We are always looking for good blog content from CDPUG members and friends. Contact the blog master for details at

Get a Clue, Buy a Gift & Save $!

Exclusively for CDPUG Members: Entertain your clients, friends, family and yourself with tickets to Clue at the Cleveland Playhouse. Special deep discounts on January 26, 30, or February 4 and 5.
Bonus Fun: Pre-Show Conversations happen 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance. Special talk back Feb. 4 @ 4:15 – 5pm.

Don’t delay! Offer ends December 11.

SUN JAN 26 | 6:30 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $63)

THU JAN 30 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $63)

TUE FEB 4 | 7 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $75)

WED FEB 5 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $75)

Wishing our members a happy new year filled with good health and good times. Get a Clue and start it off right!

Press Play! The Museum Transforms into the Open World Arcade

• Akron Art Museum •
Saturday, December 7
11 am – 5 pm

Join us at this family-friendly event 
and try out some of the most classic video games of all time, including 
Super Mario Maker, Tetris, Street Fighter II (on a giant screen),
4-player Zelda: Four Swords and more,
all on real, vintage console and arcade hardware.

Your ticket gets you
• Access to an amazing arcade of indie video and tabletop games •
(several created by local game designers)
• Access to the arcade of classic video games •
• Gallery admission to all of Akron Art Museum’s galleries
(including Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art)

Choose from 3 arcade sessions:
• 11 am – 1 pm •

• 1 – 3 pm •
• 3 – 5 pm •
(you are not required to leave after your session)

$10/members, $24/nonmembers
Free for children 12 and under

(Children must be accompanied by an adult)

Open World Arcade is a perfect way for adults to connect
with kids & young adults who love technology.

Can’t make this event? See the exhibit!!!
Photo by Stewart O. Smith Jr.See more photos HERE!!

Character Study: Type Design’s Past, Present, and Future

Anna Richard presented an engaging overview of typography and type design at the October CDPUG meeting.

Her passion was quite evident throughout the talk. She started at the beginning, her beginning. From an early age she enjoyed math and rarely missed an episode of the TV show Numbers. Anna also enjoys art, creating her first book at two-years old!

At Kent State University Anna realized her analytical and artistic skills are great qualities for a type designer. For her first typeface design assignment she went above and beyond – creating an entire typeface – in one weekend. Her professor was amazed but then challenged her to consider how each letter looks next to each other.

This challenge started Anna thinking about the design choices faced when designing type. She presented a number of visuals illustrating what works and what does not.

Our eyes see horizontal lines as thicker than vertical lines. Optical corrections are necessary.
The H at right has been optically corrected.
Even though the lines are the same size the X at the left does not look correct.
The X in the middle has been optically corrected. Larger X shows how.
The tops of curves should be thinner. Tweaks are needed to make it look correct.
This is where the math skills come in handy.
Kerning takes the longest amount of time in the type design process.
Word Adhesion is the spacing between letters. Letter spacing is more important than letter design.
A well-spaced yet bad-designed font looks better.

Anna explained that typefaces are code. The current font standard, Open Type, is coded by hand in the computer language Python, a relatively easy language to learn.

She mentioned copyrighting fonts is easier in other countries than the United States. Evidently this is a gray area. Some larger U.S. corporations have been able to protect their unique font by trademarking the name of the font.

Currently the largest selection of online open-source (free) fonts can be found on Google Fonts. Designers are paid up-front for their font design but not per time used/downloaded. There is controversy in the type design community surrounding this. Some designers just want to give away their fonts for free exposure.

Anna has downloaded and used fonts only to find out later about licensing issues. Some fonts have complicated licensing such as not permitting use in logos or “high-risk” businesses like airlines. It is best to read the fine-print in the beginning than have a problem later. She indicates there are many inexpensive quality fonts and does not mind paying the designer for their hard work.

The first typeface Anna designed is Noether Sans. This name is a nod to the female mathematician, Emmy Noether. Fitting name since math plays a large role in font design. Anna admits that she may never be completely finished with a typeface. She is always expanding upon and improving the font.

Other fonts Anna has designed, Merci Beaucoup and Appalachian, are just used one time.
She prefers the term lettering for one time use fonts and typeface for fonts where all the letters work together (spaced properly and sharing the same design dna traits).

