I Love Typography

eXtreme Type Terminology

“The very air of the room seemed charmingly alive with little floating dollar signs and fat little ciphers, commas, more ciphers, all winging around happily, waiting for a mere scratch of the pen to call them into action.”
—Dawn Powell, Angels on Toast, 1938.

The Roman alphabet came equipped with its own numbering system, and Roman numerals still have their uses. They are commonly seen, for instance, on clock faces, in movie credits, and on the pages of a book which precede the introduction and the text itself. The letters M D C L X V and I, used in combination and sometimes with a bar over the letter, Roman numerals can signify all whole or natural numbers. Well, everything but zero (0). The zero was invented in India, and it has maintained the same form, generally a circle but sometimes just a dot, ever since.

Roman numerals

Continue reading this article

Sunday Type: matrix type

Not Starring Keanu Reaves

Welcome to iLT’s 100th post. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions and who read and commented on my interview with Jos Buivenga. Also, thanks to Jos for being such a good sport, and taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the man from exljbris.

First, a rather nice combination—food and type. And what a name! I introduce to you (deep breath) the gastorotypographicalassemblage:


Thanks to Lauren for the link.

Continue reading this article

Face to Face

When it comes to type, some great things have come out of Arnhem in the Netherlands. Jos Buivenga is no exception. Art Director and type designer, well-known for his quality free fonts, Jos is quite a talent, and has quite a passion for type. After numerous requests from readers, I finally got around to interviewing the man behind exljbris.

Why do you design typefaces?

It has grown on me. It’s now more or less like breathing to me. I can’t help it. I just want to do it. It allows me to be highly involved—or even lose myself—in a creative process. That’s the most important thing in my life. I’ve had similar experiences with painting and writing short stories, but it doesn’t come close to designing type. I’ve taught myself and still have lots to learn but I hope to improve with every typeface I make.


Continue reading this article

Sunday type: ampersand type

It Must Be Slanted

Before we get started, I’d just like to announce that on Wednesday I’ll be publishing the long-awaited interview with Jos Buivenga, the man behind type foundry exljbris. Thanks to everyone for their questions for Jos submissions. Is it really Sunday again? Well, it had better be, because today we have a jam-packed-to-bursting roundup of type news, free fonts and lots more.
Continue reading this article

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part Three: The ‘Black Art’—by Paul Dean

An invisible grid of parallel horizontal lines is used as a constant reference in the creation of a font. It resembles a musical score and its four (or five) horizontal lines represent, from top to bottom, the ascender line (the height of the highest ascender), which is sometimes equivalent to and sometimes higher than the ascent or capline (the height of the capital letters). Next comes the meanline or waist line (the height of a lowercase x), which can be referred to as a high waist line or a low waist line; the baseline (on which the letters appear to rest); and finally, at the very bottom, the descent, descender or beard line (the level to which the lowest descenders descend).

5 lines of type

Continue reading this article

Sunday type: dotsquared type

Don’t forget your Underware

First, a big thank you to all who read and commented on On Choosing Type. I’m in search of contributing authors who can write case studies on type choice for, say, a redesign. For example, Creative Review magazine recently redesigned and chose to use Farnham throughout; an article on why a certain type was chosen and how it compliments other elements—that’s the kind of thing I’m after. If you’re interested, then simply send me mail.

Let’s begin our Sunday Type with Smoothing Out the Creases with Web Fonts, from Jon Tan. I mentioned the importance of checking your type across different systems, and Jon’s article considers the rendering of fonts in OSX and Windows. Great article.

Smoothing Out the Creases with Web Font

Free Fonts

A great little—with emphasis on the little—font from those talented people at Underware. A number of people have emailed to ask which typeface I use to set the the captions for illustrations. In fact, I stole the idea from Kris Sowersby after he used it for his article Newzald: From Moleskine to Market. It’s only designed to be used at one size, 8pt; but I guess there’s nothing stopping you using it at larger sizes too—might be fun.

