I Love Typography

Sunday Type: sponge type

The Passionate Printer

First up we have a type feast from one of the world’s most popular ‘interiors’ blogs, Design Sponge. Included in the list are some of those we’ve mentioned here before, but there are numerous other examples of ‘living with type’, such as these large reclaimed metal letters. Imagine some of these in your living room:


There’s even chocolate Scrabble,


though I’m not sure how long a game would last.

You could say that Mark Simonson is on something of a roll. I mentioned his Filmotype Glenlake a couple of weeks ago; well Mark has another lovely script for you. This one’s a 1940s-inspired brush script called Lakeside, accompanied by all the OpenType features we’ve come to expect from a Simonson font.


Next is a great little tutorial on Paragraph Styles:


Hamish, author of the wonderful WordPress Typogrify plugin, has an article that will be of special interest to just about anyone who writes code. In The Typography of Code, he considers five typefaces for programmers. Bitstream Vera Sans Mono (free and Open Source) is probably my favourite, though the newer DejaVu, based on Vera Sans’ design, with a much larger character set is definitely worth taking a look at.

Some Type for Kids

Jairo sent me this link after watching the kids program WordWorld. I don’t have any children myself, but I did watch an entire episode (for research purposes of course):


LivePen is an interesting tool for those who like to draw letterforms in Adobe Illustrator. I haven’t used it yet, as the Mac version isn’t ready. However, it is currently available for Windows + CS2.


If you do use it, then be sure to let me know what you think. You can try it out for free.

And some gorgeous letter-pressed posters from the talented Douglas Wilson, printed on a variety of substrates, including old maps. Well worth taking a look:


I’m also a fan of Frank Chimero’s work:


Miscellaneous links

For iLT’s French-speaking readers, this is a good little site, with some type-related posts: Zone d’information opaque.

iLT PodCasts?

This is an idea I’ve been toying with, and thanks to Alec Julien, a regular iLT contributor, it could become a reality. We have two videos to get you started. The first is a tutorial on how to create discretionary ligatures in FontLab:

and the second I’ll post mid-week. I’ll create a new section of the site specially for these videos, and although it’s unlikely you’ll see my mug on any of these videos, I do have some interesting ideas for PodCasts, so stay tuned. I will also add these videos to iTunes, so you can subscribe to them. (right now silly iTunes won’t let me setup an account because although my address is in Japan, my credit card is British. And I can’t sign-up for iTunes US or UK, because my credit card’s address is in Japan—stupid really. If anyone from Apple is reading this, please get it sorted.)

A little light relief

First is this license plate from typenut Duncan:

KERN license plate

and this light-hearted type dating game from Amanda.

And I absolutely love this this video from a very impassioned printer. Thanks to the ATypI Mailing list for this one:

YouTube Preview Image

Sunday Font

And today’s font is PowerStation from the Umbrella Type:

powerstation from umbrella type

I hope that’s enough to keep you going until mid-week. Some really great stuff to come, so stay tuned.

It was really tough choosing a winner for the FontBook in a movie competition. All the entries were great, but the winner is Christian Neumann, who wins a copy of Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style. All of your entries have been popping up all over the web.

Oh, and if you missed the interview with Jean François Porchez, be sure to take a look—great insights from an even greater type designer. And talking of great type designers, coming up we have those articles from Kris Sowersby, so stay tuned and have a great Sunday (what’s left of it), and I’ll see you all again mid-week.

buy fonts from Veer


  1. “I hope that’s enough to keep you going until mid-week”

    Are you kidding, John?! This Sunday Type is ffffffilled with typegoodies. I’ve just had time to check only a few of them (have to get back decorating the bday cake ;-))

    I’ve seen similar kind of metal letters in one of the local design stores, was tempted to buy them but postponed till the next time I’ll have some extra cash burning my pocket (they cost $50 and +). But I do have several wooden letters decorating my daughter’s newly renovated bedroom ;-)

    Can’t wait to listen to the podcast from you next week (curious to hear how your voice sounds ;-). Alec, thanks for the interesting podcast this week.

