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Web Design is 95% Typography

95% of the information on the web is written language. It is only logical to say that a web designer should get good training in the main discipline of shaping written information, in other words: Typography.

Information design is typography

Back in 1969, Emil Ruder, a famous Swiss typographer, wrote on behalf of his contemporary print materials what we could easily say about our contemporary websites:

Today we are inundated with such an immense flood of printed matter that the value of the individual work has depreciated, for our harassed contemporaries simply cannot take everything that is printed today. It is the typographer’s task to divide up and organize and interpret this mass of printed matter in such a way that the reader will have a good chance of finding what is of interest to him.

Read more here

Reactions to 95% Typography

An avalanche of comments, hundreds of applauding blog entries, honorable mentions from cooler and more sublime and hotter and higher places, forum discussions, translations in Chinese and partially in Italian and even blunt plagiarism was incited by one of my recent notes. In order to not answer to each commentator individually, I decided to write a summary that answers most of the raised concerns, accusations and questions. As a result I think that managed to make things a little clearer.

Read more here

96 Amazing Typography Blogs and Resources

  • Type Directors Club

    Type directors club

    The Type Directors Club is the leading international organization whose sole purpose is to support excellence in typography, both in print and on screen.

  • i love typography

    I love typography

    iLT was born from a desire to bring the subject of Typography to the masses.

  • Use Typography

    Use typography

    Use Typography is mainly focused on showcasing websites that have good typography. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage good typography principles in web design.

  • Type for You

    type for You

    Typeforyou is a blog on typography.

Read full article here: 96 Amazing Typography Blogs and Recources

Dingbats & Bullets & Sorts

Typographic insights from Steve Matteson

Words and ornamentation have gone together since the very early days of written communication. Scribes copied text and their illuminator colleagues added color and gold leaf ornamentation to finish manuscript pages.

As type evolved to moveable pieces of metal, artwork was added in the form of wooden engravings and even as individual pieces of type (figure 1).

There are many words describing these decorative elements: dingbats, sorts, fleurons, bullets, flowers and fists to name a few. Today there is a nearly endless variety of them for combining with type (figure 2). With a simple keystroke these elements can add subtle and understated flair or become prominent graphic features in a design. For the purposes of organizing the toolbox I’ll divide these graphic elements by how they might be used.

Read more here

Ligatures & Diphthongs

Typographic insights from Steve Matteson

Doctors use ligatures to connect tissue. Musicians use them to connect notes or musical phrases. A diphthong is a hard to describe sound made when pronouncing vowels. But every font with a standard Latin character set has yet another form of ligature and diphthong – what are they and how are they used correctly?

Ligature comes from the word ligate or ‘to connect’. Simply put, a ligature is two or more connected letters – most commonly fi and fl. Diphthongs are also connected letters but are specifically vowels – Æ, Œ, æ, oe. These five connected letters are included in the basic Latin1 character set.

The ’f’ ligatures can, and most certainly should, be set as default behavior in applications by selecting this option in paragraph preferences. Diphthongs must be entered manually from the keyboard.

Read more here

Using OpenType Features: Alternate Characters

Typographic insights from Steve Matteson

The OpenType font format was a big upgrade to the designer’s toolbox. It was designed to support non-Latin fonts which require several different shapes for the same character. Arabic, for instance, has as many as four different shapes for each letter depending on where it falls within a word (figure 1). A nice side effect of this bit of technology is that Latin fonts may now have more than one shape for each letter too.

Historic Origins
Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible, printed in around 1450 used dozens of alternative letter shapes and connected letters to make it possible to neatly align columns of text. Experts believe he had around 300 letters and ligatures (connected letters) in his font allowing for many possible substitutions (figure 2). With the advent of OpenType, computer fonts may now contain an equally rich complement of letters.

Read more here

Ands & Ampersands

Typographic insights from Steve Matteson

Frederic W. Goudy is known today for many of his fantastic contributions to the font menu – Goudy Old Style, Copperplate, Californian (aka ITC Berkeley Old Style) and Forum to name a few of the hundred. Goudy also wrote and letcured extensively on various topics related to printing, design and typography.

