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I Love Typography

Heaven Devoid of Stars

More than half a millennium has passed since the invention of moveable type in Europe. It’s now just about impossible to imagine a world without it. That very sentiment is set in ink in this new print collaboration with Stefan Hattenbach. A sumptuous screen-print of gold, white, and black inks on beautiful red Plike paper. A truly stunning print, and perhaps the perfect Christmas gift!

It’s been a while (too long) since the last Week in Type, so without further ado:

Let’s begin with a smile and this great tee from Able Parris:

A lovely short of Robert Warner dancing with his Golding Jobber press:

Another video. This one a delightful spelling video, and some unusual materials for letterforms:

Practice your kerning (or, more accurately, letter spacing) with KernType.

And read Paul Shaw’s comprehensive review.

All you need is a large chainsaw and an even larger piece of ice. Promo video from Monotype for Kobayashi’s Akko:

A little baffled by Google’s foray into Kickstarter projects. Why would one of the richest companies in the world seek crowd-funding for its fonts. The quality of many of the fonts in their library is pretty poor. Perhaps they should stick to investing in technologies for improving screen fonts, rather than publishing more sub-standard fonts in a market that is already bursting at the seams with crap free fonts. See Stephen Coles’ no-holds-barred Roboto is a Four-headed Frankenfont, where he describes Roboto as an “unwieldy mishmash.”

It’s merger/buyout time: First Adobe buys Typekit. Though Adobe fails and fails again when it comes to software, when it comes to fonts, they’ve done well. If they keep the present Typekit team — and they’ve announced that they will — then it’s a really great move.

Then Monotype (Linotype, ITC, et al.) bought Bitstream (MyFonts). Looks like a good deal for Monotype. Not sure what it will mean for customers. Perhaps this is a good time for new players (distributors/resellers) to enter the market?

Type Can, where Type Campers talk about their experience of Dr. Shelley Gruendler’s wonderful Type Camps. New Zealand plays host to the next one in January.

In case you missed it, FontFont has a page devoted to free fonts, including FF Nuvo Web Medium.

Typographic Design in the Digital Domain: Elliot Jay Stocks interviews Erik Spiekermann:

Great to see the Ludlow Projectt has reached its funding goal. Still time to add your support:

Oded Ezer has a great new Hebrew Typography blog:

Think you’ve seen it all? Leg hair letters (upper- & lowercase):

I gave up trying to find a segue from leg hair to Matthew Carter, so:

Highlights from Paul Shaw’s interview with Matthew Carter for the TDC. A must-see:


How to enable more languages in InDesign CS5.5
FontLab Studio 5.1 released at last. Now compatible with Lion.
What Should I Look For In a UI Typeface? (comments are more valuable than the article).
The trouble with font classifications
Putting the ‘Fonts’ into Webfonts
Seminario de Profundización y actualización profesional en Tipografía
Interactive Typography Effects with HTML5
James Mosley on the Elzevir letter
My Type of Music
The Typography Out Approach
Video interview with Oded Ezer

Still controversial, but if you are in the yes camp, here’s how Ralph Hermann thinks the capital Eszett should be drawn:

Further details on Ralph’s excellent blog, Opentype.info.

New & notable type

Grilli Type is a very promising new Swiss foundry. Like GT Lena,

Cassia, the soft and friendly ‘Egyptienne’ from Dieter Hofrichter, and available from MyFonts:

A display type that’s as fat as they come. Meet Daisy from Ludwig Übele:

Erler Dingbats is free to download and use for both private and commercial use. The core glyphs are from FF Dingbats. You can read more about it on the FontShop blog, the FontFeed; and download it here.

Importantly, it’s Unicode friendly, mapping to Unicode address U + 2700 through U + 27BF, so you can use it on websites and embed it in apps.

Many more great new releases featured on Typedia.

And finally…

There are a handful of Codex magazine still available. Or you can buy the PDF version of Codex.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Steve Jobs


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The making of FF Tundra

A line of text is like a silhouette on the horizon. Closer inspection reveals the detail, the trees, bushes, rocks; details that, though only vaguely perceivable from afar, create both rhythm and variation. The beauty of this landscape is born of both regularity and variety.

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ATypI 2011 Reykjavík

By Dan Reynolds

Founded in 1957, the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) is a worldwide organization dedicated to type design and typographic-related themes. Reykjavík/Iceland hosted this year’s annual ATypI conference. From 14–18 September, about 250 local and international guests gathered to hear presentations on writing systems, design history, and font production. I attended with the Linotype/Monotype Imaging company contingent, and was fortunate enough to give a presentation on the final day of conference. While this write-up doesn’t cover every lecture or activity, I hope that it lends readers a good feeling of the event’s flavor.

