I Love Typography

Sunday Type: Potato Type

More Edible Type

We’ve had chocolate type, but that’s just for dessert. Well, here’s some carbohydrates in the form of potato type. How do you like your type? Baked, boiled, fried, sautéed, perhaps? Which type would you use for your own potatoes? I’d go for sautéed Parisine.


ATypI membership

It’s January and ATypI membership for 2008 is now open to buy. ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) annual membership costs $110 ($35 for students).

ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale)

Not only does membership bring with it discounts for ATypI events, but you will also have access to the database of members, subscription to the members-only e-mail discussion list, annual reports from Country Delegates, and much more. If you’re already a member, then please share your thoughts.

I love these beautiful letter blocks that I found via Swiss Miss. Just need to have some children, so that I can justify buying some.


RedHat users might be pleased to hear of the release of Liberation, a set of fonts for Unix, that acts as a replacement to Arial and Times, etc. However, you don’t need to have Unix to use them. They can be downloaded here in several formats. Thanks to Alec for the link.

Up with the x-height

It seems like an age ago since I last mentioned the Insigne type foundry. Terfens is the latest offering from Jeremy Dooley, also the creator of the rounded sans Montag:


Terfens is a sans serif with inspiration from chancery scripts like Stefania. Subtly rounded and eschewing harsh technical lines, Terfens is a warm and inviting typeface. Its tall x-height gives it a friendly but not overly informal feel. Its readability and unique contemporary look makes it suitable for a wide range of design applications.

The next item doesn’t make for the most legible type, but it’s an interesting experiment nonetheless. Each letter form is derived from the number eight:


Might also be interesting to see something similar derived from squarer-looking eight. Thanks to James Brown (yes, it’s his real name) for the link.

During my interview with Neil Summerour I mentioned one of his recent typefaces, Epic. It’s now on sale over at TypeTrust. All twelve weights can now be purchased for $145 (half the original price); and Epic Pack A (4 weights) is available for just $50 (an OpenType font of course).

Epic Pack A (4 weights)

I’ve mentioned the display face Brasserie from Swedish designer Stefan Hattenbach before, but I’ll mention it again because iLT will be interviewing him in future.


And here’s another of Stefan’s, Anziano,


which comes adorned with numerous ornaments. To see more of Stefan’s work, visit his web site.

Tales of tattoos

Do you remember Roger who asked for your advice on a suitable type for his tattoo? Well, yesterday he did the deed, and here’s what he has to say:

Thanks for all your suggestions and inspiration regarding my possible tattoo a few weeks ago. I promised I would send a photo of the completed work and I’m happy (and slightly shocked) to report that I paid the shop a visit this afternoon and got my very first tattoo.
I went through a couple of type options with my friend and the artist. I wanted lowercase, but my friend rightly pointed out that a single lower-case word looks odd out of the context of a sentence. Also, uppercase tends to have more impact. I was keen to go for Baskerville, but the artist informed me that he wouldn’t be able to give proper definition to all the subtle curves and serifs (except he didn’t use the word ‘serif’), so I went with xxxxxx instead. I wanted a smaller size, but apparently what I’ve got is about as small as you can go without losing definition. In the end, it wasn’t exactly what I was after, but it’s definitely growing on me. I’m hoping it will thin out a bit when it has healed properly.

Thanks again for all your help! Perhaps this will be of use to someone else planning a type tattoo in the future.

I’ve intentionally x’d out the name of the type Roger used. That’s for you to guess. It’s not so easy:


And talking of tattoos, there’s an interesting article over on Easily Amused, the blog of John D Berry. It’s entitled Wearing your art on your sleeve.

Coming soon

The next in our Type Terms series, Transitional Type, where we’ll be heading back to early-eighteenth century France to take a closer look at the types that followed the Old Style forms like Garamond. We also have some more great interviews to come.

And finally…

Can you name the type used in this article’s header? Thanks to Antonio Serrano.

