The Great 202 Jailbreak. 1979: Bell Labs bought a typesetting machine that could do some pretty fancy stuff. There was only one problem: you could only do the fancy stuff that the manufacturer, Mergenthaler, decided you were allowed to do. In one of the first cases of what today would be known as jailbreaking a device, researchers Joe Condon, Brian Kernighan and Ken Thompson reverse-engineered the machine and wrote up their efforts and results in a technical memo [pdf] which was quickly suppressed due to legal concerns. [more inside]
"Hermann Zapf (previously), the designer of fonts such as Palatino, Optima, Zapfino, Melior, Aldus, and the bizarre but much beloved Zapf Dingbats, has died [on June 4] at age 96."[more inside]
Experimental writer Mark Z. Danielewski discusses his newest project, which he says is as energizing as it is terrifying. [Kirkus Reviews]
"Mark Z. Danielewski knows he’s embarking on a journey as unlikely as it is impressive. “On one hand it’s ridiculously ambitious,” Danielewski says. “But, on the other, maybe it’s just a little more transparent about an ambition that many people have in their profession.” Danielewski, almost certainly America’s most renowned and popular experimental writer, is already known for exploring and expanding the novel’s outer edges. Yet his newest project is an undertaking that will take him years, even decades, to complete. One Rainy Day in May is the first volume of The Familiar, a project slated to fill an epic 27 volumes. That’s right, 27 volumes.[more inside]
Typographica reviews its favorite typefaces of 2014.
Trail Type is a site showcasing loads of examples of type found out on the trail. You probably thought there were only a couple standard fonts used by Forest Service and National Park organizations, but it turns out there are loads of different examples of handmade, routered-into-wood, and quickly made letterforms, and they're all beautiful.
LEGO’s letter to parents, and how not to tell a fake when you don’t see one
According to the website of the Independent newspaper, LEGO UK has verified the 1970s ‘letter to parents’ that was widely tweeted last weekend and almost as widely dismissed as fake. Business as usual in the Twittersphere — but there are some lessons here about dating type.[more inside]
The President has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to render text in a variety of sweet-as-hell video game typefaces using Arcade Font Writer? [more inside]
Popular font designers Frere-Jones and Hoefler split, with one claiming the other was his "employee". "For 15 years, Frere-Jones and Hoefler seemed charmed. They made typefaces that rendered the stock charts in the Wall Street Journal readable and helped Martha Stewart sell cookbooks. They created an alphabet for the New York Jets, based on the team’s logo. And they saw their lettering chiseled into stone as part of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Last year, the duo won the AIGA Medal, the profession’s highest award. It seemed to be one of those rare situations whereby two successful soloists had combined to make an even better supergroup. Hoefler was asked if there were any troubles in their working relationship for a video produced for the AIGA in 2013. “We do have a longstanding disagreement over the height of the lower case t,” he said. “That is the only point of contention.” Not quite. An interesting story about a business partnership of supposed equals - or were they? - going very, very sour.
The design studio Kerozen has melded body horror with font design and produced a human flesh font. Not safe for anyone, really.
If you are like me and always tinkering with UI fonts in Linux... Just tripped over Infinality which is a set of pretty nifty FreeType patches. Got it installed and my painfully tweaked Linux font settings look lovely.
Stop Using Small Font Sizes "I'm calling you out. All of you. The hackers, the designers, the code monkeys, the word-smiths, the editors, the CSS gurus, and everyone else who works on content management systems and style sheets for news sites. Stop using small font sizes." [more inside]
Ever since something was invented to replace it, people have been predicting the end of the book: The Death Of The Book Through The Ages [more inside]
Superhero Typographic Classifications: "The most distinguishing factor of any font is its characters. Hidden beneath these characters, each typeface also has character—its own unique characteristics. However classified this information may seem, when used correctly, typefaces often speak to us more powerfully than the words that are written with them."
