Xmas Pi

Xmas Pi and christmas pie. It’s that time of year again. In my neck of the woods Christmas day will be either blistering hot with a chance of late thunderstorms, or wonderfully mild and raining, a respite from the blistering hot days preceding it. I’m hoping for the relief of a cool day, but whatever the weather we will sit outside and feast on prawns and pudding. Wishing good cheer and happy days to everyone.

DF Moderns


Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the birthday of Wilbur Lincoln Scoville, the pharmacist who gives his name to the Scoville scale—the scale that measures the hotness of chillies. The thought of hot chilli peppers immediately brought DF Moderns to mind! The Moderns font, designed by David Sagorski, is a collection of dingbats inspired by twentieth century modern art—notably Picasso and Kandinsky—and published by Letraset in 1994. Sagorski’s other fonts include Expressions, Mo Funky Fresh, Bang and Faithful Fly.



The Altemus Collection is the work of Robert Altemus, a New York-based designer. It contains around 8000 ornamental and dingbat designs across thirty font families. As well as the character sets you might expect, like Altemus Dingbats and Altemus Borders, there is a slew of alluring others: Birds, Suns, Spirals, Roughcuts, Rays, Pinwheels, Leaves, Kitchen, Toolkit, Pointers and Bursts. Altemus was influenced from everything from Brazilian art deco architecture and 1950s fabric designs to decorative elements found on old packaging at flea markets. What I find so impressive is that the elements of the collection are original, drawn from scratch before being worked up into vector format.

Happy holidays


DF Celebrations was designed in 1994 by Canadian designer and illustrator James Wilson. The collection of woodcut-like dingbats contains a range of festive images for any occasion, including christmas day. Of course there’s nothing to illustrate an Australian christmas, which typically involves the beach, barbecues and prawns! Happy day, wherever you are and whatever you do.



There’s a dingbat for everything. This thunderstorm comes from the Eclectics character set. Eclectics, designed by Pepper Tharp, has all manner of dingbats you thought you never needed, but this thunderstorm is just right for the extreme low pressure system that is bringing lashing rain and wild squalls to the NSW east coast this week.

Dingbat earrings


I’m currently working on my submission for the Personal Histories Artists Book Exhibition which will be held at the Redland Museum in Queensland later this year. In sifting through the material that I’m using as the basis for my book I have come across all sorts of things I had forgotten about. One item is this pattern for making dingbat earrings. This now-mottled and deteriorating bromide (remember them!) came complete with instructions and fixings.



February 14, Valentine’s Day, was first associated with romantic love in Geoffrey Chaucer’s time, when, in 1382, he wrote (translated): For this was on St Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate. So the custom of giving flowers, chocolates and greeting cards—known as valentines—evolved in England, and goes back centuries, although in modern times handwritten valentines are less common than mass-produced greeting cards. In the UK an estimated 25 million cards are sent each year, and in the US the figure is a staggering 190 million. When you take into account the valentines that are made in school activities, that number increases to 1 billion. And that’s not counting e-valentines. In the area of book arts there are bookbinding structures that lend themselves extremely well to expressing matters of the heart—something as simple as folding two leaves of a book into the spine creates a heart shape. In typography, Zapf Dingbats contains three widely recognisable heart shapes, although I can’t recall every having the need to use the sideways one.



Something unusual happened today. I googled the font GiacomettiLL in order to learn something about its provenance and came up with zilch. I found one reference to it but the link took me to a different font, albeit one with almost the same name—to plain old Giacometti, without the LL, which is a font with the usual character set. GiacomettiLL is a dingbat font with stick-like figures drawn in the style of Alberto Giacometti’s spindly sculptures. Alberto Giacometti, born in 1901, was a Swiss sculptor and printmaker who is best known for his tall, stick-figure, bronze sculptures, so the font is well-named.

Night noises


It was noisy last night. The crickets and cicadas, noisy all day, were joined by frogs around dusk. At 9 pm, right on time, the thunk! on the kitchen roof, followed by another thunk! a few minutes later, signalled the arrival of possums at the party. DF Wildlife, designed by David Sagorski for Letraset in 1994, is a collection of all sorts of creatures — insects, reptiles, birds, mammals, dinosaurs — but unfortunately I couldn’t find a cicada (the loudest and most relentless of last night’s menagerie) in the character set. However there is a mosquito, another visitor that featured large in the middle of the night.