I’ve added some links and a search this site and search for fonts option, accessible via the ‘Typography Tags & Search” menu at the top of the page. You can also search for fonts from the FontWall. Soon I hope to have a search for fonts application within this site, with samples from a database of thousands. Yesterday I published the first translation of an iLT article into Portuguese. It’s a translation of Alec’s Font Creation case Study—one of iLT’s most popular. Many more translations to come, including Japanese, Chinese and French.

Have a great Sunday.



  1. Why are the potato stamps legible?
    And I thought it was Atypi, not Atypl :-)

  2. I had the same reaction when I saw the blocks. :)
    Really like the font used in the banner. And Terfens

  3. The title looks like Poetica to me…

  4. Greet
    That’s a capital ‘i’. Did you see an ‘l’?

    Why are the potato stamps legible?

    Not sure what you mean :)

    Thanks. Yes, It is Poetica.

    And now you know its name.

  5. Ben, you’re right - that’s Poetica Chancery in the header. John, have you been always giving us hints in the header’s image name? ;-)

    Those blocks are sooooo beautiful. John, if you really need an excuse to buy them, you can buy, play with them for awhile, and then ship them to me for my daughter. :-) She’s already got letter blocks that she loves to play with, but not as stunning as this set.

    That “eight” type was originally designed as a logotype, I featured it as one of the 8 clever logos.
    I really liked all the typefaces you featured in today’s Sunday Type, John, especially Anziano.

    P.S. Looks like I submitted my comment soon after your reply, John ;-)

  6. Vivien (inspirationbit)
    Thanks for the link. That must have been where I first saw it, I think.

    I don’t think I’ve been giving clues ;)

    Yes, I like Anziano too, especially reversed out on that blue (I ‘stole’ that particular blue from Stefan’s own sample). Perhaps Stefan will tell us more about Anziano during his interview.

    The blocks idea is one I might try :D

  7. John, I’ve been subscribed to the feeds since Oct-6 and I have to say I love all the articles that have been featured. I’ve done a couple of fonts myself in the past, http://reiem.blogspot.com/2007/06/fuentes.html and now we’re working with a mate on a text family for our undergraduate degree in graphic design. Please, if I can help you with translation of an article to spanish, let me know. My respects :)

  8. Eight font reminds me of Dos Logos cover. I like it more though.

  9. “Why are the potato stamps legible?”
    My guess is that they were flipped that way on purpose :P I think it’s harder to appreciate type when you can’t recognise the symbols easily.

    I really like Epic Packa. It looks a lot like Baskerville, right? Very classy.

  10. Reiem
    I’ll take a look at that link in a moment. Thanks.
    If you’re interested in translating an article, then the Font Creation Case Study is a good place to start. That would be great.

    It does look a little similar, doesn’t it; makes for a nice cover.

    That’s probably the reason :)

    I’ll let you decide on the similarity or otherwise of Baskerville and Epic (of course there are numerous flavours of Baskerville):

    That Epic ‘e’ though has a slight Humanist (Venetian) flavour to it.

  11. Hmmm, thanks Johno. That’s a very interesting side-by-side comparison.
    While I was reading through some type related articles (through links on this site) I began to wonder why typographers would construct fonts typefaces that are very similar to existing fonts typefaces. I decided that typography was like wine tasting, where everyone pretends to be able to tell the differences between wines by agreeing with the first opinion given. For example:

    Host: “This wine has a raspberry mid-palette, with an oak, and crushed grass finish”
    Guests (sipping and looking poignantly at their glasses): “Yes, I say it does, Jeffrey”.

    While I still think this happens a lot in wine tasting (I could get flamed here…) I’m not so sure about typography anymore. Looking at the examples above, the two fonts typefaces seem to be the same, but Epic definitely has a ‘fancier’ and ‘classier’ feel than Baskerville. I can see that the subtle differences between the two account for this (Epic’s slanted stem tops, with proportionally longer stems seem to be responsible), but one does not need to notice these subtle differences to get a ‘feel’ for the font. This is all very interesting to me - fonts seem to have a kind of subliminal message to them. I guess knowing each font’s message is what allows one to use it correctly.

