I Love Typography

Terminologia de Tipos: Humanista

Cada tema, desde a odontologia até manipulação do cão tem o seu próprio vocabulário - termos que são peculiares (único) para ele. A Tipografia não é excepção. Aprender a língua franca (lingo) dos tipos vai fazer a tipografia muito mais acessível, e que irá, por sua vez, conduzir a uma maior compreensão e esperamos um maior apreço por todas as coisas “tipo”.

Hoje, vamos dar uma olhada em apenas um desses termos, nomeadamente, a “Humanista”. Tu podes ter te cruzado com este termo antes (ou tu podes até estar a pensar, o que raio é isto?). O termo Humanista faz parte da nomenclatura que descreve classificação de tipos. Durante o período de 1800 um sistema de classificação de tipos foi derivado, e embora muitos outros sistemas e subconjuntos deste sistema existam, basicamente é esta:

Humanista / Old Style / Transição / Moderna / Slab Serif (Egípcia) / Sans Serif

Até ao final desta série de seis partes, ser-lhe-á bastante au fait com todos estes termos; e imagina a alegria que tu vais sentir quando orgulhosamente exclamares para deleite da tua esposa, namorada, namorado, vizinho, gajo da loja do canto,

Olha no tipo inspirado na Humanista! Nota como o perfil do “e” minúsculo …

Assim, sem mais delongas, vamos começar a nossa caminhada – um caminho que nos levará a partir do incunabula aos dias de hoje.

[Incunabula] pode referir-se às primeiras fases do desenvolvimento de qualquer coisa, mas tem vindo a defender-se mais particularmente para os livros impressos na Europa antes de 1500.— A Short History of the Printed Word (Uma Breve História da Palavra Impressa)

O modelo para os primeiros tipos móveis foi a Blackletter (também conhecida como Bloco, Gótico, Fraktur ou Inglês Antigo), um pesada, negra, às vezes quase ilegível – para os olhos modernos - linguagem que foi comum durante a Idade Média. Felizmente, os tipos baseados na blackletter foram em breve substituídos por algo um pouco mais fácil de ler, (drum roll…) – entra a Humanista.


Os tipos Humanistas (por vezes referidos como Venezianos) apareceram por volta de 1460 e 1470, e não foram inspirados na linguagem gótica negra como textura, mas sobre formas mais leves e abertas dos escritores humanistas Italianos. Os tipos Humanistas eram, ao mesmo tempo, os primeiros tipos latinos.



Então, o que torna Humanista, Humanista? O que a distingue de outros estilos? Quais são as suas principais características?

1 A barra no “e” minúsculo inclinada;
2 Altura-x relativamente baixa;


3 Baixo contraste entre o “grosso” e “fino” dos braços (basicamente o que significa que há pouca variação da largura de braços);
4 cores escuras (não uma referência à cor no sentido tradicional do termo, mas, em geral leveza ou obscuridade da página). Para uma melhor impressão de uma página da “cor” analisá-la através de olhos semi-fechados.


E aqui estão alguns exemplos de tipos Humanistas:
Jenson, Kennerly, Centaur, Stempel Schneidler, Verona, Lutetia, Jersey, Lynton.


Embora a influência dos tipos Humanistas tem um grande alcance, não são muitas vezes vistos hoje em dia. Apesar de um breve renascimento durante o início século XX, a sua cor relativamente escura e a altura-x baixa ficaram fora de moda. No entanto, merecem a nossa atenção – mesmo a nossa admiração – porque são, de certa forma, os grandes pais dos tipos modernos.

Agarra no teu passaporte e embala a tua escova de dentes porque na parte dois estamos de saída de Veneza para dar uma olhadela mais próxima aos tipos “Old Style”. Para aqueles interessados em testar os seus conhecimentos, poderão dizer quais dos seguintes não são geralmente considerados como sendo tipos Humanistas:

Erasmus, Times New Roman, Caslon, Cloister, Guardi, ITC Garamond

Outras leituras:

Wikipedia entrada para Blackletter
A Short History of the Printed Word, chapter 4 — Chappell and Bringhurst
Type — The Secret History of Letters
, chapters 1 and 11 — Simon Loxley

Read Part 2: Type Terminology—Old Style

Translated by Miguel Batista.

