I Love Typography

Sunday Type: the sound of type

Nine O Type

Yet another week flies by. My birthday passed without any disastrous incidents; I’ve just about finished packing, and now it’s time for type. Today we have quite a feast, so loosen your belts, sit back and enjoy.

Let’s start with a new type. Many of you will know Kris Sowersby, the man behind Meta Serif, Feijoa and National. Last week I announced that National was one of the winners of TDC2 2008. Well, he just released a new serif typeface called Newzald, and something tells me it’s going to be a big hit.


Newzald is beautifully crafted, with exquisite attention to the finer details. It’s not easy to create a new serif face that looks fresh; and it’s only too easy to resort to little eccentricities and irrelevant details introduced simply for the sake of distinguishing it from the competition. Newzald hasn’t—and doesn’t need to. Kris describes Newzald as a decent, hardworking serif designed for the international editorial environment. If you’re looking for a fresh face that’s eminently readable, then I suggest you try Newzald. But don’t take my word for it; download the PDF specimen, print, and see for yourselves.

Next we have a beautiful film by filmmaker and musician Premjit Ramachandran on the Musalman, perhaps the last remaining handwritten newspaper in the world (click the video to start):

Thanks to Cody for bringing this to my attention; and thanks to Premjit for kindly allowing me to host the video. In fact, I was listening to Premjit’s music while typing this article.

A brief but good article on typography from the Middle-East, and the challenges of adapting latin type, like Palatino Arabic and Fruitger Arabic from Lebanese type designer Nadine Chahine.


For those interested in Arabic type design, then be sure to visit Pascal Zoghbi’s blog; and especially his Generating Arabic fonts post. Thanks to Designer Daily.

Dutch Type

As an unabashed fan of Dutch type, Dutch Type  by Jan Middendorp is an absolute must-read. And joy of joys, you can read it for free online with Google Books. If you do enjoy it, then I suggest you try to get hold of the actual book.

Dutch Type by Jan Middendorp

Well-written, beautifully illustrated and…well, I suggest you read it. It appears to be out of print (though I can’t imagine why; however, you may be able to track down a second-hand copy somewhere).

Geisha Type

Next up is this beautiful spread for National Geographic Traveler magazine; designed by Deb Pang Davis (the then Associate Art Director). Copyright, National Geographic Traveler. Photography by NYC-based Justin Guariglia.


Love that enormous red versal (drop cap) complimenting the Geisha on her red lips and kimono.

The Sound of Type

Sonotype is an interesting concept: letters as sound. It’s described as a series of experimental typefaces that challenges the arbitrary relationship between verbal and visual communication.


Choose from several fonts and styles. There’s also a pdf on the site that reveals a little more about the project. My favourite is Rose Snotty. Why not create your own—your own unique voice-font!

FontLab Tutorial

Alec Julien has been hard at work with another video tutorial. This one is about creating automatic ligatures in FontLab.

If you missed the others, you can find them on iLT’s Vimeo page (www.vimeo.com/typography). If you’d like to make your own type-related video tutorial, then contact me with your idea.

New Foundry

Typonine is a great new type foundry founded by Nikola Djurek. Nikola is the designer behind OT Amalia (I love this typeface with a 1000pt ‘L’), DTL Porta, Fedra Display (exquisite) and the Greta (with Peter Bilak).


OpenType Specimens

Some inspiration in the form of some truly wonderful type specimens from Ralf Herrmann’s brilliant typography blog, OpenType.

type specimen

Ralf is founder of the German-language typographic community, typografie.info. Once on the site, click the links below the illustrations and you can leaf through the books. You can also see higher-res images on Ralf’s Type Specimens Flickr set.

A Font for Logicians

Alec Julien is working on a font for logic, set theory, and mathematics notation, called Geekium.


He’s using the Open Source Gentium as his starting point. If you’d like to learn more, or if you’d like to help out (the FontLab source file is available for download), then head on over to Alec’s Geekium page.

Other Recommended Links

Moving the Font Matrix forward. A great idea proposed by Richard Rutter.
On the terror of glyphs and the joy of reading from Dan Reynolds.
Grid and Column Designs from WebDesignerWall.
More food-inspired type from Suspect and Fugitive.
Type on the wall (thanks Sergio for the link).
Typocalypse—Wall from thisandagain.

And some incredible ‘ornamental type’ via BoingBoing.

ornamental type

Coming up

Owing to the popularity of iLT’s A Guide to Web Typography, there will be several more installments. We also have that 9-part contributed series to look forward to. Some more interviews to come, and lots more. If there’s someone you’d like to see interviewed on iLT, then let me know. I even had a go at making one of those “welcome to iLT, my name is…” videos; my friends said I need to smile when on camera. Not sure that the video is such a good idea, though a number have requested it.

