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
Marcin Wichary, a wonderful designer/typographer/writer who I had the pleasure of working with at Medium years ago, created this fantastic "Segmented Type Playground." Learn more via Marcin's Twitter thread about the project. (Among many other prior projects, Marcin created the playable Pac-Man Google Doodle back in 2010.)
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For as long as I remember, I was fascinated with segmented typography – not quite vectors, not quite pixels. Inspired by a conversation with @covrter and @enf I made a little typing (and painting!) playground. Maybe you’ll like it. https://t.co/kyrOcb0rDr pic.twitter.com/4LeulXIch4— Marcin Wichary (@mwichary) May 11, 2018
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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.
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
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.
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. Read the rest
This Vox video illustrates the fact that type design was the true culprit in last month's Oscars cockup, and how easy it would have been to prevent. But backslapping award shows are only the beginning of bad design when it comes to type.
The 2017 Oscars ended with a pretty shocking mix-up. Announcer Warren Beatty incorrectly named La La Land as the Best Picture winner, and the mistake wasn't revealed until crew members had already started giving their acceptance speeches. A lot of things went wrong for the snafu to happen the way it did. But what if typography was one of them? A better announcement card design could have made for a very different Academy Awards show — not to mention a much less embarrassing Miss Universe show for Steve Harvey back in 2015. But the implications of bad typography don't end there: poorly designed ballots in the 2000 presidential election arguably could have swayed the outcome, and illegible type on medicine bottles could be causing nearly 500,000 cases of drug misuse per year in the U.S.
The way pill bottles are turned into incomprehensible ads for the pharmacy--and how graphic designer Deborah Adler proposes to fix it--is intriguing, not least because there are always a lot of unseen pressures and constraints that design is bound by. Nothing will ever be done to fix it: informational text gets perverted by conceit, branding, regulation and corporate bikeshedding until it is worse than useless for any purpose.
Except one, perhaps! I'm especially fond of how manuals for electrical appliances are mostly regulatory safety warnings that succeed both in limiting liability and making the device less safe, because they are so forbidding and badly written no human will ever comprehend them. 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) Read the rest
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”.
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."
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"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.