Sunday Type: Potato Type

More Edible Type

We’ve had chocolate type, but that’s just for dessert. Well, here’s some carbohydrates in the form of potato type. How do you like your type? Baked, boiled, fried, sautéed, perhaps? Which type would you use for your own potatoes? I’d go for sautéed Parisine.


ATypI membership

It’s January and ATypI membership for 2008 is now open to buy. ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) annual membership costs $110 ($35 for students).

ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale)

Not only does membership bring with it discounts for ATypI events, but you will also have access to the database of members, subscription to the members-only e-mail discussion list, annual reports from Country Delegates, and much more. If you’re already a member, then please share your thoughts.

I love these beautiful letter blocks that I found via Swiss Miss. Just need to have some children, so that I can justify buying some.


RedHat users might be pleased to hear of the release of Liberation, a set of fonts for Unix, that acts as a replacement to Arial and Times, etc. However, you don’t need to have Unix to use them. They can be downloaded here in several formats. Thanks to Alec for the link.

Up with the x-height

It seems like an age ago since I last mentioned the Insigne type foundry. Terfens is the latest offering from Jeremy Dooley, also the creator of the rounded sans Montag:


Terfens is a sans serif with inspiration from chancery scripts like Stefania. Subtly rounded and eschewing harsh technical lines, Terfens is a warm and inviting typeface. Its tall x-height gives it a friendly but not overly informal feel. Its readability and unique contemporary look makes it suitable for a wide range of design applications.

The next item doesn’t make for the most legible type, but it’s an interesting experiment nonetheless. Each letter form is derived from the number eight:


Might also be interesting to see something similar derived from squarer-looking eight. Thanks to James Brown (yes, it’s his real name) for the link.

During my interview with Neil Summerour I mentioned one of his recent typefaces, Epic. It’s now on sale over at TypeTrust. All twelve weights can now be purchased for $145 (half the original price); and Epic Pack A (4 weights) is available for just $50 (an OpenType font of course).

Epic Pack A (4 weights)

I’ve mentioned the display face Brasserie from Swedish designer Stefan Hattenbach before, but I’ll mention it again because iLT will be interviewing him in future.


And here’s another of Stefan’s, Anziano,


which comes adorned with numerous ornaments. To see more of Stefan’s work, visit his web site.

Tales of tattoos

Do you remember Roger who asked for your advice on a suitable type for his tattoo? Well, yesterday he did the deed, and here’s what he has to say:

Thanks for all your suggestions and inspiration regarding my possible tattoo a few weeks ago. I promised I would send a photo of the completed work and I’m happy (and slightly shocked) to report that I paid the shop a visit this afternoon and got my very first tattoo.
I went through a couple of type options with my friend and the artist. I wanted lowercase, but my friend rightly pointed out that a single lower-case word looks odd out of the context of a sentence. Also, uppercase tends to have more impact. I was keen to go for Baskerville, but the artist informed me that he wouldn’t be able to give proper definition to all the subtle curves and serifs (except he didn’t use the word ‘serif’), so I went with xxxxxx instead. I wanted a smaller size, but apparently what I’ve got is about as small as you can go without losing definition. In the end, it wasn’t exactly what I was after, but it’s definitely growing on me. I’m hoping it will thin out a bit when it has healed properly.

Thanks again for all your help! Perhaps this will be of use to someone else planning a type tattoo in the future.

I’ve intentionally x’d out the name of the type Roger used. That’s for you to guess. It’s not so easy:


And talking of tattoos, there’s an interesting article over on Easily Amused, the blog of John D Berry. It’s entitled Wearing your art on your sleeve.

Coming soon

The next in our Type Terms series, Transitional Type, where we’ll be heading back to early-eighteenth century France to take a closer look at the types that followed the Old Style forms like Garamond. We also have some more great interviews to come.

And finally…

Can you name the type used in this article’s header? Thanks to Antonio Serrano.

I’ve added some links and a search this site and search for fonts option, accessible via the ‘Typography Tags & Search” menu at the top of the page. You can also search for fonts from the FontWall. Soon I hope to have a search for fonts application within this site, with samples from a database of thousands. Yesterday I published the first translation of an iLT article into Portuguese. It’s a translation of Alec’s Font Creation case Study—one of iLT’s most popular. Many more translations to come, including Japanese, Chinese and French.

Have a great Sunday.