  12. Tattoo = Caslon

    …although, if I was at work I would feel compelled to guess “Garamond”, as I’m known as the guy who thinks everything is Garamond. Anyway, Caslon (I think).

  13. Roger
    And adding to your wine tasting analogy, it’s also true that good wine is good wine whether or not there exist those to appreciate it (though some philosophers among you may disagree).

    Ultimately, however, the best testing ground for any type (unless it’s designed for the screen, of course) is that old fashioned thing called paper. It’s not until one sees the impression that type makes on the page, that one can even begin to judge it fairly. Even the most subtle differences (e.g. the shape of a serif), can change the colour of the page. Add to that kerning, size of the character set, etc, etc, and suddenly one has myriad other points of comparison.

    Yes, it’s certainly true that typefaces have voices; but there’s also a very practical element involved: e.g. you’re setting a text with lots of numerals and yet the font you’d like to use doesn’t include old style numerals—that kind of thing.

    Thanks for you input, Roger.

    Good guess, but no. And though I know you’d like it to be Garamond, it’s not her either. In fact, it’s very difficult to identify from this ‘sample’; will be a miracle if someone gets it.

  14. Si

    I think it should be ATypI… cap A, cap T, lc y, lc p, cap I

  15. Si
    You’re absolutely right, and I should know better; I’ll claim lack of sleep as an excuse ;)

  16. The name eludes me at the minute, but is that tattoo an Emigre face by any chance? I know they have one that’s a little like that. I definitely see more going on there than with faces like Caslon or Garamond but can’t put my finger on it.

    I’m considering getting that Epic. It reminds me heavily of Bembo, but with a lower x-height.

  17. Peter
    Perhaps you were thinking of Mrs Eaves? Good guess, but not an Emigre face. I think it’s difficult to tell from the tattoo. I’ll put everyone out of their misery soon. Just one clue: Hermann Zapf. Actually the ‘R’ makes it more difficult to identify because the counter should be open (Oh, that’s another clue). I could never have identified it from the tattoo, BTW :)

    Yes, you’re absolutely right, Bembo is similar (closer than Baskerville).

    And I’ve just noticed that you’re the same Peter Cooper who wrote Beginning Ruby.

  18. I just took a look at Emigre’s site, and it was Exocet I was thinking of. Alas, it seems my memory of Exocet was more conservative than the face really is!

    And, yes, I am that guy, but definitely don’t look to that for examples of good typography ;-)

  19. Peter
    Yes, ‘conservative’ is not the first word that comes to mind when I think of Exocet. I’m not sure what Jonathan Barnbrook was on when he designed that ;)

  20. I remember I used to make potato stamps when I was at school. Never thought of carving letters, though. They would look interesting printed.

    I can imagine someone cutting out large 3D letters out of potatoes - you could get a word for dinner.

  21. TypoJunkie

    Hey John!

    I think you made it too easy for us now. Is Roger’s tattoo set in Palatino? That’s my guess after you clues (it being one of Zapf’s more popular typefaces). However, I can’t see a top serif in the “R”, and on the bottom the serif only seems to go left. I’ll stick by my guess though!

    And I’m glad you used my header. I’d prefer if you called me TypoJunkie though, only my mother used to call me Antonio (and only when I had broken something), so it has some negative connotations.

    Anyways, thanks for the cool stuff! I’ll have to save some money to buy Epic, as I saw it a while ago and fell completely in love with it.

  22. fife

    The kerning on the tattoo is a little tight for my liking. Also, lowercase would have been better.

  23. Mmmm potato type… (ha ha) yet again another amazing Sunday Type. I’m going to have to join ATypI. $35 isn’t a bad price for students at all. I have to milk all theses student benefits as long as I can :)

    Those Swiss Miss blocks are so cool! I would totally buy them for my kid (whenever that is). $100 is a little much for my pockets, but I know I will give in eventually.

