I Love Typography

The Best Type of 2007

And the Nominations are…

I had planned on publishing Typographic Detail for the Web, but Typographica has just released its annual Our Favorite Typefaces. It’s always an inspiring list, and a precursor of some of the fine things to come. Interestingly they’ve renamed it. Formerly it had been Best Fonts which is not wholly inaccurate (as the typefaces in the list are comprised of fonts); however, as Typographica’s editor writes,

Keeping these two terms distinct may be a losing battle at a time when some have already declared the words interchangeable, but we’re going to go down fighting.

This year’s list sees an improvement in the format, with larger specimens and who to look out for in 2008.

Most of the typefaces listed, you’d expect to see there, but there are also a number of nice surprises. Here are some of my favourites from the list:

Blaktur—the latest addition to my own type library—looks like Blackletter after a spring clean:

blaktur

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Sunday Type: the sound of type

Nine O Type

Yet another week flies by. My birthday passed without any disastrous incidents; I’ve just about finished packing, and now it’s time for type. Today we have quite a feast, so loosen your belts, sit back and enjoy.

Let’s start with a new type. Many of you will know Kris Sowersby, the man behind Meta Serif, Feijoa and National. Last week I announced that National was one of the winners of TDC2 2008. Well, he just released a new serif typeface called Newzald, and something tells me it’s going to be a big hit.

Newzald

Newzald is beautifully crafted, with exquisite attention to the finer details. It’s not easy to create a new serif face that looks fresh; and it’s only too easy to resort to little eccentricities and irrelevant details introduced simply for the sake of distinguishing it from the competition. Newzald hasn’t—and doesn’t need to. Kris describes Newzald as a decent, hardworking serif designed for the international editorial environment. If you’re looking for a fresh face that’s eminently readable, then I suggest you try Newzald. But don’t take my word for it; download the PDF specimen, print, and see for yourselves.
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A guide to Web typography

Typography for the Web has come a long way since Tim Berners-Lee flipped the switch in 1991. Back in the days of IE 1.0, good web typography was something of an oxymoron. Today things are different. Not only do we have browsers that support images (gasp!), but we have the opportunity to make our web pages come to life through great typography.

First, it’s worth noting that Typography is not just about choosing a font, or even distinguishing one typeface from another. In recent experiments, trained monkeys were able to correctly identify Helvetica 90% of the time.

helvetica monkey

Today we’re going to talk about web typography in terms of a recipe of four fundamental ingredients. If you’ve ever tried to cook a soufflé, you’ll know how important the recipe is. Follow this recipe and your typography will rise up like … that’s enough of the culinary metaphors, let’s cook:
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National News

TDC2 Winners Announced

I wouldn’t usually post today, but the Type Directors Club (TDC) has just announced this year’s winners of TDC2 2008. Among them is Kris Sowersby’s sans serif, National. I’m sure you’d all like to join in congratulating Kris, and the other winners.Winning entries are divided into five categories, and here is a taster from three of them:

Type System / Superfamily

NationalKris Sowersby:

national-winner.gif

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Sunday Type: fruity type

Of Pens and Pears

First, thanks to everyone who read and commented on Alec’s great Small Caps article. It’s been incredibly popular. Sunday again, and I still haven’t finished packing! Well, let’s forget packing and start with something else that seems pretty popular these days: we’ve had potato type and chocolate type; even cupcake type; and now we have customized fruit type from the talented Sarah King:

pear-type1.jpg

I can’t imagine how long it must take to complete one of these. Continue reading this article

Small Caps

by Alec Julien

Small caps are uppercase glyphs drawn at a lowercase scale. A common misconception—unfortunately reinforced by most word processing programs as well as by CSS on the web—is that a small cap is just a regular capital letter scaled uniformly down to a smaller size. In actuality, a proper small cap is a carefully crafted glyph that differs in significant ways from a uniformly-scaled-down capital letter.

Small Cap height

Generally speaking, small caps are about as tall as the font’s  x-height. Look, for instance, at Minion Pro’s lower case m compared to a small cap Minion Pro m; it’s marginally taller than the lowercase m and the font’s x-height. Other typefaces have small caps that are the same height as the x-height, while others still stand a little shorter.

small caps height

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Sunday Type: pointy type

Monotype AirThese last couple of weeks I’ve been dreaming of a life-remote control. It need not be particularly high-tech—I just need a big pause button. I’m moving apartments and packing like there’s no tomorrow. Anyway, I’m taking a break from boxes and gum tape, to talk type.