Caso de estudo de Criação de Fontes: Joules

Andas sempre à procura por inspiração tipográfica, trago uma caligrafia barata orientada no Verão, convencido que os meus gatafunhos fariam letras mágicas.
Uma semana e dezenas de páginas depois, não tinham nada interessante ou vagamente artístico. Depois, uma noite, cansado e desesperado, e não tendo tinta preta, tapei com cartucho vermelho, e esbocei o alfabeto que brevemente se iria tornar a família Joules. Pensei que talvez fosse interessante para alguns de vós se eu documenta-se o processo de criação com este caso de estudo.

Aqui está uma das páginas que esbocei naquela noite:

Joules initial drawing

Um pormenor:

Joules initial drawing, closeup

Um super pormenor do A maiúsculo que eu usei:

Joules A closeup

Do esquiço à fonte

O processo que eu usei para criar a Joules a partir dos meus esboços é o mesmo que tracei nos meus artigos anteriores em criação de fontes. Fiz uma digitalização da página, e aqui está o resultado em Photoshop depois de mudar a digitalização para um bitmap preto/branco.

Joules A black-and-white

Nota como os pontos toscos aparecem na imagem bitmap:

Joules A rough spots

Joules A black-and-white rough spots

Geralmente limpo a imagem em bitmap antes de a importar para Fontlab, mas não neste caso. Aqui está o primeiro passo para importar o bitmap para Scanfont:

Initial pass in ScanFont

E um pormenor do Scanfont:

A in ScanFont

Copiei a nova forma e colei na abertura apropriada no Fontlab. Para te dar um gostinho da artimanha do Fontlab, aumentei o “A” tosco. Seleccionei um ponto problemático:

Closeup in FontLab

E comecei a artimanha apagando alguns nós ofensivos:

Closeup in FontLab

Uma das grandes coisas para balançar quando artimanhas formas em Fontlab é a tentação de amaciar todos os contornos versus a tentação de deixar muitos pontos toscos para manter a fonte interessante. Descobri da pior maneira que com fontes de escrita manual não deves amaciar todos os pontos toscos, assim que isso começa a roubar alguma da emoção da escrita manual.

Formas compostas em nosso auxilio

Uma das boas características que nos poupa tempo no Fontlab é a composição de caracteres automática. Neste caso, criei um “A”, e um “acento grave (`)”:

A plus Grave

E agora duplo-clic na célula de “A-Grave”…

A plus Grave double click

…e o Fontlab cria uma forma composta:

A plus Grave composite

A partir de agora, se editas o “A” ou o “acento grave (`)”, as alterações vão automaticamente reflectir-se no “A-Grave” composto.

Distâncias laterais (Sidebearings)

Como mencionado nos meus artigos anteriores em criação de fontes, formar boas distâncias laterais é um passo importante. (Por uma boa razão, boas distâncias laterais facilitam o kerning!) Inicialmente para as artimanhas das formas, geralmente crio distâncias laterais toscas, pequenas e positivas. As distâncias laterais do “y” inicialmente são algo assim:

y sidebearings

O problema com estas distâncias laterais pode ser ilustrado olhando par o kerning inicial do par “ay”:

a-y sidebearings with kerning

Posso deixar as distâncias laterais como estão e fazer o kerning do “y” próximo do “a” (e, depois, fazer o kerning do “y” próximo de qualquer outro caractere), mas é mais fácil (e saudável) criar distâncias laterais negativas para o lado esquerdo do “y”:

y negative sidebearings

Aqui está o kerning inicial com as distâncias laterais melhores:

a-y negative sidebearings with kerning


As horas de diversão que eu tive com o kerning desta fonte! Vou te livrar dos detalhes chatos. Mas aqui está um exemplo de kerning a funcionar. Antes:

A V pre kerning


A V post kerning


Criei uma série de ligaduras para a Joules que se pode seleccionar manualmente e aplicar num projecto tipográfico:

Joules ligatures

E aqui está como criei uma. Primeiro, como o “z” e o “a” assentavam normalmente um a seguir ao outro:

z and a

Podia ter feito o kerning ao par para que eles ficassem sobrepostos numa moda esteticamente agradável, mas o mais responsável foi criar uma ligadura “z-a”. Passo 1, criar uma forma vazia, e copiar o “z” e o “a” nele:

z and a, pre-ligature

Passo 2, cortar os contornos para que eles se possam juntar no sítio apropriado:

z and a, pre-ligature ...