    Jeremy Dooley is really producing some quality typefaces. When I first saw Montag I really loved it for some reason, Terfens is an excellent addition.

    Oh and Roger the tat looks pretty cool, glad you were happy with it. Good Stuff! :)

  24. I love, love, LOVE the header! The way the v intertwines it self with the t… mmmm. Much tastier than the potato type to me!

    true that typefaces have voices; but there’s also a very practical element involved: e.g. you’re setting a text with lots of numerals and yet the font you’d like to use doesn’t include old style numerals

    Can you come up with an article on these practicality issues? Sometimes, as odd as it may sound, I don’t think about these things! I’m also greatly intrigued at how you learn to pick up on all those subtle differences like the shape of the serif. How do you train yourself to notice things like that? The discussion you had with Roger above was too short!

    I’m looking forward to Transitional Type. I find these articles fascinating!

  25. bkawalec
    I hope that when you do, you invite me for dinner.

    You’re absolutely right. Was was the biggest ‘give-away’? The open counter or Zapf? Fro now on it’s TypoJunkie (if I remember) :) Will you be getting a tattoo set in Epic?

    I think the hope is that the letters will thin out a little with time. Lowercase at that size might be difficult to tattoo—thoough I’m not writing from experience.

    Thanks. Yes, $35 is pretty reasonable. Be sure to look me up when you join. I think I’ll have to ask Jeremy for an interview some time.

    I thought you might like the header.
    An article on those details (on the choice of type) is a good idea. As to how one learns these things…well, I guess through looking at a lot of type, and using type. Designing type (or at least drawing the forms) also helps. Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style is also wonderful.

    Choose a typeface or a group of faces that will honor and elucidate the character of the text.

    Letterforms have tone, timbre, character, just as words and sentences do. The moment a text and a typeface are chosen, two streams of thought, two rhythmical systems, two sets of habits, or if you like, two personalties, intersect. They need not live together contentedly forever, but they must not as a rule collide.—Bringhurst

    I’m also inspired to learn more from good type designers. Just the other day, a well-know and very talented type designer sent me a kerning proof sheet (actually about 20 pages of letter combinations)—just for kerning! When you begin to see how much work goes into good type, you can’t help but fall in love with it. The funny thing is, we rarely hear people say, ‘this type is beautifully “kerned”’—I guess that when these ‘details’ are done well, we just don’t notice them. I’m beginning to ramble, so I will collect my thoughts and make an article out of them.

    I’m looking forward to Transitional Type too. This has been the longest in the making—about 50 pages of notes. I think that the PDF (revised and expanded edition of this six-part series might even run to 100 pages). I’m hoping that it will serve two purposes: 1, as an introduction to the classification of type; and 2, as a potted history of type.

  26. RogueJunkie

    The give–away was a combination of both. Zapf has designed a few typefaces and it was just a matter of looking for one of his with an open counter on the “R” (if I remember correctly only two of his designs do).

    About a tattoo, I thought about getting one, but gave up on it a long time ago. I might design a poster with Epic though and I’ll be sure to send you a copy if/when I do.

    As to what Barnbrook was on when he designed Exocet, from what I can remember, there were no “Blackletter” samples when he was in college and he wanted to use one for a project, so he designed one. Though I’m pretty sure it has gone through countless revisions since.

    The Transitional Type article sounds great and I’m holding my breath for the PDF, so you better hurry.

    Do take advantage of all the student discounts you can get. I’m now regretting not joining/buying more stuff!!! I guess I can always go back to school :)

  27. I had no idea you spent so much time on these articles. WOW.

    I would like to see some of this behind the scenes work of type design you talk about. Perhaps it will help even more of us fall in love (or deeper in love). Your passion for type is awesome. I keep saying it, but it’s what makes you such a great teacher!