Let’s start by going back in time to the Linotype and Monotype typesetting machines. AceJet has some wonderful scans from The Book of Knowledge; love the “Can do the work of eight men” sub-head accompanying one of the Linotype illustrations. These days it would take eight men just to find the on button. If you ever find yourself complaining that your old laptop is a little on the bulky side, that it won’t fit into one of those fancy Manilla envelopes, then remember the Monotype machine and count your blessings.

monotype machine

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Typeface Review: Arnhem

By Kris Sowersby

Talent borrows, genius steals

In Erik Spiekermann’s list of favourite five typefaces, Arnhem comes in at No.5. He writes “I Love it for newspapers, magazines, etc. Not so keen on the headline weights, they look too Dutch for my use (perhaps too Ungerish, but then Fred is also from Arnhem). But the text weights are a superb modern interpretation of a legible serif with an edge.” This sums up the essence of Arnhem—a very legible serif with an edge.

I first encountered Arnhem in Norman Potter’s “What is a designer” published by Hyphen Press. It is set beautifully, with a good point size, rag-right and suitable leading. Arnhem really works well; it is calm enough for extended reading yet retains enough personality to save it from lapsing into mediocrity and the reader from boredom. It has an understated feeling of seriousness, a fitness of purpose that isn’t betrayed by any unusual or distracting details.

Arnhem was released by OurType in 2002. It is designed by Fred Smeijers, a first generation digital type designer. (His typeface Quadraat was one of the first designs to be distributed by FontShop in 1992.) He is currently a partner in OurType, a digital foundry founded in 2002. According to their website, Ourtype “publishes newly designed fonts that are tailored to contemporary needs… So it stands apart from those who are enslaved to the new and those who merely try to recreate the past”.

arnhem-1.gif

The OpenType Standard text styles of Arnhem has a fairly basic character set, the usual standard accents (no macrons, though) with lining and old-style figures, small caps and two f-ligs, ff and fl. This is slightly disappointing, as one expects a bit more depth with OpenType. Hopefully there is a ‘pro’ version of Arnhem planned with all the bits.

What Arnhem lacks in depth, it makes up for in breadth. The family can be safely split up into text and display styles. The text styles have 4 weights, Blond (light) to Black with italics, and the display variants have been labelled Fine, with two weights and italics. Surprisingly, the roman text weights have all been duplexed onto the same widths—meaning that one can change from any weight to another and the letters will occupy exactly the same space! Happily this wee trick doesn’t detract from the actual design of the letterforms, none of them have been compromised by the duplexing.

arnhem-2.gif

The overall stress of the face is subtly vertical, but the excellent modeling saves us from the eye-strain typically caused by lesser Modern types. The bowls are gently modulated from thick to thin, as are the arches of ‘n’ ‘h’ ‘m’ and ‘u’. The serifs have shallow brackets with an easy wedge shape. The overall detailing seems initially sharp and spartan, but if looking closer at the ascender serifs one notices a slight rightwards finish, lending a lovely movement to the line of type. The eagle-eyed will also notice the ‘k’, its arm and leg not quite joining the upright stem. And the ‘g’! It works so well within the confines of the design—the ball-shaped ear breathes a good amount of life into the face.

The italic styles are good companions to the roman. They provide the right amount of contrast without resorting to flashy tricks or self-conscious styling. Smeijers has kept the counters open, the entry serifs horizontal and the departing serifs at a decent length. The strokes are slightly modulated, the ‘x’ ‘v’ and ‘y’ strokes are slightly curved, and the ‘z’ descends slightly below the baseline. Thus the italic has feeling, enough finesse to keep it from becoming a dullard subordinate to the roman.

Looking at these details, enlarged, is a mite unsettling. There is an urge to smooth out some curves, to fix the odd serif. But this impluse must be avoided, as the text styles must be judged at text sizes. Smeijers has anticipated this by designing Arnhem Fine—essentially display versions. Certain details like the ball-terminals of the ‘a’ and ‘y’ have been erased, the serifs seem lighter and broader, and the overall contrast of the face is increased. It is most definitely sharper, the moniker ‘Fine’ is certainly fitting.

arnhem-3

Arnhem is an elegant workhorse; it is eminently useable. It is quite telling that Spiekermann, the designer of Meta, ranks it in his top five typefaces. To use Arnhem is a pleasure and it will surely imbue a feeling of pride and certainty in a typographer’s work without leaving the reader in the cold.