Passo 3, remover o excesso:

z and a, pre-ligature...

Passo 4, aproximar as formas:

z and a, pre-ligature...

Passo 5, conectar os pontos:

z and a ligature

Ligaduras inteligentes

Uma das coisas que não deu para o meu primeiro lançamento da Joules são as ligaduras inteligentes: tecnologia que eu recentemente aprendi como criar. (Quer dizer o fim das Truetype como as conhecemos, já que as ligaduras inteligentes requerem o uso da tecnologia das OpenType ). Vou te poupar dos detalhes, mas envolve abrir um painel especial Opentype no Fontlab, e basicamente fazer algum scripting para que as formas da ligadura que criaste ganharem vida num software ligadura-aware. É algo assim:

Ligature definitions


Aqui está o resultado, depois de todas as artimanhas e kerning:


E meti-me a fazer uma versão em itálico (era mais uma versão oblíqua, para os puristas que por aí andam), e depois uma bold, bold itálica, e black. Se alguém está interessado, eu posso detalhar como fiz este processo.

[Alec Julien é um web developer e um tipógrafo amador que vive em Vermont, USA. Sonha um dia viver num local quente, e escrever um novela.]

Translated by Miguel Batista.

Type Snippets

FF Unit Rounded Ready to Roll

News just in from Erik van Blokland writing on SpiekerBlog is that Unit Rounded is now complete.


One of the dangers inherent in creating one of these rounded types is the ‘sausage effect’. Those rounded corners may well look OK at one weight, but what happens when you want numerous additional weights? That’s where the Superpolator comes in—a kind of anti-sausage machine. To discover why FF Unit Rounded is no sausage, you can read the original article here.

FF Unit is serious enough to be rounded without becoming a sausage face or one only suited for comic strips. It looks friendly without losing its precision and changes its appearance quite dramatically as it grows in size. The Rounded version should be available at your local FontShop any day now.

It’s worth pointing out too that while the Superpolator looks like a pretty impressive piece of software, the final product was tweaked and perfected by human hands and trained eyes.

And here’s the original FF Unit designed in 2003 by Erik Spiekermann and Christian Schwartz:

FF Unit 1

See you Sunday for another Sunday Type. If you missed last week’s, you can read it here.

Type Faces

An Interview With Ellen Lupton
Graphic designer, curator, artist, educator and writer, Ellen Lupton is perhaps best known for her Thinking With Type—a book that in many respects opened up typography to a wider audience. Many have remarked that she made learning about typography fun; and ‘do I look fat in this paragraph’ and ‘typography is what language looks like’ are now oft-quoted phrases. She also stirred up some controversy over her Free Fonts Manifesto, which you can read about here.

How did you become interested in typography?

I discovered typography as an art student in the early 1980s. I had played around with lettering in an amateur way as a teenager, but I had no notion of typography until I was exposed to it in a typography course taught by George Sadek and William Bevington at Cooper Union. I was stunned.


Continue reading this article


永远都在寻觅字体设计的 灵感。夏天过后,我买了一套便宜的书法钢笔,说服自己,它会让我的鸡爬字产生脱胎换骨的变化。在浪费了一个星期和几打白纸之后,我还是没得到什么有趣的或 是有稍微艺术气息的东西。最后,在一天晚上,疲倦而失望的我,在用完了黑色墨水之后,插入了一支红色的笔芯,然后写下了下面这一套字母表——之后它变成了 我的 Joules字族。我想,如果我在这个案例研究中把它如何变成字体的过程写出来,大家也许会感兴趣。
Continue reading this article

Sunday Type: Iso Type

Give me my Fix

January is certainly the month of lists, and here’s MyFonts list of their Top Ten Fonts of 2007. My personal favourites are these two. The first is a ‘handwriting’ font inspired by a handwriting sample from the 1930s. Mark van Bronkhorst turned it into a font and named it Sacre Bleu:


The next is Jeremy Dooley’s (Insigne Foundry) Aviano and Aviano Sans, the rich- and rather dignified-looking all-caps display faces.

aviano typeface

One List to Rule Them all

Of course the real list (the list we’re all waiting for) is Typographica’s favourite typefaces of 2007.

