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Blog

Here, Badson presents things of typographic interest, how type is doing outside of the font industry, and stories and features on Badson Projects not seen elsewhere. Check in weekly to discover social insights and behind the scenes at Badson.

...On Launching.

Kyle Read

Badson has officially launched.

What does it mean to 'Launch' something? Where does this term come from? I'm quite taken by the visual of having something you built begin to float or fly before your very eyes as if a spirit has possessed your creation. That's not quite launching though, so surely that can't be it. You could assume in this modern age that the term might spring from the space program, launching rockets into the sky and beyond, starting an immense adventure into the unknown. Could this term be so recently added into the vernacular?

And how did it get into the way we talk about the web? Everyone always says "Oh, when are you launching?" or "We have the product launch scheduled for Thursday." There are no rockets, no physical objects being hurled across the room. To launch in the web world must be an abstract term reappropriated from somewhere. Where did all this launch talk come from?

Well, it's not rockets, but something a little more home-bound... Ships. Ceremonial ship launches have been a tradition in almost every culture with access to water since the ancient Greeks. Back in a time when superstition ruled the day, and the ship was something that was placed in very high cultural regard, the first time a new ship would be put in the water and used was a very ceremonial affair. Drinking of wine, olive branch wreaths, anointing the boat in water and wine, feasts to commemorate the occasion... all in order to put a boat in the water.

The tradition of sending a new ship on its mission, or launching it, has continued throughout history. The early Ottoman Empire took on the notion that their ships were subject to the Gods and spirits of the ocean and would 'bless' the boats for protection before using them. The early Catholic countries of Europe dove into their own religion for these superstitions and came up with baptizing a boat before launching it into the water, literally placing it under the Lord's protection and servitude. 

This lineage of superstitions surrounding the launch of new boats and ships continued into the 20th century in the form of smashing a bottle of champagne against the hulls of new ships before they were cast into the water surrounding the iron shipyards. There's something reassuring to us humans that we've done something to sign our initials and to change the orders of fate. The fate of the tools we use, the machines we build, and ultimately ourselves.

This brings us to the digital age. Ships are no longer at the height of technology, nor the most consuming projects we can muster. We build computers, businesses, and ways to remain connected now. Isn't it a bit strange that we talk about the web today as if it were still attached to the physical world around us? The things we put on the internet are our ships; the things we create that we wish could have a little more protection, or things that we wish we could do everything for to ensure their survival and success. 

The first instances of the term 'launching' used in the context of websites was in the nineties in the throngs of the booming tech bubble. Amazon, Google, AOL, these were the ships of their day, and since you can't physically smash a bottle of bubbly over the ones and zeros of these digital creations, simply referring to these companies and websites in such a way was the next most natural thing. 

I enjoy the fact that superstition remains, connecting us to those feelings of ambition and anticipation of cultures that have come before us. The term 'launching a website' is infused with the connotation that we care about these ones and zeros, and that we're deeply vested in it's success. I'll take it. 

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So yes, Badson has launched. 

In 2015, it seems so easy to get a business off the ground, get a fantastic website up with beautiful photography of your product, and get the word out to everyone on the internet that you've arrived. But, it's actually still remarkably difficult to launch something as comprehensive as a new business, never mind a Type Foundry and Design Studio attached at the hip. So in my own words, I'd like to sincerely thank you. Thank you for making a stop at the new Badson website. Thank you for being here as I smash a proverbial bottle of Moët over this bundle of code and cast this ship into the water. 

If you haven't already had a look around, please, poke, prod, discover what Badson is and has to offer you, and get in touch about it. This blog will act as a place where topics, perspectives and ideas can be delved into more deeply. There's a shop where you can find only beautiful things. And, from the selected branding and design projects of the Studio, to the Type Foundry's pages of retail and commissioned typeface work, I hope you can see the ground work laid for many, many things to come. I'm hoping Badson can be a place to present all of the varied endeavors planned for the future. I have only immense excitement for what's in store and what we can define the future of design and culture to be. 

Enough with the heady stuff, happy sailing!