For the record, Spiekermann’s other favourites are 1. Reklameschrift Block; 2. Akzidenz Grotesk Mager; 3. Concorde; 4. FF Clifford.

[Kris Sowersby is a professional type designer from New Zealand. You can see his own typefaces at Village.]

Sunday Type: sponge type

The Passionate Printer

First up we have a type feast from one of the world’s most popular ‘interiors’ blogs, Design Sponge. Included in the list are some of those we’ve mentioned here before, but there are numerous other examples of ‘living with type’, such as these large reclaimed metal letters. Imagine some of these in your living room:

heavy-metal-type.jpg

There’s even chocolate Scrabble,

choc-scrabble.jpg

though I’m not sure how long a game would last.

You could say that Mark Simonson is on something of a roll. I mentioned his Filmotype Glenlake a couple of weeks ago; well Mark has another lovely script for you. This one’s a 1940s-inspired brush script called Lakeside, accompanied by all the OpenType features we’ve come to expect from a Simonson font.

lakeside.jpg

Next is a great little tutorial on Paragraph Styles:

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Hamish, author of the wonderful WordPress Typogrify plugin, has an article that will be of special interest to just about anyone who writes code. In The Typography of Code, he considers five typefaces for programmers. Bitstream Vera Sans Mono (free and Open Source) is probably my favourite, though the newer DejaVu, based on Vera Sans’ design, with a much larger character set is definitely worth taking a look at.

Some Type for Kids

Jairo sent me this link after watching the kids program WordWorld. I don’t have any children myself, but I did watch an entire episode (for research purposes of course):

word-world.jpg

LivePen is an interesting tool for those who like to draw letterforms in Adobe Illustrator. I haven’t used it yet, as the Mac version isn’t ready. However, it is currently available for Windows + CS2.

livepen.gif

If you do use it, then be sure to let me know what you think. You can try it out for free.

And some gorgeous letter-pressed posters from the talented Douglas Wilson, printed on a variety of substrates, including old maps. Well worth taking a look:

douglas.jpg

I’m also a fan of Frank Chimero’s work:

frank-chimero.jpg

Miscellaneous links

For iLT’s French-speaking readers, this is a good little site, with some type-related posts: Zone d’information opaque.

iLT PodCasts?

This is an idea I’ve been toying with, and thanks to Alec Julien, a regular iLT contributor, it could become a reality. We have two videos to get you started. The first is a tutorial on how to create discretionary ligatures in FontLab:

and the second I’ll post mid-week. I’ll create a new section of the site specially for these videos, and although it’s unlikely you’ll see my mug on any of these videos, I do have some interesting ideas for PodCasts, so stay tuned. I will also add these videos to iTunes, so you can subscribe to them. (right now silly iTunes won’t let me setup an account because although my address is in Japan, my credit card is British. And I can’t sign-up for iTunes US or UK, because my credit card’s address is in Japan—stupid really. If anyone from Apple is reading this, please get it sorted.)

A little light relief

First is this license plate from typenut Duncan:

KERN license plate

and this light-hearted type dating game from Amanda.

And I absolutely love this this video from a very impassioned printer. Thanks to the ATypI Mailing list for this one:

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Sunday Font

And today’s font is PowerStation from the Umbrella Type:

powerstation from umbrella type

I hope that’s enough to keep you going until mid-week. Some really great stuff to come, so stay tuned.

It was really tough choosing a winner for the FontBook in a movie competition. All the entries were great, but the winner is Christian Neumann, who wins a copy of Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style. All of your entries have been popping up all over the web.

Oh, and if you missed the interview with Jean François Porchez, be sure to take a look—great insights from an even greater type designer. And talking of great type designers, coming up we have those articles from Kris Sowersby, so stay tuned and have a great Sunday (what’s left of it), and I’ll see you all again mid-week.

buy fonts from Veer

Face to Face

An interview with Jean François Porchez

You’ll see his typefaces on the Paris Métro, gracing the pages of France’s premier newspaper, Le Monde, in magazines and books; even Beyoncé uses them. He was awarded the Prix Charles Peignot for excellence in type design, was president of ATypI, designed one of the best modern-day type revivals, and…. Well, there’s so much more that can be said by way of introducing this great talent of type, but I think John D. Berry sums him up best when he writes, he is one hell of a type designer.