Typographica’s review of our favorite typefaces of 2007 is in production and we’ll publish it far more promptly than in past years. Keep your refresh fingers pushing and your feed readers running — the article will grace this space very soon.

If you can’t survive the next few days(?) until Typographic’s best of 2007 list, then you can get your fix through past lists: 2006, 2005 and 2004. That should alleviate the withdrawal symptoms until the next one.

Here are a couple of my favourites from 2005-2006:

Omnes by Joshua Darden:


and Zingha by Xavier Dupré:


One of my regular sources of inspiration is AisleOne, and I found this site on his links list. There’s some fine work to be found on the ISO50 web site; I particularly like this rather edible looking poster:


And here’s another rather comfortable and inspiring example from AisleOne:


The next item is here, not because I’m suggesting you buy this calendar from Linotype (though you can if you really want to, of course), but rather here to inspire. How about making your own type-calendar. A different type for each month, perhaps; or type treatments like those below. I like May:

linotype calendar

If you make one that you’re particularly pleased with, why not submit it as a wallpaper.

Moving Type, created by Seb Lester, was featured in the 2007 Typophile Film Festival, and demonstrates the varied emotions that type elicits. I mentioned above the rich-looking Aviano. There are other types that shout corporate, while others exude confidence and elegance, or conjure up whole eras. I’m sure you can think of many such examples.
YouTube Preview Image
And here’s one of Seb’s typefaces, Neo Sans—also used for this article’s header. Thanks, Seb.

Neo Sans

Readers’ Type

It’s really encouraging to come across the work of iLT readers. Nour is a regular reader and was inspired to have a go at type design upon reading Alec’s So You Want to Create a Font series (part 1 | part 2).

web geometric by Nour

Many seem to be put off by the amount of work involved in creating a font. However, what’s to say that you ever have to complete and publish it. Why not create just the lowercase—or even a few letters—for your own use. In the process, you will learn a great deal about how type works, and your good type radar will become that much more sensitive. So don’t be put off by font creation software, discretionary ligatures and kerning—take up your pencil and paper and get drawing. You won’t regret it. If you do have a go, be sure to let me know.

Coming up…

I have so many articles prepared, that I’m really not sure which to post first, so just this time, I’ll let you decide:

Here are your options:

1. An interview with Ellen Lupton;

2. Talking About Type (a kind of essay about type the way we talk and write about it);

3. Type Terms—Transitional Type, part 3 (part 1 | part 2).

All of the above will be published, but it’s for you to choose the next one to be published on Wednesday or Thursday.

And finally…

Well, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing (kerning, gardening, washing the car…), have a great Sunday.

15 Great Examples of Web Typography

The List: Q1 2008

What better way to start the year than with a little typographic inspiration. Last year I published 15 Excellent Examples of Web Typography, and owing to its popularity and people’s sateless appetite for lists, here are another 15. I’ve decided to make this a regular feature and will publish this list every quarter (3 months [for those living on Mars, that’s every 5.7 months]).

Some of the designs are here for their simplicity, and they demonstrate that sometimes less really is more. Others made it onto the list simply because they use text well, or they demonstrate how the grid should be used. Although I’m sure that a number of these sites are very accessible and validate against HTML99 and the like, they exist here not because of that and not because they are pretty (though sometimes they are), but because of their treatment of text—their typography. Well, here they are (in no particular order). Enjoy.

Webstock—mixing it up:


Happy Cog—note how the main menu items are incorporated in the opening paragraph:


The Morning News—transferring that magazine or newspaper look to the screen is sometimes disastrous. This one gets it right:

Typography. The Morning News

SpiekermannPartners—this is how you use a grid (note: no footers):


Rainfall Daffinson—the not-so-invisible grid:

Typography. Rainfall Faffinson

Porchez Typofonderie—typetastique:


AIGA NY—clean and simple:

Typography. AIGA NY

Fray—a nice slab of serif:

Typography. Fray

Cameron i/o—just text. I’m rarely a fan of light text on a dark background, but…

Typography. Camero i/o

Upstart Blogger—web typography gone Swiss. A white-space feast:

Typography. Upstart Blogger

Frieze—I’m sure you’ll recognise the logo font:

Typography. Frieze Magazine

Freelance Switch—organised and structured:

Typography. Freelance Switch

Monday by Noon—another simple one, and fluid to boot:

Monday by Noon

A Brief Message—nice use of sIFR:

Typography. Ripped From the News

Words are Pictures—nice text and gorgeous illustration; shame about the silly scrolling thing:

Typography. Words are Pictures

What do you think?

