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I Love Typography

15 Great Examples of Web Typography

Welcome to ILT’s second-quarter roundup of sites that use type well. It may be that not all the sites listed here are to your taste, but it’s hoped that something—even a detail somewhere—will inspire you. Invariably, these lists are subjective, so if you disagree, then feel free to do so in the comments below. If this list provokes discussion of what constitutes good web typography, then all the better. The designs are listed in no particular order. Click on the screen-shot to visit the site. Enjoy!

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Sunday Type: mirror type

Don’t Command I ⌘ B

Welcome to May’s first Sunday Type. Yes, it’s May already! First is this great poster found via the equally great Designer Daily. The lower version is the poster as viewed in a mirror (or flipped horizontally in PhotoShop). A nice idea:

cyrillic mirror

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An Interview With Nadine Chahine

Nadine Chahine is an incredibly talented Lebanese type designer with a very special interest in Arabic typography. She taught Arabic type design as a visiting lecturer at the American University in Dubai and then joined Linotype, Germany, where she is now in charge of Sales Marketing and Arabic-related projects. As of September 2007 she is also a PhD candidate and her topic is legibility studies for the Arabic script.

nadine chahine

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Sunday Type: smoking type

A Font a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

It feels as though someone stole Wednesday and Thursday. Anyway, not much that can be done about that. Let’s get things rolling on a lighter note. Typophile, holds a great themed competition–or battle–each week. This week’s is one that anyone can have a go at:

Garamond and Zebrawood walk into a bar, they have a few drinks and one thing leads to another…. Create from scratch, the typographic love child of: Garamond and Zebrawood.

Just click on over to Typophile to get involved. And still on a lighter note, this rather unfortunate logo for the UK’s Office of Government Commerce. Be sure to rotate your logo designs before submitting to the client!

No comment. Via typographer.org.

Font Game Update

I’m pleased to announce that after a lot of hard work (on Kari’s part), the hugely popular Rather Difficult Font Game is now hosted on ILT.

Kari has some great plans for the game, including expanding the number of typefaces. Oh, and there’s an iPhone version too.

Next is a series of documents that outlines the development of Haas Unica (fundamentally a reworking of Helvetica):

haas unica

Via SwissMiss.

While you’re waiting for the iLT t-shirts, you might like to try this one on for size:

helvetica t-shirt

The descending (weights) Helvetica Neue t-shirt. Thanks to Hamish—who I believe wears one.

Some visual stumulation in the form of these two good Flickr Photo Pools. The first is the Chinese Type Pool. Mostly signage and examples of calligraphy. Would be nice to see some more print examples.

chinese metal type, copyright djwerdna (Flickr)

The second, for me, is a little closer to home—the Japanese Type Pool:

japanese typography

Photo courtesy of スロbernat. One of the most interesting challenges in Japanese typography is combining Japanese type with Latin.

I’ve mentioned Michael Doret’s Metroscript before, but I’ll mention it again.

typeface: metroscript

One, because it’s a beautiful script; two, because it’s on special offer (20% off until April 30, 2008). It also comes with one of the best PDF instruction manuals I’ve ever seen for a font (explaining how to use its OpenType features).

I really like the look of the newly-launched Newwork magazine:

newwork magazine

I headed off to YouWorkForThem to order a copy, but they’ve sold out. Blast!

We’ve had type furniture, so I guess now it’s time for type rugs:

rug type

I might just cut-up my existing rug.

Of Cars and Type

Carlos Segura, founder of T26 type foundry has an interesting web site (especially for those who like cars and type): cartype.com is, in his own words, “A comprehensive study and collection of reviews and typographical applications of emblems, car company logos and car logos….”


Sunday Type Links

Be Humankind—Oxfam’s new ad campaign.

5 principles…of setting type on the Web—SM

Sugar sweet lettering—How blog

David Berlow, type designer—Easily Amused

McCain’s Optimum Look—Steven Heller

Jan Middendorp interviews Jim Parkinson

Elements of Design Applied to the Web—Astheria

Emigre has just released Slab and Sans Narrow additions to the Vista family by Xavier Dupré:

vista emigre

And while on the subject of Emigre, don’t forget the Essays republished on their web site. That reminds me, I received my copy of Slanted #05 the other day (I mentioned it last Sunday). Lovely magazine, some great specimens, a piece on Kris Sowersby, and lots of knocked-out Feijoa display (which I bought back in December). Kind of reminded me of Emigre magazine. I wonder if Slanted will allow us to republish the odd article here on iLT?