    Oh, and that chocolate scrabble wouldn’t last for even a brief game, that’s for sure ;-) Thanks for the Type For Kids link, I’ll watch it with my girl later tonight.

  2. I’m really looking forward to what you do with the podcasts. Are you going to do all video podcasts, or some audio ones too? I would really like something to listen to about typography on my long road trips back home.

  3. FYI: the link for Douglas Wilson’s work has an extra “http//” in there that’s leading it to redirect to http.com.

    God, giant letterforms. I want. I also want letterform furniture…

  4. So glad you loved the big letters and chocolate scrabble as much as I did when I was putting the round-up together for Grace over at d*s…and I actually discovered your blog in the process, which I LOVE (and I LOVE typography as well). Keep up the excellent work!


  5. Jam packed! Great work as usual, John.

    The video podcast adds a nice interactive touch, looking forward to more.

    Also, totally loving the Scrabble chocolate. Indeed, I don’t think games would last very long either, unless the rules provisioned some way to eat your own pieces…

    And I really laughed out loud at the Type dating game — who comes up with this stuff? Haha.

    Thanks for the link to my article as well, the response so far has been really great, and I’ve gotten lots of good ideas and suggestions.

    Here’s to a great week!

  6. Oh, man — it’s not bad enough that you keep introducing me to new fonts that I have to buy… Now I have to buy LivePen. Damn you, Johno. ;)

    Sheesh, I hate listening to my own voice. Anyone want to volunteer to overdub my videos? ;)

  7. oh, c’mon Alec - your voice wasn’t bad at all - you were a bit shy, but I’m sure you’ll get used to it with a couple more podcasts.

  8. Mmmm… Chocolate Scra le…… Damnit, I ate the ‘b’s. :O

  9. joel

    Re: itunes registration and locale difficulties

    I’m not sure if this will work, but I got around itunes registration problems by actually buying a prepaid gift card instead. Through muddling and fuddling, I actually started an itunes account with no credit card information at all, but I think the bare minimum is a gift card.

    It may help you start an account while avoiding the region-based difficulties…

  10. Love the video on ligatures and the idea of iLT podcast would be awesome. I love the printing video as well, I saw it awhile back and laughed for hours. Another great article :) good stuff!

  11. Thanks for the link up John! Was a great surprise for me this evening while going through the feeds. Also, it’s great to see you linking up my good buddy and typographic comrade Doug Wilson. His posters are fantastic and well worth every penny (or pound).

  12. Kathi

    Mm, I’d love to try that game of Scrabble! But what’s that font they use? Looks a bit like Arial to me …

    Then again, I’ a complete newbie to typography. It’s just that I always loved to look at and compare fonts - I’m not anywhere near design business.
    So I’ll take the chance to thank you for this blog. I’m glad I discovered it, subscribed to it after the first visit and always love coming back. I’ve learnt a lot since and I’ve enjoyed it. Love the design, too.

  13. Nice to know about the Print Family Mafia haha! :) They’re in every society’s level. The illustrations of WorldWorld look very good! I love your new and rare font applications ;)

  14. I made some foam type, and some cardboard and balsa type too (for use in still life arrangements to paint). I much prefer the balsa. The foam gets everywhere and is a pain to sculpt.
    If you’re doing foam you need an electric carving knife. I went to Clark Rubber (in Australia) where they have a section of foam off-cuts. They’re very cheap too.
    The balsa you can get very accurate. The foam, not so accurate.
    There is a glue that works well with balsa, it is called ‘Zap!’ glue. Don’t get it on your hands or you won’t be able to move your fingers.

  15. Rebeka M

    Huh. Just a few days ago I stumbled upon WordWorld. It was very bizarre to be watching and suddenly realize that the frog was quite literally “f-r-o-g”! After that it was just fun to spot the different words.

