The Field Guide to Typography: Typefaces in the Urban Landscape

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Typography is a rich, thought-provoking study with a deep, storied history. And yet, for most of us, it is an unremarkable aspect of modern life. We rarely stop to consider the fonts we use in our family newsletters; we do not question the availability nor the history of Times New Roman or Verdana. Typography surrounds us everywhere, every day, and yet we never see it.

Peter Dawson's The Field Guide to Typography: Typefaces in the Urban Landscape seeks to change that by introducing the reader to real-world examples. The book is replete with glossy, full-color photographs paired with histories, category, classification, identifying marks, and everything else you would expect of a working dictionary or encyclopaedia. Additionally, one of the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing aspects of the book are the breakdowns of individual fonts. These illustrations identify and label the various components of a typeface (baseline, descender, etc.) along with suggested meanings and evoked images or feelings.

Personally, I found this book while browsing art and design books and found myself captivated by its wealth of information and the stunningly clear way the book’s designers presented this heretofore ignored art that I could see all around me. For me, The Field Guide works not only as an invaluable reference book, but as an inspiration and work of art.

I did not intend to write such a somber review. In fact, I had a few (terrible) jokes in mind - Sans serif? Sounds like a beach accident, am I right? Read the rest

Wonderful alphabet of superhero letters

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Australia-based illustrator Simon Koay reimagined the letters of the English alphabet as superheroes. Read the rest

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

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

Intricate 3D paper typography by Sabeena Karnik

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Mumbia-based illustrator Sabeena Karnik specializes in forming strips of paper into intricate typography. Below is a sequence showing creation of her piece for a radio station. Read the rest

How to explain graphic design to four-year-olds

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Dean Vipond was asked to explain his job as a graphic designer to a class of four- and five-year-olds. Read the rest

A great guide to typography

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Butterick's Practical Typography has been updated since the last time I linked to it and is always well-worth another read. The infinite-pixel screen, especially, has made "good fonts look fan­tas­tic, [while] bad fonts look worse." Read the rest

Scott Albrecht: Amsterdam show of typographical art and beautiful geometric wood sculptures

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My friend Scott Albrecht, a Brooklyn-based artist and designer who creates fantastic typographical illustrations and hand-crafted wood sculptures, has a fantastic new show hanging in Amsterdam's Andenken/Batallion Gallery until July 24. 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.

What if text games were more like Saul Bass sequences?

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Jake Elliott, who made Kentucky Route Zero along with Tamas Kemenczy and Ben Babbitt, is passionate about the role of text in games -- and he believes typographical choices can make a surprising impact on player experiences. Read the rest

Poo Emoji Button-Up Shirt

Now crowdfunding at Betabrand. Read the rest

Pee font

Aravindan Thirunavukarasu urinated on a wall and then made a font out of the forms. Read the rest

The stupendous hand-painted signs of Carter's travelling Steam Fair

The Better Letters tumblr has posted a massive gallery of the hand-lettered signs from Carter's Steam Fair, a touring vintage fair that stopped last weekend in Clissold Park in Stoke-Newington, London. Carter's is a family business, and it's a magnificent affair, even down to the gleaming, streamlined family trailers parked around the perimeter. Joby Carter, the fair's signpainter, is the son of the founder, John Carter, and he is part of a five-generation tradition of handpainted signs. My wife and I took our daughter and a friend to the fair yesterday and were amazed, thrilled and delighted by every single detail, from Voltini's Electrocution sideshow to the penny arcade where we gambled recklessly with enormous, Georgian pennies to the many rides and funhouses (and don't forget the steampunk QR code!). As my daughter's six-year-old friend said while we left, "This was the best day of my life!"

I took some pictures, but Better Letters had the run of the place at a pre-opening tour and is in any event a much better photographer than I'll ever be, so look at those pics, too. Read the rest

Comic Neue: a sophisticated alternative to Comic Sans

Comic Sans was never intended to be the world's most popular typeface. Its success has irritated type-nerds, who've been vociferous about their disappointment. Now, Craig Rozynski brings us Comic Neue, "the casual script choice for everyone including the typographically savvy." It's a free download, too.

Comic Neue Read the rest

How Medium designed its underlines

Marcin Wichary is a designer at Medium who took on the challenge of creating a considered, fine-tuned underline for the links on the site. In contrast to the normal "data-driven" design story, which is often a series of A/B tests that nudge things around by a pixel or two for weeks until they attain some counterintuitive optimum, this is a story about someone who had an intuitive, artistic, aesthetic goal and spent a bunch of time getting HTML to behave in a way that was consistent across different browsers, screen resolutions, and so forth.

I have to say that the actual underlines that Medium came up with don't seem to me to be more or less appealing than the default (the GIF above is displaying a before-and-after and I still can't tell which is which without referring to the article), but I really enjoy stories about people who know what aesthetic effect they want to achieve and are willing to move heaven and earth to achieve it. 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

Medieval Unicode

The Medieval Unicode Font Initiative has a collection of glyphs and type elements that they'd like to see added to Unicode to make it simpler to represent medieval writing on the Web. (via O'Reilly Radar) 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.

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