Anna worked at Google Fonts, first as an intern then a contractor. She designed the font Cutive Mono for Google. The team critique atmosphere at Google was a plus. She found their insights and advice most helpful.

Inspired by old Smith Corona typewriter type,
Cutive Mono has teardrop terminals in letters a, r and c.

Currently Anna is a graphic designer at designRoom where she assists with production and design on a variety of projects. She created the branding typeface, Rascal, for designRoom. Anna wrote a fascinating blog on design choices and thought process behind the Rascal font.

Named after designRoom CEO and Founder Kelly Farrell’s dog,
the Rascal font is used as an accent, complementing Trade Gothic font.

TypeCon is a yearly meeting of font designers and fans. Anna had a presentation there on the visual personality and history of handwriting and culture. In the 1800’s handwriting was based upon gender, education and class. Merchants wrote in legible fonts for bookkeeping, scribes in ornate blackletter for contracts, secretaries in script and women in “frivolous” fonts. This just enforced social classes.

Anna found alot of useful information on handwriting in the book Handwriting in America – A Cultural History by Tamara Plankins Thornton.

On to the present day, current studies have shown that 75% of the time people can correctly guess a persons’ gender after studying their handwriting. This holds true even across different cultures. Men’s handwriting is typically seen as slanted, spiky or rushed and childlike. Women’s handwriting is typically seen as curly, bubbly, fancy and neater. Anna emphasized that this is all just generalizations of course

Anna finds it fascinating that we continue to ascribe personality to fonts.

She mentioned some font trends including variable fonts. Not widely used currently they can be used in Adobe Illustrator.

Variable fonts can be altered by the designer setting the point scale, width and weight axis.
Merriweather is an example of a variable font. Fourteen people have been working for six months, so far, to develop this. Anna is working on periods to ensure they match the other sixteen styles plus light and black fonts.

Trending font design also includes the use of movement and color. Other upcoming font trends see a fusion of different cultures and styles blended to create something unique.

The Childish Reverie font has a color scheme ‘baked-into’ it.

Anna was generous with her knowledge and answered a number of questions from attendees.

To find high-quality fonts Anna suggested David Johnathan Ross’ website, for Mac users and 1001 fonts, dafonts, and Google Fonts for windows and Mac users. For fonts designed by small design firms or solo designers she suggests Creative Market. This is also a great option for fonts since they provide a default user agreement.

When creating your own font Anna suggested creating an imaginary company logo, then create a font to go with it. Keep in mind the considerations discussed earlier (spacing, kerning, similar style).

Anna finds inspiration for a new font with just one interesting letter or character. Popular for inspiration are the capitol R, lower case a or ampersand character. These all have straights and curves to inspire. Other inspiration comes from unique or foreign signage.

Spike Radway, Director of Programming for CDPUG, found inspiration from his font shirt and created a type face for the occasion. He also made a typeface for Anna.
Spike has on-topic library books handy, and always makes sure we have pizza and salad!
Way to go eating healthy Bill Kiraly!

Slides courtesy of Anna Richard.
Photography by Laura Dempsey.

Merchant of Venice Ticket Savings

Cleveland Play House is happy to offer the members of CDPUG discount tickets to the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program’s Class of 2020’s upcoming production of The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s most provocative tale of money, privilege, and prejudice.

Don’t delay – purchase these discounted tickets by Thursday November 7 and Tuesday November 12 to SAVE!

FRI NOV 8 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $7.50 (usually $15)

SAT NOV 9 | 3:00 PM
Discount Price $7.50 (usually $15)

WED NOV 13 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $7.50 (usually $15)

THU NOV 14 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $7.50 (usually $15)

Enjoy an additional perk of being a CDPUG member and while also supporting live theatre. Take some time to enjoy a classic!

Energize Your Creativity – Creative Mornings

My first encounter with Creative Mornings Cleveland was at Edgewater Park on a beautiful August Friday morning.

Find a unique local venue and add a dash of music, 2 to 3 espresso shots, 60 or so creatives and one clever topic – mix well. This is the recipe behind Creative Mornings Cleveland, a group I have become energized by and enamored with. Anyone involved with CDPUG should check out Creative Mornings. Links to specific speakers Creative Mornings presentations are in this blog as well as here.

