I Love Typography

Sunday Type: paragraph type

An exceptionally hectic week meant foregoing the usual mid-week post. Hopefully back to normal now, and I can finish the next instalment of the Type History series, Why Type Matters, and more. OK, sit back, relax and enjoy. First up is some beautifully photographed found type. Richard Roche has scoured the Web for the very best found type photos. This stunning shot was taken by David John Earls:

found type

found type signage

My favourite letter is a. There’s so much scope for creativity with this first letter of the alphabet. I particularly like the lowercase a in Marat, so I decided to cut one from sticky-back vinyl and put it on my front door.

marat a

My scalpel work doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s still nice to come home to.

Jon Tan has written a great article on The Paragraph in Web Typography & Design. Well worth a read. Well researched, and plenty of practical examples.

New Type

Exemplar designed by Göran Söderström has been brewing for quite some time. Now it’s available for public consumption:

font: exemplar

Well worth printing out the Exemplar PDF specimen.

Really like this illustration:

char strength

Be sure to check out T. Lobe’s Flickr for more type goodness.

Rub me down

A great piece by Steven Heller for Design Observer: a homage to rub-down lettering.

Steven Heller—Homage to Velvet Touch Lettering

Some great Letraset ‘collage’ from Christopher Palazzo:

Christopher Palazzo

Last week I mentioned Gemma O’Brien’s post on Body Type. Here’s the making of video:

YouTube Preview Image

This made me smile. Simon Pascal Klein’s lunch. I should try this with Japanese alphabet spaghetti.

ilt soup by Simon Pascal Klein

Some lovely stationery from Mr Boddigton:

mr boddington stationery

Via Design Sponge.

While you’re waiting for the grand opening of the iLT t-shirt shop (coming soon, I promise), you might like to try this one on for size:

poker t-shirt

Thanks to Vivien. And from the people that brought you the Huge Type Looks Sweet t-shirt, here’s the punctuation t:

punctuation t-shirt

Sunday Links

The H&FJ Favicon

Ink This, Face Lift Showcase—via TypeForYou

Type t-shirts—David Airey

Alphabet Soup Word generator

For All Seasons—animated type

Typographic Illustration

Dot Grid Book—via Inspirationbit

Remembering How Many Cups in a Gallon

Oded Ezer’s typographic landscape populated with Hebrew letters:

via John D Berry

Type Tip

When setting a word in italic that trails with an apostrophe-s (possessive s), make sure to set the apostrophe and the s, not in italic, but in roman.

type tips. possessive s and italic

Love at first sight

I’ve fallen for a typeface that hasn’t even been published yet. It’s Skolar by David Březina, designed for scholarly journals. Low contrast, serifs that aren’t shy, and some beautifully shaped counters.

Skolar from David Březina

It has an odd, quirky italic, but the more I look at it, the more I like it; and it’s a beautiful accompaniment to the roman. It should hit the streets later this year. When it does, I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m at the front of the queue!

For iLT’s wonderful Spanish readers, there’s a great article on the making of Relato Serif from Emtype. I wonder if there’s an English translation of this article somewhere? (a terribly unsubtle hint). Also some iLT articles in Español—in case you missed them.

Kris Sowersby recently reviewed FF Balance by the late, great Evert Bloemsma. I’ve since found this nice interview with Evert Bloemsma on Jon Coltz’s web site. They talk about the wonderful FF Avance.

Today’s Types

FF Kievit by Mike Abbink:

ff kievet by Mike Abbink

and FB Californian. California Oldstyle was Originally designed by Goudy in 1938. Carol Twombly later digitized the roman; David Berlow added italic and small caps; Jane Patterson did the bold, and In 1999, assisted by Richard Lipton & Jill Pichotta, Berlow designed the black, text, and display weights:

fb californian

This specimen taken from the free David Berlow Type Specimens PDF.

Crossword Competition—Vol. 2

With the huge success of the first iLT crossword, I’ve decided to make it a fairly regular feature. I’ll also try to compose some easier (concise) versions.

One correct entry will be drawn at random and will win a license for Stefan Hattenbach’s wonderful Anziano. She comes with some particularly lovely small caps, an elegant italic, and some exquisite ornaments.


