Robert L. Peters

13 May 2009

Here’s looking at you, Steve…


Cupertino, California

Artist Dylan Roscover has done a great job of recreating a famous Steve Jobs picture using a selection of Apple’s classic typefaces (used since its beginning in the 70s). The message contained in the portrait:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.

And while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

(found here)

12 May 2009

Portuguese patina… in Porto









Porto, Portugal

Ev and I decided to make a one-day jaunt up to the coastal wine-making city of Porto yesterday (hence Port wine), three hours by train north of Lisbon. Although the forecast was for cloudy weather with showers, the rain (mostly) held off and we were treated to beautiful shafts of sunlight illuminating this remarkably textured old city. We certainly got our exercise in the 9 hours or so we spent walking up and down the hilly cobble-stoned streets, including an airy crossing of the Douro River to visit the venerable Ramos Pinto house of port. Following the obligatory tastings Ev decided she had a hankering for the fruitier white port—a bottle of which then accompanied our picnic dinner of fresh breads, local cheese, fruit, and pastries—a meal fit for a prince, though at a pauper’s price.

Images, from top: vernacular signage; a lovely old motorbike; ubiquitous illustrated Portuguese tiles; bridge over the river Douro; view across the river from in front of the port houses; period posters for the Ramos Pintos port brand; Ev in front of the Majestic Cafe and in the fresh market.

11 May 2009

When pigs sneeze…


Freiburg, Germany

From my friend Silvie (who knows more about Tamiflu than you want to know), an apt allegory regarding the mainstream media’s hype du jour…

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Drei Tiere treffen sich….

Sagt der Bär: Wenn ich brülle, zittert der ganze Wald.

Der Löwe: Wenn ich brülle, zittert die ganze Wüste.

Und das Schwein: Wenn ich nur huste, zittert die ganze Welt…

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Three animals meet…

The bear says: When I roar, the whole forest shivers.

The lion quips: When I roar, the plains tremble.

And the pig retorts: All I have to do is sneeze, and the whole world quakes with fear.

(Image of unknown source, received from brother Phil.)


10 May 2009

Loving Lisbon…








Lisbon, Portugal

It’s been 14 years since I was last here (for the 1995 Icograda Congress) and the city has changed a lot, though mostly in a good way I would say (thanks largely to Portugal’s integration with the EU, it seems). Façades are brighter and there also seems to be more optimism in people’s faces (in spite of the global economic crisis). While we have attended most of the OFFF conference, Ev and I have snuck away for some delightful (low cost) touristic actvities. After a death-defying taxi ride with a drunk and angry Russian cab driver (local cabbies would not help him with directions) on Friday night, we’ve concluded that Lisbon’s efficient Metro is the saner and more efficient way to get about…

Images, from top: Ev on a midnight stroll, framed by the Arco da Rua Augusta; “Free Hugs” in a plaza the day we arrived; a sign that caught our eye; mothers and children (worth defending, one assumes) as ornament above the gates to the Military Museum; a Smart alternative to SUVs; Ev taking in the permanent collection at the very fine Museu Calouste Gulbenkian; a portrait by Victor Brauner, Avant-garde Romanian painter, from the current exhibition at the Museu do Chiado/Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea.

8 May 2009

This isn’t falling.



Lisbon, Portugal

I gave my talk today to a jam-packed and very generous, appreciative crowd… though very gratifying, I’d have to say the level of enthusiastic feedback was almost embarrassing (organizer Hector Ayuso Ross informed me that mine had been the first ever OFFF presentation to elicit a standing ovation). It’s a relief to have my talk behind me… (these things can be intense—especially with an audience of thousands).

Numerous OFFF participants asked me later if I could provide them with a copy of my talk. I am planning to create a screen-resolution PDF version (within the next week) which includes all the quotations and much of the imagery used—if you attended the OFFF event in Oeiras and would like a copy of my presentation, please contact me by e-mail here and I will send you a link to where you can download the presentation.

Images: one of my title slides; Andre, a young Portuguese participant from 400km north of Lisbon shared this sketch he did of me in his Moleskine during my talk—thanks, dude!

7 May 2009







Lisbon, Portugal

offf is off to a fine start… an impressive stage setup, thousands of excited attendees in queues… and an inspiring opening keynote by Neville Brody. Sweltering heat inside the massive hall (appropriate perhaps, as the venue was formerly a foundry)—though a sunny and pleasant 25 degrees outside, with Ev spending part of the day catching up on sleep on the beach in Oeiras. Should be a fun few days…. Neville’s closing thought (which is bound to set the tone for this event):

“For the first time in history we live in a place where the future looks worse than the past…,” ergo his admonition for designers to “move to an empowered place beyond both fear and hope.”

Images: the massive Hanger K which holds 4000; the hyper-energetic OFFF crew celebrating completion of the setup; queues on opening day; the convenient re-charge station; the inimitable Brody (photo found online).

5 May 2009

Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas


San Francisco, California

“This is a relentless age we’re living in, a time when innovative solutions—or any solutions, for that matter—to our seemingly infinite problems seem in short supply… so how do we come up with new ideas? How do we learn to think outside of normal parameters? Are the processes in place for doing so flawed? Do we rely too much on computer models? On consultants? On big-idea gurus lauding the merits of tribes and crowds or of starfish and spiders? On Twitter?”

In today’s New York Times, Allison Arief suggests that “…we’re all so mired in it that we’ve forgotten how to get out of it—how to daydream, invent, engage with the absurd;” this is why she is so enamored with the work of inventor, author, cartoonist, and former urban planner Steven M. Johnson, “a sort of R. Crumb meets R. Buckminster Fuller. Johnson is a former urban planner, and his work tends toward the nodes where social issues intersect with design and urban planning issues.”

Worth a read, here.

3 May 2009


2 May 2009

Google Maps | Typography


Melbourne, Australia

Rhett Dashwood has spent his spare time over several months searching Google Maps and discovering land formations or buildings resembling letter forms. These are the results of his findings limited to the state of Victoria, Australia.

1 May 2009

Best wishes for May Day…


Winnipeg, Canada

Best wishes to colleagues and comrades near and far on this, International Workers’ Day

Image: Russian girl waves hat while watching May Day parade, Moscow (detail of 1958 photo by Howard Sochurek for Life).

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