Why every company has its own font now

Spoiler: a mix of corporate vanity and to avoid recurring licensing fees, though Arun Venkatesan elaborates a complex trend.

Sadly, much of the justification behind typefaces from some very admirable companies is quite shallow. I can’t help but feel that some of these companies wanted a custom typeface simply because that’s what everyone else is doing. This cargo cult mentality that is so prevalent in design is at best wasteful and at worst illegal.

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Unscii: a new unicode font set for old-school text-art

Viznut created a set of bitmapped Unicode fonts for use on your bulletin boards.

Years ago, I noticed that Unicode had a bunch of pseudographic characters that could be used to enrichen Ansi art. However, no one seemed to use them. Even MUDs that used the 256-color Xterm palette and had no issues with Unicode still preferred to stick to the blocks available in the MS-DOS codepage 437.

After looking into existing Unicode fonts, the reason became obvious: the implementation of non-CP437 graphics characters was shaky at best. Unicode Consortium doesn't even care how pseudographics are implemented. It was a kind of chicken-and-egg problem: No commonly accepted Unicode graphics font, no Unicode art scene; no art scene, no font support. The idea of an art-compatible Unicode font was born.

They're based on fonts from the Commodores 64 and Amiga, the Amstrad CPC, the IBM PC's original ROM font, and iconic Atari arcade fonts. Read the rest

Neo-Noire, the ultimate 1980s brush font

Created by James White (previously), the Neo-Noire font represents the apogee of 80s-style brush type. It's $30 at his online store and comes with uppercase and alternate caps for the lowercase, numbers and a layered PSD exemplar so you can see how those glowy gradients are done. Read the rest

Times Newer Roman: cheat your teachers with this slightly wider font clone

Obviously it won't do if you hand in work digitally, but old-school teachers will surely be fooled by Times Newer Roman, a clone of the default font that fills about 10% more space. A clever mix of wider letterforms and kerning is at hand, and you can be sure of getting away with it because if teacher knew enough about type to notice they wouldn't be insisting on Times New Roman and page counts in the first place. [via Lifehacker] Read the rest

Try this new font made from corporate logos

Creative studio Hello Velocity's Brand New Roman is "the most corporate Corporate Font ever created!"

(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest

Web typography resource collection

Web Typography Resources is a list of apps, tools, plugins and other stuff that will help you make words look nice on the world-wide web. Highlights include Bram Stein's typography inspector, Monotype's new SkyFonts webfont management service, and Matej Latin's book Better Web Typography for a Better Web. [Amazon]

Previously: Practical Typography [Matthew Butterick] Read the rest

Watch the sumptuous trailer for Pressing On: The Letterpress Film, now on VOD

Pressing On: The Letterpress Film has just released a trailer for their film that been screening at film festivals to great reviews. It's a beautifully shot homage to the art and craft of letterpress. Read the rest

36 Days of Type's annual crowdsourced submissions did not disappoint

36 Days of Type is a long-running collaborative design project where different artists render letters and numbers in a unique style. This year's entries are as delightful as always. Read the rest

Nastygrams shut down site that created fonts of famous songwriters' handwriting

Nicolas Damiens and Julien Sans thought it would be cool to offer inspiring fonts based on the scrawl of some of their favorite recording artists like Bowie, Lennon, and Cobain, whose handwriting appears on the cool cover of his published journals (above). IP lawyers put the kibosh on their SongwritersFonts project real quick-like. Read the rest

All the fonts on a sriracha bottle, except one

In a tweet that's gone viral, Amsterdam-based designer James Cullen referenced a 2015 Fonts In Use article that uncovers the many typefaces on the iconic Huy Fong sriracha hot sauce bottle label.

Nick Sherman, the author of the article, writes:

Both the packaging and contents of tương ớt sriracha hot chili sauce bottles from Huy Fong Foods, Inc. have become condiment icons in recent decades. Sometimes referred to as “rooster sauce” because of the rooster on its label (the illustrator of which is unknown), the chili sauce features a chaotic jumble of elements on its packaging in multiple writing systems.