    And Chocolate Scrabble just about killed me. I have in my room five different Scrabble boards (two small Scrabble boards, one with a turn table, Super Scrabble, and Spanish Scrabble from my ill-fated attempts to learn Spanish). I’ve bought tiny Scrabble letters meant for scrapbooking, and I don’t scrapbook. As soon as they’re back in stock, that chocolate bar is mine!

  16. inspirationbit
    Birthday cake—I’m intrigued.
    Yes, those letters can be a little expensive. I’ve also been trying to get hold of some Japanese road signs (not by taking them from the roadside, of course).
    It won’t be my video next week, but another of Alec’s. My will be coming soon. Perhaps just audio. Let me know what you and your daughter think of WordWorlds.

    Dylan B.
    Hopefully mix of both video and audio. I’m also on the lookout for topics that might be well suited to this medium.

    Thanks for pointing that out; fixed now. I posted about some letterform furniture a few weeks back. Did you see it?

    Prêt à Voyager
    And a great roundup it was. be sure to let me know if you write any more type-related posts.

    That Type dating Game is pretty funny. My favourite—although it’s short is Mistral and Helvetica. Last time I checked, you had 60 comments to your Type for Programmers post! Fantastic. I’ve discovered some new ones there too. I’m going to try Panic Sans next. I’ve always wanted a font that matches the mood of my own code writing :)

    I’m also no fan of my own voice. Perhaps I’ll do mine with one of those Darth Vader voice thingies. ‘Vader on Type’ ;)

    Dave Bowker
    I wish I’d had you write that part of the post.

    I’ll give that a go. I did email iTunes Japan and they pretty much said ‘tough, that’s how it is’; when I replied and asked ‘why that is’, I heard nothing in response. Thanks for the tip.

    Pleased you like the idea. Shout if you think of any suitable topics.

    My pleasure; some great work from both of you.

    Not far off at all. It looks like Akzidenz-Grotesk to me.


    Note how the tip of the t in Arial is not horizontal.

    Pleased you enjoyed it. perhaps someone will make a similar typography video.

    Send some photos, please. I’ve made them from cardboard and then covered in papier mache before. I had the same problem with the foam, cutting it with a hot wire cutter—accuracy not so great. I’ll try the balsa. Thanks.

    Rebeka M
    You sound like a scrabblenut. I guess you’ve seen Hamish’s wonderful scrabble desktop wallpaper.

  17. Dylan
    Thanks for the links. Am off to take a look now…
    …wow! Love those oil paintings!

  18. Zachary

    Dylan B.
    For more type related podcasts check out Typeradio. Those are great for long trips.

  19. Zachary
    Yes, great idea. Some wonderful interviews on Typeradio too.

  20. Hey Alec

    Nice to hear your voice :-) Its a good tutorial and I liked the Illustrator part, especially the ligature part in the OpenType panel. Its a feature many users don’t know about :-)

    Podcasts is a beautiful idea and needed I might add. Looking forward to subscribe them on ITS.

  21. Esben
    Good to see you again. I’ll be in contact soon. Hope all is well.

  22. Hey Johno,

    Well I never been away, I read all your articles, just haven’t commented on anything for some time.

    You are always welcome to contact me :-)

  23. Esben
    That’s great to hear. I’m moving apartments on March 1st (it’s been a hectic couple of months), so I’ll be in contact after that :)

  24. Sure Johno, Im going to have a buzzy february anyhow :)

  25. I have always liked Mark Simonson’s typefaces and this one is outstanding. Very beautiful.

    Interesting letter paintings. I must try painting letters myself one day. I could arrange fragments of printed paper into still natures.

  26. I got this link the other day.. I don’t think this guy reads iLT (or any other type related content)

    Enjoy http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TpNnbNonlA4&feature=related

  27. miha

    yeah, another article full of all sort of things … excellent!:)

    comment on LivePen for illustrator: yes, this is an interesting tool, but I think (yet unpublished) KalliCulator is much better :P

  28. Leigh

    The pieces themselves look like Franklin Gothic.

