Create logos using colorful vintage bitmap fonts

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The dryly-named C64 Charset Logo Generator lets you do something old-school that the new school forgot years ago: type using colorful bitmap fonts, as found in old video games of the Commodore era. As the name suggests, it uses the gloomy Commodore 64 palette, but you can edit it with the provided controls, which also include kerning tweaks and many choices of lettering. [h/t Stijn Peeters]

C64 Charset Logo Generator

Idea and code by Chris 'Cupid' Heilmann (@codepo8) - ported from the original tool written in PHP using gd

Charset ripping and credit research by Dejan 'Nucleus' Petronijevic

Charset cleanup and transparency adding by Daniel 'Deekay' Kottmair

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Before emoji, there were Wingdings

Wingdings

From Vox:

Two people made Wingdings happen: Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes (proprietors of the firm and husband-and-wife team). As designers of the font Lucida, they crafted pioneering type uniquely suited to the digital era... They were protégés of legendary designer Hermann Zapf, whose own Zapf Dingbats font, another collection of odd symbols, broke ground when it was distributed with Apple Printers in the mid-1980s.

With Lucida, Bigelow and Holmes were at the vanguard of digital type designers. But to be complete, their font needed complementary characters that worked well with letters, so they designed them in 1990.

Originally three separate fonts called Lucida Icons, Lucida Arrows, and Lucida Stars, the fonts that became Wingdings were crafted to harmonize with text and made with similar proportions to Lucida. Users could then pluck the appropriate icon, by typing the letter assigned to it, to ornament, animate, or otherwise adorn their documents without worrying about file size or poor quality.

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Vintage PC-compatible fonts

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The Oldschool PC Font Resource is your one-stop shop for the fonts bundled with classic PC-compatible computers of the 80s and early 90s. It even has little reviews!

AT&T PC6300

The rebadged Olivetti M24, with its enhanced CGA-compatible video, introduced 400-line text and graphics modes for increased resolution. These supported a 8x16 character set, which was similar to the IBM MDA font, but with more of a slab serif style on the uppercase letters, and more consistent metrics for the lowercase and accented Latin characters.

This is the text mode version - in the 640x400 graphics mode, the only difference is a more rounded 'h' (identical to the IBM MDA one). The 8x8 BIOS font, on the other hand, was exactly the same as IBM's.

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U.S. Highway Administration orders return to vintage typeface

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In 2004, a more legible typeface, Clearview, was approved to improve America's road signs. But after a decade of use, U.S. Federal Highway Administration has decided to return to the old typeface, publicly available as Highway Gothic.

The reasoning isn't clear—they claim that it's actually more legible than Clearview, but are yet to explain why or offer research to back up the decision. Highway Gothic, designed in the 1940s, has peculiarities held to compromise its legibility. Clearview's letter forms were designed to be visible at greater distances and under less favorable lighting and weather conditions.

“Helen Keller can tell you from the grave that Clearview looks better,” (designer) Meeker says. At the time, the FHWA agreed. In its 2004 approval memo, the agency noted that Clearview boosted highway-sign legibility for drivers traveling at 45 miles per hour by 80 feet of reading distance—or 1.2 seconds of bonus reading time… From the start, Clearview was greeted as a civic, social, and design success. Around 30 states have adopted the font, making it arguably the dominant design paradigm on U.S. roads. Print magazine called it one of the 10 typefaces of the decade in 2010. The Clearview typeface family was the first digital font ever acquired by the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. People behind the font spoke about it with swagger.

One possibility is that Clearview must be licensed on a per-user basis, making it too expensive. Also mentioned is its resemblance to other official signage typefaces such as Transport. Read the rest

The creator of Papyrus, the world's second-most reviled font, was paid only $2,500 in today's money

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John Brownlee interviews Chris Costello, the type designer behind Papyrus, described as "that font comedians move onto when their Comic Sans jokebook gets a little dog-eared."

