Through Thick and Thin

Ever since I started to draw type, one of the challenges that has intrigued me the most is figuring out how letters carry their weight. Arranging thicks and thins and determining the contrast between them is crucial in assembling the systems of shapes that form a type design.

Historically, a letter’s thicks and thins emerged from the writing or drawing implement used to make it. The angle, direction, and pressure of a pen or brush can produce seemingly endless models of thick and thin in calligraphy and lettering. We sometimes carry these ideas over to typography, thinking of typographic letters in terms of imaginary mark-making tools. In type, the conventional definitions of stress and contrast are focused on the idea of stroke, telling us where a line swells to its thickest point, and how thick it actually gets.
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iType

Before I dive into this week’s the week in type, I’d like to tell you a little more about Codex, the journal of typography. First, I’d like to introduce the Codex team: the Editor in Chief, Carolyn Wood and Assistant Editor, Allen Tan. It’s a joy to work with them — a mixture of many late nights and hard work with laughter and occasional obsessive-compulsive behavior. It is without a doubt the most incredible, most rewarding project I’ve ever worked on. Working Format in Canada is designing the magazine, and the latest proofs I saw are wonderful. The supporting cast includes H&FJ’s Knockout and Commercial Type’s Lyon, gracing 144 full-color pages. The magazine measures about 8″ by 11″, (approx A4).
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MOMA on the money

Hope you enjoy this week’s week in type. To kick things off, lets all give a warm hand to the makers and bakers of the fonts that made it into MOMA’s permanent collection. Particularly happy yo see Barry Deck’s Template Gothic in there — one of my all-time favorite quirky display types.

Be sure to read Jonathan Hoefler’s thoughts over at the exceptional Kottke. H&FJ see four of their types added to the collection: HTF Didot, Gotham, Mercury and Retina.

New types

The lovely new Carter Sans from Matthew Carter. Available from Linotype:

Looks especially good in all-caps settings.
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Sayonara 2010

Two thousand and ten has been something of a blur, but it’s been a good year. It’s been another good year for type design and typography, with some great new work, and some wonderful new type designs. So, to ease you into 2011, and the wonders that await, I present to you the week in type.

New Type

Ardoise from Jean François Porchez. Wonderful:


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Codex type

Perhaps you thought ‘The Week in Type’ was dead. Well, this post marks its resurrection. It won’t be weekly just yet, but from 2011 it will be: a weekly roundup of new releases, type and lettering to inspire, type tips, videos, and lots, lots more. If you haven’t yet subscribed to ILT, then do so now — that way, you’ll never miss a thing. So, ladies and gentleman, without further ado, I present The Week in Type. Enjoy.
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Kickstart Linotype

Doug Wilson has just opened a Kickstarter project to raise funding for Linotype, the movie. Here’s the new trailer:

You can help by donating big or small via Kickstarter.

Doug is also writing about the Linotype machine and his movie for issue one of Codex. All very exciting stuff.

‘Dreams’, ‘Stars’ & ‘So Much To Do’

I released three new limited edition prints today, ‘Dreams’, ‘Stars’, and ‘So Much To Do’. I’ll show all three prints in this article, but for practical purposes I’ll focus primarily on ‘Dreams’, one of my most ambitious prints to date. What follows is an outline of what I wanted to achieve, the lettering styles I developed, and why I produced it.

I guess it’s because of my design background that I always write a brief for myself before I start a print — a distillation of everything I want the print to say and do. I always try to aim as high as possible. Shoot for the stars and you might hit the ceiling, as they say.
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Reviving Caslon

Part 2: Readability, Affability, Authority
[read part one]

When their words are put into print, writers want the text to be inviting and welcoming, so that readers will read what they have written. And they also want the text to have an aura of credibility, so it will be taken seriously and maybe even accepted.

When I read Einstein’s Autobiography many years ago, as both a writer and a lover of type I noticed and remembered that the font it was printed in seemed extraordinarily approachable and easy to read—even while projecting strength and authority. James Mosley reports that printers used to say, “You can’t tell a lie in Caslon.” And then he adds wryly: or is it that you won’t get caught? When I started my revival of Caslon, I set out to revive these qualities I had seen in its letter press Linotype Caslon Old Face: readability, affability, and authority.
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The making of Acorde

After five years of intensive work, my type family Acorde is finally on the market. It is a reliable workhorse for large, demanding design projects. The typeface’s name is derived from a corporate design typeface. However, Acorde is not only suitable for corporate design programmes but for information design and editorial design too.

The making of the typeface Acorde

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Ode, a Fresh Start for a Broken Script

When designing a typeface, I prefer to explore a construction principle rather than revive an existing typeface idea. These principles or writing models are based on the tools and techniques originally used. Understanding these workings are often a great source of inspiration for me.

The starting point for my latest typeface Ode was the Textualis, one of the various broken script writing models. It has a strong modular build suggesting that it’s easily constructed. Albrecht Dürer further reduced it in his Underweysung der Messung, mit dem Zirckel und Richtscheyt, in Linien, Ebenen unnd gantzen corporen.

duerer_textualis_constr_02.jpg

Albrecht Dürer’s visualisation of the contemporary broken-script construction (Nuremberg, 1525).

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