    Loved the printer movie!

    I think that an iLT podcast would be great!


  29. I had the same problem with iTunes, living in Austria and having a German based credit card. However, I managed to sign in by simply changeing the country in my adress to Germany and adjusting the ZIP-Code. Hope this’ll work for you.

  30. @Johno — “Vader on Type” — Hahahahaha! That’d be so awesome!

  31. Mmmm…DejaVu Sans. Very tasty.

    I’ve never been much of a fan of the Bitstream fonts, though—they always rubbed me the wrong way. but the DejaVu family looks pleaseantly like Linux.

  32. @Zachary Thanks for the link. These look pretty cool.

  33. Thanks for this wonderful collection of tidbits and links. Enjoyed the printer video!

  34. Christian (neu)

    This dimensional type by John Caserta was linked in the Design Observer. Pretty cool stuff.

  35. miha
    Sounds interesting. Is it your work?

    I’ll try that too; if that doesn’t work, I mail Steve Jobs :)

    Now I’m tempted…very tempted.


    Bitstream fonts…always rubbed me the wrong way.

    Another addition to my ‘classic quotes’ :)

    Great link. Thanks.

  36. Esben
    That video is amusing; just a pity that people confuse ‘poorly designed’ with ‘poorly used’. Thanks for the link.

  37. miha

    No, it’s not my work. But I am planning some similar program, so I know everything about parametric font creation:)

  38. miha
    Then you can write an article about it too ;) Good luck with the application.

  39. very very nice site. i love it!

  40. Really interested in this LivePen thing. Frederick Berlaen has a similar idea, with his Kalliculator. I haven’t been able to try either of them, but it seems like a really good way to generate consistent contrasts, and test the color of a font at dozens of weights before committing to a final design. I don’t think these programs will ever be able to generate finished fonts, at least ones of quality, but it seems like it will be a great tool for creating the general framework of large families.

  41. on the subject of typographic furniture. check out http://www.set26.ch. Would love these in my office(if I had one) or as a shop window display. If only you could choose from a selection of fonts. great blog. love it.

  42. Josh
    I’m going to take a closer look at Kalliculator (when I’ve finished packing). Might review it here. Of course there are a number of other tools that type designers use, some of which, I’ll be discussing here soon.

    Thanks for the link. I wouldn’t mind some of those too.

  43. miha

    About article: first things first:). I see there is some interest on the topic, so here is new link with a (also yet unpublished) Type Generator; be sure to check images.

    > I don’t think these programs will ever be able to generate finished fonts, at least ones of quality
    well, there is no harm if I try to prove otherwise:)

  44. I hope the scrabble chocolate wrapper is bigger than that on the real article, otherwise that is going to be some dirty chocolate.

  45. Totally inspired by Chocolate Scrabble and Helvetica, I just had to design my own wrapper for my valentines this year: http://pretavoyager.blogspot.com/2008/02/i-heart.html


  46. Rebeka M


    I hadn’t see it, actually. I’ve only just recently found you and hadn’t had time to explore the site like I’d like.

    But that is really neat! Now I’m just going to have to wait for the day when someone puts down “graph” and I can make it into “typography” while laughing crazily.

    (I also forgot to mention my recently and unhesitatingly acquired shirt: Triple Nerd Score.)

  47. Johno,
    Finally I got some time to respond here. We did watch the WordWorld show with my daughter and we both loved it. I really liked how everything in that world consists of letters, including its inhabitants, all the things and buildings. Turned out that my daughter was already familiar with this animation, since she was watching it during the day on PBS, while I’m at work ;-) But she still made me to watch that particular fragment on WordWorld site three times - “mama, more running O letter”… ;-)

  48. And some gorgeous letter-pressed posters from the talented Douglas Wilson, printed on a variety of substrates, including old maps. Well worth taking a look.

    Yet another example of the marriage between typography and topography! :)

    Great stuff Johno. And happy moving, btw!

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