The most prominent Latin text elements are rendered in a variety of informal script typefaces released by American Type Founders in the 20th century, namely Balloon and its shaded counterpart, Balloon Drop Shadow, as well as Brody. Smaller text on the back of the bottle is set in Impress and Tekton.

Unfortunately my skills with recognizing fonts for Chinese text aren’t good enough to identify those used on the label. Any insight is welcome.

Naturally the internet did its thing:

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Typeface based on the calligraphy from the Lithuanian declaration of indepedence

Signato is a handsome, readable script typeface based upon the Lithuanian declaration of independence.

The whole project took more than 6 months. First of all, a high-resolution scan of the Act of Independence of Lithuania had to be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then the person who wrote the Act had to be identified because some characters were missing in the resolution of February the 16th. When the handwriting was established as Jurgis Šaulys’s, the missing characters were created according to other documents written by J. Šaulys and found in the archives. It took a highly skilled typographer over 120 hours to construct the font.

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A font based on vintage Bulgarian lottery tickets

Designers Tobias Frere-Jones and Nina Stössinger created Conductor in an homage to "the delicate, blocky numerals from vintage Bulgarian lottery tickets" with "elements of vernacular shopfront lettering and mid-century type design." (via Kottke) Read the rest

Typeface reviews

Bethany Heck's Font Review Journal is dedicated to criticism of fonts, and itself very handsomely typeset by Phil Moody. The latest in-depth review is of Lucas Sharp's Ogg.

My goal isn’t to prescribe a number score or valuation on a typeface — rather, I want to celebrate, analyze, demystify and inform designers who are looking to improve their typographic choices. I won’t be reviewing any fonts here that I don’t personally use and see value in. Designing a typeface is a herculean effort that takes hundreds of hours and often years of time to refine and complete. My aim is to show appreciation for these works of art through thoughtful discourse, aesthetic studies and historical context. There is often a gulf in the communication between the type design community and the designers who put their work to use, and I hope this site serves as a sort of bridge to bring the two practices to a closer understanding of each other.

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Type samples from Smith-Coronas

Selectrics get all the hype, but I love the typefaces available on Smith-Corona typewriters from the 1960s. From the samples posted by munk, I think my favorites are the futuristic but legible "Classic Elite No. 86" and the handwriting-style Artistic Script (pictured).

There are about 20 in the set. The only ones that seem to be available as fonts are Numode No. 61, and this set with Smith-Corona's Prestige, Mini gothic and the script, bu all in very roughly-scanned form.

(Via this conversation between @hacklib and Marcin Wichary, who is writing a book about the typewriter and mechanical keyboard community.) Read the rest

1,000 fonts to peruse and choose

The Anatomy of a Thousand Typefaces is an attractive yet simple web-app that makes it easy to find 'n' filter your way through popular fonts, with some interesting stats and visualizations of the set. [via MeFi] Read the rest

Pissjar is a typeface you can almost smell

Pissjar Sans is a free typeface evoking the unique letterforms of urine on cotton fabric. What's remarkable about it is the fastidious attention to detail and workmanship evinced by type designers in pursuit of what could easily have been something dashed off and doomed to dafont.com obscurity. They really put their backs into it.

HOW WAS IT DONE? We built a custom frame and tried out loads of different fabrics, using some good pieces of worn bed sheets with the perfect absorbency to cover the frame. Then we just started to pee a lot, one letter per pee session. When the bladder was empty we had like 5 seconds to photograph the frame before it bled out. After that we vectorized the photo and edited it with a font software.

HOW LONG TIME DID IT TAKE? The peeing took approximately six months, plus about a month or so to finish up the font.

DID YOU CHEAT? Well, we worked on the R for like two weeks until we gave up and had to recreate it from three different peeing sessions.

Perfect for wedding invitations and children's birthdays. Read the rest

In 1913 T.J. Cobden-Sanderson threw the most beautiful type in the world into the river Thames

In March 1913, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson threw the most beautiful typeface in the world off of London's Hammersmith Bridge to keep it out of the hands of his estranged printing partner. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore what would lead a man to destroy the culmination of his life's work -- and what led one modern admirer to try to revive it.

We'll also scrutinize a housekeeper and puzzle over a slumped child.

Show notes

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