Exercise In Futility

Edward Tufte has contributed a lot to visual communications, but I’ve put him in the category with people like Hillman Curtis – people who’s ideas and non-design work are more important than their visual contributions. His books are intelligent, beautiful and well constructed – christ the guy has his own printing press.
…with that said – Tutfe needs to shut up with his critique on the iPhone.
In a video on his website, Tufte shows how smart the iPhone interface is.
WOW! Really?! It’s innovative? Apple has simplified things? They’ve eliminated scrollbars? Get out of town!!! Thanks Eddie, I would have never figured that out for myself.
Let me get in a Ferrari and show you why its an amazing car.
Thank you Captain Obvious.
And then to my second point, on which I agree with Jon Gruber – his critique of the weather widget is completely misguided. What’s funny is he gives a side-by-side comparison of the Apple weather widget next to his ‘improvement’ which is hardly legible. It makes me wonder if Tutfe designed his screen interface on his printing press. What size slugs did you use? Was the type set in picas instead of pixels or ems?
iPhone screen side-by-side with Tutfe's crappy improvement
This reminds me of an article in Wired magazine where they asked a handful of artists and designers how they would redesign the Google homepage. This, like Tufte’s iPhone widget ‘improvement’, was an exercise in futility. None of the redesigns hit anything resembling a target. They were self-indulgent interpretations by artists egos that didn’t take into account brand consistency or relevance to the public at large.
On a related note, Tutfe needs to lay off the Gill Sans, it’s not the best screen font, and Eric Gill was a sicko according to this post by Jason Kottke.