Web Typography

The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web is a noble undertaking. There have been three recent entries, of which Add and delete vertical space in measured intervals is my favorite. It’s well worth starting from the beginning and reading through every single entry. The site is an invaluable resource for web typography, and a great example of how good text on screen can be. Richard Rutter deserves a medal.

Today’s Typeface

Dear Sarah Pro by Christian Robertson:

dear sarah pro

It even comes with ink blots, alternate–and swash–caps, small caps and ornaments.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Sunday Type. See you soon for more interviews, typeface reviews and lots more. Next week, there will be a competition too. Enjoy your Sunday, and have a great week.

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 4: Numerals and Punctuation—by Paul Dean

“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.

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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.

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An Interview With Jos Buivenga

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.


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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.

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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

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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 email me at johno@ this domain.

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.

You can download it for free from Underware (as always, remember to read the license).

And on the topic of free fonts, Pointy has been updated. You can download the updated version here (free for non-commercial use).

Gentium, the Open Source font is now in its final release. You can download Gentium here.

Our fourth free font is the sans serif Graublau Web (regular and bold). It has been released with web-font embedding in mind. Pity it doesn’t at least include an italic.

typeface: graublau we

One of the concerns I have with so-called web fonts, is that we may well see a whole raft of copy-cats—good type tweaked and re-licensed. Let’s hope not.

Bake your own

FontStruct is a brilliant new type-creation tool from FontShop. It’s very well conceived and excellently executed. It’s incredibly easy to use. If you do create something, be sure to tell me about it. Perhaps we could feature some of the Fontstruct fonts right here.

All of the designs come under a Creative Commons license, so you can share and download freely. I really like the dingbats font Kawaii, Schema Basic Bold, Blockhead, and dotSquared Arena.

dotsquared arena made with fontstruct

Next is an interesting take on the anatomy of type posted on typomil:

type anatomy

Created by David Březina and; Martin Pecina. Thanks Mac for the link.

Saving your screen with type

This must be the best screen-saver ever:

YouTube Preview Image

It’s called DropClock and can be downloaded for both Mac and Win. Thanks to Eliot Jay Stocks.

The FontFeed has two excellent interviews with Martin Majoor (designer of one of my favourite typefaces, Scala) and with the enormously talented (why don’t we hear more about him?) Xavier Dupré (Vista Sans, Megano, et al.).

The interviews are available as PDFs to download for free. Be sure to read them!

Fun type

Want a typeface that brings a smile to your face? Look no further than LOVOLO:

Via whywerock.com.

Christian Schwartz does Tokyo

The talented Mr Schwartz is in Tokyo on Tuesday to speak at Tab Talks 4. I was hoping to get there, though it’s unlikely now. Tokyo is a long way from me (and domestic travel in Japan is insanely expensive). If you are closer to Tokyo than me, then why not head over to Shinagawa and see him in the flesh. Be sure to take some photos for iLT. The talk will be in English with a Japanese interpreter (not the other way round).

Smashing Lettering

Some stunning and inspirational lettering in Smashing Magazine’s Beautiful Handwriting, Lettering and Calligraphy post:


Sunday links

Now go out and buy FF Utility—TypeOff
My favourite April Fool—typotheque
Type quiz 6—Unzipped
Baseline grids in Indesign—CreativeCurio
Hand-painted signs—ableparris
Numerous Numerals explained—FontFeed
Get the Helvetica off our money—via Daring Fireball
Bernard Levin—Ace Jet 170
Dutch Type Library—(if like me, you’re a fan of Dutch type)
We don’t serve your type here—inspirationbit
Friday Font Fond: Omnes—How Blog
Estupido Espezial–H&FJ
Styling text links—Andy Rutledge (yes, I promise to fix mine soon)
Font flags—Jacob Cass
Type Talk: your questions answered—Ilene Strizver
New typeface: Enotmik—aisleone Typo Hunt Across America—via ATypI

Expressive Words update

Karly certainly started something when she posted about her own type exercise. Mauel from Æstheticrew has also had a go. Anyone else?

Today’s types

First up is Marat, selected by the Type Directors Club of New York to receive the Certificate of Excellence in Type Design in the Text / Type Family category. And excellent she is:

and Miss Fitzpatrick from Umbrella Type. Gotta love that capital M.

And be sure to check out ILT’s April Fonts in the sidebar (right, and up a bit). So much more to come, so subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out. Thanks for reading, and have a great Sunday.

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.

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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.

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