His book from 1936, Ands & Ampersands is a study of the development of the ampersand and is, perhaps, the first exposition on the matter. Originally concieved as a simple Christmas keepsake, it became a thorough investigation of the history of the symbol.

‘What in Sam Hill is an Ampersand?’

Goudy was asked this question frequently – he says that he usually answered: ‘it is a short form of and’ and ‘let it go at that’. But he also points to several ampersand designs in his book which are actually wider than the word ‘and’ and he muses ‘what’s the point?’

Read more here

Using OpenType Features: Swashes

Typographic insights from Steve Matteson

Introducing the ‘swash’ – an exaggerated entry or exit stroke which adds flourish to a letterform. This design element is found in many fonts including some OpenType Pro fonts from various font foundries. This month we look at how to – and how not to – use swash letters in documents. We’ll also show how this feature can be accessed via Adobe Illustrator and InDesign applications.

Depending on the typeface design, swash forms can add a level of panache, elegance or even whimsy to a typographic layout. As you’ll see they can be the ‘frosting on the cake’. But exercise caution!

Read more here

Using OpenType Features: Figure Styles

Typographic insights from Terrance Weinzierl

This month we take a closer look at what OpenType fonts have to offer the user. It’s not a simple answer becuase there is no ‘standard’ set of added features and characters common to all OpenType fonts. Application developers like Adobe and Microsoft support these added features in different ways and sometimes not at all!

The following article discusses a single set of OpenType options called figure styles and how they can be used to polish your typographic document.

The OpenType font format allows four figure design styles to reside in the same font. Each style has a unique job and solves a specific typoraphic problem.

Read more here

Designer's Toolbox - April 2009

Typographic insights from Steve Matteson

This month we finish sorting through our sans serif tools. Now we contrast last month’s mechanically constructed Grotesques with types modelled after letters written by humanist scribes of the 12th Century. These scribes were perfecting a style developed during the time of Charlemagne in the 9th Century – the very birth of the roman lowercase alphabet. It’s no wonder this type style is the most legible of the sans serifs.

This genre gained popularity in the early 1980’s with the release of Lucida, Stone Sans and ITC Legacy, and has since exploded in popularity. It is arguably the newest trend in typeface design yet it is based on the oldest Roman letter forms.

Read more here

Designer's Toolbox - March 2009

Typographic insights from Steve Matteson

This month we continue sorting through our sans serif tools. We covered the warped geometry of geometric sans serifs last month and found that letters constructed to optically look like circles aren’t circles at all. This same kind of mechanical refinement can be found in this month’s category – the Grotesques.

The earliest known sans serif (by William Caslon in 1816) was an awkward and uneven block letter design but in the next 70 years the genre exploded into an important staple for every printer. Typefaces with attributes of the sans serifs created in the late 1800’s are called Grotesques – arguably this name came from the shock of having no serifs. Many considered them ugly.

Read more here

Anonymous Font

By Mark Simonson

Anonymous (2001) is a TrueType version of Anonymous 9, a freeware Macintosh bitmap font developed in the mid-90s by Susan Lesch and David Lamkins. It was designed as a more legible alternative to Monaco, the mono-spaced Macintosh system font.

The original was available in only 9-point. I’ve added 8-, 10-, and 11-point bitmap fonts.

(Because of differences between the Macintosh and Windows operating systems, the character set and bitmap sizes vary.)

Read Original: Anonymous Font

Verbal energy: Going geeky over type fonts

"Like me, America has developed a geeky obsession with fonts, the latest instance of our sophistication about design." So I read in a recent issue of Newsweek. What a relief. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.

The Newsweek writer, Jessica Bennett, went on to build her case by noting that a documentary film about the history of one particular type font, Helvetica, played to sellout crowds last year.

Her piece followed on the heels of an article in the January/February issue of The Atlantic Monthly, in which Virginia Postrel had posited, "Basic cultural literacy now demands at least a passing familiarity with typefaces: witness a November episode of Jeopardy that featured the category 'Knowledge of Fonts,' with correct responses including 'What is Helvetica' and 'What is Bodoni?' ". Read more here

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface

For the first ten years of my career, I worked for Massimo Vignelli, a designer who is legendary for using a very limited number of typefaces. Between 1980 and 1990, most of my projects were set in five fonts: Helvetica, naturally, Futura, Garamond No.3, Century Expanded, and, of course, Bodoni.

