Sunday Type: illegible type

cn u rd mi?

Welcome to another Sunday Type. It’s time to forget about work, kick off your shoes, sit back and feel some type lovin’. What’s all this about illegible type? Isn’t type meant to be read? On the whole, yes; but sometimes it’s interesting to see how far we can stretch type before it breaks. At what stage does type become unreadable or illegible. For that reason, I like this experiment from James Elsey:

illegible font

The font is called Illegibility. The brief, set by Neville Brody, for the 2008 D&D Student Awards, was to create a new and original font for a relaunched FUSE magazine.

The process of creating the typeface was to break down different media…Letraset was used and photocopied at high percentages until it was no longer legible. Another example was to use the ink-bleed through paper and record the results from marker pens on the reverse side. In this case my typeface reflects how for example a Lower Case would be the bleed marks, the Upper Case being the original experiments.—James Elsey

If you’re a student, then there’s still time to enter. Deadline is March 20th. I’m hoping James will sort out the kerning.

More Letterpress

A video on Hatch Show Print:

YouTube Preview Image

Thanks, Robert.

And another video on the wonderful Heidelberg Platen Press. As Don Black says in the video, you’ll run into ones that have red balls, and you’ll run into ones that have black balls:

YouTube Preview Image

There are more LetterPress videos on Don’s web site.

More Type Links

Font Tester Tool
11 Luscious Designs Let Down by Illegible Type (thanks Ian)
Smashing Magazine’s Free Fonts of the Month
Gemma’s ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) submission
Ornamental Letters

This is something you might want to buy in time for summer. Lemonade (or Whisky) on the type, please:

cool type, ice type

From swissmiss.

And be sure to check out Andy Rutledge’s redesign. I like it:

andy rutledge. design view redesigned

Typographic Vacations

Now, I like the sound of this. A type vacation, or type camp. That’s my kind of holiday:

type camp

For more information see Type Camp. If you’ve been on one of these, then let me know. How about Camp-iLT?

Type as sound from Meek FM. They were at Typo Berlin 2007, but just in case you missed it:

meek fm

I haven’t heard any recent news on this project. Anyone know if it’s still going?

Coming Up

I’ve been very excited about this article for a long time. Next up is an article from Kris Sowersby on…. Well, perhaps that’s enough to whet your appetites. Whatever you do, don’t miss it. It will be published on Wednesday, and you’re going to like it—a lot.

We also have a contributed series called Extreme Type Terminology. I like the format of this series: a kind of quick-fire tour de force of type terms; not only will you enjoy reading it, but this series will be a great future reference for typography terms. I really enjoyed reading the series, and I think you will too. For now it’s in nine parts. Keep you feeders at the ready.

Sunday Fonts

First up is another typeface from Jeremy Dooley, the creator of Montag, Aviano and Terfens.One of the latest additions to the Insigne library is the script Florencia:

florencia

The fun Toy Box Blocks from P22:

toy box blocks font

and Soho from Monotype:

soho typeface

Thanks to alyce.

And Finally

Thanks to everyone who reads and contributes to iLT. Have an exceptional Sunday. And don’t forget Wednesday’s post! You might want to take the day off.


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  1. Florencia is just the thing I love to see on a Sunday evening! Makes me imagine dining al-fresco with a glass of something cold and sharp in my hand; it’s a beautiful face.

  2. Jon Tan
    You’ve painted quite a picture there. Makes me want to return to Roma or Sienna or Avignon, with the sound of Cicadas gently pulling down the night sky.

  3. Type Camp!?! Holy crap! That’s too cool to be true.

  4. Alec
    Now all that’s left to do is convince your wife that it is :)

  5. I like the header John. Given me a few ideas.

    I will address the kerning issues at a later date and forward you a copy if I get it complete. Thanks again!

  6. James
    Thanks. I’m sure there are people here who’d help with kerning—if you need it, that is.

  7. Another great Sunday Type. Thanks especially for the type press video. It’s amazing how that guy hand picked and then kerned the type. Really fascinating.

    Hmm, you know, Montreal is an old city, I wonder if there’s a place like that somewhere downtown. That’s something I’d love to see live.

    And with all this ice cube type, and type vacations, I sure hope summer comes around soon. I’ve had enough of this snow, hehe.

    Looking forward to Wednesday!

  8. Hamish
    You might find some Letterpress in Montreal in this Typographica node.
    And, yes, roll-on summer.

  9. “cn u rd mi?” - n ai cnt ;-)

    Johno, I do hope you are not considering using the Illegibility typeface as your default one ;-) It is the most illegible face I’ve ever seen.

    When did Andy re-design his site? I was there on Friday, browsing through the Archives and the site still had the old design. Oh, turns out that he re-designed only the homepage, the rest of the pages use the old interface. Also, the link from his 2nd article on brand synopsis is dead. I emailed him about it.

    Camp-iLT - I like that idea. Let me know when you’ll be organizing it and I’ll send my daughter there in a few years ;-)

    You really know how to whet our appetites. Not that I don’t look forward to every article on iLT, but your Wednesday promo sure made me very curious.

