Boing Boing 

Pee font

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

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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.

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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

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.

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Landscape alphabet (c.1818-1860)

NewImage

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)

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)

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.Read the rest

Comic Sans, British officialspeak, and the separation of church and state

Here's a story that sums up a giant slice of the stuff that frustrates me about the British education system. The UK has no separation of church and state, so British state schools have mandatory "religious education" curriculum (which is often a survey of world religions, but which rarely, if ever, touches on atheism). So Littleton Green Community School, Cannock announced a religious education school trip to nearby Staffordshire University to "learn about different cultures," which is fine, but apparently provoked a bunch of parents who were alarmed that their kids were going to look at religious artifacts from religions other than Christianity, and gave rise to something of a panic.

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Incredible vintage typography Tumblr

Typppp

Type Hunting will overwhelm you with delightful typographical specimens. (via Daring Fireball)

There's a wrong way to lounge


Maybe it's just the intractable back-pain talking, but I would buy anything advertised in that font.

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Firefox nukes the blink tag

Dammit, the latest version of Firefox has done away with the blink tag. Farewell, old friend. You will be missed.

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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.

Porno art-deco Soviet alphabet


A reader writes, "Someone was nice enough to scan the pages of a Cyrillic alphabet book from the 1930's. The book encouraged adult literacy through erotic drawings of figures in various acts of copulation. Note: flying penises, lesbian acts and cloven hoofed demons appear. Male homosexual acts, do not."

These images are obviously NSFK (not safe for Kremlin). The artist was Sergei Merkurov, who went on to become a People’s Artist of the USSR. As the accompanying text notes, it's a fascinating look at the libertine sexuality of the pre-Stalinist period.


Update: Ross Wolfe comments, "There actually are a couple male homosexual acts in the Soviet erotic alphabet. Specifically, these occur in the letters Й and З, though you have to pay close attention. And the latter is potentially even more scandalous, with a small satyr fucking what looks to be either a young boy or dwarf from behind. No penis is actually shown, but the short hair and lack of tits suggest its masculinity."

Soviet-era erotic alphabet book from 1931 [Советская эротическая азбука 1931 года]

HOWTO turn your shell-prompt into a hamburger


Andre Torrez has a cute and simple recipe for making your shell prompt into a hamburger (or other whimsical emoji character). Just type

export PS1="\w 🍔 "

into the terminal to try it out. Apparently some Macs ship with an Emoji font installed; if you need one, you can get a free, excellent one from the Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts page, by downloading the Symbola font (.ZIP file) and installing it with your font manager.

To make the change permanent, you need to add a line to .profile, .bash_profile or .bashrc (depending on your *nix flavor). There are lots of other ways to customize your prompt enumerated in the article, too.

happy notes* / april 2013 / put a burger in your shell

Zombie playing cards


Darren sez, "Rising up in time for Halloween and el Dia de los Muertos, Póstumo is a deck of zombie playing cards by Colombian artist Obsidian Abnormal and American scallywag Darren J. Gendron. The deck features gruesome zombie art, one-eyed jacks, suicidal kings, and fun twists on the normal suits - human hearts, zombie-killing clubs and brains. So many brains."

Love the detail on these -- replacing the suits was a moment of genius. The face cards are AMAZING.

We remixed the suits into spades, clubs, hearts and brains, taking literal representations of each. Spades are now actual shovels, while clubs are shown as bats and other blunt objects. Hearts take on a fleshy connotation. Diamonds are replaced by the most valuable thing to a zombie - BRAINS.

The font is specially designed for Póstumo by Obsidian, creating a distressed and fleshed interpretation of Garamond. The final versions of each card have up to 10 different illustrations of brains, clubs, spades or hearts.

Póstumo - The Deck of the Dead (Thanks, Darren!)

Peanut butter ads had the best typography, seriously


On the LJ Vintage Ads group, the always-reliable Man Writing Slash has assembled a collection of some of the finest illustrated peanut butter ads this writer has had the pleasure of seeing. It's a slice of idealized simulacrum straight from the collective unconscious of the American appetite.

Peanut Butter, food of the gods

Font designed for proofreading OCR'ed text


A page on the Distributed Proofreaders project advises people who are trying to find typos in scanned and OCR'ed texts to try DPCustomMono, a font specifically designed to make it easy to catch common OCR errors. Distributed Proofreaders are volunteers who check out a page or more of scanned text from the Project Gutenberg archives and check it for typos, improving the quality of the text. DPCustomMono's characters are designed to maximize the difference between ones, lower-case ells, and upper-case eyes, as well as other lookalike glyphs.

Proofreading Font Comparison (via Making Light)

Adobe releases open-source coding typeface

Adobe's Paul D. Hunt announces the company's latest open-source typeface. This one's for coders and anyone else who loves legible monospaced figures—and who hates getting confused between l, 1 and I.

To my eye, many existing monospaced font suffer from one of three problems. The first problem that I often notice is that, many monospaced fonts force lowercase letters with a very large x-height into a single width, resulting in overly condensed letter forms which result in words and text with a monotonous rhythm, which quickly becomes tedious for human eyes to process. The second problem is somewhat the opposite of the first: many monospaced fonts have lowercase letters that leave too much space in between letters, causing words and strings to not hold together. Lastly, there is a category of monospaced fonts whose details I find to be too fussy to really work well in coding applications where a programmer doesn’t want to be distracted by such things.

Download the family at SourceForge. Previously.

