After more than 50 years, the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) chose to de-adopt (dump) the Vox-ATypI font classification system. Why the breakup? And does it really matter? Is there anything to be gained by devising replacement systems? Do we need font classification at all? And what’s a typographic dog?
Issue #3 of Fonts in Focus takes a look at Joona Louhi’s weird and wonderful, high contrast display typeface, Louche. Unusual weight distribution and some unorthodox and quirky details make this new release well worth a second look.
Women of Letters is the first in a new series of short interviews. We begin with a collection of four interviews with creatives from New York to Saigon: Lynne Yun a NYC-based type designer, technologist, and educator; Deb Pang Davis, a product designer with The 19th in Texas; Coleen Baik, a designer and artist in Manhattan; and my local friend, Duong Nguyen, educator and Managing Editor of ELLE Decoration Vietnam.
After a decade, our annual Favorite Fonts list is back. In addition to a top-ten of favorite typefaces, there are now another 50 typefaces in the Honorable Mentions list. There’s also a section devoted to my favorite glyphs or characters from fonts released in 2020, and a few words about the magical selection process. Oh, and there’s even a typographic Space Invaders Easter egg! The list is back!
For more than a thousand years the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs was completely lost. For centuries, many assumed that they were magical symbols that might never be understood by mere mortals. The breakthrough only came with the discovery of a 2,200-year-old black basalt slab. But what does that have to do with typography, dragons and unicorns? Read on to find out.
Tens of millions of broadsides were printed from the very earliest days of printing. Many were cheap and ephemeral, eventually being recycled or ending up in the trash. Others, like rebus and puzzle broadsides were novel and engaging enough to live longer lives. This is my very brief look at some early examples of these curious so-called hieroglyphic broadsides.
The Industrial Revolution mechanized printing and reduced costs, leading to explosive growth in publishing. At the same time, an unprecedented increase in literacy produced millions of new readers and sparked a reading revolution. But what were these new readers to read? One of the century’s most popular genres, sold on the streets of Victorian England, was the penny dreadful. Cheap, entertaining and extraordinarily popular. This is their story.
News has been around as long as humans have. From word of mouth to handwritten newsletters to printed newspapers in the early 1600s, the news has always captivated us. It has evolved from an expensive and bespoke service for an elite few into a major part of today’s mass media.
By the sixteenth century, printmaking — or art prints — had become a burgeoning industry in Europe. Millions were printed and many thousands have survived until the present day. Their significance goes well beyond their value as art or artifact, revealing a great deal more than artists’ talents and virtuosity. A closer look at their subject matter and iconography reveals much about the motives of those who collaborated to publish them, sometimes making them as much propaganda as art.
A brief history of the drop-cap: Decorated or illuminated initials were an important part of medieval manuscripts for a thousand years. From luxurious gold and silver letters to plain drop capitals, they functioned to illustrate, commentate, and adorn the text. Learn their history and purpose, why they eventually went out of fashion, and what replaced them.