  10. Florencia is sweet! *takes credit card out of wallet.

    Design View’s redesign looks nice overall, but I have a hard time reading the fancy text on the index page. I have to concentrate on it to make it out, whereas the body text is easy to read. Maybe it’s just me…

  11. no, it’s not just you, Adrian, I had exactly the same experience with the re-designed site and its “handwritten” headers. I wonder if it was done on purpose - make readers’ eyes strain when reading the article titles as a sacrifice to a beauty ;-)

  12. For someone who doesn’t take ice in anything, I never realized how much I want (need) new ice cube trays.

    And every time I catch myself kerning my toddler’s magnetic letters on the fridge, I think of iLT.

  13. I really, really like SoHo

    Oh lord…not more letterpress videos. That seals it–I’m building a tabletop press over spring break.

    wood…carriage bolts…bungee cord or springs…2 ton jack…varnish…

    Class projects be damned. This is way more fun.

  14. I don’t know Bit. That eye-straining knocks the visual impact down for me from what could be a 10 star rating to a generous 8. And I have 20-10! ;-)

  15. TypoJunkie

    Somehow Sunday type never disappoints me…

    I must say I miss the D&AD briefs and the Type camp REALLY sounds great. Especially with a picture of a sunny day (while living in grey/rainy London).

    And I think we’re ALL looking forward to Wednesday now…

  16. Ah, Sunday type. My favorite thing to do on Monday morning.

  17. Thanks for posting that video on Hatch Show Print. If anyone wants to check out some more work and info from Hatch Show print check out these links:
    http://www.hatchshowprint.com
    http://www.ryman.com/HatchGallery.html
    http://uppercase.squarespace.com/hatch-show-print/
    Great Sunday type! I need to get me some letter ice, and Type Camp, wow! I so want to go now, :) good stuff!

  18. inspirationbit
    Andy probably redesigned in the dead of night—when we were all sleeping. I wonder what he has planned—if anything—for the rest of the site. I really like the old design, but I must admit to thinking about a redesign for this site; though I think I’ll do it piecemeal, starting with sIFR headers. How’s your redesign going?

    Adrian
    I’m also having a hard time reading that text, though I like the idea behind it—perhaps a handwriting script that is more legible at small sizes would do the trick.

    Dave Walker
    That’s the problem with kids today: not a clue about letterspacing. Makes you wonder what they teach them at school. My own Japanese Hiragana fridge magnets are a dog to space; you try achieving even colour when they come in red, green, orange, yellow and blue ;)

    Justin
    I feel that this site is beginning to corrupt its readers. We have Dave (above) grounding his 2-year old son for a month for setting his abc too loosely, and we’ve got you about to give over half of your apartment to a behemoth letterpress…I’m interested to know how you’ll use the bungee cord. It’s all sounding quite dangerous—extreme printing.

    TypoJunkie
    Grey, rainy London. I remember it well from my student days. See you on Wednesday.

    Cultr
    Being in Japan, you read Sunday Type before I’ve written it. Something to ponder. Good to see you here. Thanks for your contribution.

    Robert
    Thanks for the additional links. I’m off to watch them now. Can’t have too much letterpress. That reminds me: someone was going to write an article on Letterpress (an introduction of sorts); must chase that up.

  19. Johno–go full bleed or go home.

    Or both. Goggles, and possibly a helmet, are a must.

  20. Thanks for the link John. I nearly missed it, as it didn’t send a trackback message. However, my stats were slightly skewed :-)

    Got to love Soho! It would make quite a versatile family.

  21. My favourite ‘illegible’ type is from a poster for Fuse Magazine #1 I found reproduced in ‘Typography Now’ (Booth-Clibborn, 1991). This was pre-usable Internet so I made my own rough copy which is reproduced here, called (by me ) ‘Camera Obscura’ (download link broken, I’m afraid). I since found a more ‘official’ version online, but have lost the link.

  22. I spoke too soon - thanks to the modern internet, here’s that poster.

  23. Justin
    >go full bleed or go home
    That’s one for an iLT t-shirt.

    Armen
    You’re welcome. I’ve added the trackback. Let me know if it shows up.

    James
    Thanks for the typography poster link.

  24. TypoJunkie

    James:

    The font you’re talking about was designed by Phil Baines and is available here. I wouldn’t call it illegible, though. I guess it’s only the characteristic bits of every letter that make the font. Anything less and it would be indeed illegible.

  25. Never worry John.

    I might have missed it if you’ve already posted it, but just in case, Mark Boulton has an interesting YouTube video, which he just posted the other day.

  26. Camp iLT! We can rent out a place on one of the small islands around Okinawa!

  27. Armen
    Thanks, yes, I’ve seen it. I should add it to the video page.

    Cody
    Now you’re talking; or even somewhere closer to me in the Seto Inland Sea; perhaps we can host them on Naoshima art island.
    In fact, you’ve got me thinking about hosting something on typography in Japan—could be interesting.

  28. It sounds like a plan. I think to get any amount of solid turn out, it would have to be in the Kanto area. I could probably think of about 15 people I know that would come already (Japanese and foreign).
    You know I’m there for the whole process! Let’s make it happen!

  29. Talent Pun

    Yup, I went to the first type camp here off the coast of BC. It was blast. I was surprised how young the group was. I’d do the India one in a heartbeat (if I could afford it).

    I’m at work right now, so I’ll try writing more later.

    -Talent

  1. elseyCreate—Mar 12, 2008

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