Continue reading this article

On Choosing Type

First Principles

Typography is not a science. Typography is an art. There are those who’d like to ‘scientificize’; those who believe that a large enough sample of data will somehow elicit good typography. However, this sausage-machine mentality will only ever produce sausages. That typography and choosing type is not a science trammeled by axioms and rules is a cause to rejoice.

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of choosing type, let’s briefly talk about responsibility. Fundamentally, the responsibility we bear is two-fold: first we owe it to the reader not to hinder their reading pleasure, but to aid it; second, we owe a responsibility to the typeface or typefaces we employ. Good typefaces are designed for a good purpose, but not even the very best types are suited to every situation. Personally, I’m always a little nervous about using a newly acquired typeface. A new typeface is something like a newborn baby (though it doesn’t throw-up on you): don’t drop it, squeeze it too hard, hold it upside-down; in other words, don’t abuse it, treat it respectfully, carefully.

If you’ve understood the above two paragraphs, then you’ll know that what follows is not a set of rules, but rather a list of guiding principles.

Continue reading this article

Arise Sir Erik Spiekermann

And About Time Too

Finally, Professor Erik Spiekermann has received the recognition he deserves. The information architect and ‘father of fonts’ has become a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on the diplomatic list for services to the global development of type.

Continue reading this article

Sunday Type: farnham type

It’s a big one, captain

Loosen your belts because this one’s a big one. Not sure where to start, so why not start with a receding hairline. Well, that’s the name of Christopher’s blog; and why do I mention it? Because he’s written a good little piece entitled Ten typographic mistakes everyone makes.

First, something for the children, or for the child in you: Action Type, type gone 3D:

Continue reading this article

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 2: Anatomy of a Letterform—by Paul Dean

I was killing time and pain at a nearby bar called The Ear, so named because the two ribs of the ‘B’ in the neon sign that read ‘Bar’ had burned out years ago. So had most of the patrons.”—Kinky Friedman, Blast From the Past, 1998.

Just as Kinky Friedman anthropomorphizes this B, giving it human characteristics, namely ribs, type designers have come up with some very human terms to describe the details of the letterforms that they create. They speak the arm (of, say, an E), the crotch (of an M), which could further be described as an acute crotch or an obtuse crotch, the ear (of some g’s), which might be a flat ear or a floppy ear, the eye (of an e), the leg (of a k), the shoulder (of an n), the tail (of a j or a Q), and the spine (of an S). There is a sketch by the great type designer Ed Benguiat that labels the curl, the lobe and the ball of a single question mark.

typeface anatomy

Continue reading this article

Sunday Type: bright type

The Eagle Has Landed

Welcome to another Sunday Type. I’ve now moved, have unpacked most boxes and even have a connection to the Internet. Time to celebrate with a Shandy. Thanks to everyone who has mailed me this past couple of weeks. I’m a little behind in answering mails, so please bear with me.

I was recently looking for some top-quality type photos to illustrate an article, and came across some very nice ones from the type junkie on Flickr:

metal type

Continue reading this article

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 1: The Detection of Types—by Paul Dean

The detection of types is one of the most elementary branches of knowledge to the special expert in crime.—The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1902.

Our modern English alphabet is a child of the Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet, which evolved from a western version of the Greek alphabet approximately 2,700 years ago. The profession of typography was essentially born in Germany with Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of a movable metal type printing press in the early 1450s. The individual pieces of metal type that Gutenberg worked with were not letters, but letterforms.

Photo courtesy of typographyphotography.com

Let me explain. There is a subtle but important difference in meaning between a grapheme, character or letter and a glyph, letterform or sort. A letter, character or grapheme refers to a fundamental conceptual mark that represents a spoken sound. (A phoneme refers directly to the sound.) A sort, letterform or glyph refers to a particular manifestation of a letter or character, one created by a type designer.
Continue reading this article

Page 21 of 29« first18192021222324last »
November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts January Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts december Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts December Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March 2011 Fonts February 2011 Fonts January 2011 Fonts December 2010 Fonts November 2010 Fonts October 2010 Fonts September 2010 Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February 2010 featured fonts December Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts December Fonts November Fonts October Fonts September Fonts August Fonts July Fonts June Fonts May Fonts April Fonts March Fonts February Fonts January Fonts December Fonts