Even if you don’t win it, I suggest you add Anziano to your type library. Many thanks to Stefan for offering this generous prize.

Almost forgot the actual crossword! Just click here to get started.

typography crossword 2

Hope that you can enjoy trying to solve it, and that you learn something about type at the same time. If you can’t answer all the clues, then don’t worry—just have a go.

And Finally…

I’m quite far behind responding to emails, so please be patient if you have mailed me. Rest assured, I do read every mail, and I’ll do my level best to get back to you.

Next up is part five of the Type History series. More interviews, prizes, type reviews, and lots more type goodness coming your way soon.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week.

Font Credits: Type TipsAmalia


  1. Yet another excellent round-up, Johno, and thank you kindly for mentioning my type t-shirts post.

    While I’m here, I’ve kept meaning to contact you asking your thoughts about Japanese logo design. I’ll make another mental note.

  2. Drew Schorno

    Our class made a type designers book last semester, and i used Alphagetti for the cover. Alphagetti is a slab serif (which, coincidentally, was the name of the book)

  3. Thank you that was beautiful. The best site on typography that I;ve seen for a long time. We all should love typography.
    From Chris Loft
    Adelaide, sunny South Australia

  4. Great work, John. Hope you rest well now that it’s out, hehe.

    Those first two images by Richard Roche are absolutely striking, thanks for the link. Oh, and this time I’m going to try the crossword, for sure; Anziano is beautiful.

    Lovin’ the types tips too; that one is great, I’ve never even thought about that.

    Keep it up!

  5. Hey Jon, about that Marat photo… The inside of the a’s stem is pixel-perfect horizontally straight compared to the photo’s crop… Their appears to be no surface texture or shine on the vinyl so that the colour is completely even across the glyph… You seem to have cut away at the edge of the bowl so as to compensate perfectly for the indented panel of your door…

    Are you positive you didn’t just Photoshop this on? ;)

    What with a lot of hectic stuff happening in my headspace I’d fallen out of iLT regular readership for waaay too long. Now that I’m back it’s heart-warming to see you’re still just as passionate! Keep it up!

  6. FV

    Love Skolar. I also found the small caps on Kievit particularly interesting—and who knew Pride & Prejudice made such a great text sample?

  7. The type tip reminds me of a common gripe I have with typographic and stylistic instruction. Too often these “rules” are laid down as arbitrary axioms, without any background or explanation. This thing on setting apostrophe-S in roman, for example - yeah, I can see why you might do it that way, but I can also see why you might just set it in italic (which most people do). What is the history - e.g., is this a rule that used to be followed by printers everywhere until computers made everyone their own typographers, or is this just a neat idea someone had last month? What is the rationale that makes this more correct than the alternative? Or is it based on a particular insitution that adopted it as a standard and the industry followed suit?

    See, I’m frequently in the position of being an editor. I love typographic details and am quick to adopt any practice once I see its superiority. But I also have to defend those decisions too. I can’t just say, “Well, someone said that’s the correct way.” :)

  8. John, thank you for mentioning Skolar. It is a nice to know that there is already a queue forming and gratyfing to know that some people even love it. ;)

  9. I second Joel’s question about setting the ‘s in roman. Why is that, John? I’m sure you know the history of it! If I had to take a guess, it would be that italics used for emphasis are emphasizing just the word/name, not its possessive nature. But that’s a totally wild guess.

    And I absolutely LOVE the stationary!!! I get to start my letterpress class in about a month! I’m sooo excited! I’ve already gone up to see the Vandercook and C&Ps I’ll be able to work with at a friend’s place. They need some restoration love, but I’m planning to ask the instructor about how to best go about that. I found some great little beginner videos from Boxcar Press that I want to watch, too. They have some beautiful work in their portfolio. I particularly like the Fine Press section.

    Now it’s off to learn more about typography through the crossword! I learned so much last time. It was great!

  10. Hey thanks for featuring the found type photos at the very top of the post! Just to clarify, I just collected the photos from Flickr and posted them on my blog. On my post, each photo links to the original photo page of the actual photographers.

    As a side note, the top one was was taken by the guy that runs typographer.org which is another pretty good typography blog to check out.

