I Love Typography

An interview with Alice Savoie

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.

alice savoie typeface designer

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Genuine imitations

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.

Matthew Carter
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A short, intensive course in type design

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.

reading uni type design. photo by dan reynolds

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In space, no one can hear you kern

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:


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Moyenage: Blackletter for a Modern Age

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.


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Show some restraint

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:

flames by Seb lester

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The second coming

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.

Typographica, a star is reborn

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The Typographic Desk Reference

One can never have too many books about type and typography. One of the most recent additions to my own library is Theodore Rosendorf’s The Typographic Desk Reference or, if you’re in a hurry, simply TDR.

From the outset it’s worth stressing that this is not a how-to book. It does not compete with Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style or Felici’s The Complete Manual of Typography. It is, as its title makes quite clear, a reference book. Think of it more as a dictionary or rather a pocket encyclopedia of type terms.

Comprising four main sections, it’s pretty easy to find your way around — something essential in a book of reference.

Section one, TERMS

A collection of the most important type terms. Definitions are clear and concise, and accompanied by illustrative examples in the margin.

tdr, the typographic desk reference

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We love typography

I’ve been a little quiet here of late. Now you know why. I’ve been working days and nights on a new site, something I see as a natural extension to this one. Meet WLT — welovetypography.com, a collaboration between myself and Kari Pätilä. It has been great fun to create, and I really hope that it inspires.

welovetypography dot com

Rather than spend paragraphs explaining how and what it is, just take a look for yourselves. It’s like an FFFFound for type-related content, a type-themed delicious for the eyes.

One of the features that I’m particularly fond of (Kari’s handiwork) is the search by colour.

we love typography. search/filter by colour

You can learn more about the site on its about page, and more about its contributors on the, um, contributors page. They’ve been busy bookmarking some 1000 images and videos!

To share, just add #WLT to your tweet, and see what others are saying. Enjoy!

Other news

There’s now a more mobile-friendly version of ILT at m.ilovetypography.com. The clever people at mobify.me created it. It certainly loads incredibly quickly, and supports dozens of mobile devices. Would love to hear what you think.

I’ll now be back to posting more frequently here on iLT. Coming up is a packed-to-bursting the week in type, a book review, a wonderful essay from a great type designer, a couple of interviews, and lots more besides.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here! Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, or thinking of doing, have an exceptional week.

Yes, we kern

I had intended to publish my review of Theo’s The Typographic Desk Reference today. I’ll publish that next week. And, I missed out on April Fool’s. I had so many ideas, from the new and free Adobe fonts with embedded ad glyphs (the humour’s in the execution!) to the … well, I’ll save that for next year. In the meantime, here’s plenty to keep you busy. Everything from new typefaces, interviews to … well, you’ll see. A little later than usual owing to days and nights spent on a soon-to-be-launched type-related site that I’m pretty excited about, and hoping will inspire.

OK, let’s get started with some seriously gorgeous book covers from Louise Fili Ltd:

louise fili ltd books

louise fili ltd

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The first one’s the hardest

I remember clearly the day I was waiting for the 6 train at 33rd Street and Park Avenue in New York. I had taken pictures of type on the street for some time, but there was something here that caught my eye. There was a plastic sign on a door with letters and numbers routed out of plastic, and I noticed a couple of characters in particular: the way the 8 curved back into itself, the charming tail of the a. And then I realized that the lowercase e’s were all different. This had been done by hand and therefore wasn’t an existing typeface. I knew then that I could actually make this into a font.

router inspiration

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Malabar type family released

Last week, Linotype released my newest typeface family, Malabar. With six fonts for the Latin script, Malabar is a sturdy oldstyle serif. Designed for extensive reading, Malabar was originally part of a larger design project conceived for Indian newspapers, and a Devanagari addition will be released at a later date. After that, who knows?

malabar typeface

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