"There have definitely been days I wish I never sold the rights," he laughs, acknowledging the font definitely has its share of critics. He says he never dreamed Papyrus would end up installed on over a billion computers around the world. If he did, he probably would have asked for more than the equivalent of $2,500 today for it.
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Design your own font easily with Metaflop and Metafont

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Metafont makes it easy to create your own typeface: all you have to do is move sliders that alter the geometry until you've got the results you want. Then click "download," and you have your font!

metaflop is an easy to use web application for modulating your own fonts. metaflop uses metafont, which allows you to easily customize a font within the given parameters and generate a large range of font families with very little effort.

With the modulator it is possible to use metafont without dealing with the programming language and coding by yourself, but simply by changing sliders or numeric values of the font parameter set. this enables you to focus on the visual output – adjusting the parameters of the typeface to your own taste. all the repetitive tasks are automated in the background.

The unique results can be downloaded as a webfontpackage for embedding on your homepage or an opentype postscript font (.otf) which can be used on any system in any application supporting otf. Various metafonts can be chosen from our type library. they all come along with a small showcase and a preset of type derivations.

Metaflop is open source – you can find us on github, both for the source code of theplatform and for all the fonts.

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In Google's new logo, serifs a no-go

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It's all about looking better on increasingly smaller devices.

Why Impact is the "meme font"

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Vox explains how the stout 1965 typeface became the text of choice for internet silliness: because is was included with Windows, and by the time anyone had a choice, "the meme font had itself become a meme." Read the rest

Font censors you as you type

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Emil Kozole created Seen, a font that cleverly redacts certain words as you type—a clever automatic ligature hack. It comes in three cuts, with varying degrees of censorship.

Seen is a font that has a preloaded set of sensitive “spook words” that the NSA and other agencies are using to scan through our documents. The typeface can be used in any popular software such as Illustrator, Indesign, Word or in a browser. It is used normally to write text, but once one of the words on the “list” is written - the font automatically crosses it out. Therefore giving you an overview of your text and highlighting where you are potentially prone to being surveilled. It gets its name by a Facebook action that happens when the other user reads the message.

Wired has more.

See also: Christian Naths' Redacted Script, where every character is the same block or squiggle, designed to resemble redacted documents. Designers like them for making placeholder text genuinely abstract. And then there's the Doctors' Typeface. Read the rest

Apple introduces new font: “San Francisco.” Shoulda been called “Francisco Sans.“

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The new sans-serif was today made available to devs working on next-gen apps for iOS 9, OS X El Capitan and watchOS 2.

Meet Daniel Reeve, calligrapher for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

Artist Daniel Reeve created and re-created calligraphy and maps for Peter Jackson's films of the Tolkein adventures in Middle-earth. His gallery of images includes maps and illustrations as well as calligraphy and lettering. Some examples below:

Daniel Reeve website (h/t TMarizzle) Read the rest

Beautiful short documentary on the art of letterpress

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The Folio Society interviewed master printer Stan Lane about the classic craft of letterpress printing. "Feeling print in paper... you know someone's actually been there." Read the rest

Landscape alphabet (c.1818-1860)

In the 19th century, Charles Joseph Hullmandel illustrated a glorious series of landscapes shaped as the letters of the English alphabet. You can see them all in the British Museum's online collection: The Landscape Alphabet (via Juxtapoz) Read the rest

Creating a font from a classic comic

Typographer Nate Piekos describes how he created a 21st-century typeface from a 1980 issue of Elfquest—just in time to begin lettering the comic series' conclusive installment.

Hoefler vs Frere-Jones

The most famous contemporary typeface designers are at legal loggerheads over ownership of their foundry, Hoefler & Frere-Jones. [Fast Co Design] Read the rest

The most popular coding fonts

Slant rounds up the most popular monospace fonts good for cranking code. Adobe's Source Code Pro is top of the pile, but Consolas is only a couple of votes off. My favorite? Orator 10 (not Orator Std), an oldie from the Selectric days. [via HN] Read the rest

Practical Typography

Matthew Butterick offers Practical Typography, a splendid introduction to practical typography. If you enjoy it, he suggests buying one of his fonts. You've heard the name before: his last work was Typography for Lawyers, an excellent guide to typography for lawyers. Read the rest

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