And who can name the font used in the header for this article?

Subscribe to i love typography.

Sunday Type: Feel Type

Sayonara 2007

Welcome to the last Sunday Type of 2007. It has certainly been an interesting year. I recently received an email from a reader pointing out that the links to my archives, prior to August 2007 are missing. Well, of course, that’s because iLT didn’t come into existence until that month; it certainly feels as though we’ve been here a lot longer than that.

A little audiovisual stimulation to get us started. I really like these new 30-second spot commercials for British Airways.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Thanks to typeforyou.org for the link

How would you like your Garamond, Ma’am?

A really quite wonderful article, Garamond vs Garamond—physiologie d’un caractère typographique, by Peter Gabor, taking a closer look at the different flavours of Garamond. No doubt there are many Garamond fans among you; but which one? Adobe’s Garamond, Simoncini, Stempel, ITC?


Barney has very kindly taken the time to translate the entire article into English: Garamond v Garamond—Physiology of a Typeface. Thank you, Barney). I can’t describe how impressed I am with this article—it’s beautifully written too. Reading this was the highlight of my week—not sure what that reveals about me and my life. Anyway, I wonder what Claude Garamond would make of these? And what about the other Garamonds that don’t bear the name?

Garamond's many flavours

Many thanks to the eagle-eyed Manuel Martensen for sending me the link.

I also like this cover from the PDF magazine, Blanket. Some interesting text treatments inside too. I don’t like that drop-shadow under the text on the cover, but overall…nice.


You can download the PDF from fontanel. The Aqua Issue set in Teardrop, with Canstop used for titling—both freebies from Dafont. Neither font is a masterpiece of type design, but they are fun, and they work well in this context.

In my interview with type designer Neil Summerour, he mentioned the work of Alejandro Paul. You may have spotted Alejandro in the comments to that article. Well, I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned his web site before, so here it is: sudtipos.com. And here’s a little taste of his rather gorgeous Feel Script,


There’s also a short piece on Erik Spiekermann’s blog that I like. Always interesting to know how type designers feel about the use and abuse of their typefaces. The article is called Dublin Type.

iLT in 2008

I have a number of type-related plans for 2008. First is a news site that’s like Digg but just for type-related news; if it ain’t type, then it’s not news. Not sure what to call the site yet. The working title is type nuts (type-related news). I thought it would be nice to have all the type-related news in one place; and also a good way to further promote all things type. It would also be interesting to see which kind of news items are most popular. So, if you publish a type-related article, or you come across something that gets your typographic juices flowing, then you can submit it to typenuts.


The site will go live some time in January. Also, I haven’t forgotten the typography wiki; I’m in the process of starting the design from scratch again—it will be very simple to look at, and hopefully very simple to find your way around. More on that later.


I’d really welcome any comments and suggestions you may have—especially on the typenuts news site. Just leave a comment below or send me a mail. I’ll also be redesigning this site a little to make it more easily navigable.

Coming soon (2008!)

Next up we have another 15 Excellent Examples of Web Typography. I think I’ll make this a regular feature (publishing a list every quarter, then a review of the best of the best at the close of each year.). If you missed the first one, you can find it here.

And if you haven’t already played with TypeFlash, then….

And finally…

I would love to hear your feedback on iLT in 2007. Do you have a favourite article? Is there something you’d like to see more of in 2008? A huge thank you to all those who have contributed to iLT. And an extra big (100pt) thank you to Alec Julien for his three articles—So You Want to Create a Font, parts one and two and his Joules Font Case Study; to Julie Elman for her The apostrophe doesn’t swing both ways; to Cody Curley for his review of The Logo, Font and Lettering Bible; to Dan Reynolds for his review of Counterpunch; and to Kris Sowersby and Neil Summerour for being such great interviewees. If I listed everyone, it would start to sound like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar acceptance speech, so I’ll just say thank you! I hope that you all have a very happy, productive, creative and typographically exquisite New Year! See you in 2008.

