Sunday Type: FONT

FREE FONT
Well, it’s that time of the week again. It’s Sunday. Some of you will be working while others will be “chilling”—am I too old to use words like “chilling”? Anyway, today I have something free (several free things, in fact)—but good free, not bad free.

Most things in life that are free are usually useless. But there are exceptions of course. I recently received a copy of FONT through the post—all the way from San Francisco to my sleepy little village in Japan. The free mini magazine from FontShop was quite a pleasant surprise. Not only is it well put together—typographically speaking—but it’s a good read.

font-magazine.jpg

So, what’s the catch? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but there isn’t one really. Simply head over to the FontShop account page and create an account (you are not obliged to buy a thing); and then go to your account settings, and set your subscription options. There’s also an interesting piece by Erik Spiekermann introducing the magazine, and explaining why, in this digital age, they decided to publish something for print. And no, I do not work for FontShop.

have you got the bug?

Firebug is THE FireFox browser extension. In addition to offering a whole host of tools for web developers, it can also help you to tweak your type. You can quickly make adjustments to line-height and font-size, letter-spacing, and even change your type on the fly.

Firebug extension for tweaking web typography

Something that I find useful when I want to convert pixels to ems or vice versa, is the Show Computed Styles option. Once selected this will display ems as pixels. Ems are great, of course, but the em is a relative measurement, so it’s sometimes really useful to see those ems as values in pixels.

You can also edit the CSS or the HTML and instantly see the results. A great tool for tweaking your type and layout. Oh, and it’s free.

iLT Wiki

The I Love Typography Wiki is closer to being launched. Ebsen has really put a lot of time and effort into it. We’ve been working together on this project, and it’s really starting to come together. However, we will need some willing volunteers. So, if you’d like to write a type-related article for the Wiki, or you are familiar with how Wikis work and wish to help out as an admin or editor, then let me know.

wiki3.gif

The whole idea behind the Wiki is summed up in two things: 1. Build community; 2. To educate and share knowledge about type and typography. And the entire contents will be available under a Creative Commons License, so that all the information can be reused, copied, pasted, quoted—completely free of charge. More news to come on this soon.

exljbris

And finally, be sure to check out exljbris and see some of the wonderful free (yes, free) fonts from the very talented Jos Buivenga.

delx_charchanges.gif

Coming up soon, we have several interviews, a series of five articles on type classification, so that you’ll never again confuse your Humanist with your Transitional; a book review from Cody, a case study from Alec Julien, and lots, lots more. Enjoy your Sunday!


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  1. The iLT Wiki is going to be sexy. Hopefully we can get a lot of people to contribute referenced articles.

    Big things coming from iLT!

    I should be receiving my newest copy of +81 magazine this week. I’ll take some shots for you Johno, it’s always typographically well done.

  2. Cody
    I love that magazine. Yes, please do send some shots. I don’t buy it regularly. Do you buy Idea Mag? Current issue is a beauty!

  3. I haven’t seen Idea here! I’ll have to go out to a big book store and search.
    The best thing to do for +81 is get a subscription. A lot of stores don’t carry current issues for some reason. The only thing I’m pissed about is that they don’t allow outside of Japan subscriptions , so when I leave I have to import it. Ugghh, hassle.

  4. Cody
    The current issue of Idea is devoted to ornaments—some beautiful examples. Anyone who’s a fan of ornaments and fleurons would wet themselves if they saw this issue! I should review it and show some spreads. But Idea Mag is difficult to get outside of Japan, even via subscription. I really don’t get why they don’t do more to promote these magazines outside of Japan.

    The issue before this one was devoted to Wim Crouwel! Yet no-one outside of Japan seems to have heard of this magazine!

  5. Mike

    I’m really looking forward to the Wiki. As one with an interest—but no formal background—in typography, I’m not in a position to contribute, but I hope to pick up all sorts of useful knowledge about how type is created and how to use it to best advantage. Cheers.

  6. Thanks for the link to the FontShop magazine; now I get some free stuff in my mailbox.
    Another magazine that is worth checking out is eye: http://www.eyemagazine.com/home.php
    Their site is a little odd, but the printed publication is absolutely stunning, especially because there is a lot about typography in there.

  7. Uh, that’s odd. It didn’t like my comment and swallowed it.
    Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I very happily subscribed to FONT. Thanks for the link.

    Another magazine that is worth checking out is EYE Magazine (http://www.eyemagazine.com/home.php)
    Their website is a little odd, but the printed publication is absolutely stunning, especially as there is quite a bit about typography in there.

  8. Johno
    Yeah, I have no idea why magazines like Idea and +81 don’t promote. Personally I think it is lack of funding and advertising. There magazines don’t have a lot of advertising in them, personally I really like that, but I’m sure the companies turnover isn’t high enough to distribute and promote world wide.

    Mike
    Even if you have no formal training, different people see different ideas for a certain typeface. Let’s just wait until it is launched, maybe you will see something that no one else mentions!

  9. Thank you Johno for your kind words,

    I look forward to the launch of the wiki, I guess im going to be the admin on the site (hopefully not a BadAdmin) and I will help all of you through the writing process.

    A little tip I do think Johno should have posted also, is the inspector in the new safari 3,0 (works in the beta too and Windows)

    macosxhints.com

  10. Psyched for the wiki! Woot!

  11. Squawk
    Sorry about that. Anyhow, I managed to pull out your comments from the bowels of the spam-eating monster. I think that’s the second time it has swallowed your comment. Hopefully it won’t happen again. And thanks for the link.