Why and how did you get started in type design?

It was during my time at graphic design school (1987-89). At the time, I felt that there was an opportunity to do something different in a field that was already full of illustrators, graphic designers and so on. And remember that this decision was made before the ‘computer age’, making it all the more unusual.

Frutiger and Zapf, my two heroes at that time, helped me to understand what type design is. In my second year at graphic design school, I started my first real type design, mostly lettering, and soon started to do freelance work while still at design school. During my third year, I began work on Angie which later won the Morisawa Award in Japan.

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I learned to draw typefaces by hand on tracing paper (1988), then moved on to digitization with Ikarus (1992), making minor modifications on screen. Next, I began to use Bézier Curves in illustrator and Fontographer; and shortly after, circa 1994, I began to design directly on screen without any prior drawings on paper.

What do you like most about type design?
Which part of the design process do you enjoy the most?

I have great difficulty designing fonts without a function, a brief. I can’t create new forms, simply for the pleasure of those forms. In fact, it’s more the reverse: the function or brief inspires me to search for new forms, Indeed, there are exceptions, and that’s no doubt why I make so few rough drafts. What I mean is that, generally speaking, the concept comes to me upon lengthy reflection in my head, rather than from a couple of hastily drawn sketches on paper. For example (and remember that I learned type design from calligraphy and drawing on paper), I wanted to experiment with a new way of designing typefaces: so with Anisette (1996) I started from a central line to an outline.

Anisette

The difference between the Thin and Black weights is considerable; the interpolation/blend doesn’t work well in all cases. Anisette is a good example of discovering the limits of a technology, to better understand how to work; to be able to apply what you learn when you again reach the limits of technology, and adapt your designs accordingly.

Moreover, I always imagined one day that the lowercase would be added to the original double caps width Ansiette, but without doing any research. The morning after the completion of Ambroise, in May/June 2001, I started to create some forms directly on screen. Less than a month later, the family appeared ready for sale on the web site. It takes a long time to develop the idea intellectually. The design process is only a small part of the finished product. Type design, then, is an intellectual rather than a manual job; and the tools have no direct influence on the forms; it’s more about what your own brain, culture and influences and reading brings to it that really makes the difference.

angie ff specimen

Sometimes there is some personal inspiration, but most often it is more a question of problem solving than simply inspiration. Typefaces have a strong function: to be read. And more and more their connotations (the typefaces) help designers to create efficient, communicable documents for such varied applications as corporate identity, newspapers and magazines. Typefaces are major players in these ‘games’.

ambroise

Whether I create my own brief, or it’s supplied by the client, it’s by following it that I can create new things; the more restrictions I have, the more creative I will be. The revivals, in some respects, are an exception, but nevertheless it is still a matter of problem solving, albeit with some historical considerations.

What do you like least about type design?

Probably kerning despite its importance for the finished product. It doesn’t take so long, but it is really boring and repetitive. It’s sad that the true design, the drawing of the letterforms takes perhaps 20%(?) of the total time in typeface design.

parisine-specimen1.gif

And it’s probably the best part, especially during the early days of a project, when the forms begin to appear on screen.

Which work of other type designers do you like?

For dead guys, for a long time, Claude Garamond and his ‘friends’. Of contemporary type designers, I admire several of them for various reasons. Matthew Carter comes to mind first because for years he came through most of the new technologies with great talent. He is a model in the sense that he demonstrated very well what a type designer should be—resolving new type problems without losing type’s roots. Long ago Hermann Zapf wrote that new technology demands new typefaces. Matthew Carter showed us that, with the help of the type designer, old typefaces can survive any new technology. It’s admirable to be able to design Galliard, Verdana or Walker as good examples of different animals; the first as a skilful revival from Granjon type; Verdana as an incredibly legible type for use on screen; and fun to use Walker, with its snap-on serifs. We should also recall that Matthew Carter, like Sumner Stone and several others were the guys who launched independent type foundries, doing freelance custom fonts for clients (early 1990-93).