    Many would say that the invisible type (or design) is what makes it good. It shouldn’t scream “LOOK AT ME!” because then it’s detracting from the message it exists to give.

    And I ordered my hardcover copy of Bringhurst last week and got the confirmation that it’s in the mail! I can’t believe it was only $23.00! I thought it would be at least two, even three times that. I’m looking forward to reading it (and if I get it this week, maybe it’ll keep me warm while the husband is on a business trip :D haha)

  28. Hey Johno you shouldn’t worry about justification for buying the blocks. Buy them anyway, they would make a great decoration. I would buy them if I had the money to spend on things like that. :)

  29. Lauren
    Yes, what I post is just a fraction of what I write. If I typed up all my notes, the articles would be too long to post here. Although I’m familiar with the topics, it’s very important to cross-check dates and other details—I wouldn’t trust my memory.

    Sometimes I want the type to shout ‘look at me’; but you’re right, we don’t want type set for continuous reading to shout at all; perhaps it should whisper in the tones of a tender lover. Oh, I almost had a Mills & Boon moment then :)

    I won’t tell your husband your having an affair with Mr Bringhurst ;)

    You’re right, but I too don’t have a spare $100 :(

  30. Johno–at that size, lowercase would indeed have been more difficult to tattoo, and the result actually would most likely have been less legible both in terms of the letterforms, and the word itself. Doable, yes, but much more difficult to pull off well. Particularly the smaller counters–very easy to accidentally smush ‘em. And the wrist is an area of skin that is a bit more prone to pigment “bleeding”, that is spreading out slightly which can make a design a little foggy in spots, than most other bodily bits.

  31. Lauren–got a copy of Bringhurst’s book a few days ago myself. Haven’t gotten too far into it yet as classes have started back up again, but I’m loving it. His non-type stuff is pretty damn good too, by the way. Yay Canada. :)

  32. I’ll respond properly to all your comments some time tomorrow hopefully, but for now I’ll just say this:
    The letters have thinned out a little, and the tattoo is starting to look really good now. I must be honest that it took me a few days to get used to it. Now I just have to get used to everyone else’s reactions to it!

  33. Justin
    Thanks for that. I know nothing about the art myself, so very interesting indeed. Pleased to hear that you have a copy of ‘Elements’. Are you a fan of his other work: prose and poetry? Yes, Canada must be very proud of him, though he wasn’t born in Canada ;)

    Thanks for stopping by. Look forward to hearing more about it.

  34. I would buy the letter block set for decoration and construct little messages with the letters to remind myself of work or something. Too bad they are $100.

    The font made out of the number 8 reminds me a little of the font I sketched out and illustrated a while back. I think I send you a shot of it Johno.

  35. This eighta based typeface remind me another game on the same style. A typeface based on the question mark designed by students, yes the question mark is less present than the eight, but it was a fun trick for the students to create new forms: Ligats http://www.porchez.com/ateliertypo/?c=lausanne+workshop

  36. Thanks for the kind words for the blocks. Here’s a direct link to them: Alexander Girard Blocks. We do put them on sale from time to time, so if you’re not on our email list, be sure to sign up.

  37. Cody
    I have a vague recollection of your eight; but at my age, it’s very vague. I dug through my inbox and couldn’t find it. Could you resend? I’m sure that when I see it, I’ll go, “Oh, that eight…”.

    Jean F Porchez
    That’s quite a challenge and one that on the face of it sounds just about impossible—until I looked at your link. Thank you. These kinds of exercises are a great idea.

    Ben Kiel
    You’re welcome. Thanks for the link. The words ‘blocks’ and ‘sale’ in the same sentence most certainly got my attention. I’m off to join that mailing list.

  38. I LOVE the Brasserie typeface. I love it so much I either want to start my own cafe and use Brasserie for the signage/branding, or find a cafe that needs branding and use it for that. Thanks for pointing it out.

  39. Calling all local cafés:
    Warning, if you wake up to discover that your sign has been swapped out for one set in Brasserie, contact your nearest Police station and mention the name ‘David Yeiser’.