    Ebsen
    I haven’t used that one yet as I’m working in FF most of the time. Perhaps it’s time to try Safari 3.

  12. Alec & Julian you should make a account and login on the wiki, Johno have alot on he’s hands regarding my typos and misspelling.

    If you want direct contact with me through iChat on esbenthomsen@mac.com

  13. John, thank you for the headsup on exljbris!

  14. I was trying to register as a fontshop-user, but they don’t list “Norway” in the registration form, but they have a “norwegian site”, hm..

  15. As you move forward on the wiki I urge you to approach it in a way that adds to, rather than duplicates the already thriving wiki at Typophile.

  16. @Stephen,

    I think most people that are familiar with type in generel, knows typophiles site and wiki which ofcourse is beautiful, but that is where I think it stops. It’s just not good enough and I do have alot of experience in making wikis and typophile just comes short.

    Their content is copyrighted so I can garantee you that we won’t duplicate their content, even though some overlap will occour.. There is just so much you can write about in small subjects.

    You see Stephen typophile don’t have alot of content on their wiki, otherwise they won’t have a forum, with the same question over and over again.

    I don’t wanna talk bad about typophile, I really have no reason too, but I just know it can be done alot better.

  17. beautiful, but that is where I think it stops. typophile don’t have alot of content on their wiki

    Wow. I completely disagree. But I suppose “alot” is a subjective term. Certainly there are always more topics to cover and I welcome your efforts in improving the landscape of typography education online. I’m just hoping you’ll exercise caution in not duplicating what’s already available.

  18. Tor - There is a local FontShop that serves Norway. I would request Font directly from them.

  19. @Stephen,

    You are right when you say “alot” is a very subjective impression :-)

    But to expand on the issue , often the wiki make use of the forum, like history of type which only redirects users to some forum post, in other words a search query.

    We all know wikipedia and know how easy it is to get content from the site, but wikipedia can’t be used to demonstrate the right coloring of a bloc of text or even say how to kern a given type correctly.

    The biggest problem as I see, is the software they use, isn’t optimal for making and contributing content and then there is the copyright. Copyright can’t be used for sharing content, its really that simple.

    Just a simple word and two on “duplicated” content:

    There’s really not much too duplicate in my mind, but if you think about it, there is just a limit on what you can write about Helvetica. At some point the topic is really covered, but typography is about alot more than just a typeface.. and I personal have difficulties finding information about history, typeface classification, like the difference between Venetian and old style.. if there is a difference?

    Im making this wiki with you, because the subject interest me and I can’t find alot of the information i’m seeking on the web. I am just a ordinary guy that used Times New Roman, until I fell in love with Futura and a new world opened before my eyes.

    This is not my crusade against typophile, this is a crusade for all of us (with equal rights to the content)

    Stephen in a short time you can read all about this on the wiki :-)

  20. Great. I look forward to it.

  21. OH! Can’t wait for the Wiki. Looks really nice so for. Oh and thanks for the freebies. ;)

  22. I’ve had a crazy weekend, thanks for the post John!

    I just have to chime in and say that Firebug is by far the best extensions for Firefox. OK, maybe that’s just because I’m a developer, but it really never ceases to amaze me.

    I’m also glad to hear the wiki is coming along. Keep up the good work guys.

    On a vaguely related note, I’ve actually had an Idea recently to put together a sort of one or two pager typography cheat-sheet. Something that you could print out for quick reference, whenever you need it. I’m still in the ideas stage, but let me know what you think.

  23. Stephen

    I’m just hoping you’ll exercise caution in not duplicating what’s already available.

    As you move forward on the wiki I urge you to approach it in a way that adds to, rather than duplicates the already thriving wiki at Typophile.

    Why would you urge and caution thus?

  24. Blue

    Just want to say that I really love your website !!! So informative and educative as well (for a student like me).

  25. Blue:
    I was amazed too! Good to see another student on here studying type. Welcome :)

  26. The Wiki extension on iLT is truly a great thing. I’m not very good at typo-theory, but I hope I can contribute something to the build section.

    Thanks for mentioning my site and fonts in this generous way. Really appreciate it.

  27. Blue

    Robert: Thank you :) Are you a student too ? I’m studying Visual Communication in UTS (Sydney). My interest in type is from my lecturer. GOD ! She’s obsessed about Type and now she passes it on me !

    I designed a font a while ago but not very happy with it (it looks a little similar to Baushaus 93 )! I am really confused and frustrated at the moment because I love Typography so much but my knowledge about it is so limited !

    My plan is to design a new font based on Vietnamese characters. It’s really interesting to see all the inflection mark in the letter of that language (my mother-language).

    John: I love your website so much (I say it again). My reaction when I first saw iLT is exactly the same when I first saw the book “The Elements of Typographic Style”. So much excited !

  28. Blue:
    Yeah I’m a student studying Graphic Design at the Art Institute of California over here in the “States” :) But I’ve been interested in type for a long time now. It’s why I got into the whole biz. Glad to know your “infected” as well :)

  29. Firebug rocks. I use all the time to debug javascript - it really is fantastic.

  30. Very nice. Even if you do not look that this font has an authoritative source, can assume that font win Top place among the designers.
    Good Job ! Thanks, Johno !

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