This group came highly recommended to me by my pal, Spike Radway of Team Spike Consulting. He admits “Creative Mornings has created a monster. I attended a Creative Mornings over three years ago. Robin VanLear, Director of Parade the Circle for the Cleveland Museum of Art, talked about Parade. Robin mentioned that there are paid workshops to teach non-artists how to make their artworks for Parade. I religiously attended those workshop sessions and the result of my efforts was ‘Spikezilla, the monster that creates art.’ “

Spikezilla in person at Parade the Circle.

Spike continues, “As the Director of Programming for CDPUG, I am always on the lookout for speakers and venues and Creative Mornings is very helpful in that way. I also attend Creative Mornings because I enjoy all kinds of art and not just graphic design. I have found artistic inspirations by expanding my point of view beyond the already familiar.”

Intrigued by the venue and the hopeful promise of a beautiful weather-day in Cleveland – I finally decided to give Creative Mornings Cleveland a try. I was blown away!

A brief musical interlude to open our creative brains.

Greeted by a friendly diverse group, given a delicious breakfast, informed of local happenings, entertained by musicians, had my faith-in-the-world renewed and creativity energized. All for free. Yes, you heard me, free!!

The speaker was Phoenix coffee buyer, Christopher Feran and his topic was “justice.” Covering how beans are harvested and its impact on the farmer, it was a fascinating talk on the global economic impact of one’s choices. Truly an act locally, think globally message.

With this first dip into the Creative Mornings Cleveland world I was ready for more. But, I had to wait, meetings are held the third Friday of the month. Each meeting has a different venue, subject, speaker and live music. Did I mention live music too!!

Thomas Fox, Cleveland host of Creative Mornings Cleveland at the Bop Stop

The next meeting was at The Bop Stop. It was another great bicycling morning so I was able to ride there as well as the first meeting. Sometimes I feel like a freak wearing obnoxious neon bike-safety colors, but not with this group – other people rode again too! After breakfast, live music and “espresso-shot” pitches/info, we were regaled with tales of the artistic journey of Lisa Quine, creative consultant who specializes in lettering, murals, illustration, and graphic design.

Every Creative Mornings topic has a corresponding locally designed postcard free for the taking. These postcards were designed by Nick Hafner (left) and Lisa Quine (right).

Where was this group finding these great speakers? I found out when I received a Nomination Night invitation. Held once a year, members of Creative Mornings are invited to submit speakers for the upcoming year.

Spike and I attended armed with speaker ideas to share. We met other Creative Mornings members that ran the gamut of artists to community activist, filmmakers and economic development leaders.

Nomination Night was bubbling with good food, art, music, creative thought and dancing.
Art abounds at Nomination Night – a silent art auction and art created before our eyes.

Each monthly Creative Mornings meeting covers a topic. Next years topics: purpose, stress, nature, transit, radical, insecure, invest, identity, underdog, roots and spectrum.

We populated the individual topic boards with speaker ideas written on post-it notes.

An ornithologist specializing in bird migration for the topic of transit? A death-care industry expert for the topic of roots? We were thinking about all our connections differently.

I am looking forward to the next Creative Mornings Cleveland, held the third Friday of each month. Are you ready to be energized and invigorated? Then join us.

The next Creative Mornings theme is Flow.

Creative Mornings Cleveland is part of a worldwide network of Creative Mornings groups.
Everyone is creative…. Everyone is welcome…

Thanks again to Spike Radway for recommending Creative Mornings Cleveland!
Photography by Laura Dempsey.
Spikezilla photo courtesy of Spike Radway.

Brilliant Savings $!

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Take a poignant journey and save on selected dates of Every Brilliant Thing at The Cleveland Play House.

Don’t put off your purchase. Deadline to order these discounted tickets is Tuesday, October 22.

SUN NOV 24 | 6:30 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $63)

WED NOV 27 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $63)

THU DEC 12 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $75)

SAT DEC 14 | 2:30 PM
Discount Price $35 (usually $75)

Join the Cleveland Space Apps 2019 Challenge!

Are you interested in space science and exploration?
Are you creative?
And do you want to solve problems?

