Comic Code; Organized Colours; Oreology
Today is day 1 of re-employment for me at GreyNoise Intelligence. I chronicled my week of "funemployment" on Twitter, but I did not go into some of the daily minutiae involved in putting auld lang syne, behind me.
Some changes were physically "big", such as rearranging a bit of my office so today didn't feel like going back into the seat of my old job. One change was "digitally" big in that I replaced the font I use in text editors, IDEs, and terminals (which has been Iosevka for the longest time).
You may remember Toshi Omagari from Friday's edition, where I noted his deep dives into video game fonts. I also mentioned he is a typeface designer, and after reading the background on why and how Toshi made Comic Code I just had to give it a try, especially since I'm one of the biggest detractors of Comic Sans and was in need of a radical change.
Toshi's article is short, and deserves a 👀, so I won't just cut/paste the whole thing here, but I can at least drop the intro ❡:
Comic Code is a monospaced adaptation of the most infamous yet most popular casual font. Designed specifically for programming as the name suggests, which is a corner of typography that involves intensive typing that feels more akin to handwriting than typesetting, this typeface took inspirations from friendly characteristics and low-resolution legibility of Comic Sans. It is an unapologetic admittance of Comic Sans’s positives, and a literal manifestation of “code like nobody’s watching”.
The font has ligatures, and I 💙 ligature fonts for coding, though others have some sound criticisms about them, most notably that ligatures do not show the original glyphs, and it can be hard to count letters. Toshi did something neat in that the ligatures are proper ligatures, but the graphemes aren't fully connected. With Iosevka, the new native pipe operator in R looked like ▷ even though it is composed of
|>. With Comic Code, there is a sliver of space between the two graphemes, which should counter at least one of the detractions (but, I mean really, who counts characters by hand anymore?).
The font is not free, and if $30 USD is a bit much at the moment, Toshi points to Comic Mono as a free alternative. I had no issue dropping some coin on it, especially since Toshi hand crafted each glyph in each face of the font.
So far, I'm finding the font more readable than previous selections, and none of the tools of my trade feel like I'm back at Groundhog Day.
(One more fairly change I've made is that I'm back to Vivaldi as my default browser — Orion was glitching too much, at least for now — and have the location bar at the bottom of the window and tabs to the right. We'll see how long that lasts.)
I'm a huge fan of Datawrapper (I noted their "river" back in April), and an even bigger fan of Lisa Charlotte Muth who is a designer & blogger at Datawrapper.
At the aforementioned new gig I am expecting to have to create a color palette as part of a core data visualization theme and style guide for various data products and reports we'll be making, and I expect to have Lisa's "How to create an organizational color palette" in a pinned tab for a few days/weeks for reference.
The guide is extensive‼ and covers:
Do you even need a fixed color palette for your data visualizations?
Four different approaches to organizational color palettes
“Let’s prepare for everything”
“Fewer hues, more shades” (aka “The traditional brand-ists”)
“More hues, fewer shades”
Which colors to define
Colors for categories
Shades for categories
Colors for common categories
Grays for data
Grays for everything that’s not data
Sequential and diverging gradients
Colors for map elements
Considerations for choosing colors
How to include brand colors
How many colors to choose
Dancing around the color wheel
Color order and combinations
Self-confidence of your visualizations
Sentiments your colors convey
Medium (print, TV, presentations, …)
Colors for big and small areas
How well you can refer to the colors
Dealing with colors in older data visualizations
How to create an organizational color palette — some ideas
Find out what your organization needs
Collect possible colors
Create the color palette
Test your color palette with tools
Show your colors to users and readers
Document your colors
Collection of data vis style guides
and there are a plethora of annotated examples throughout the post, like this one showing the different grays in a Datawrapper visualization:
Even if you already have a palette/style guide, Lisa's resource might just offer some inspiration as to how to improve it.
I'm not often envious of academic researchers, since being in academia can be tough. Field work can be especially exacting, and often involves hard labor and getting quite messy. Crystal Owens, Max Fan, John Hart, and Gareth McKinley likely didn't mind their research, however, since it involved analyzing one of the most consumed creamy filled chocolate cookie sandwiches.
Their paper, "On Oreology, the fracture and flow of “milk's favorite cookie®”", takes a scientific look at what goes on (and goes wrong) when Oreo cookie wafers are separated. Here's the abstract:
The mechanical experience of consumption (i.e., feel, softness, and texture) of many foods is intrinsic to their enjoyable consumption, one example being the habit of twisting a sandwich cookie to reveal the cream. Scientifically, sandwich cookies present a paradigmatic model of parallel plate rheometry in which a fluid sample, the cream, is held between two parallel plates, the wafers. When the wafers are counter-rotated, the cream deforms, flows, and ultimately fractures, leading to separation of the cookie into two pieces. We introduce Oreology (/ɔriːˈɒlədʒi/), from the Nabisco Oreo for “cookie” and the Greek rheo logia for “flow study,” as the study of the flow and fracture of sandwich cookies. Using a laboratory rheometer, we measure failure mechanics of the eponymous Oreo's “creme” and probe the influence of rotation rate, amount of creme, and flavor on the stress–strain curve and postmortem creme distribution. The results typically show adhesive failure, in which nearly all (95%) creme remains on one wafer after failure, and we ascribe this to the production process, as we confirm that the creme-heavy side is uniformly oriented within most of the boxes of Oreos. However, cookies in boxes stored under potentially adverse conditions (higher temperature and humidity) show cohesive failure resulting in the creme dividing between wafer halves after failure. Failure mechanics further classify the creme texture as “mushy.” Finally, we introduce and validate the design of an open-source, three-dimensionally printed Oreometer powered by rubber bands and coins for encouraging higher precision home studies to contribute new discoveries to this incipient field of study.
The entire paper is a fun and informative read. One of the best parts, however, is that you now get to explain that you're performing a replication study to better understand parallel plate rheometry when your partner or offspring chastises you for consuming an entire container of these highly addictive rounds.
Off to day #1! ☮