Type faces

Neil has published over 40 typeface families (over 420 fonts). In 1992 he opened his own foundry, Positype. He has also lectured on type design in Japan and the U.S., and his fonts have been used by the likes of XXL Magazine, MTV, VH1 and Sony/Tristar.

How did you get started in type design?

That’s a curious question….It happened a few years after I graduated from the Graphic Design Department at The University of Georgia. While I was in college, I studied under Ron Arnholm, a masterful type designer who most notably created the Legacy typeface family. Having already fell in love with fonts and the creation of letterforms and all of the minutia surrounding it, the injection of Arnolm into my education laid the foundation for me developing into a type designer. That said, years later I was invited to sit through a lecture by a visiting designer, a big name to say the least, so I was intrigued and went.

scan of Neil Summerour's type sketch

I’m not naming names solely because I do not want to insult anyone, but after the lecture I was so annoyed and aggravated at the lack of talent and amazing luck this designer had, I literally said to myself as I walked out of the auditorium “if this guy can do it, I sure as hell can!” So, I immediately went home and started sketching my first two type families that would later be picked up by T-26 in Chicago.

Why type design?

I love it. I love contributing to the evolving historical threads of communication. As a type designer, I provide visual tools that allow creatives to communicate, express and engage the masses. It’s exciting, awe inspiring and humbling to think someone chooses a font you have poured a part of your life into for months or years for something they are designing…and you get paid for it…it’s a win-win. Besides, nothing is sexier than a smooth bezier curve :)

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

The concept. I like finding that ‘little something’ that lights the creative fire and gives me the energy to push through a design. My style varies depending on the type of font I am developing. The stylistic diversity keeps me from getting bored with it and each time, each new design, each completed glyph allows me to refine my skill. What I enjoy most is seeing all of the ‘parts’, be it the diacritics or opentype features, come together and ‘work’ on the screen on paper.

What kind of approach do you take when designing typefaces?

I get an idea and it sits in my head for a long time before I sketch it out. I have to like it in my imagination a long time before I put it on paper. I usually keep 5-7 new designs in the works at all times. Some of the sketches never get completed because I see something too similar to another design or I just end up not liking it.

What do you like least about type design?

The wait. Once a design or type family gets to a certain point, I can never seem to work fast enough to finish it.

What are some of your favourite typefaces, and why?

That’s not easy. There are so many. My answer will be a reflex to the question because if I think too long, I will either never finish the question or write way to much:
1. Scala Sans by Martin Majoor. That is a beautiful family. I’m attracted to this type of organic, mechanical, technically clean type of sans serif. This is not his only masterpiece, but it is a favorite.

Scala Sans by Martin Majoor

2. Legacy Serif by Ron Arnholm. No one has done a better Jenson than Ron Arnholm. This is one of the best digital typefaces that doesn’t look digital. I expect to see type fairies flying away with magical lead type after seeing a piece expertly set in this typeface family.

Legacy Serif

3. The expansive type family Leitura by Dino dos Santos. Dino’s work is consistently gorgeous. This is one of the most reliable families out there. Each style has a place somewhere within the context of the design and the diversity of offerings within the family make using it as workhorse type family possible.

leitura italic

4. Affair by Alejandro Paul. I know Alejandro has some newer work but this a major favorite of mine. Why? It’s lush and fun. You can’t use it everywhere, but its OpenType diversity allows you decide how much fun you want to have at any one time.


5. Avenir by Adrian Frutiger. When I need a font, I look to this one first to see if it will work.


What advice would you give to aspiring type designers (to beginners)?

Don’t go to the computer too soon. Spend time sketching the font out on paper and in your head. ‘See’ it and understand the eccentricities it must have to really achieve the goals you have set for it. Read, observe and experiment…understand that your first few designs may never ‘sell’ or even be completed but the process of designing type and failing i just as important as succeeding. And, be original…don’t do what everyone else is doing. It’s boring.

What kind of approach do you take when teaching your students about typographic design?

When I have the opportunity to teach at The University of Georgia it’s always in electronic graphic design which encompasses both advanced Photoshop® and web design but type and how and when to use it are always one of the first considerations I press to the students. Good type use or type manipulation can make or break a piece. Many times I borrow a quote from Yusaku Kamekura (a prolific and influential Japanese designer) that “good is good”, As a designer, with the knowledge you have and have been taught, you know when something is just “good”….it’s a feeling that your design, your creation invokes when you and others look at it. In many ways, type and typographic design is just that…you know when it is good. In my opinion, the great designer knows how to make it even better.