If you answered yes to these questions sign up to participate in the upcoming NASA International Space Apps Cleveland Challenge. On the weekend of October 18-20, thousands of people from all over the world will participate in a global hackathon community that embraces collaboration across borders, sectors, and cultures to bring about paradigm-shifting innovation. Clevelanders are lucky to have a Space Apps event right here at the NASA Glenn Research Center!

During the 48 hour sprint, participants hack solutions to challenges that NASA proposes, creating games, smartphone and computer apps, videos, teaching tools, and much more.

The event includes:

• Presentation by Astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock

• Mixer on Friday October 18 
Join us at NASA Glenn for appetizers, beverages, and an enjoyable evening. The agenda for the mixer will be posted as we get closer to the event.

• Student Hackathon on Saturday October 19
Perfect for those who have never participated in a hackathon and just wanting to get their feet wet or those who are unable to commit to the weekend.

Space Apps introduces problem-solvers worldwide to NASA’s free and open data. NASA missions to Earth, our Sun and solar system, and out into the universe – all gather data in pursuit of new knowledge, to expand our understanding through new scientific discoveries, and to help us to improve life on Earth. By using NASA data to solve each year’s challenges, Space Apps teams learn about NASA’s data, and share in the creation and application of the knowledge that results.

Space Apps inspires collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, fosters interest in Earth and space science and exploration, and encourages the growth and diversity of the next generation of scientists, technologists, designers and engineers. Space Apps is managed by the Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

$ave for the holidays! The Cleveland Play House

Need a fun & local holiday gift for your clients, friends or family? Save big on the upcoming production of A Christmas Story. This record-breaking show returns to the Cleveland Play House stage in all its pink-bunny-suit, glowing-leg-lamp, triple-dog-daring glory. The perfect holiday treat!

Don’t delay – purchase these discounted tickets by Monday October 14 to save big $$!

FRI NOV 29 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $15 (usually $61)

SAT NOV 30 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $15 (usually $61)

THU DEC 5 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $15 (usually $61)

WED DEC 18 | 7:30 PM
Discount Price $15 (usually $85)

Thank you for your membership to CDPUG and supporting live theatre. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season filled with fun experiences and savings… like this one!

Pop-up book tales, trials & triumphs with Keith Allen

Keith Allen, pop-up book artist, presenting at the CDPUG meeting.

As a tribute to his departed Grandfather, Keith Allen created a pop-up book… that is, he, his brother and Grandmother created a pop-up book. Keith served as the paper engineer, his brother as the illustrator and Grandma was the storyteller, marketer and calligrapher/artist. The story centers around what a fun and special place Rehoboth Beach is – after all it is where his grandparents lived, his parents met, where he proposed to his wife and where his children have had many an adventure riding the same carousel as he.

Keith, his brother and Grandmother: the team that created A Day in Rehoboth Beach.

This foray into creating pop-up books is a side project for Keith, who is a 15-year veteran designer with American Greetings. He is the author and artist of two pop-up books: A Day in Rehoboth Beach and What a Mess. A third pop-up book is currently in the edits/review stage.

Before creating pop-up books Keith made the transition from a two-dimensional designer to a pop-up artist at American Greetings. An art director there noticed Keith’s three-dimensional characters. He was approached about working on pop-up cards. Keith, perfected his paper engineering skills with hands-on trial-and-error plus gleaning insights from the library book The Elements of Pop-up by David A. Carter and James Diaz.

Pop-up book creation steps – from Keith’s second book What a Mess.

Marketing was easy for his first book, A Day in Rehoboth Beach. Everyone in Rehoboth Beach knew his Grandmother and she appeared on TV and radio to promote the book. Many businesses supported the project through donations that earned them a place in the book acknowledgments.

Businesses are acknowledged for their support in the bookA Day in Rehoboth Beach.

People wished to get their hands on this great pop-up book about Rehoboth Beach right away. But… the publishing is an even longer process, taking a year! These books are hand assembled overseas; there are no pop-up book publishers in the United States. Keith conducted his own pop-up book publishing research on Google and Alibaba, finally settling on a printer/manufacturer in China.

Keith sends a sample white book to the publisher/printer.

Good communication with the publisher/printer was key. Numerous items were sent to the printer: a sample white book, a depiction of how the page will look when printed (accomplished through clever use of Photoshop laying the color illustration over a photograph of the white book page) and artwork complete with die lines and tabs.