Scotty Albrecht's typography wood art/prints in N.J. gallery



Designer/woodworker/hand-drawn typographer Scotty Albrecht has several lovely new pieces hanging in a group show at Parlor Gallery in Asbury, New Jersey. We have two of Scotty's pieces in our home, including the wood heart/hands seen here, and they're truly beautiful and inspiring in person. The show, titled "We Find Our Way," runs until October 15 and you can view it online as well. "We Find Our Way"

Advertising supplement from 1880: sweet typography


Advertising supplements were a lot more fun to look at in 1880. Submitted as evidence: this issue of the Philadelphia Grocer.

If you have a thing for typography

Petition to rename font 'Comic Sans' to 'Comic Cerns'

Typography enthusiasts "moved by Dr Fabiola Gianotti's incredibly strange choice of font in announcing the recent results of Cern's ATLAS collaboration" are petitioning Microsoft to rename Comic Sans to "Comic Cerns." Cosmic Sans might work, too!

Hrii Cthulhu, Goka Font Ph'nglui!

Do you love nameless, creeping horrors in the deep? Unnaturally! Do you love fonts? Of course, you do. Thomas Phinney, a veteran type designer, is attempting an unholy union of the two by resurrecting the moldering corpse of three typefaces: Columbus, Columbus Initials, and American Italic. Columbus was used for all the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, in which Phinney played a hand (severed?), designing clues for "Masks of Nyarlathotep."

Back the project on Kickstarter for Phinney to create Cristoforo, modern renditions of these three fonts. Pledges at all but the lowest level come with licenses to use the fonts. Phinney's original work is terrific, and I have no doubt that he'll bring a sensitive hand to re-creating these classic faces.

Illuminated manuscript cookies


Anniina ("Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance") produced these delicious-looking and awfully lovely illuminated initial cookies:

I wanted to share with you some Medieval manuscript cookies I made for my friend and colleague, Risa Bear, creator of Renascence Editions. I chose historiated initials from several manuscripts, printed them on edible paper with edible ink, attached them to square cookies and gave them gold edges. Who says love of literature and art can't fill a belly?!

Medieval Illuminated Initial Cookies (via Making Light)

Beautiful industrial and architectural letterheads from a bygone era


Bibliodyssey has curated a beautiful collection of letterheads from 19th century and early 20th century architectural and industrial firms, doing a lot of cleanup and posting the hi-rez images to Flickr. The originals are from Columbia University's Biggert Collection.

The images in this post all come from Columbia University's very large assortment of commercial stationery (featuring architectural illustrations): the Biggert Collection.

The vast majority of the images below have been cropped, cleaned and variously doctored for display purposes, with an intent towards highlighting the range of letterform/font and design layouts. The underlying documents are invoices (most), letters, postcards, shipping records and related business and advertising letterhead ephemera from the mid-1800s to the 1930s.

Architectural Stationery Vignettes (via Kottke)

Google Chat emoticon Easter egg

In this video, Videocrab demonstrates a very odd typographical Easter-egg embedded in Google Chat. I have no idea if this is real or shooped, but it's cute nevertheless.

2012-04-06_21-10-36_872 (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Typographer's Scrabble turns wordplay into ransom notes


The limited edition "Scrabble Typography Edition" stores away in a handsome set of replica type-drawers and features tiles whose letters appear in a variety of fonts. However, there are no kerning options, nor can you choose which font your tiles will be, which probably makes this game pure torture for type-nerds, but is likely pleasing to people whose reaction to desktop publishing was "Cool! I can make the world's most precisely snipped ransom notes now!"

Scrabble Typography Edition - Winning Solutions, Inc. (via Neatorama)

1977 CB radio ad


This 1977 CB radio ad has it all, from the heavy metal concept album lettering to the lens-flares on every surface -- even a halo for the holy gizmo itself.

1977 CW McCall Midland CB Radio

Avería: an "average" font


Dan Sayers ("I am not a type designer") decided to explore "generative" type-design by seeing what happened when he "averaged out" a large number of fonts. Once he got his teeth into the problem, he realized that "averaging out" is a complicated idea when it comes to shapes, and came up with a pretty elegant way of handling the problem, which, in turn, yielded a rather lovely face: Avería, "the average font."

Then it occurred to me: since my aim was to average a large number of fonts, perhaps it would be best to use a very simple process, and hope the results averaged out well over a large number of fonts. So, how about splitting each letter perimeter into lots of (say, 500) equally-spaced points, and just average between the corresponding positions of each, on each letter? It would be necessary to match up the points so they were about the same location in each letter, and then the process would be fairly simple

Having found a simple process to use, I was ready to start. And after about a month of part-time slaving away (sheer fun! Better than any computer game) – in the process of which I learned lots about bezier curves and font metrics – I had a result. I call it Avería – which is a Spanish word related to the root of the word ‘average’. It actually means mechanical breakdown or damage. This seemed curiously fitting, and I was assured by a Spanish friend-of-a-friend that “Avería is an incredibly beautiful word regardless of its meaning”. So that's nice.

Avería – The Average Font (via Waxy)

Unicode's "Pile of Poo" character

For many years, most of the Internet ran on ASCII, a character set that had a limited number of accents and diacriticals, and which didn't support non-Roman script at all. Unicode, a massive, sprawling replacement, has room for all sorts of characters and alphabets, and can be extended with "private use areas" that include support for Klingon.

But for all that, I never dreamt that Unicode was so vast as to contain a special character for a "pile of poo."

Name: PILE OF POO
Block: Miscellaneous Symbols And Pictographs
Category: Symbol, Other [So]
Index entries: POO, PILE OF
Comments: dog dirt
Version: Unicode 6.0.0 (October 2010)
HTML Entity: 💩

Here is "Pile of Poo" in whatever font your browser renders this page in: 💩

Unicode Character 'PILE OF POO' (U+1F4A9)