Read more: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface

Big Fonts

Sometimes “the standard” just isn’t good enough. Sometimes we need special tools to do the job right. Type designers understand that graphic communicators often want more choice of characters than the standard font set contains. As a result, more and more fonts are being released with large, non-standard character sets.

Demonstrative swash letters show an open regard toward surrounding letters and characters. Character strokes that wrap affectionately under or over adjacent letters are typical of these forms. You can find lots of these in fonts like Cruz Swinger, Longfellow, and Fineprint.

Fancy caps are uppercase letters with one or more swash characteristics. Buccaneer, Loire, and Buccardi are just a few of the Creative Alliance typefaces that have fancy caps in their fonts.

Biform letters are either capital letters with lowercase letter shapes or lowercase letters with capital letter shapes. The Monolith and Planet families possess two very different interpretations of biform characters.

Alternate characters also include simple substitutions like the sets of R’s and K’s in Diablo; or characters in typefaces like Epicure, Kolo, and Little Louis, in which each character is a creative tour de force.

Read more Here Launched for Home & Office Font Enthusiasts is a new font website from Ascender Corp. for home and office consumers featuring affordable, high quality TrueType fonts presented in usage categories to make browsing, selecting, downloading and installation an enjoyable experience. Most other commercial font websites have a five user license as part of the base price, but introduces a single user license to make fonts more affordable for consumers. Font prices start at $4.99 with a single user license.

Garamond v Garamond: Physiology of a typeface

How many times have you heard someone exclaim “Isn't a Garamond such a beautiful thing!”... Without a doubt, it's a beautiful typeface, even if I hate to use that expression. You could just as easily say a car is beautiful and immediately ask yourself why. Of course the answer is in the way one approaches type creation. There is that method of painstakingly drawing by hand (handtooling) that gives characters that crafted aspect that gives off an air of the terroir and rural furnishings; and then there's the modern method, far more conceptual, contemporary art in such a stark break with tradition and received wisdom — which isn't to say that they are any less beautiful: But their raison-d'être is no longer simply to be so [beautiful], but to arrest, and even shock.

Read more: Garamond v Garamond

Great Fonts for Web 2.0

Fonts are an essential part of design - but there are thousands of fonts out there, so knowing which ones to use can be quite daunting. Here's a roundup of some fonts that have found popularity recently. Check out American Typewriter, Clarendon, Din Engschrift, Frutiger, Helvetica, ITC Officina, Interstate, Myriad and VAG Rounded

Popular typefaces are scripts

Some of today’s most popular typefaces are scripts. For adding elegance to text, there is no substitute for a script face. Formal scripts like ITC Edwardian Script Bold Alternates, Balmoral™, ITC Redonda, Gravura™, Commercial Script, Fling, ITC Edwardian Script Regular, Fling™, ITC Redonda Fancy, ITC Edwardian Script Regular Alternates, Fling Alts, ITC Edwardian Script Bold are perfect for invitations and announcements, while casual scripts such as ITC Studio Script Alternates, Limehouse™ Script, ITC Studio Script, ITC Dartangnon™, Bickley™ Script, Pristina™, ITC Studio Script Alternates 2, Pendry™ Script, Riva™ work great for projects that call for a more personal or informal touch.

ITC Stone Humanist

Type designers have been integrating the design of sans serifs with serifed forms since the 1920s. Early examples are Edward Johnston’s design for the London Underground, and Eric Gill’s Gill Sans. These were followed by Jan van Krimpen’s Romulus Sans, Frederic Goudy’s Goudy Sans, Hermann Zapf’s Optima™, Hans Meier’s Syntax™ and Adrian Frutiger’s Frutiger™. Read more here.

Popular Script Fonts

Scripts are emotional, lyrical, even passionate communicators. Words that are set in script faces make an impact far greater than their literal meaning could convey. Scripts can be elegant and formal or spontaneous and funky. They can appear to be drawn by quill pen, flat-tipped brush, crayon, or felt-tipped marker. Scripts can be the stodgiest of typefaces or the most cavalier. Popular Script Fonts: Bickley Script, Brush Script, Carpenter, Citadel Script, French Script, Helinda Rook, ITC Edwardian Script Regular, Mahogany Script, Nuptial Script, Schooner Script, Shelley Allegro Script, Vivaldi, Young Baroque.

