a helping hand to the E,’ she says. ‘See what you’ve done to me—photographing typography—I mean, really!’



CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (or blacK)—the colours that are used in four-colour process printing. Overlapping dots of cyan, magenta, yellow and black produce the full spectrum of reflective colour found in photographs. Colours for type and graphics can be made from combinations of these colours as percentages. For example, 100 percent yellow and 50 percent magenta makes orange, or a mixture of cyan and yellow makes green. In the printing process, the screen for each colour is printed at a different angle to improve print quality and reduce moiré patterns. In book design, a fifth black plate is often used for text, because if the book is published in several languages, only the black text plate needs to be changed.

The garden island


For a minute or so I was filled with hope that there might be a publishing industry on Kauai—the garden island referred to here—but the building houses an Italian cafe. However, the local newspaper is called The Garden Island and is housed in a newer building across the road, so I would guess that, when the newspaper was first published in 1902, it started its life here. I like the incised sans serif lettering, stark and graphic in the afternoon light.



I can spend hours in Hawaiian grocery stores, walking along the aisles, checking out the huge array of goods—not for purchase, but for the visual feast on offer. You’ll find not just one flavour of something on the shelf, but a dozen, or two dozen, variations on a theme, the pattern of repeated colour-coded labels making a design impact. Even the fresh food looks good. Trays of ahi poke in the seafood section (ok, so now I’m getting hungry), and in the bakery, rows of cakes with icing in colours that are surely not real. I particularly like the myriad bottle shapes in the liquor section, although in this store it was the sign that drew me in, the letters indicating that perhaps it had sampled too much of its own kind. Hic.