  11. doctor

    a is my favorite letter, too. People talk about certain letters having certain characteristics that define a typeface (h is often cited because you can derive so many letters from it), but I don’t think there’s a letter that can define a typeface quite like a can. Despite not having many of the giveaway characteristics like an ascender or straight segment from x-height to baseline, a somehow captures the essence of a typeface.

  12. Jongseong Park

    If you’re showcasing David Březina’s Skolar, you should at least mention its Gujarati companion Surat! Skolar and Surat were developed in conjunction from the start as a multi-script family. David began the designs during his MA in Typeface Design at the University of Reading.

    Though I can’t read the Gujarati script (one of the scripts used in India), Surat looks quite beautiful to my non-native eye from what I can see on the Skolar & Surat specimen.

  13. Wow what a big read. First things first, Exemplar and Skolar are beautiful! I love the Body Type video, I’m still trying to figure out how she was able to draw on her right arm. I was also curious why not the ’s in italics? But I’m loving these type tips.

  14. I second Joel’s comments (politely). Please do tell us more about this week’s type tip… sometimes it’s hard to put your heart fully behind uncontextualized wisdom, even if it seems like a good idea.

    My favorite letter is lowercase “g”. About 15 years ago, I even convinced a fellow type-geek friend to get a gill sans “g” tattooed on his ankle (something like 250pt, I forget, exactly). Talk about a sexy tattoo!

    By the way, I’ve only found this site recently, and I absolutely adore it! Keep up the good work. It’s inspiring, truly.

  15. Jongseong Park

    I see a number of people are curious about the rationale behind the type tip on not italicizing the apostrophe and the s that follow an italicized word. I have been following this rule all my life, not because I learnt it as a rule from anywhere, but because it seems the logical way to do things.

    The linguists out there may correct me, but I think the English possessive marker apostrophe-s originally was something like a case ending. However, in modern usage, it functions as a clitic, meaning that it is a grammatically independent word even though it is pronounced like it is part of a word that it is attached to. ‘Typography’s’ might look like a single word because it is written without spaces, and be pronounced like a single word, but on the grammatical level it is really two words, ‘typography’ and ‘apostrophe-s’.

    So grammatically, the apostrophe-s in the phrase ‘typography’s principal duty’ has the same independent function as the word ‘of’ in the phrase ‘principal duty of typography’. Just as no one would italicize the word ‘of’ because ‘typography’ is italicized, the apostrophe-s would not be italicized.

    I think what people have trouble with is that no space goes between apostrophe-s and the word it is attached to. It is confusing because italicization usually follows word boundaries marked by spaces. But if you think about the fact that italicization is used to set a word apart, and think of apostrophe-s as part of the ‘background words’ from which the italicized word should stand out, then you would find this rule consistent with the principle of italicization.

  16. Wow anziano as a prize!!! Thats great! Gonna try and finish the crossword this time!

    Great job once again John!

  17. Thanks, Jongseong. I can understand the rationale, in fact it’s pretty easy to guess for anyone who’s linguistically inclined.

    I guess my original comment is that it would be nice if two things were always included with a style guideline: the rationale, and the authority. For example, I just now thought to consult my Chicago Manual of Style on this rule and sure enough, it’s in there. This tells me that the practice is an established one; and an explanation like yours explains the intended reasoning behind it. If these two could just have been included with the original tip, it would make it infinitely more useful to any serious/aspiring editor. I just mention it because I see that kind of thing a lot in typographic material.

  18. Thickestskin

    This is by far the best feed I get— an excellent source of inspirational things (like that Exemplar type: it’s fantastic!)

    Thanks heaps, and please keep us posted on the T-shirt shop.

  19. Thanks so much for giving my dear, dear project Exemplar some attention. It has been a long journey with this typeface family and now I’m hoping to see some examples of people using ut – that is the biggest reward :)

    Also thanks for a fantastic typographic resource on the net!

  20. Yes, thank you, Jongseong! That does make sense and it’s what I thought (though you said it way better).

  21. Oooh, Chef Boyardee typeface. hehe. I think I could have fun cutting up some vinyl. Where do you find it?

  22. Göran Söderström

    Thanks for a gorgeous sans serif. It’s easy to see from the PDF specimen how much work went into it.

  23. Nice design inspiration, thanks a lot.

    previous post: Sunday Type: typesetting type

    next post: A Brief History of Type—Part 5

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