Top 10 requested commercial fonts

It seems that some things never go out of style. Classic roman designs and sans-serif fonts have always been at the top of every designer's lists. These fonts have withstood the test of time and the changing of design trends: Arial, Abadi, Frutiger, Futura, Gill Sans, Helvetica, Lucida, Optima, Palatino, Agfa Rotis, Univers, Broadway PosterDH.

22 Most Used Free Fonts By Professional Designers

 By Dkumar M

As we already know that the fonts are one of the most important parts of every web Project and choosing them is quit a difficult job for a web designer if his understanding of Typography is low. Our Last post 21 Most Used Fonts By Professional Designers helps you to get familiar with most used fonts which is not freely available. After getting several requests about professional fonts which is most famous and freely available for download in our last post in same series we again look around and end up with a list of 22 Most Used Free Fonts By Professional Designers on the basis of their usability and popularity.

Read more: 22 Most Used Free Fonts By Professional Designers

There's a new serif in town

By John Kehe

No - not the cowboy kind. We're talking about type here. The word is s-e-r-i-f , and it means the little feet that a letter sits on, an important element in the design of type. Want to know more? Here's a glossary of terms about type

Read more: There is a new serif in town

Man of Letters Fonts

By Michael R. Fainelli

You've read their books, but you've never heard of them. You've probably read their magazines, newspapers, billboards, telephone books, and even their candy-bar wrappers. They're the people who design the letters that form the words you read. These "type designers" work in the shadows of the publishing world to invent new ways of writing our ancient alphabet. Different "types" or "typefaces," the term for a particular style of letters, can vary enormously in personality, as do the letters in the title of this article. But there can be subtler differences between type-faces as well, as you'll see when you compare the different sections of a newspaper page.

Read more: Man of Letters

Face to Face

An Interview With Stefan Hattenbach

Stefan Hattenbach started designing typefaces in 1996. In 2003, he established his own independent foundry and design studio, MAC Rhino Fonts (MRF). Proud A.S. Roma supporter and father of two, Stefan works his magic from a studio in the beautiful city of Stockholm.

Read more: Face to Face

Arial versus Helvetica

Seconds Out, Round One

Every typeface, like every one of us, has its distinguishing features. You might be forgiven for thinking that some fonts are clones, or identical twins. However, closer inspection reveals subtle differences and nuances that simply escape casual perusal. Something that can really help to heighten our sensitivity to those differences is getting out our magnifying glasses and really taking a closer look. If you've forgotten to bring your magnifying glass, then don't fear for the Fontometer is here (we'll get to that in a moment).

Read more: Arial versus Helvetic

The Scourge of Arial

Arial is everywhere. If you don't know what it is, you don't use a modern personal computer. Arial is a font that is familiar to anyone who uses Microsoft products, whether on a PC or a Mac. It has spread like a virus through the typographic landscape and illustrates the pervasiveness of Microsoft's influence in the world.

Read more: The Scourge of Arial

The Top 100 Types of All Time?

Paul Shaw did a survey of readers to list the top typefaces of all time. Here are the results.

Read more: The Top 100 Types of All Time

Eurostile Next

Eurostile™ has been with us for decades. Its heritage is a bit obscure. Born in Italy, Eurostile had two designers, and two release dates, even if purists might insist that it really just had one of each. Without a doubt, the typeface has had two official names. Of course, the first of those two names – Microgramma™ – only refers to part of the final design. After many years, Linotype is releasing an extended revision and update, named Eurostile Next. Confused?

Read more: Eurostile Next

Linux Font Equivalents to Popular Web Typefaces

I have written before about my admiration for Web typography, and in that article I touched on the fact that many “Web safe” fonts can’t be applied to Linux. Linux distributions each ship with their own font libraries, but I’d like to focus on similar typefaces you can use within a font-family to help make your design bulletproof.

