I have been struggling with adobe illustrator.
It’s the computer end of my carving business. I use it for experimental layout, but primarily for text applications. Last night I was getting my nose buried in short videos on text manipulation and design in Illustrator when I ran across the term majuscule – it’s a capital letter. They are used for design emphasis – sort of like a drop cap, but even larger. They can be elaborate and elegant.
Like everything else, they can be abused. Since gigantic letters focus attention, some people think many giant letters focus attention better. Actually, they distort the blocks of text they are part of and can make it harder to read and comprehend. So, it would be best if you used them sparingly.
So I guess you are wondering why I’m going on about majuscules? It has a lot to do with the sixties. After about two hours of training, my mind started to wander and free-associate. And this is where it wandered to:
In the sixties, there was a tendency to break the rules, try new things, and experiment. It’s almost a cliche to state that, but it was true. One rule-breaker I knew was Sophia, a young fabric design artist from Baltimore.
Sophia loved customizing vintage clothes to get rather outre effects. Her creations were trendy among the better-heeled hip set that could afford custom threads to wear to their be-ins, sit-ins, and such. However, being there for that crowd was not enough; you had to be noticed.
Sophia used embroidery, patches, and acrylic paints to achieve her results. Some of her designs on a lovely young woman were enough to leave you voiceless and breathless. My then-girlfriend borrowed a jeans ensemble from a better-off friend ( there was no way we could afford a Sophia original), and I had to swallow hard before I could bleat out how gorgeous she looked.
Sophia’s signature style, however, almost always featured some elaborate majuscule. Sometimes the letter was so elongated and elaborately crafted that it overwhelmed the article of clothing. Unfortunately, this design element proved easy to copy, and it wasn’t long before copycat productions hit the streets. Not long afterward, the entire concept ceased being popular.
When I was doing craft shows, we had a saying: if you created a popular product, you had about nine months before your peers copied it. And within eighteen months, it would get copied in Asia for sale at the discount store.
So Sophia moved on to other things.
After this escapade on Memory Lane, I returned to the tedious task of watching training videos. Not as much fun as mind tripping back to sunny days in the sixties.