With all the talk about web fonts, I think it’s time I tried to outline the present situation. I’ve not attempted to do so before, owing to the complexity of some of the material, and the speed at which things are moving.
Web designers are generally not interested in technical specifications, TrueType Hinting instructions, and extended OpenType permissions tables. They have one pressing question: when can I use font x in my web pages? Today, in Atlanta, Georgia, at TypeCon 2009, the faithful met to talk about Web Font Embedding: The New State of the Debate. At the foot of this article, I’ve included highlights from the twitter feeds of @typographica (Stephen Coles) and @splorp (Grant Hutchinson). Many thanks to them for the great job they did in reporting.
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The week in type is coming very soon. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this video from Pierre Smeets and Damien Aresta.
Great, fun project. If you decide to have a go, then please refrain from type design in built-up areas. Oh, and wear your seatbelt.
Welcome to another roundup of what’s new in type. If you missed the interview with French type designer Alice Savoie, then be sure to take a look. Alice’s next typeface, Capucine will be released through the Process Type foundry. Follow them on Twitter, and you’ll be informed the moment it’s released.
Alice Savoie started out with a foundation course in Applied Arts and then studied graphic design and typography for four years in Paris. She then set sail for the UK to follow the MA in Typeface Design at Reading University. Upon graduating in 2007 she relocated to London to work as a graphic designer. In March 2008 Alice joined Monotype Imaging as a full-time type designer.
Every year The St Bride Foundation holds a lecture in memory of Justin Howes, a great typographer and historian who was instrumental in supporting the St Bride Printing Library. He re-established the firm of HW Caslon, published books, organised exhibitions, delivered lectures and worked with the Type Museum in Stockwell, finally moving to the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp before his death in 2005, aged 41.
Previous lectures have been popular, but demand was so high for this year’s lecture that all the tickets were booked up in two hours and it had to be moved to Conway Hall to allow more people in, and still there was a waiting list. Given that Matthew Carter was giving the lecture and he would be talking about his views on type revivals, it was perhaps not so surprising so many people wanted to go. For an hour he talked through the development of some of his typefaces and his philosophy not just on revivals but on type design in general. I suspect it’s this philosophy and thinking that interested a lot of the attendees, including me, so I’ll focus more on that here.
This July, the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading is offering a week-long, condensed version of the MA Typeface Design course it has been offering for the last ten years. It may only last 5 days, but it promises to give a small group of participants a chance to spend all of that time getting some insight and feedback from the core staff at Reading — Gerry Leonidas, Fiona Ross, and Gerard Unger — along with some brief sessions with a few more of us who work with the department.
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:
If you’ve ever been to the Library of Congress and seen the Gutenberg Bible and the Giant Bible of Mainz, you will understand the sheer joy that one can find from looking at a page of quality-set blackletter.
Or, if you’re less Bible and more Necronomicon, nothing less than the most wicked blackletter will work for that black metal album cover you’ve been contemplating.
The problem with blackletter is two-fold. First, other than diplomas and newspaper nameplates, the general population has difficulty reading it because of its archaic forms. Second, because of the perceived connotations of blackletter, many people consciously avoid using it. (Which is a shame, really, because it can be quite beautiful when used properly.)
Which brings us to Moyenage, a blackletter typeface system(!) by František Štorm that is part Bible and part Necronomicon, equally adept at setting traditional and modern works alike. At first sight I was in love with the typeface, so I decided to find out more about the typeface from Štorm himself.
Let’s get right down to business, and start with something really beautiful. Seb Lester, who I’ve mentioned on these pages before, recently released a new poster. The picture below really doesn’t do it justice. The silver print on gorgeous Plike paper is absolutely stunning:
If you’re a designer and haven’t already heard about Typographica’s relaunched site and Favorite Typefaces of 2008 list, chances are you’ve been stranded on a desert island, far away from any relevant news sources. And even then, the list has received considerable attention beyond the usual design and typography blogs, getting mention in sources that wouldn’t usually have much to say about type.