I Love Typography

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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Lesson Plan

A lovely new letterpress print from the folk at Ligature Loop & Stem.
Lesson Plan:

Webtype

Another new webfonts service from Font Bureau, Ascender Corp, and Co.

Anchor

Anchor, a very nice rounded sans from Eric Olson. Available in four weights from Process Type.

Panno Text

Panno Text, drawn by Pieter van Rosmalen. Available from Bold Monday.

Fan Script

A voluptuous new script from Ale Paul of Sudtipos. Meet Fan Script:

Acorde

A very nice, no-nonsense, humanist sans from Stefan Willerstorfer. Meet Acorde:

The origins of abc

We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, you are looking at it now — the Latin or Roman alphabet, the world’s most prolific, most widespread abc. Typography is a relatively recent invention, but to unearth the origins of alphabets, we will need to travel much farther back in time, to an era contemporaneous with the emergence of (agricultural) civilisation itself.

Robert Bringhurst wrote that writing is the solid form of language, the precipitate.[1] But writing is also much more than that, and its origins, its evolution, and the way it is now woven into the fabric of civilisations makes it a truly wonderful story. That story spans some 5,000 years. We’ll travel vast distances, meet an emperor, a clever Yorkshireman, a Phoenician princess by the name of Jezebel, and the ‘purple people’; we’ll march across deserts and fertile plains, and sail across oceans. We will begin where civilisation began, meander through the Middle Ages, race through the Renaissance, and in doing so discover where our alphabet originated, how and why it evolved, and why, for example, an A looks, well, like an A.
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Jessica Hische

Reviving Caslon

Part 1: the snare of authenticity

How much should a revival of a typeface look like the original? Well, just as with performing an old song—an analogy Matthew Carter has made—there is something you have to like in the original in order want to revive it. And you can’t depart from the original too much, or you lose the charm of the old song that appealed to you in the first place. But if it is too much like the old versions, it might be stale and dated, irrelevant. So what do you keep and what do you change? And change in what way? That’s the challenge every revivalist faces.

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Rue Display

Download Rue Display Semibold for free. You’ll need to sign up.

Ready Media

Just after the war (I don’t recall when exactly, but perhaps it was in the early days of QuarkXPress), I do recall trying to find good templates for magazines and newspapers. I found none — at least I found none that didn’t resemble something put together by the office Janitor who did the company newsletters in MS Word during his lunch-break.

Ready Media from Roger Black and Co. (a chap who knows more than a thing or two about newspaper and magazine design) has filled that gaping hole in the market.

Though some have been critical, the templates on offer look better than the average magazine or newspaper. Moreover, a well designed template is a good way for less experienced designers to get started, and a great way to become better acquainted with InDesign.

One commenter writes, What a huge setback for designers and magazine makers. Bunkum! Is a template (and remember they can be customized) always the solution? Of course not. They are targeted at a market that needs them. And as for those who complain that all magazines and newspapers will begin to look alike — they already do!

Good designers will continue to design great magazines and newspapers. These templates are another option — one aimed not at the entire market, but at a thin cross-sectional slice.

And better Roger Black than the janitor.


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