More recently, there are many young competitors creating formidable types: Xavier Dupré’s recent designs are amazing; he demonstrates great freedom without abandoning sound references. Christian Schwartz’s new designs are fascinating by their ability to adapt to many different situations. I’m glad to see other serious type designers from all over the world; for example, the recent boom in non-Latin typeface design from the Hague and Reading, type designers from Latin America, together with the Khatt network and the Typographic Matchmaking project.

Of your own types, which are you most pleased with?

With no real surprise, the last big project. I will say, that I’m not particularly proud of anything. Different aspects of projects help me to discover new things; they help me to think more about a particular aspect of typeface design. There are many past projects that pushed me to change my habits without losing my original focus. Designing typefaces for clients is very interesting because it furnishes one with the opportunity to do something that one might otherwise not have attempted.

henderson-serif-specimen.gif

For example, Henderson Sans, created in 2006. I had never envisaged designing a Transitional Sanserif until I was asked to do a Sans version from a sort of Baskerville interpretation—Henderson Serif. Before there was Humanistic Sans versus Grotesque Sans competition. It’s easy enough to imagine a Sans built on handwritten forms using historical roots, strange forms like those found in Renaissance type, more or less standardized depending on the aims of the designer; the forms and details used in Humanist serif typefaces, extrapolated to a Sanserif version, in order to bring a very particular colour to the Humanist Sans. It’s also easy to compare the various Grotesque Sans like Univers and Helvetica, and fun to mock Arial as a bad cover version of Helvetica, etc. However, what’s not so clear is what is a Sanserif that is not built and controlled like Grotesques, built as a system, but something already more controlled like Romain du Roi or Baskerville…compared to Caslon or Garamond. With Baskerville and Romain du Roi this sort of system begins to emerge, though traces of the humanist type are still visible. By the time we move on to Didot, that influence has all but disappeared, and when we think of Sanserif versions then we are into the Grotesques.In fact, there are already a few Sans from this category beginning to emerge, like the recent and very good National by Kris Sowersby, mentioned on iLT last December.

What advice would you give to aspiring type designers?

Practise calligraphy and read a lot on type history. Then draw and draw every day. Don’t copy others, but try to be yourself; use your own cultural resources and background to create new trends in type design. You are unique. When the above is achieved, the next steps are (and these are equally applicable to life in general):

• Respect tradition;
• Clear analysis of the problem, because as designers our work is problem solving;
• Finally, utmost respect for the user/reader.

What is your proudest achievement?

Sabon Next created in 2002 for Linotype is a revival of Sabon, which in turn is a revival of Garamond, created by Jan Tschichold in the 60s. It was a fascinating challenge to try to understand the effects that technological limitations imposed on the design; and to attempt to disentangle this from the actual design decisions of the master himself, Jan Tschichold. It was a challenge too because of Sabon’s Garamond roots, a style that many of us consider the golden age of type design. I started from the original drawings for the Stempel version and extended the family to six weights, their accompanying italics, small caps, old style figures, alternates and so on.

sabon next specimen

In early 2006, I then extended the initial family of 2002 into an OpenType version, with various additional features. This new version was finally published by Linotype last December! (2007). In 2002, under my direction, an extensive type specimen was produced in three languages, accompanied by a study of Jan Tschihold written specially for us by Christopher Burke, the author of the very good Paul Renner (designer of Futura) book. In fact, during this project, I tried to reclaim what the big foundries, like Linotype, lost during the seventies and eighties—something that small foundries do every day now: publish good specimens with comprehensive content, not simply a few commercial visuals.

Constructing a story around a typeface is important to me, and that’s why I loved what happened before the 2nd World War, with publications like the Fleuron in the UK, Arts et métiers graphiques in France, or the amazing specimens from ATF in the US. How can one appreciate a typeface without knowing something about it?

What plans do you have for the future? Are you working on a new typeface?

To stop typeface design and finally start my own cider farm in Normandy.

More seriously, I dream of one day being as I was in my early days, without too much work to do and thus with plenty of time on my hands for personal ideas and projects. It can be a little frustrating sometimes, though it’s not a major issue, as commissioned work is fantastic—because like any designer, I like to solve design problems. From time to time I work on a still unfinished Sanserif I began in 1999. I’m also trying to finish another Sanserif for Linotype—started in 2003. Right now we’re working on some OpenType conversions of existing typefaces, like Le Monde, together with a very recent project commissioned by a design agency. So, yes, as usual, I’m working on a new typeface.