Read more: Linux Font Equivalents

Fonts in Windows

To the average PC user, fonts may not seem like the most interesting of topics . However, there is more to the subject than many may think. Windows comes with a considerable assortment of different types of fonts and characters that allow for considerable flexibility in format and a wide assortment of distinctive and artistic effects in Windows documents. There is support for a number of languages and for many special symbols. In this article, I will cover some of the aspects of Windows fonts and some ways that you can liven up your documents or make use of the special symbols.

Read more: Fonts in Windows


Adjusting the spacing across a word, line, or column of text is called tracking, also known as letterspacing. It is common practice to letterspace capitals and small capitals, which appear more regal when standing apart. By slightly expanding the tracking across a body of text, the designer can create a more airy field. Negative tracking is rarely desirable. This device should be used sparingly, to adjust one or more lines of justified type.

Read more: Tracking

13 typefaces every graphic designer needs

By David Airey

With thousands of different typefaces on offer, it's vital to have a select few that act as pillars in your collection. The following 13 typefaces (shown in alphabetical order) are ones that I believe every graphic designer should be familiar with.

Read more: 13 typefaces every graphic designer needs

A Man of Many Faces

By Daniel Mall

With a nice 3 week vacation before starting school again, I've rationed a bit free time to get around to doing some things that I've been meaning to get around to. Part of this list includes putting up some recently acquired posters, reformatting my hard drive, and finally finishing up my portfolio section for this site.

Read more: A Man of Many Faces

Know Limits

By Daniel Mall

While most of my design time is spent for on-screen endeavors, occassionally I'll take on a print project or two. I almost always find that there are such clear differences between the two, differences that make me believe that a great web designer can be a terrible print designer, and vice versa. The biggest difference for me is the limitation that each medium holds.

Read more: Know Limits


By Daniel Mall

During a late night online conversation with another black, white, and orange website fan, it was decided that certain fonts should be retired. They've had a good run, but some things must come to an end. Whether, by overuse, obscurity, or just plain ugliness, here are some that just don't make the cut.

Read more: Typobituaries

CSS Typography

By Garrett Dimon

You don’t often see “CSS” and “typography” used in the same sentence—and for good reason. Traditional typography is a very subtle and beautiful form of design, with thousands of variations and choices. Unfortunately, with CSS that's not quite the case. Don't lose hope just yet, though. CSS can do more than you might think.

Read more: CSS Typography

Fine Tuning Web Typography

By Jonathan Nicol

Typography is a sadly neglected aspect of the web design process, an oversight traditionally blamed on the technical limitations and unpredictability of the medium. While it is true that the web may not offer designers the same typographic freedom as print, all it takes is careful consideration and a little typographic fine tuning to bring website layouts to life.

Read more: Fine Tuning Web Typography

The non-typographer's guide to practical typeface selection

By Cameron Moll

Let's be frank right off the bat: I don't presume to be a typographer, or even anything close to an expert with a replete knowledge of typography and its history. Instead, I take a more practical approach to typeface selection, given the environment I'm generally in rarely requires that I need to complicate the process further.

Read more: The non-typographer's guide to practical typeface selection

What is a Font Flag? What is a Font Specimen Sheet?

By Jacob Cass

Do you know what a font flag or font / type specimen sheet is? Here are the answers as well as an example made by myself for typography class at university.

Read more: What is a Font Flag? What is a Font Specimen Sheet?

30 Fonts that All Designers Must Own

By Jacob Cass

Here are 30 of the Best Fonts / Typefaces that every designer must own sorted by alphabetical order. There are 15 serif fonts and 15 sans-serif fonts. These fonts will last you your whole career!

Check out fonts like Adobe Caslon, Garamond, Bembo or Gill Sans!

Read more: 30 Fonts that All Designers Must Own

Helvetica and Alternatives to Helvetica

By Stephen Coles

Helvetica is a classic. Helvetica is played out. Each of these statements is true to an extent. The world's most recognizable typeface will soon star in a new film that documents both its omnipresence and its timelessness.

Read more: Helvetica and Alternatives to Helvetica

TDC2 2008 winning entries

Award season continues on Unzipped - albeit somewhat delayed. February traditionally is Oscars month, and in the type world it is the time of year the TDC2 winners are announced. TDC2 is the annual type design contest organized by the Type Directors Club. I was hoping to receive some images of the judges at work but unfortunately that never materialized, and I'm still missing descriptions of some typefaces.