Sunday’s Types

Volupia from Dino Dos Santos:


and Lukas Schneider’s sans serif FF Utility:

ff utility

Have a great Sunday.


  1. I am so pleased to see Lukas’s FF Utility finally released! More of his work in available at http://www.snider-inc.de (German, but with great imagery). Thanks for posting this, Johno.

  2. Dan
    Thanks for the additional link. Always a pleasure to post about good type, and Utility is better than good.

  3. The NewZald is just fabulous! Here are some more examples with this font http://klim.co.nz/newzald_samples.php

    As for the book ‘dutch type’ is not available anymore, I’ve checked all the online sales channels.

    I see you ‘again’ changed the header, now with the newzald! Great looking ‘i love’ ;-) Thanks for that!

  4. Sander
    It’s a real shame that Dutch Type is out of print. If I were a rich man, I’d try pay to have it reprinted.

    Thanks for your tips on ‘i love’—very much appreciated. I’m expecting an article on signage from you now :)

  5. An abundant roundup of wonderful type. This stuff makes the world go ‘round, I swear.

    I find The Last Calligraphers looks very interesting. It’s kind of sad to think that something like that happens so little these days. Of course, it’s very time consuming, and hard to do well. So I guess it’s just a natural progression.

    Oh and Newzald is great, I love how the head of the ‘a’ sort of tapers out like that. Very cool.

    I hope you have a restful Sunday John.

  6. Happy belated birthday, Johno! I hope you had a great day.

    I’d love to see a ‘before and after’ of your ‘welcome to iLT’ video (one with your poker face and the other when smiling).

    Also, I noticed you now have the ‘add a comment’ feed flare. Saved me scrolling. ;)

  7. Hey, Johno, happy belated birthday (if I knew when exactly was your birthday, I would’ve congratulated on time ;-) !

    Absolutely love Amalia and NewZald, very moving.

    That sonotype was pretty funny, while the last handwritten newspaper in the world very admirable. Arabic letters always had a magical appeal to me.
    So, now there’s another site on my list of regular visits - iLT on vimeo - great idea (oh, where is that welcome to iLT video, you haven’t posted it yet?). How is TypeNuts going on?

    Good luck with the move, hope you’ll be moving out and then in soon.

  8. Looking forward to the next installment of Web Typography, John – the first one was a really good read. As for the suggestion on persons to interview, I’d love to see Erik Spiekermann here on iLT ;-)

  9. Yes, Happy Birthday to Johno! And may you have many more… Would that make you a Pisces? Are there any astrology fonts? :) There’s got to be some way to tie typography with astrology… no matter what one’s opinion on it is, the field of astrology has got some neat symbols!

  10. Hamish
    Good to hear. Yes, like letterpress really. I experienced some of the same feelings I did when I watched the FireFly video. The a in Newzald is lovely, especially in the black weight. take a look at the ‘7’ too!

    Thanks. That’s not a bad idea: a before and after video; though not sure they’ll be so different. Thanks a lot for the feed flare idea.

    It’s enough to say that I’m 21 yet again :) I’m still unsure about the hello it’s me video. I’ll see of Johny Depp is free to double for me. TypeNuts is coming along OK, though I’ve also been busy with another site (well, an extension of iLT); but I’ll tell you about that later.

    Thank you. Erik Spiekermann would be great to interview, though I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to ask him.

  11. Leah
    Yes, a Pisces. Here are some astrology fonts. It would be interesting to write something on these fonts and other symbols; e.g. map symbols, weather symbols, chess symbols, et al. Gerard Unger mentions them in his wonderful While You’re Reading. You’ve got me thinking now…

  12. happy late but not forgotten Birthday Johno. NewZald Looks GREAT! i may have to buy it soon it looks so versatile. I always love when my RSS reader shows an update from you and how easy to navigate your site is! your Sunday types are wonderful as usual and i cant wait to see more. In the future if possible you could squeeze in some free fonts? that would be great. Cheers and ill see you next update!

  13. oh, c’mon John, you should give yourself more credit. Let’s just say that I’ll be very disappointed if I click on the Welcome to iLT video and see Johny Depp there instead of you.

    And also I think you should try asking Erik Spiekermann for an interview. I doubt very much that he won’t honour your request.

  14. To get a little bit technical, the poster in the Arabic Type image is Persian. It’s by Reza Abedini, an Iranian designer. I am a big fan of his work. Last semester we had a project wherein we had to design a book cover (front, spine, back, yay!) in Photoshop (text too…ow…). At the time I was just delving into the work of Abedini (and a few other fantastic Iranian designers) and decided that my subject would be Iranian graphic design.