You can learn more about Jean François Porchez at Porchez Typofonderie.
Further Reading: Dot-font: Talking About Fonts. John D. Berry. 2006.

Sunday Type: Frodo Type

Birthday Cupcakes

This week iLT is six months old. She’s doing quite well thanks to all of you: one million page views, almost 3,000 comments, and about 70 posts—though it feels like more. So if you have a spare minute, then pop a party popper, throw a streamer, crack open a bottle of Champagne, light a candle—that sort of thing.

Anyway, this is Sunday, so it’s time for Sunday Type. Let’s start with a type: Estilo Text from Dino dos Santos. I mention it for two reasons: one because it’s an expanded version of Estilo Script and Estilo and secondly because it’s on sale:

estilo-text.gif

You may have already seen it; it’s not new, but I was trying to find it the other day, when coincidentally Romain sent me the link:

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FontBook in a Movie

I received quite an impressive response to last week’s FontBook in a movie competition, inspired by Hamish’s Mel Gibson piece. This one is from Christian:

frodo-fontbook-small.jpg

Apologies that I can’t mention them all, but here is a selection (click any of the images for an enlarged version). I was going to put little star rating gizmos below each entry, but gave up when I realised it would take me hours to do this within WordPress. So, by all means comment about the entries, and I’ll add my own opinion, and announce a winner next week some time.

The 10 Commandments The Godfather Lord of the Rings
(a) Mischa (b) Vlad (c) Christian
Casablanca FontBook of Oz Braveheart
(d) Alec (e) Gemma (f) Hamish
2001 2001 Lector
(g) Ian (h) Arild (i) George

And here’s another from RogueJunkie. Not surprisingly I received several sexually explicit ones; one was particularly ingenious, but not quite publishable. Thanks to everyone for their entries. It was great fun, and brightened up an otherwise busy and unusually stressful couple of weeks (cue sad violin music).

Well, we’ve had chocolate type and potato type, and now we have cupcake type from Gemma over at For the Love of Type:

type-cup-cakes.jpg

Can you name the typeface?

Type Friday / Type Neu

Eric sent me a mail about this new Flickr Group, Typography Friday:

type friday

Type Neu is a relatively new type site with daily posts. I wonder if iLT will make it into their ‘relevant links’ section? ;)

letter-by-circle.jpg

The above poster was featured on TypeNeu and is part of Dante Carlos’ Letter By Circle project. I like it.

Miscellaneous links

An interesting discussion on whether there’s a need for scientific tests for readability/legibility on Typophile.

Erik Spiekermann speaking at the University of Ulster for the FiFFteen exhibition.

Coming up

Next is the interview with Jean François Porchez. My fault that it’s been delayed, not Jean François’. We also have some more articles from Kris Sowersby, and a review of Gerard Unger’s While You’re Reading, one of my favourite books of 2007, and of course lots, lots more, including articles from new contributors!

A big thank you to iLT’s new translators to join the growing team. The latest members are Vitor Mazzeo for Portuguese and Uta for Chinese. More languages to come soon. If you write and translate well, and you’d like to help out, then send me a mail.

And finally

Does anyone know when the new edition of Counterpunch is due? Oh, and it’s Valentine’s day soon (I’ve forgotten which date exactly), so there are Valentine’s Font packs appearing everywhere. Utter nonsense in my opnion. If you want something romantic, then just go for an elegant script; and they don’t come much better than this:

feel-script.jpg

However, if your girlfriend leaves you because you bought her a font rather than a 127-carat diamond engagement ring, don’t blame me.

Have a great Sunday!

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FontBook

Recentemente recebi através do correio algo grande, amarelo e pesando 3 kg. Não, não é uma banana geneticamente modificada, mas o FontBook do FontShop, a enciclopédia do tipo. Este livro realmente deveria vir com uma advertência de saúde: o meu carteiro quase teve uma hérnia entregando-o e muito perto de torcer seu pulso tentando segurá-lo com uma mão enquanto passava-me o recibo com a outra. No entanto, com algumas 32.000 amostras de tipos, 1.760 páginas e 100.000 notas e referências cruzadas, não creio que o FontShop publicará uma versão pocket tão cedo.