What is your proudest achievement?

As ridiculous and as cheesy as it sounds, I really have to say I haven’t been completely satisfied with any one project….yet. As a designer and businessman, so much of my time has been spent building up my core businesses: Sliced Bread, my advertising agency in Athens, Georgia and the TypeTrust in Chicago that I often do not have the time I would like to spend on my ‘work’. As a designer, as with any designer, you go through a maturation process where you begin to ‘see’ good work and can repeatedly produce it…as well as guide others to do the same. I’ve hit that stride and am excited with what I am doing now, but have not produced that great ‘piece’ yet. I think I’m proudest trying to be a good husband and dad.

What plans do you have for the future?

Continued work and development with my business partner, Silas Dilworth, to make TypeTrust a great distribution portal for really excellent typefaces. For personal typeface work, I’m finishing up a nice techno display sans, called Ginza, that will be released in January 2008. I will continue work on a heavily involved, versatile script, called Eros, and a recut of my first font families, Iru1 and Iru2.

Eros sample

[You can see more of Neil’s types at TypeTrust.]

In this weekend’s regular Sunday Type, I’ll be writing about some of the exciting things iLT has planned for 2008. You can subscribe to I Love Typography and never miss an issue.

Sunday type: Evan’s Type

A Merry Typemas

Am I really writing this on the eve of Christmas Eve! Goodness—all in the name of type. Anyway, I didn’t want you missing your weekly Sunday Type. If there’s anyone sober out there, here goes. Let’s start with an Epic, or rather the Epic typeface from Neil Summerour.

Epic from Neil Summerour

I won’t say too much more about Neil’s types, as I recently interviewed him for iLT and will publish it in the New Year. In the meantime, you might like to take a look at some of his types here.

Here’s an absolutely gorgeous poster from David Bennewith. One of those things that I instantly knew I just had to have. Thanks to Kris Sowersby for the link.


For fans of Wim Crouwel and those seeking inspiration, take a look at the Crouwel Flickr Group.


This is a great idea (though firmly rooted outside the realms of my financial means). These beautiful illustrations by Edward Lear have been reproduced at gargantuan sizes—a collaboration between Surface View and the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum).


It’s one of those pretty but hopelessly stupid Flash web sites, so I’ll need to give you a map and a compass to navigate your way to the page (Isn’t that insane! What are URIs for—goodness me!). You’ll need to visit Surface View, then click Collections, then click the V&A sub-menu, then click Edward Lear - Alphabet (thoroughly stupid navigation, but the illustrations are worth it).

Metro Script

And here’s a pretty script from Umbrella Type that’s worth taking a look at,


New Kid on the Block

Please give a warm welcome to a new blogger on the scene. He’s small and he loves books. However, his being small no doubt has something to do with his age—he’s just 10 years old. When I was 10 years old (and it’s a stretch to remember that far back), the Internet didn’t exist—hard to comprehend now.


I know this particular news item is not type-related, but it’s Christmas and I was so thoroughly impressed with this young chap, that I couldn’t help but mention it. The blog is called Evan’s Book Site. Be sure to take a look, leave a comment, and tell your own children about it. Perhaps I should get him involved in my Type for Kids book—now there’s a thought: co-authoring a book with a ten-year old (guess I’ll have to ask his dad (Andy Rutledge) first.

And finally…

This news item via Mark Simonson: Arial Exam. Well, it made me smile.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Type Faces

An Interview With Kris Sowersby

Many of you will have heard of Kris Sowersby, and something tells me that we’re going to be hearing a lot more about him. He’s the guy behind the sans serif typeface National and the serif typeface Feijoa; he was also on the team of three that created (perhaps type of the year?) FF Meta Serif.

How did you get started designing type?

There was a point at design school when I realised that I loved drawing letterforms, so much so that I would prefer to make typefaces than become a graphic designer. I think it was when I was drawing/copying Bembo letter by letter, trying to understand how it was put together. I noticed that the arch of the ‘n’ subtly curves into into the right-hand stem—all the way down into the serif.


Continue reading this article

Page 24 of 29« first21222324252627last »
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