    If I recall, that poster is for an exhibition of his work alongside the work of an Iranian photographer (Mehran Mohajer), and was designed to be read regardless of how it’s oriented.

    Also, I’m liking Amalia and FF Utility. At first glance some of the angles on both felt odd, but more the more I look, the more I like. If only I hadn’t spent all of my type budget this semester on Akzidenz Grotesk.

    Another great video, too. Thanks!

  15. John, I’m sure he’ll come around if you tell him you got 11338 people wanting to read his thoughts ;-)

  16. Like Vivien, I’d also be very disappointed to see Johnny Depp on your welcome vid. He’s a great actor and all, but I doubt he could capture the real Johno.

  17. David, you’re a real pal - thanks so much for your support and encouragement. I’m sure others would agree with us too and that should boost John’s confidence in getting in front of that camera and welcoming us to his world of type.

    Tor, you’re absolutely right about 11338 people backing up John’s request to interview Spiekermann.

  18. that not arabic!
    that is iranian poster

  19. Note bene:
    While Iranian—or Farsi—language things are certainly written in a different language than Arabic (as Arabic and Farsi belong to two different linguistic backgrounds), they are both written with the same script, or writing system. The Arabic script is used to write many languages… Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, etc. Naturally, calligraphers and typeface designers from each of these linguistic backgrounds may interpret the Arabic script differently, but it remains a common writing system.

  20. Happy birthday Johno :-)

  21. Happy belated bday John. Another great Sunday Type. Thanks for all the type goodness. I’m really looking forward to more “A Guide to Web Typography” installments, :) good stuff!

  22. Happy belated birthday Johno!

    Thanks for the links to those blogs on Arabic typography. I’m a little embarrassed as an Arab that I seem to know less about Arabic typography than many non-Arabs!

    Great Sunday Type, as always. I especially like FF Utility.

  23. I’ve been ogling Newzald for a few days now. Man that is some sexy type. I’ve always been more of a san-serif guy but Newzald has me swinging the other way. One day I’ll be able to buy a beautiful type family and that day Newzald will be mine.

  24. Hi,

    This is certainly one of the best blogs I’ve ever read. I am looking for a font that would go well with a site where I put snippets of Python code ( like my blog ). I am using Georgia atm and would like to change to something that is a bit geeky and well supported on FF/IE. Can someone recommend a good font ?

  25. KIP
    Thanks for the birthday wishes. Let me know if you buy and use Newzald. I’d like to see her in action. Free fonts—it’s on my list. More to come.

    Thanks, Vivien. I’ll try a few takes.

    Thanks. Would like to see the book cover some time. Re Arabic Type, see Dan’s comment below.

    I must stress that I’ve never asked him. One day I will.

    Very kind. Good thing Johnny Depp doesn’t read this blog. Well, I don’t think he does. I guess there’s no getting out of this video thing, unless anyone here knows Mr Depp and could persuade him to say a few words about iLT.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right; it’s not the Arabic language; but, as Dan points out so well below, it is Arabic script.

    Thanks for clarifying the whole script/language thing.

    Thanks. And thanks for not mentioning my age :)

    Thanks again.

    We’ve all got a lot to learn :) And, yes, FF Utility is great. A great face behind that simple exterior.

    Let me know when you do.

    Thanks for your kind words. I’ll think about your question. In the meantime, perhaps someone else has a suggestion.

  26. johno-

    I did see Dan’s comment. Learning = fun! Immediately related it to a passage written in English, and then in French, both in Roman alphabet. Bells-a-ringing upstairs. I think, though, that I was thinking in terms of the country of origin. Between 3 studios and a laptop/external drive crisis, I’m entertainingly short on sleep.

    Speaking of fun, about to have sophomore reviews (which I find odd, given that with the timing of the review, the faculty is only reviewing work from one semester). I’m in the process of tweaking some of the copy on the book cover (god it hurts to be doing it in Photoshop). When it’s done I’ll happily fire it your way. What’s your poison–PDF? JPG?

    While I’m here, I thought I would ask…

    I’ve been looking for a small letterpress, a tabletop platen of some type. Being a student in the middle of nowhere, they are damn hard to find on a strict budget. I’m thinking of making one to play with and was wondering if anyone with experience with small letterpresses has any advice? I’m thinking a recreation based on images of some of Gutenberg’s machines, but with a 2 ton or so jack instead of screws & a wheel.

  27. Johno,

    Ooh, I like those astrological fonts! I will admit I like astrology, I’m on that side of the fence. And those symbols are all so pretty! I think it goes without saying that I would love to read a piece on symbols of all kinds.

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