Levei oFontBook tao meu café local, onde muitas vezes trabalho à noite e completos estranhos aproximaram-se (incomum no Japão); várias pessoas disseram “ookii isto desu ne!” (grande livro, hein!), enquanto outros simplesmente perguntavam-me do que se tratava o livro.

fontbook-photo1.jpg

Além da marcante capa amarela do FontShop, o conteúdo é prefaciado por uma seção ‘como usar este livro’ em Inglês e Alemão; contudo, para ser franco, você poderia ser um marciano e/ou apenas falar Zangalulob e ainda encontrar o seu caminho pelo livro sem problemas. Os tipos são organizados em oito grupos principais: Sans, Serif, Slab, Script, Display, Blackletter, Symbols, e Non-Latin.

Referências cruzadas

Minha característica favorita do livro - e isso deve ter levado anos para preparar - são as amplas referências cruzadas. Por exemplo, eu estou procurando por algo semelhante a um de meus favoritos tipos, Swift (a) de Gerard Unger. Posso ir para a seção Serif - onde todos os tipos estão organizados por ordem alfabética,… p, q, r, s,… Swift! A referência cruzada na margem interior exibe um olho-ícone (denotando tipos similares); e listados estão ITC Charter (b), Demos, Hollander e Bitsream Oranda. Um recurso muito simples e muito poderoso.

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De fato eu gostaria de ver este adicional desenvolvido, de modo que, por exemplo, eu estou procurando um bom sans serif para a Swift e há uma referência cruzada que aponta uma à mim. Também gostaria de ver um índice de nomes. De qualquer forma, são as referências cruzadas que fazem isso para mim, tornando o FontBook uma valiosa ferramenta para quem utiliza o tipo. Não deveria haver estúdio sem ele na sua biblioteca.

Depois de passar mais ou menos uma hora folheando através das suas páginas, o glutão que explode de Monty Python, Senhor Creosote veio à mente. Depois de consumir cerca de 20 cursos, quatro garrafas de vinho tinto e seis caixas de cerveja, o Maître D, encenado por John Cleese, recomenda “E, finalmente, monsieur, uma fina bolacha de hortelã.” Tipo glutões entre vocês simplesmente não conseguirão resistir apenas a mais uma fina bolacha de página.

Em termos absolutos, $ 99 não é barato, mas isso não é novela de brochura descartável; é uma enciclopédia de 3kg com 1.760 páginas. Em termos relativos o FontBook é mais barato do que 20 refeições do McDonald’s.

Porquê?

Os cínicos entre nós (e eu posso ser um também), podem argumentar que o FontBook é um instrumento de marketing destinado a vender mais fontes. Ele pode muito bem vender mais fontes - o FontShop não é um Samaritano. No entanto, quando se considera o tempo que foi canalizado para a elaboração este livro e os custos de produção, duvido que o FontBook seja o preço da vaca. Sugiro que ele seja apenas o produto de uma paixão pelo tipo, publicada não tanto com ganhos pecuniários em mente, mas simplesmente porque seus autores amam o tipo.

O FontBook é para o tipo aquilo que a casa de chocolate é para os chocólatras.

Provavelmente vale a pena roubar um banco por este livro (sem violência, claro). No entanto, se você for capturado e, independentemente do que você faça, não mencione este artigo e reze para que Erik Spiekermann esteja no júri. Se você não ouvir falar de mim por um tempo, então é porque Mafia Maurice e Billy the Bruiser não deixaram-me usar a ‘Internet’ na Cela do Bloco H - até que eu execute favores de uma natureza inteiramente não relacionada com o tipo. Acho que só então eu vou apreciar o fato de que o FontBook pese 3 kg. Enfim, vamos esperar que eu seja encarregado da biblioteca da prisão.

Chegando…

Tipografia de prisão.

E há um prêmio se você puder dizer-me quais os três tipos que eu usei no cabeçalho “i” (1) “love” (2) “typography” (3). Uma correcta entrada será selecionada aleatoriamente e anunciada nesta semana no Sunday Type. O vencedor receberá uma cópia dotypography today de Helmut Schmid.

Leitura futura:
One Book to Specify Them All. Khoi Vinh of Subtraction entrevista Stephen Coles do FontShop.
FontBook on FontShop, com amostras de páginas em PDF.
FontBook—o filme.


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