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Gay type

The Week in Type

Hard to believe that 2011 is coming to a close. Autumn is showing its face, and before you know it, we’ll be Christmas shopping. Some inspiring stuff in this week’s The Week in Type. Sit back and enjoy.

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I am proud to present a new limited edition print released today entitled ‘Peace‘. It is available in two colourways. A classic metallic gold on black and a contemporary dark chrome on white. I would like to offer a little insight into the design.

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Linotype the film — final push

As some of you may know, I am the director of a feature-length documentary film about the Linotype type casting machine. About a year ago, I partnered up with two good friends on a journey to document the Linotype and the people who love these crazy machines. After 45 interviews and 26 separate shoots, we have amassed an amazing collection of footage telling the surprisingly emotional and fascinating story of the Linotype.

“Linotype: The Film” Official Trailer from Linotype: The Film on Vimeo.

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All sorts of type

The type-obsessive, thoroughly inspiring Andrew Byrom in this TEDxUCLA talk, If h is a chair:

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Some photos of Codex magazine.

More news coming soon! Buy yours here.


From May 19–21, FontShop hosted its 16th annual TYPO-Berlin conference. Over 1,600 guests were in attendance. This year’s conference theme was “Shift,” and the subtext of many of the presentations dealt with how to bring one’s design work to the next level, whether that is the next level of your own personal development, or to new brands of media. With so many graphic designers in one place, it is no wonder that several type foundries and publishers chose this event to launch new products. Many of these items have already been discussed on Twitter or on other blogs, such as in last week’s weekly Typedia report. Nevertheless, the following recap should still be of interest to I Love Typography readers.

Klim Type Foundry

New Zealand’s Kris Sowersby (also an I Love Typography contributor) used his Thursday evening lecture to announce the release of his two newest type families: Calibre and Metric.

While Calibre and Metric are separate designs, Sowersby writes that they each share an underlying geometry. They each have roots in the canon of the history of European sans serif design. Calibre takes some influence from Aldo Novarese’s Recta, and Metric samples forms familiar from street sign letters in West Berlin. While Calibre is a neo-grotesque, Metric is more humanist; Sowersby calls it a “geometric humanist.” Like most of Sowersby’s other commercial fonts, Calibre and Metric may be licensed through Village.

Storm Type Foundry

In a lively lecture at the end of the conference’s first day, František Štorm showed samples from several of his recent typeface releases, including the new Janon Sans, a sans serif counterpart to his Jannon family. Storm Type Foundry’s Jannon is based on the oldstyle letterforms of punchcutter Jean Jannon (1580–1641). There are not too many sans serifs counterparts to Garamond-style typefaces; during the early twentieth century, Jannon’s types were misattributed to Claude Garamond, so Jannon Sans may mix well not only with Jannon, but with Jannon-esque Garamonds, like Monotype Garamond or Garamond #3.

During his talk, Štorm also presented images of his whimsical Bhang family. Inspired by the intensely creative styles of hand-painted sign lettering in India — a genre that is gradually being replaced by digital printing and vinyl-cutting machines — Bhang hopes to preserve some of what may soon be otherwise lost from the visual landscape. To stimulate the actual use of Bhang on signs, the Strong variant of the family (something like a regular weight) is available as a free download from the Storm Type Foundry website.


Although he has released several fonts through the FontFont library, Typotheque’s founder Peter Biľak only paid his first visit to the TYPO-Berlin conference this year. One of the many new projects that he presented during his two talks was Elementar. Designed by Gustavo Ferreira, Elementar is a system of 420 “parametric bitmap” fonts. With the aid of sliders, Typotheque customers can select the height, weight, width, and style of the letters. As is the case with other Typotheque types, webfont versions of Elementar can be licensed and delivered via Typotheque’s own webfont service.

At TYPO-Berlin, Biľak demonstrated an iPad app for Elementar, which should soon be released via Apple’s App store. With just their fingers, users will be able to select the size, width, thickness, and style of the Elementar fonts they would like to license. Purchases can be made directly from the app to users’ Typotheque accounts — an innovation that I would like to see more foundries adopt.

FontShop AG

FontShop AG — sometimes referred to by designers as FontShop Berlin or FontShop Germany — is usually known as a font reseller, not as an actual foundry. Unlike its sister company FSI FontShop International GmbH, FontShop AG has not released many typefaces under its own banner. A notable exception was the 2009 release of Erik Spiekermann’s Axel typeface, designed specially for use in Microsoft Excel documents. Just before the start of TYPO-Berlin 2011, FontShop AG released Georg Seifert’s Azuro.

