I Love Typography

In space, no one can hear you kern

I will soon announce ILT’s gargantuan give-away. There are 40 prizes, from vouchers to buy type, and books, to posters and Helvetica Moleskines. As soon as ILT hits 40,000 RSS subscribers, I’ll run the competition. Basically, I’ll do it like this: 20 prizes for the best-submitted type tips; the remaining 20 prizes will be distributed randomly to those who follow me on Twitter. If you haven’t already subscribed, then all it takes is a mere click.

Let’s get started with something free — a free font. A product of the inspired FontStruct, Sessions, by John Skelton, is a free modular display typeface that really is quite special. The specimens are particularly creative, and demonstrate how this face might be used:


You can download the font from FontStruct. There are more samples on Behance.

I’d like to see it released as an OpenType font with features like those available in Linotype’s Madame.

I’m feeling left out. These were sent out by Brazilian design studio, ps.2 arquitetura + design as gifts. Perhaps they’ll send a set to me (not-so-subtle hint):


Via Iain Claridge.

Something for the body. New from the Typography Shop, the sans and serif tees:


Never quite sure how to crop these.

And new from ISO50, is Vuela:

vuela t-shirt from ISO50

In the very unlikely event that you haven’t seen Scott Hansen’s posters, then do take a look, I recently bought Svenska.

Love this little book from Brighten the Corners. Meet Stanley & Marvin:


If you like this, then you’ll also like The Serif Fairy.

Lots of good work from A2/SW/HK. I particularly like this custom type for Foreground:


I like this work by Brazilian ps.2 arquitetura + design, and for the Museum of Image and Sound:


I also like some of the spreads, and the internal repetition of the cyan from the cover. The typeface set on the cover is the monospaced Simple by Norm, that was later developed as a set of proportional fonts for the Köln-Bonn airport in Germany.

simple typeface by norm

And, talking of monospaced types and Lineto, their typewriter typeface, Valentine (a faithful digital reproduction of the type designed for the Olivetti Valentine) is worth taking a look at:

valentine by lineto

This is one of many decorated initial caps from illuminated manuscripts, photographed by Eben Sorkin. Absolutely beautiful, isn’t it:

eben sorkin decorated initial cap from illuminated manuscript

What’s more, be sure to take a look at Eben’s Letters in old books collection. Here’s a little Jenson to whet your typographic appetite:

eben sorkin jenson

From decorated type to wood type. The online museum of wood types. Thought I’d mentioned it here before, but discovered I’d only tweeted about it:


Thanks to Antonio for the reminder.

For those seeking a fine start to the blissful[?] institution that is marriage (I’m tempted… but will say no more), look no further than 100 Layer Cake. This piece by Hammerpress:

hammerpress for 100 layer cake

What do 18,000 nails and the word enjoy have in common. This, by Juan Camilo Rojas:

enjoy nails: rom: juan camilo rojas

On a lighter note

Kern in Space is fun game from Veer Ideas. It’s also from whence I borrowed stole this article’s title:

kern in space, from Veer Ideas

Type links

Oh No! Not More Web Fonts!
Typography tools for Linux
E-book design, and typography
Congress on type via.
42 typography resources — via Peter van Impelen.
Mayflower Smooth Pro — P22
FontShop welcomes three new foundries
An interview with Ray Larabie
Helvetica & Univers
Printing terminology
Web font embedding, points missing
Web fonts now (how we’re doing with that)

I really want to like these new covers from Faber & Faber, but I just find them incredibly dull. I want to like them because they are an attempt at a purely typographic design; I don’t like them because I can’t see the design; I’m just seeing text slapped on a cover. Perhaps you see something else:

faber 80

Or perhaps my judgement is prejudiced by my antipathy for Beckett. Of these covers I’m reminded of the words of Vivian Mercier who wrote that Beckett (semi-coincidentally the author of the above books),

has achieved a theoretical impossibility — a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats. What’s more, since the second act is a subtly different reprise of the first, he has written a play in which nothing happens, twice. — Irish Times, 18 February 1956, p. 6.

Sidetracked there for a moment. What next? Ah, yes…

Another free display font. Cube from Font Fabric:

cube font from font fabric

This does not come as a font file, but rather as vectors in an eps.

Read about the Dollar Redesign Project on the exceptional Ministry of Type:



An epic battle. Helvetica vs Arial. Doesn’t do anything for me, but it might for you:
YouTube Preview Image

By contrast, this one made me chortle. Partly because, to my surprise, I make a brief (2:01), subtitled appearance in it:
YouTube Preview Image

Some very pretty animated type from Madrid-based Cocoe:

New releases

Whereas the relatively recent slab serif Archer, is the product of numerous historical sources, Sentinel takes the Clarendon, dusts it off, refines it, and makes it so much more useable (twelve weights & their italics). What most surprised me is that no-one else had really attempted to fill the Clarendon gap.


I’ve always found Clarendon to be a little claustrophobic for my taste; just a little clumsy too; and I always imagined that it had something to do with those small apertures. Guess I was wrong. I haven’t spent enough time with Sentinel to quite figure out why it works so well. I suspect some kind of magic. I picture Jonathan taking the fonts out of the oven; a solemn nod in Tobias’ direction, and he dusts the freshly-baked glyphs with something that resembles star dust. Anyway, the great thing about Sentinel is (whether or not you’re a fan of the Clarendon) is that H&FJ has reinvigorated or even resurrected the ‘genre’. I really think that Sentinel will come to be the go-to Clarendon.

Neutraface Slab from House Indistries, accompanied by the quality type-related merchandise that we’ve come to expect from them:

neutraface slab

New from Linotype is Libelle, a Copperplate Script by Jovica Veljovic.

libelle fonts from linotype

Comes replete with all the OpenType features that one expects to find in a good script — contextual alternates, discretionary ligatures, initial & final forms, etc.