Read more: TDC2 2008 winning entries

Our Favorite Typefaces of 2007

By Stephen Coles

Typographica's fourth annual review showcases the best in new typeface design. Twenty-five of the world's brightest graphic and type designers selected their favorite font releases of the year. We welcome to our regular cast of contributors: David Berlow, Ellen Lupton, and Erik Spiekermann, among others.

Read more: Our Favorite Typefaces of 2007

Characters On The Silver Screen/ February 2008

A very powerful image graces the movie poster for J.J. Abrams monster/horror flick Cloverfield. While de billowing smoke towering over Manhattan recalls the tragedy of 9/11, the beheaded Statue of Liberty is reminiscent of a promotional image for the dystopian movie classic Planet of The Apes, where the top half of the Statue is sticking out of the sand on a deserted beach. By the way, I never understood why that image was introduced at some point, because it, like, gives away the ending of the movie and completely ruins the surprise. Ah, the stupidity of certain breed of marketing people never ceases to amaze me...

Read more: Characters On The Silver Screen

Frere- Jones, Tobias

Interview, Ellen Lupton with Tobias Frere-Jones

How did you get involved in type design?

I went to RISD in their undergraduate program. I finished in 1992. It became difficult there for me, because I wanted to learn to design type, which was hardly the focus at RISD. We were taught to use type, how to think with type, but not how to design type. There's no place really in this country where you can do that. Inge Druckery and Matthew Carter's course at Yale is good, but it's for grad students only, and it's just one course.

Read more: Frere- Jones, Tobias

Science of Typography

By Ellen Lupton

Despite heroic efforts to create a critical discourse for design, our field remains ruled, largely, by convention and intuition. Interested in alternative attitudes, I recently set out to examine the scientific literature on typography. From the late nineteenth century to the present, researchers from various fields - psychology, ergonomics, human computer interaction HCI, and design - have tested typographic efficiency. This research, little known to practicing designers, takes a refreshingly rigorous - though often tedious and ultimately inconclusive - approach to how people respond to written words on page and screen.

Read more: Science of Typography 

Family planning, or how type families work

By Peter Bil'ak

The size and complexity of recently-developed type families has reached unprecedented levels. Look, for instance, at United, a recent release (2007) from House Industries. The family includes 105 fonts composed of three styles (sans, serif and italic), available in seven weights and five widths. It takes a couple of minutes just to scroll through all the variants listed in the font menu. For a further example of this trend, Hoefler & Frere-Jones have just released their Chronicle type family (2002-2007), the range of which extends through widths (from regular to compressed), weights (from extra light to black), and optical size (from text to headline). In terms of sheer size, Chronicle comprises 106 fonts and beats the rival United by a single stylistic variant.

Read more: Family planning, or how type families work

Thirty-six point Gorilla

By Emily King

The naming of typefaces has never been dictated by a single convention. In the days of proprietary type, when type was made by the manufacturers of type-setting machines, there was some coherence amongst the names within a single library. Now that typefaces from many different periods and sources can be united upon the desktop, the list of typefaces used in even a single piece of contemporary design can make fairly extraordinary reading:

Abbess, Altoona, Acropolis, Dolmen Decorated, Egbert, Enlivan, Falstaff, Garage Gothic, Helvetica, Melody, Monster, Narly, Pinwheel, Phrastic, Siena

Read more: Thirty-six point Gorilla

The Last Supper

By Emily King

The relationship between art and typography is long-term and ongoing. For around a century, type has been appearing in art works and the incidence of type in art is certainly on the increase. Broadly speaking artists who use typography fall into two camps: those who use type as language and those who use type as image. Artists in the former camp are likely to be called conceptual. They tend to employ only a single "neutral" font with the purpose of communicating in pure language, language that floats free of specific application. The typefaces used by these artists vary widely: Joseph Kosuth favours Sabon, Douglas Gordon goes for Bembo, Lawrence Weiner chooses Franklin Gothic Condensed Caps and Simon Patterson opts for American Typewriter. Of course these faces do flavour language and in practice, after having been associated with the work of a single artist for some time, they become a de facto typographic identity for that artist. Paint a sentence on the wall in Sabon and you have yourself a DIY Joseph Kosuth.

