ILT 2015

Way back in 2007, while living in rural Japan, I created ILT. I remember its birth with supreme clarity. It began simply as a way to share what I found typographically interesting, and I never foresaw its popularity. Almost eight years on, more than 500 posts, eight moves, and four cats later, and ILT’s design had barely changed. I had experimented with numerous custom post designs for individual “art-directed” articles, but the idea of completely redesigning and recoding my WordPress theme was, at least for me, the stuff of nightmares. Add to that thousands of lines of inline CSS in posts (don’t ever do that!), and I just kept putting it off.

View across the Seto Inland Sea from Umie Café, Takamatsu, Japan. Photo © & credit: Umie Café.

The redesign – or refresh – reduces the amount of code bloat ten-fold, makes the site responsive, comes with improved search, in addition to consolidating post tags. The font samples in the sidebar are now SVG, so they’ll look crisp at any size, most especially apparent on the new Font Wall. Right now, work continues on consolidating dozens of custom post templates and reformatting many tens, perhaps hundreds, of posts. So, until those are fixed, you might well see some posts breaking the new layout.

“websites are in permanent beta.” — Edo van Dijk

One mistake I made, some time ago, was closing comments. It’s a lot of work to moderate comments, but I plan to reintroduce them soon. I imagined that, once comments were closed, the conversations would naturally move to Twitter. But that didn’t happen: first because it’s difficult to compose or even ask good questions in fewer than 140 characters; second, because the conversation then becomes removed from the site.


Above all, thanks to all those who have supported ILT by reading and sharing, by writing, by commenting, and subscribing. Thanks to Jim at The Deck who advertised on ILT for a number of years. And a heartfelt thank you to Hoefler & Co. for being ILT’s new sponsor. ILT would not exist without their support. I have received many offers for advertisement and sponsorship, but no matter how lucrative they might be, I just refuse to have the likes of Taboola on my site, with their ads for posts about celebrity lookalikes and other culturally rotten-stinking bilge. I’d rather live in a shoebox 27 hours a day eating cat food, than succumb to and be complicit in the dumbing down of humanity. Anyway, what better sponsor for a blog about type than a company that has such a great track record of producing good type.

ILT prior to the recent refresh. That footer!

ILT is not run by a conglomerate. ILT is me. I invite submissions and commission articles, but there is no VP of marketing. I do all the coding, design, answer emails, make typos, correct typos, break things, fix things, edit articles, write articles, research articles, and include lots of inline CSS that, later, I curse myself for.

Most of ILT is now responsive. Work continues on some of the older custom post styles. Credit to Matt Kersley for this wonderful tool.

I’ve never claimed to be an expert. ILT is as much about my own education as anything else. Once I have fixed those older posts, I can get back to writing more content for ILT, and finally finish those two books I’m working on: the first is a book about my favorite fifteenth-century printer-typographer, Erhard Ratdolt. I’ll be posting excerpts and even entire chapters here on ILT. The other book is tentatively titled, Typographic Firsts, and comprises about twenty essays on, for example, the first roman typefaces, the first page numbers, etc. A taste of those essays can be found on ILT under articles tagged with typographic firsts.

August 2015 marks ILT’s eighth birthday, and I have many articles in draft that I hope to publish then, including a rather lengthy essay on astronomical and astrological books of the fifteenth century, incunabula printing in Venice, and an article on female typographers and bookmakers of the sixteenth century.

The redesign is a first step, and as a wise man once said, “websites are in permanent beta.”

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