Another typeface designed for on-screen reading, I find Azuro interesting for three reasons. First, as is reported on the FontFeed, Azuro’s forms were tested extensively on-screen during the design process. And Azuro was not just tested on one screen, but on many kinds of screens. Seifert even incorporated iOS testing into his design process. Second, Azuro is the product of strong collaboration between several font technology experts. No stranger to programming himself, Seifert designed Azuro in Glyphs — a new Mac font editor that Seifert wrote himself — instead of in FontLab Studio. The font files were hinted by Jens Kutílek. In the font production process, additional testing tools written by Yanone were used. Finally, Azuro is of interest for its accessibility: through May 31, 2011, the Azuro family can be licensed for about €20, rather than about €200.

For TYPO-Berlin this year, FontShop AG did not stop at releasing another new typeface. They also published a tool to help designers everywhere draw letters on their own: A handy stencil element template, the Fontfummler allows anyone to quickly draw letter elements by hand, on paper. By combining the various letterform elements or shapes, almost any kind of Latin-script letterform can be constructed. The technique reminds me a little of W.A. Dwiggins’s own stenciled Falcon typeface.

According to the FontBlog, the name for this stencil was found by Erik Spiekermann. The stencil’s design comes from EdenSpiekermann‘s Lars Krüger. Alexander Roth has produced a digital font made from letters built with the Fontfummler: the font is named Fummler, after the German verb “fummeln” (to fumble or twiddle with). TYPO-Berlin attendees received pre-cut Fontfummlers of their own, but via this link, anyone may download the template, and get directly to work!

Two Books

You might already be familiar with the decodeunicode.org, a wiki-like initiative to explain Unicode and the meaning of its multitude of encoded glyphs in the Unicode 6.0 standard. The website is a resource from designers, for designers. Now, German readers can add the appropriately thick Decodeunicode book to their libraries. Here is my translation of the publisher’s description of the book:

“Unnoticed glyph treasures slumber deep underneath of the keyboard … but where, exactly? Compared with the Tower of Babel, Unicode is a sort of typography United Nations; every character receives its own encoded place. Decodeunicode is your key to all the characters of the world. The book presents all 109,242; too, it makes them easily discoverable. Decodeunicode arouses interest in discovering unfamiliar symbols and the creative use of doing so. And it introduces all writing systems, too — living and dead, often — used as well as niche scripts. The book is a 600-page typographic trip through the world and the history of writing.”

German readers may also browse through Jürgen Siebert’s detailed review on the FontBlog.

Typoversity is another German-language title first presented at TYPO-Berlin. The book combines samples of student typography projects from various schools in Central Europe and a series of interviews with typography instructors in Germany. The book is well-produced, and is typeset in Novel and Novel Sans, from Christoph Dunst. The cover was produced using polymer plate letterpress techniques.

abc litera

Not so much of a release as an announcement: small flyers distributed during the conference whetted the appetite for the work of a new Swiss foundry. A collaboration between Jost Hochuli, Jonas Niedermann, and Roland Stieger, one can expect excellent tools to soon come from abc litera.

Their simple, two-color, folded A4 flyer showcased Steiger’s Alena and Hochuli’s Allegra. A serif face — Nicolas is also shown on their website. I have heard no word yet on how these three families will be distributed, but I am willing to bet that each will be an excellent workhorse face for book typography.

Dan Reynolds was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Before moving to Europe, he received a BFA in graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design. Reynolds studied at the HfG Offenbach for a few years before receiving an MA in typeface design from the University of Reading (U.K.). Today, he lives in Berlin, Germany, where he works for Linotype GmbH and teaches typeface design at the Hochschule Darmstadt. His most recent typeface, Malabar, received a Certificate of Excellence in Type Design from the Type Directors Club, a silver medal at the ED-Awards 2009, and a gold medal from the 2010 Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany competition. Dan blogs from time to time at www.typeoff.de.

All kinds of type

The last five months have been pretty intense. Creating a 164-page magazine from scratch is an enormous project and, looking back, I’m happy that I was naïve enough to think it could be done. Along with Carolyn Wood and Working Format we think we’ve created something very special indeed.

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Engaging contextuality


There are many OpenType features that can be built into a font, but Contextual Alternates is something special.

Swash characters, ligatures, small caps and figure variants are all very well, but they merely duplicate cleverness that was available prior to digital type. The Contextual Alternates feature however, in which the choice of glyph alternate for a particular character is set automatically with reference to an adjacent character, enables new possibilities for the type designer. Consider it as ‘smart fonts’, because the appearance of typography is determined not by the person laying out a page, but by a font’s response to the particular words that comprise the text.

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