Read more: The Last Supper

Seria's motives: How Martin Majoor developed his "literary typeface"

By Andy Crewdson

In a 1992 survey of Dutch type design, Robin Kinross observed that Martin Majoor’s first published typeface was ‘beginning to be used quite widely.’ Scala had at that time only been available for a year, and though Kinross saw the type’s popularity increasing, he could hardly have predicted how prevalent it would soon become. The way Scala captivated some designers during that period was recently illustrated when an American designer made reference in a magazine interview to his ‘Scala Years.’ Toward the end of the last decade, writing of Scala’s ‘increasing ubiquity,’ Emily King noticed that the type’s ‘correspondence with the cultural mood of the mid-1990s has been remarkable.’ It now looks as if Scala’s popularity was not relegated to the 1990s, as Majoor’s large family of types is still ever-present.

Read more: Seria's motives

My Type Design Philosophy

By Martin Majoor

About 15 years ago I graduated from the High School of Arts with a seriffed type design. It was never released and I now realize it was a sort of preliminary study for my later typefaces. I subsequently designed three major families, Scala & Scala Sans, Telefont and Seria & Seria Sans. Looking back, I now see that my ideas about type design have not changed fundamentally. Maybe it is time to set down some impressions on my type design philosophy.

Read more: My Type Design Philosophy

Fred Smeijers's Arnhem typefaces

By Andy Crewdson

Implicit in Fred Smeijers’s best known typefaces, Quadraat and Renard, and explicit in his 1996 book Counterpunch, are arguments for a more rigorous, craft-centered approach to type design. Building on his research into the methods of sixteenth century punchcutters, Smeijers has not only advocated forgotten practices, but has shown with his type designs how these ideas, when applied, can yield impressive results.

Read more: Fred Smeijers Arnhem typefaces

Microtypography, Designing the new Collins dictionaries

By Mark Thomson

Then and now

One of the surprising things about researching a new dictionary design was to discover just how little it had changed – on a macro level – over the last 250 years. There is quite a difference in feeling between Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of 1755 and today’s Collins English Dictionary, but the structure of information and the way in which it is made visible are identical. The two- or three-column grid with its three-letter column headers, the outdented headwords, the cascade of entries and quotes; all these are familiar elements of contemporary dictionaries.

Read more: Microtypography, Designing the new Collins dictionaries

Eric Gill got it wrong; a re-evaluation of Gill Sans

By Ben Archer

Gill Sans: Pride of England?

Gill Sans is the Helvetica of England; ubiquitous, utilitarian and yet also quite specific in its ability to point to our notions of time and place. As a graphic designer’s in-joke once put it ‘Q. How do you do British post-war design? A. Set it in Gill Sans and print it in British Racing Green’. As the preferred typeface of British establishments (the Railways, the Church, the BBC and Penguin Books), Gill Sans is part of the British visual heritage just like the Union Jack and the safety pin.

Read more: Re-evaluation of Gill Sans

A View of Latin Typography in Relationship to the World

By Peter Bil'ak

It is generally acknowledged that it was Gutenberg who invented movable type printing in 1436. It is generally forgotten that what is missing in that statement is the necessary qualifier “in Europe”. Thanks to the present-day dominance of Latin script we have largely forgotten that there are parallel histories outside of Europe, but the first recorded movable type system was more likely created in China around 1040 AD by Bi Sheng. His early type was made of wood, which was later abandoned in favour of baked clay, which produced smoother imprints. Unlike Latin script which uses 26 letters, Chinese script uses thousands of characters, making type composition particularly complicated. Nevertheless, movable type has been in continuous use in China since the 11th century.

Read more: A View of Latin Typography

Experimental typography. Whatever that means.

By Peter Bil'ak

Very few terms have been used so habitually and carelessly as the word ‘experiment’. In the field of graphic design and typography, experiment as a noun has been used to signify anything new, unconventional, defying easy categorization, or confounding expectations. As a verb, ‘to experiment’ is often synonymous with the design process itself, which may not exactly be helpful, considering that all design is a result of the design process. The term experiment can also have the connotation of an implicit disclaimer; it suggests not taking responsibility for the result. When students are asked what they intend by creating certain forms, they often say, ‘It’s just an experiment…’, when they don’t have a better response.

