Archive for the seniors Category

Typographic Design Owes a Lot to Steve

SteveJobs at Stanford University, speaks of how he put typography into the MAC

No, not his graduation, he never graduated college.

But in the first of three vignettes he tells how he dropped out, sat in at a campus calligraphy courses and, years later, plugged all his knowledge of font and legibility, kerning and small caps… into the Mac. Then Microsoft copied it and since then we have had beautifully texted pages. Steve’s sense of typography was installed into the design principles of our generation’s previously type-challenged technology.

Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

Graphic design: things that can be clicked.

Remember that old quiz show, ‘Pyramid’? It really brought in the ‘things that can be …’ categories.
What could be more ‘clickable’ than a mouse? Another of those design ideas that just works and then… Designer: get out of the way. This was for the home page of the Ontario Long Term Care Association and clicking it access a host of learning pages. Love working for the group… they understand big, legible type as do seniors everywhere.
The idea that seniors are not adequately represented on the internet is increasingly a thing of the past as net savvy boomers reach their senior years.

Graphic Design: Button, button, what’s in a button?

When the internet first caught my eye, in 1994, I struggled with the slow speeds and the evident prejudice against graphics. I understood this, as the net was a slow beast ‘in those days’ and we all, as visual people, tried to get more for less. Narrow pages and little buttons. I resisted.
I thought why press a button that looked like an envelope that evidently meant ’email’. That’s exactly what email wasn’t! THERE’S NO ENVELOPES IN EMAIL!!! Or stamps with wavy lines. Or pens with little fingers. Why not, I thought, print the word ’email’?? And with a wink and a nod toward my typographic roots, I began producing typographic finding aids for the web.
For my efforts I was told, ‘You are not an iconographic designer.’ And web designers ran off with all sorts of little images of icons that ran, smiled, and vibrated. Here’s one of my efforts that’s clear, that promotes the message and branding of the impending document, and is rather large as buttons go. It was made to draw attention within a busy page. You decide. Don’t try pressing the button, although I’m betting you want to. :-)

OLTCA addresses the looming crisis in long term care.

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. In this case, a straightforward messaging piece for the Ontario Long Term Care Association, the designer (me) simply states the case and then quietly withdraws. There are some subjects that are difficult to render, that resists the natural urge to ‘design’ and long term care may be one of them. There is simply no way to lighten the tone without appearing to undermine the somber message, slight it or gloss over the rather tragic messages contained within.

Graphic Design: Why I love type.

When I designed this brochure for the Aurora Cultural Centre it was the pictures that came with the opportunity that struck a chord. And what could be better? A sunny day in a beautiful town in front of a minor architectural wonder. These images do not come without a bit of reverence. Storybook, perhaps.
But the shots told the story of how much fun one could have and be a bit of help to the community too. There’s certainly no lack of things to do and things that just have to be done in a venture like the Centre. Volunteers are needed in every capacity. For me, the task became one of emphasizing an already great story with typography – and then, as a designer – getting out of the way.
I’m always looking at new fonts and the extreme narrowness of this ‘grotesque’ caught my eye. I thought it might be interesting to throw in some colour as well. So in came the blues and teals. The basic beiges and sage in the background mirror the interior of the newly-renovated Centre.
As these brochures must literally shout out louder than the competition on brochure stands around town, most of the pertinent information must be contained in the top few inches.

AURORA CULTURAL CENTRE Membership Brochure, designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Barrie, Ontario. L4N 7R9

Three simple pages telling three simple related stories. Three ways to enhance your experience with the Aurora Cultural Centre.

Healthcare for seniors. Refreshed. Re-designed.

I have had the distinct pleasure to design this annual report and to refresh the brand of the preeminent long term care association in Canada, in the process refocusing on the people, the caregivers behind the scenes.
I originally wrote the tagline, WE ARE LONG TERM CARE IN ONTARIO to refer to the organization as they had over 475 members and a cross section of all long term care providers in the province, representing the entire sector. But in the next year, the line came to refer to the caregivers themselves, as the face(s) of long term care. Click to see the pdf: high res lowres

From Post War, to Baby Boomers, then Pepsi Generation. Now we’re Generation Alzheimer’s.

< Our disease? Get the ‘Generation Alzheimer’s: the defining disease of the baby boomer’ report.

With each new conversation with another my age the inevitable topics come up, ‘How are your parents doing?”

What follows is typically an exchange of stories, sometimes in the early stages, moments of trepidation, like last week when one mother asked her 50 year old son when it was that he started wearing glasses. The response was, “in eleventh grade”. That would have been about 5 years ago in my mother’s case. Today I learn that she’s in virtual lock down and may be reading the same page in the same book over and over – alone in her room.

This is our disease. Breathe deeply. Own it. More later.

What? Super Bowl Ad Mocks Seniors? You decide.


Here’s a pet peeve: advertising that mistakes ‘dissing’ for ‘funny’. I have to admit my bias here, usually it’s the senior white male: old, hairy, stupid and fat, that is just so, so humorous. Somewhat aging men are (for sure!) the cause of every woe today and serve on TV as the butt of every joke. Think of these hilarious ads as loving tributes sent to us from our kids, the art directors. Here the message is only too obvious. ‘Let’s make our car look really young and fresh by ridiculing the very old and infirm.’

Okay, so it’s funny. And if you click the link below and read some of Michelle’s comments, you’ll see even some elderly patients thought it was a hoot. But do we have to sink to ridicule to sell a damn car? So sad for Chevy, for their Cruse and of course for GM – who should know better. Somewhere, I’m sure it’s being defended as ‘edgy’…

Thanks to Michelle Seitzer and her blog, Seniors for Living for zeroing inside this one.

PHARMATRUST: real world benefits for patients, pharmacists and doctors.

Pharmatrust AdvertisingI wrote and designed this straightforward, no-nonsense ad for Pharmatrust, the maker of the ingenious medicine dispensing kiosk ( coming soon to a convenient location near you) to placement in ‘The Pharmacist’ magazine in the UK. It carefully explains the mantra, ‘healthcare everywhere’ with compelling, easy to understand benefits for patients, pharamcists and doctors.