We love typography

If I were to list all my favourite picks from WLT, I’d be forced to start another post. So, I’ll just feature this drawing by artist Jason Manley:

jason manley

You can see more of Jason’s work on jasonmanley.com.

And this spread from the Rare Book Room:

copyright, rare book room

And a third from Gig Posters, and designed by Salvador López:

Salvador López. gig-posters

ILT shop

I have the last remaining prints of Seb Lester’s beautifully screen-printed Mightier. These are the last available anywhere, so if you want one, hurry. Moreover, I’ll be printing a couple of my own posters; and, I’ve invited several designers to design new and exclusive posters for ILT. Ideally I’d like to offer two versions of everything: not everyone can afford a limited edition poster or letterpress print, so I’m hoping to offer a standard, less expensive, offset version for all designs. I’m discussing the details with my printer, and will let you know more soon. If you’re a type designer, and would like to design a poster for ILT, then let me know. Stefan Hattenbach is designing the first in the series of posters by type designers.

And, finally…

It’s no exaggeration to say that ILT wouldn’t exist but for the support of The Deck. They’re running a little survey, so if you have a couple of minutes, then please let them know what you think. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have with a survey, I promise — though question #21 is something of a challenge.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s roundup of all things type. Have a brilliant weekend.


  1. So, the Hitler meme has finally reached typography… Oh, Internets, what will you think of next?

  2. Johno, I downloaded Cube a couple weeks ago, and have been trying to find something to use it for. Their samples are beautiful. In the little time I have spent with it so far, I know it’s not as easy as they make it look!

    Also, I think this is the first time you’ve posted something you don’t like. In fact, you added a lot more commentary this week than usual. I like it. It adds a lot to the site.



  3. I second Able. I love this week’s honest reviews from you, John. Keep your insightful commentary coming.
    Now I’ll say no more and start checking all those numerous tabs that I have opened ;)

  4. Radhinal

    i like sentinel!!! it’s look brilliant strong and unstoppable!!! i was collecting the slab serif for few time, this one its a must i think!! :D

  5. I bought three books from your recommended booklist, and I cannot thank you enough for putting it up here. I can’t get my hands off the books, the best gift I have given myself in a really long time.

    Wonderful post too!

    Thanks again :)

  6. This was a beautiful post+pleasant surprise, when almost all the items in my reader are about music. Well done, especially for that cube font and assortment of lovely typography images!

  7. Sessions looks nice. Thanks for the info, I’m downloading it now.

  8. Great post as always but I just wanted to point out that Simple was first created as a monospaced typeface for their book The Things, released by lineto and then was developed into the proportional typeface for the Köln-Bonn airport.

  9. Jonathan
    That’s how it was supposed to read. I’ve rewritten to make clearer.

  10. To say that no one else has tried to fill the Clarendon gap before H&FJ isn’t quite accurate. For example: Canada Type’s Clarendon Text, Font Bureau’s Belizio, Jim Parkinson’s Sutro, Typodermic’s Superclarendon, etc.

    Having said that, Sentinel does indeed seem to be a highlight on such a list.

  11. I lol’d hard at Hitler’s rage against Comic Sans MS, and even better is that they’re trying Papyrus next. Comedy gold right there. :3

  12. sentinel looks awesome, and i didn’t know about neutraface slab, i’ll have to check that out. thanks for the sweet post!

    and interestingly enough, the league of moveable type just released a slab serif, too. it’s named chunk, and made by recent graduate meredith mandel. you should check it out.


    :-) happy slab serif week!

  13. Your posts are always so interesting and well worth reading. Just wanted to say thanks!

  14. Flavio Pessoa

    PS2 is a brazilian, not portuguese, design studio

  15. My new favourite font is FindReplace by Process Type Foundry

  16. Very beatiful. Good work!

    Also as Neil already mentioned your posts are amazing. You’re the most inspirative person I’ve met so far :)

    Keep it up.

  17. Another worthwhile Clarendon/Egyptian family that preceded Sentinel is Storm Type Foundry’s Farao:


  18. Great post, enjoyed the Wired article (shame it was an answer, not a solution!). And some cracking work from Ps.2

  19. Krapp

    Johno, hope you’ve read at least some of Beckett.
    The remarks are laughable.

  20. Long post!

    Nice Hammerpress reference, they are in my neck of the woods. Nice to see a local item showcased on a site of world spanning content.

    Any other considerations for entering the contest?

  21. Glad you featured some A2/SW/HK work. Their “Cold War Modern” book is kick butt. Keep up the good content Johno!


  22. Thanks, Flavio. Fixed.

  23. Many thanks, good reading…

  24. Never quite sure how to crop these.

    Very nice :D

    Also, thanks for another great batch of inspirational content!

  25. Julian
    Haven’t ‘seen’ you here for a while. Hope all is well. Thanks.

  26. Milan

    Veljovic is a Serb who hasn’t made a single cyrillic font to date. And the one for Politika newspaper doesn’t count since it’s such a disappointment. He’s a disappointment to me.

  27. I’m a little late getting to this but really great stuff. Looks like I’ll be picking up another type tee :)

  28. A brilliant collection here. I feel it would be great for the designers of the sans and serif t-shirts to have only sans for males and serif for females. After all, sans does mean without, if you get my drift…

  29. getting close now!

  30. Paul

    simplemente magnifico, andaba buscando insporacion por la web, porque estoy luchando con una tipografia hace unos dias y me vino re bien, excelente!!!!

    you rock!!!

  31. Paul

    jajajaja just to clarify, the first paul and the second paul are not the same person, im the second one by the way, the one in spanish!! =P

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