New Zealand type designer Kris Sowersby (National, Tiempos, Caliber) has some interesting things to say about type design and originality in this talk, given at TypeCon in 2018. He vigorously rejects any suggestion that type design is played out, and that new versions of old standards are a bad thing.
Kathryn Gauci writes with insight and sensitivity about the difficult and intertwined histories of Greece and Turkey, and also about the great drama of the Second World War. Her characters are caught up in the flow of events, and often forced to deal with great tragedies and make impossible choices. The Carpet Weaver of Usak depicts Greeks living alongside Turks in Asia Minor, a circumstance almost unimaginable today. Typefaces used: Orpheus Pro and Playfair italic. Code Name Camille explores the world of the Resistance in France, and the attendant dangers and betrayals.
When IBM commissioned a typeface family for their own internal use, they also released it for general use. Clean and practical, Plex also has some style and warmth. With sans, serif and monospaced subfamilies and many weights, one might wish that many businesses relying on dull typefaces such as Arial and Times New Roman might make the switch and use something much better for free.
Another free offering, Overpass is not quite a grand as Plex, but with eight weights and true italics, it is a fine and generous offering. Very smart and highly readable, and more space efficient than Plex.
Anura Amarasena and Sisira Colombage have written a practical guide to trading with the rapidly expanding Asian economies, using Australia-Sri Lankan trade as a case study. We opted for a bold, colourful design with type conforming to the angles of the image. Typeface used: Proxima Sans.
Made possible by recent innovations in type software, live chromatic type is creating a bit of a furore in type design. Here's an interview with one of the field's passionate proponents. Of course, Chromatic typefaces are not new -- the spectacular original versions were cast in metal and set by hand.
Google has an endearing penchant for quixotic projects. Noto is that, but also a noble effort to construct a completely inclusive set of typefaces — covering all of the world's major scripts but also most of the minor ones. The name is derived from 'no tofu' — the little white squares that pop up when one attempts to type a character outside the character set of the font in question. The font itself is fairly vanilla, but highly readable and comes in four sans and four serif weights, and is free from Google.
The creator of this website doesn't post often, but when he does, he makes up for the lack of quantity with sheer quality. He has an eye for interesting new type design plus a deep knowledge of design history. His enthusiasm is infectious. Well worth visiting for ideas and inspiration, unexpected combinations of type and strange tales from the dawn of typography.
Despite the advent of web-served type, Arial is still Queen of the Internet. 616,000 of the Web's top million websites use this rather unexceptional typeface. Fontreach gives an useful snapshot of font use.There are several old standards originally commissioned by Microsoft, a few freebies served by Google and finally, further down the list, some interesting new typeface designs.
A cover concept for a Visual Communications textbook for Cambridge University Press. I used an old experimental French typeface for the title — each letter is as minimal as possible, but still quite readable. The strange object featured at centre left on the front cover is a student artwork. This concept didn't make the final cut, but it was my personal favourite.
A few iterations on a two book series (non-fiction) for a local author. At the time of posting, covers 1 and 2 are favoured, though further modifications are likely. As ever, selecting, manipulating, kerning etc. type is more than half the fun. Typefaces used include Trajan Sans, Trade Gothic, Alternate Gothic, Museo and Plume.
Wordmark gives users a way of displaying the fonts resident on their computer. You can enter your own text string, display black on white or reversed, increase the font size. An excellent way to make font selection a bit easier.
A multi-generational tale of Italian-Australian family life. We wanted to convey the feel of the story through a single image. The story focuses on the female members of the family. Typefaces used: Bianca, Orpheus.
With the Ashley Madison hack in the news, comparing a font matching service with a dating service is probably not a great move. Fontflame brings the matching aspect of Tinder to typefaces. At present all of the typefaces matched are from the Google stable. This means they are free for any use, but the overall selection is rather limited. Also, the type sample shown on screen is rather small, making it difficult to make an informed selection. A more full-featured service would be great, with typefaces from large and small foundries and the ability to input one's own text string. That would be very useful for designers looking for inspiration.
Jessica Hische is almost a brand unto herself in the design world. Blessed with obvious talent and taste, she works on high profile design assignments, but also maintains a raft of often amusing side projects. Examples of her work can be seen here,here, here and here. She is a key part of the recent revival of interest in the lush, layered type design sometimes seen in 19th Century advertising art.
Not for me the genteel serifs of a Caslon or a Garamond. I prefer a typeface that makes a virtue of its serifs, and the slabs are squarely in that category. Slab serifs are sometimes heavy to the point of absurdity, or vanishingly thin. What they all have are prominent, unapologetic serifs. To me, the serifs look like purposeful feet marching across the page. Slabs are sometimes called Egyptian, a artefact of a brief European fascination with all things (Ancient) Egyptian. The style owes nothing to Egyptian writing styles, and is rooted firmly in the European typographic tradition. Other characteristics of the slab are minimal stroke width variation, and a large x-height. Their strong personality makes them natural attention-getters.
- Guardian Egyptian
- FF Unit Slab
- Geometric Slab Serif
- Museo Sans