Artwork sent to print with die lines and tabs.

The importing and logistics was another story in itself – Keith indicated this could be an entirely separate presentation. He mentioned a brief panic when his shipment was going to be sent to a different port, due to a paperwork misunderstanding, and hinted at other stressful situations. He acknowledges now that having a customs broker and a logistics company involved would have been best.

Keith rented a van and picked up 3000 books in Philadelphia. Three thousand was the minimum order for a pop-up book due to manufacturing time and cost. Excitement and happiness had to abound that day as this long project was completed. But, boxes were opened to reveal numerous problems.

Keith rents a van, picks up the books and discovers big problems.

A third of the books were damaged or improperly printed. The glue should be dry before closing the book. These books were closed too soon after gluing and so the glue did not adhere. Illustrations had gone awry. There was a headless boy riding a cart around Rehoboth Beach!

Printer error created a headless boy riding a cart around Rehoboth Beach!

Two thousand books were able to be salvaged and these sold out quickly. A highly popular book, many more could have been sold shortly after this first publishing. A new order was placed for seven thousand books but with the wait time of a year, as the initial popularity diminished, sales cooled.

Since that time Keith has joined the Movable Book Society, a knowledgeable and helpful group that includes such pop-up book powerhouses as Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart and David Carter.

By the time of a second pop-up book, What a Mess, Keith had two young children. Between working full time at American Greetings and sharing in the care of two kids, he was able to carve out time at 5:00 AM to work on the book. Hence the name 5:00 AM pop-up book project.

Keith Allen Pop-up Book Artist presentation for CDPUG meeting
This second book project was dubbed The 5:00 AM Book Project – coffee is necessary!

With the knowledge gleaned from his first pop-up book, the assistance of the Movable Book Society as well as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators the second pop-up book project went more smoothly. Keith decided to generate interest in the book by blogging. This daily posting kept him accountable and moved the project along. When stuck with problems his readership would chime in. One helpful paper engineering solution came from a follower in the Philippines! This constant posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumbler was becoming too time consuming. Keith realizes now that finding your audiences’ social media platform, and concentrating on that alone, would have been more efficient.

To build an even bigger audience Keith posted video lessons on how to make a pop-up book and posted photos of paper cut-out illustrated characters in various places. All this content marketing lasted for one and a half years!

After finishing What a Mess Keith, contacted numerous publishers only to hear frustrating comments such as: change the book to something about trucks or change an illustration. There was over a year of his life invested in this book. It was finished and ready to publish! Keith noticed major pop-up book artists such as Robert Sabuda were self-publishing; he decided to self publish too. He utilized Kickstarter – offering rewards and special custom illustrations depending on the level of monetary investment.

Kickstarter was used to raise funds for publishing.

Keith researched best practices for Kickstarter. The first day of a Kickstarter campaign is critical and determines one’s success. Plus, a crowd funding effort should not last longer than one month. Knowing this Keith continued to generate interest through videos and posts. He brought his audience with him to have a successful first day on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter goal was $20,000. Keith surpassed that amount.

Keith’s initial Kickstarter day was a rousing success!
A sample white book page from What a Mess.
Same page fully printed from What a Mess.

Keith captivated all of us. Numerous audience members, including myself, purchased A Day in Rehoboth Beach or What a Mess. Thanks Keith for your humor, talent and insights!

Keith showing a favorite page from What a Mess

You can find Keith at He is available for workshops, school visits and book events.

Photos: Laura Dempsey

Save $ – Cleveland Play House

Exclusively for CDPUG Members: Entertain yourself, your family/friends, and maybe a client or two with an offer from the Cleveland Play House. Save big money on the October 17th or 19th performances of Pipeline. This is a compelling, must-see play about the systemic school-to-prison pipeline and the experience of being a parent to a young black man in America.

Don’t delay – this offer is only good until October 10!

THU OCT 17 – 7:30 PM
Discount Price
$45 (usually $63)

SAT OCT 19 – 2:30 PM
Discount Price
$50 (usually $75)

SAT OCT 19 – 7:30 PM
Discount Price
$55 (usually $81)

Thanks for your CDPUG Membership and supporting live theatre!

Don’t forget the offer for the current production of Into The Breeches and save until September 20!

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