Type designer Jonathan Hoefler's latest work, Inkwell, is a family of cute, hand-drawn imitations of distinctive type families of past and present. He fears that it will be compared to Comic Sans, popular with the people but reviled by the pros.
“Comic Sans is shooting for ‘informal’ but hits ‘amateurish,'” Hoefler says. “I wanted Inkwell to be informal, but proficient.” Indeed, Inkwell’s “tiny universe of fonts” contains both serif and sans versions, plus four decorative fonts including a cursive-like script, a blueprint-inspired all-caps set, even a blackletter. (“Think less ‘death announcement,’ more ‘country club invitation.'” Hoefler says.)
Inkwell's a lovely antidote to Comic Sans, but the fact you can pay $400 for it and yet find these anxieties and ironies in every line says something about the beast's power.
Sometimes I look at the dawn and I think Comic Sans may be the greatest typeface of all time. If there were another bloodsoaked civil war in this country, leaving it and half the world past it a wasteland scoured of life and beset by a heavensent grief and heartache that makes us pine for death even as we understand finally that the wrath of God lies sleeping, the armistice will be printed in Times New Roman and the new constitution in Comic Sans.
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Futuracha Pro is a typeface designed to take excessive advantage of alternatives, ligatures and other features of modern fonts, so much so that as you type, the words evolve into striking, but consistent new forms.[via Bored Panda]
Futuracha Pro is an Open Type Font, which magically adjusts and readjusts as you write. Its quirkiness and eccentricity are the two main features that made it one of the most beloved fonts in the whole world. Until today, nobody was able to just sit down and type with it. Featuring various combinations of letters and plenty of playful ligatures, Futuracha Pro gives creative people the opportunity to actually type and create, making their ideas extraordinary and unique!
Currently available as an elaborate nest of EPS files, a proper font's been in the works for years. You can preorder it for $50, but it's still cooking and will not be available until May.
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There are typefaces that attempt to remain legible at ludicrously small sizes. Ken Perlin's Tinyfont attempts to do so while retaining traditional letterforms, putting LCD subpixels to clever use. There are various 3x5 pixel fonts for those who prefer the crisp purity of the traditional pixel, and prior attempts at the holy grail of a legible 3x3 nerd font.
Minima is an effort to make the perfect 4x4 pixel font, allowing itself a little more space but also going step further toward abstraction, abandoning legibility in favor of more easily-distinguished characters. It's €10 and I need a tylenol.
via Brutalist Websites. Read the rest
Futuracha is a successfully crowdfunded typeface that makes use of Open Type's wizardry to switch its ligatures as you type, producing beautiful effects -- before the crowdfunding campaign, Futuracha users had to hand-set those ligatures, but now it's just type and go. $50 for a commercial license, $15 for a personal license. Ships in May. (via Red Ferret)
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Cool S Font is an entire typeface based around the coolest form of the letter "S", that being an elongated awesome hexagonal loop where the form of the letter is created by the illusion of a figure-8 bridging itself.
"Every letter is as cool as the cool S," writes type designer Tom Goulet. "Make any word look cool."
And here is a Chrome extension to turn every font on the web into the Cool S Font. Read the rest
Comic Sans MS, perhaps the most polarizing font in history, was designed by Vincent Connare for Microsoft and unleashed upon the world in 1994.
"If you didn't notice (a piece of art), I considered that was bad," Connare says. "And if you did notice, it was good."
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It's not from Superman. It predates the Stussy logo. Why did schoolchildren around the globe get infatuated with this stylized S? Vice takes a (kinda shallow) dive into the provenance of the stylized S
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Typeroom looks back at ITC Benguiat, the font that so embodied its time that it's now canonical for late 1970s to early 1980s. Turns out its designer and namesake Ed Benguiat was motivated by a potential big payoff:
Inspired by Times New Roman and Bodoni, “he wanted to create a design that was pretty and readable in order to garner as much commission and licensing fees as possible. Back then, it was much harder to access different fonts so there was a larger incentive to have a typeface take off”.
• How Ed Benguiat’s vintage font became the most hyped of the year (h/t Calpernia Addams) Read the rest
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]
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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
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!
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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.
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
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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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!
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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.
It's all about looking better on increasingly smaller devices.
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
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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.
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