The Comedy Carpet is an enormous public typographic artwork in Blackpool, England, for decades a waystation for every stand-up comedian and comedy troupe in the country. This giant expanse of typography – like a football field of flat concrete you can read and walk on – displays every punchline and catchphrase of 20th-century British comedy, up to and including the entire Monty Python “Parrot Sketch.” Designer Andy Altmann gives a talk (direct Vimeo version) describing the immense design, computation, and construction work that went into fitting all those letters together. [more inside]
Typeface based on sculpture becomes motorized sculpture. The (European) typeface Jigsaw, “which was inspired by sculpture,” finds a use in typesetting the names of donors to a (U.S.) regional arts council. “A motorized disk contains approximately 2,000 names.... Pushing an initial letter on the control panel allows the viewer to find a particular name. The disk rotates and stops at the requested letter and displays all the names corresponding to the requested letter by backlighting them with white LEDs.” (Gallery; Vimeo video.) [more inside]
Flawed Typefaces. Paul Shaw, author of Helvetica and the New York City Subway System and a writer with a sharp eye even by typography standards, dissects the one or two characters in each of nearly two dozen fonts that stick out like a sore serif. (Yes, the Gill Sans numeral 1 is in there.)
The new Egyptian régime blows its chance to legitimately use the Papyrus font. The Egyptian president’s official site (for standardistas: HTML 3.2 with no language declared!) squanders a chance at typographic symbolism, Typophile explains: “Unfortunately, they had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to legitimately use Papyrus and they blew it. Instead it’s Algerian.” (Type specimens: Papyrus; Algerian. Cf. Papyrus Watch [previously].)
The Museum of Modern Art announced this week it would induct 23 digital-era typefaces into its permanent collection (Times coverage). But what do the designers of these fonts look like? Pics or it didn’t happen: first set; second.
“I am sorry that, after all, the numerals on the doors at Downing Street are so beastly.” Why the 1 and 0 affixed to the door of the British prime minister’s residence, 10 Downing St., look the way they do.
Canter’s Deli font comes full circle. Graphic designer makes actual typeface family out of casual script seen on sign for classic L.A. deli, Canter’s. (Wins award!) Youngest, hippest member of the family that owns the diner later independently Googles "Canter's Deli" + font, locates type designer, then hires him to custom-design a Canter’s “gourmet food truck.” “[W]hat was interesting to me was that this whole scenario could not have happened without the magic of the Internet and search engines.”
Fraktur mon amour: Ruud Linssen’s Book of War, Mortification and Love is a collection of “essays on voluntary suffering” that works as a specimen of the Fakir blackletter typeface issued by merry pranksters Underware. Bored already? Well, try this on for size: It’s “printed in the author’s blood.”
Typography of World Cup jerseys: In general, or just Italy’s. Or read an interview with Paul Barnes, who designed the faces for – yes – Italy and several other Puma-sponsored countries (Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Switzerland, Uruguay).
Not necessarily “naïve”; more like “vernacular.” Jules Vernacular posts dozens of photos of vernacular or unschooled signage on French buildings (in the site’s punning slogan, lettres œuvrières et incongruités typographiques). As ever, it’s amazing that this typography, most of it hand-drawn, hasn’t been wiped out by progress and regularized into Arial (or the Arial of 2010, Papyrus). [more inside]
John Mayer gets some really bitchin’ typography. House Industries (last MeFi mention: 1999!) designs a limited-edition tour poster for the crooner who constantly steals the show on TMZ. “[U]ntil they come up with a JPEG format that makes metallics shimmer like a Solid Gold dancer’s outfit, there just isn’t a substitute for physically walking around a serigraph and watching the light bouncing off metallic and fluorescent inks.” [more inside]
Stelae for 7/7. The London 7/7 Memorial consists of “52 pillars (or ‘stelae’), cast in rough textured stainless steel, each representing one of the victims” of the 2005 terrorist bombing attack. Typographer Phil Baines (profile) explains the development of the rough-hewn yet “British” typeface, based on “the 19th-century, untutored signmakers’ sansserif you see on buildings around the city,” that is moulded into the living steel.
Fridge magnets in seven scripts – Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Korean, Arabic, Devanagari. [more inside]
Definitive guide to fonts on Mad Men. Mostly the fonts that didn’t exist during the time of the show. Not every single thing is “historically accurate,” apparently. [more inside]