Read more: Experimental typography. Whatever that means

Typography and Web Advertising: Making Every Opportunity Count

By ALexander W. White

“Advertising on the web is so different than print. It has to contend with tininess, limited bandwidth, banner ad shapes, being shoved into sidebars…no one even wants to see our ads!”

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Better Font Management

By Joel Sacks

If your font collection is out of hand, it's time to learn how to manage it.

Whether you are a graphic designer, typographer, or a hobbyist, you'll benefit from better management of your fonts. Experimenting with fonts, downloading free fonts, and purchasing new fonts all contribute to a growing collection and, before you know it, you have more fonts than you know what to do with. Even without the potential for confusion, all of these fonts can drain your computer's resources—in short, you need a solution to manage your collection.

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The Character Issue

By Adam Tschorn

IT'S one of the most visible choices Sen. Barack Obama has made, and it's burning up the blogosphere and YouTube, being debated on the radio, even parodied.It's a typeface, of all things, one called Gotham that the Illinois Democrat chose for his rally banners and campaign signage, a collection of letter shapes some typographers are calling the hot font of 2008.

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An American Typeface Comes of Age

By John D. Berry

Versatile, readable, well-designed typefaces for text are hard to come by. In 1990, lettering expert John Downer designed a deceptively simple-looking family of serif typefaces, called Iowan Old Style, that should have become a workhorse text type for book and magazine work. But when the face was released in 1991 by Bitstream, it was missing the expert sets and related typographic refinements that Downer had designed to make it a complete type family. Now, nearly a decade later, Bitstream has finally released them, making Iowan Old Style usable at last in the way its designer intended.

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Anivers - birth of a typeface

By Jos Buivenga

When I was asked by Smashing Magazine (SM) in 2007 if I could release a free font to celebrate their first anniversary I first thought that the release of Museo could very well be that font. However, it was nowhere near ready and, not wishing to rush things, I started to play around with some sharp elements I liked to see if something could grow out of it.

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Type Design Today

By John D. Berry

When Jean-François Porchez handed me a copy of a Japanese graphic-design magazine, "Idea," while I was visiting him in Paris last month, my first impression was that it featured a very nice article about Jean-François's work as a type designer, and a cover that used one of his more unusual typefaces. The cover, it turned out, was designed by Jean-François himself, and he was the subject of an extensive, well-illustrated article, but the 200-page issue is essentially the equivalent of a short book on its topic: "Type Design Today." There are many books that don't give as thorough a snapshot of the state of modern type design as this issue of a magazine does.

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In Search of a Comprehensive Type Design Theory

Have you ever heard a conversation between two type designers? Even the most patient, well-intentioned outsider might find himself smiling embarrassedly, excusing himself and looking for an exit, dumbfounded. Type designers, like computer programmers, clinical biochemists, entomologists and agricultural scientists are marked by an unintelligible jargon and slavish devotion to their pursuits; what sets them apart, however, is the seeming unimportance of their discussions. We type designers might be convinced that our profession is vital to society, but we wouldn’t risk going on strike to test how indispensable we really are. Like printer cartridges or pen refills, fonts are undoubtedly very practical and serve their function, but the public seems to take them for granted and largely ignores them.

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Sunday Type: garbage type

August marks it's first birthday, and I'd like to ask you all for suggestions on how we might celebrate. I have begun organising some prizes, so if you can think of a competition or whatever, then let me know in the comments below. Don't be shy.

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Quality in Typefaces & Fonts

By Thomas Phinney

What makes for quality type? What's the difference between typeface quality and font quality? Who makes quality typefaces/fonts? Today's post is partly an education for the beginner, but also a plea to my colleagues at other companies for more testing.

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Helvetica: Old and Neue

by Ilene Strizver

The Helvetica® design can be seen virtually everywhere: in print, on the web, in the news and even in the movies (Helvetica, the film, is a must see!). Since its release in 1957, Helvetica has steadily been one of the most popular typefaces.

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