    Pleased you like it, David. I’m a fan too.

  40. Hi John, I’ve sent you an email about the translation thing. Drop me a line if you read it. Bye

  41. Reiem
    I received your message through the contact form on Jan 14. I haven’t received another mail. Did you send another? (jboardley{{{AT}}}gmail.com.

  42. Perhaps only conincidental, but the eight logo uses the same concept The Designer’s Republic employed in some of their work in the 90’s.

    The logo they developed for the first wipeout game:

    They also used the same concept for a Joey Beltram sleeve:

  43. Ooh! The Bringhurst book is only $23? And he’s Canadian? Well, if the library doesn’t have it, maybe I’ll have to splurge. Hehe.

    Oh and Roger, I quite like your tattoo. Thanks for showing us!

    One thing I really like about typography is seeing what words and phrases people choose to showcase a particular typeface. Often they’re nonsensical but fun to read. Like “A pro storms above this orbit.” Do you choose that, Johno, or do the designers? In either case, they are one more fun thing about typography. (Says the very geeky girl who loves words in all forms.)

  44. Johno
    This one!

    Not an eight, but when I was scrolling through this post I stopped on the picture and said, “huh? Sweet my logotype!” Then I realized it wasn’t mine and cried. Haha!

  45. Mr eel
    I remember that game, though I could have sworn the cover looked different. It is pretty similar isn’t it. Thanks for the link.

    And after seeing that Joey Bertram sleeve, I’m wondering whether this is an actual font…. I’m off to check.

    Yes, I was surprised by the price. I’m sure I paid more than that—and I bought it ages ago. And about that ‘dummy’ text: sometimes I use samples from the designer; sometimes I create my own. I touched on this during my review of Made With FontFont (towards the end).

    Yes, I do remember it now. In fact, I think you sent that to me pretty recently. Looks like I’ll have to do a feature on these and other similar experiments, including the one Jean François mentioned in his comment above.

  46. Well I think around 2 month ago? I really lose track of time here in Tokyo… thank god for date records in email. At my office I am doing typography workshops for the other designers here and I am thinking about doing a similar activity after a few workshops on letter form and recognition. I’m am still trying to workout what exactly to build the letters from, but I would love to see an “I love typography: Typography Workshop.” Stick the details and goal in a post and everyone can submit the finished product!

  47. Cody
    You just caught me as I finish typing up part three of the Type Terms/Type History series—Transitional Type.

    The workshop sounds great, and is certainly something I’ll think about. My writing schedule is pretty much filled up for the next 4-6 weeks (sure that sounds super-organised, but it’s not really); after that I’ll try to put something together. In the meantime, please keep me informed of your own Workshop! That new job of yours sounds pretty interesting.

  48. You mean, finish reducing the article for the blog from the 20 page book you wrote about it? Haha

    I will for sure, I will probably be adapting a lot from the Thinking With Type activities as well as throwing in some of the stuff from my schooling. iLT will be used as a resource as well ;)

  49. Bringhurst is as Canadian as apple pie is American. *whistles innocently*

    I think I paid about $50 for my copy, brand spanking new. I just looked at Amazon.com…one copy for $69, a second for $159. Wow.

  50. Armando

    Hi there–
    Any Spanish translations? If you need help there drop me a line.

    Have a great weekend!
    (Caracas, Venezuela)

  51. Armando
    Yes, there are a couple here.

    Thanks for the offer; I may well be in touch.

  52. http://www.atypi.ru
    about conference in Russia at Russian :)

    previous post: Caso de estudo de Criação de Fontes: Joules

    next post: Terminologia de Tipos: Humanista

    May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts December Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts January Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts december Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts December Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March 2011 Fonts February 2011 Fonts January 2011 Fonts December 2010 Fonts November 2010 Fonts October 2010 Fonts September 2010 Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February 2010 featured fonts December Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts December Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts December Fonts