FF Chartwell is a typeface for creating simple editable graphs and charts, designed by Travis Kochel. Driven by the frustration of creating graphs within design applications and inspired by typefaces such as FF Beowolf and FF PicLig, Travis saw an opportunity to take advantage of OpenType technology to simplify the process. Using OpenType features, simple strings of numbers are automatically transformed into charts. The visualized data remains editable, allowing for hassle-free updates and styling. Watch the demo video. Buy a license.
If you revolve the letters of the alphabet around an axis, you get the 3D alphabet.
Type Connection is a game that helps you learn how to pair typefaces.
"Over the internet we yell at each other with ALL CAPS and emphasize with bold and italics, but where is sarcasm? Where is the nuance, the elegance? We say it is time for a change. It's time for a revolution. It's time for a new font style!"
Introducing the sarcastic font.
Introducing the sarcastic font.
"Running Alphabet is a project by the designer and runner Joan Pons Moll. The purpose of it is to run every character from the alphabet, captured by GPS and create a complete typeface from it. This is a collaborative initiative so if you are interested in running a letter go to participate and follow the instructions. Ready, Type, Go!" [more inside]
"Reading printed text is so fluid and transparent for most people that it's hard to imagine it feeling any other way. Maybe that's why it took a dyslexic designer to create a typeface that optimizes the reading experience for people who suffer from that condition." [more inside]
Google WebFonts - 184+ open-source webfonts from Google.
Reviving a Masterpiece of 16th-Century Type Design. The Polyglot Bible published by Christopher Plantin form 1569-1572 was the one of the greatest typographical achievements of the 16th century, and features a Hebrew typeface specially designed for the work by Guillaume Le Bé. More than 300 years later, type designers Scott-Martin Kosofsky and Matthew Carter have recreated Le Bé's design for use in a new ebook of the poems of Yehuda Halevi.
Slate says putting more than one space between sentences is "totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong." Microsoft's Bill Hall agrees. LaTex does not. The American Psychological Association used to agree but has changed its mind. The exhaustive Wikipedia article on sentence spacing has a predictably prickly discussion page.
Why does Futura work here but Slanted Futura doesn't? Enter FONTS IN USE: A breakdown, explanation and appreciation of type design out in the real world.
The annual Orbit books survey of Fantasy cover art: Fantasy Art, The Changing Fashion of Urban Fantasy Heroines, Color trends in Dragons, Title Trends and Fonts.
The Timeless Beauty of National Geographic (and it's not about the photographs!)
HELVETICTOC A time-full tribute to a timeless typeface.
Papyrus Watch exposes the most egregious uses of the played-out Papyrus font by graphic designers, businesses, and blockbuster Hollywood directors, among others. Does its widespread misuse mean that Papyrus is the new Comic Sans?
Designer Alex George has created a font based on the iconic Volvo 240 station wagon. (via) [more inside]
The League of Moveable Type offers a growing collection of high-quality, open-source fonts to help make the web a bit nicer to look at.
NSFWord: Effing Typeface.
What type are you? (password: character) Step into Pentagram's psychoanalyst's office, and let him diagnose your type. 'Researched over seven years with a team of 23 academics across Eastern Europe, ‘What Type Are You’ asks the four key character questions of our day, analyses your responses in exceptional detail and recommends one of 16 typefaces as a result. The recommendation is sometimes controversial but always unerringly true. Said one respondent, “At first I felt angry when I was told my type is Pistilli Roman but two weeks later, I was completely reconciled to it. Now I wonder why I ever thought I was a Gill Sans.”'
Neutra Face A SLYT for the font-geeks out there (and I suppose there are some Gaga geeks around as well).
“I think sometimes that being overly type-sensitive is like an allergy,” : The New York Times on the perils of being a font nerd.
TypeWar: How well do you know your fonts?
Eiichi’s self-confessed shock is now hopefully more understandable – he was not simply being asked to rework an old typeface, he was being asked to touch up an acknowledged “Old Master.” Johnstone Sans - A Typeface for the Underground. [more inside]
Galliard. Amienne. Miso. Postel. Is it a cheese? Or is it a font?
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