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TYPO Labs: Variable Fonts Progress Report

Fastest upload ever! I just gave this talk earlier today at TYPO Labs in Berlin. I've barely slept for the last two days, so I'm surprised that I sound so lucid. Since last September’s announcement of the new OpenType 1.8...

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Source Han Serif: An open source Pan-CJK typeface

When I started at Adobe last September, the Adobe Type team had been hard at work for quite some time on a major project: Source Han Serif, a serif-style family supporting pan-CJK languages. This is a follow-up to Source Han...

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HOWLive with Ilise Benun

Today's media blitz continues with an interview with me on Ilise Benun’s HOWLive podcast. In the latest HOWLive podcast interview, Ilise Benun, founder of Marketing-Mentor.com and Program Partner for HOW Design Live talks with Dan Rhatigan of Adobe Typekit about...

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SVA Type Lab

For the last few Summers I have been one of the instructors for the SVA Type Lab, a 4-week course in typeface design here in New York. This year, we’ve been trying to promote the course with some cute short...

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The Blank-ish Page

This talk took place on Saturday, June 18, 2016 in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union as part of Typographics. Typographics 2016: The Blank-ish Page from Type@Cooper. My summary from the program: It can be difficult to explore possibilities...

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Tailored Typography

“Tailored Typography”, a talk I gave at the San Francisco Public Library on March 29, 2016, as part of Type@Cooper West’s lecture series I’ve delivered some variations of this talk in the past. In fact, I believe the first...

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Learning from Letraset

“Learning from Letraset”, a talk I gave at Cooper Union on February 22, 2016, as part of Type@Cooper’s Herb Lublin Lecture Series Letraset and other brands of rub-down type literally put typography in the hands of the people. Rub-down...

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The Indy Style Mag Style

A couple of years ago I wrote about a trend in magazine cover design that felt like was becoming a real cliché — centered title, single image with a border, maybe a bit of non-hierarchical list about what’s inside. After...

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Now we’re talking

After years of listening to fascinating, chasing interviews with a diverse bunch of smart people on Typeradio, I was really flattered when Donald and Liza asked me to sit down for a chat when I was in Den Haag last...

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Tattoo videos

I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but the more time I spend talking about typography to people who are into it, the more people want to know as much about my nerdy type tattoos as they want to know about...

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Ryman Eco

Yet another project I’ve been meaning to write more about at length, but haven’t had the time to do so properly. However, here’s a video in which I say most of what I’ve been meaning to write: Dan Rhatigan on...

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Century: longer version

Century: 100 Years of Type in Design from Monotype on Vimeo....

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Century: 100 Years of Type in Design

This little bit of excitement has taken up a lot of my time and concentration for the last few months, and the last few weeks in particular. [Century: 100 Years of Type in Design from Monotype on Vimeo.] From the...

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The Reflex

You know when you’ve been noticing something creep up on you over time? Things you begin seeing, filing away, forming into a pattern? Yesterday, I was looking at a bunch of projects by student designers, and a certain trend snapped...

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Spacing tests

A quickie, just so I can direct people to a few of my favorite sets of test material that I use in the earlier stages of working on a typeface design: Adhesiontext Essential — Miguel Sousa’s adhesiontext tool Emil Ruder’s...

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What, these old things?

design-is-fine: Bruce Rogers, drawing of the typeface Centaur for the Monotype release, 1929. Source What, these old things? I’m being glib, I know. I legitimately feel privileged that part of my job is to work with these incredible, unique...

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Futura: The Typeface of Today and Tomorrow

Just released: another in the series of short videos produced by D&AD that peer into the wonders of the Monotype archive. In this latest one, I have a chat with James-Lee Duffy of We Are Shadows about a stack...

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Typesetting on the Linotype

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Pencil to Pixel NYC trailer

For posterity, since I neglected to post it earlier in the year. This super cut of old Monotype and Linotype films still gets me excited....

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Tailored Typography

Fantastically charming illustrated summary of a talk I gave at Cooper Union last night, drawn by the magnificent Eva-Lotta Lamm....

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When the type industry was industrial

When we show material from Monotype's archive in the UK, I like to include photos of the Monotype Works, the company's cluster of factory buildings in Salfords, Surrey. Seeing an aerial view of the Works and a few glimpses...

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That damned baby is everywhere

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What’s Ћ point?

[A short blog post I recently wrote for Design Week...] The English language (and the Latin alphabet it uses) is well-known for adapting itself with the times and the needs of the many different people who use it. Because the...

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Exploring Gill Sans (and then some)

The latest video that the D&AD has produced down at the Monotype archive in Salfords, featuring a couple of MATD students having a chat with me about typefaces and research. Exploring Gill Sans from Chris Light on Vimeo. I Directed,...

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A Brief History of Typography 1928 - 1980

Note: for the sake of posterity, and because I've been blogging long enough to know that online stories tend to go missing after a while, I've started trying to repost articles in which I'm included. This lovely post by Ellen...

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Discovering Mercurius

This is a few months old, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that I've been delinquent about posting it here for posterity. (Blah blah not paying enough attention to the blog yadda yadda.) Over the last year, we've been...

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Pencil to Pixel NYC

While I'm on the subject of New York, I should also share this look back at the latest Pencil to Pixel that we put on there this past May. This was a huge success, an awful lot of fun (despite...

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Psycho Sixteen

In this flyer I made for my friend Lynn's 16th birthday party, we can see that I was playing aorund with this punky, pre-digital, cut-n-paste aesthetic ages ago. This was 1988 when I was 17, just about to head...

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Punk as Fuck

An unused graphic from Pink Mince #9 — Punk Mince. The cheerleader is shamelessly recycled from artwork I first prepared for a class project when I was in grad school: a poster for an imaginary lecture by Art Chantry....

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Two great independent magazines

I generally don't talk about Pink Mince when I'm doing things related to my day job, but I threw in a handful of visual references to accompany an interview in the latest issue of 8 Faces magazine. (If you...

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Angles on the head of a pin

An old foundry trick for showing off the precision of punch-cutting and typecasting abilities is to make something at a breathtakingly small size. This Typophile discussion about Roger Excoffon’s beautiful, bonkers typeface Calypso reminded me to dig out Monotype’s own...

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Where the Quality Designers Are

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Nerdgasm

There I was, happily doing some research at the Center here in New York, digging through the Donald Mashburn collection, when I had a nerdgasm. I was looking through an archive of flyers for gay nightclubs and sex clubs, with...

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The iconic London Underground typeface turns 100

I wrote a short little thing for Wired UK about the history of the Johnston Underground typeface. I was worried that I could only barely scratch the surface in 500 or so words, but people seem to enjoy it anyway:...

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The Mystery of the Stilla Swash

Ever since I first found this cover to a gentleman’s magazine on Tumblr, I’ve been perplexed. First, let me say that I think that is a brilliant piece of graphic design, regardless of what you may think about the...

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All about workflow

A preview section of the interview I gave to Eye magazine for their Monotype special edition, number 84:...

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Pencilled, Pixelated

Since I started working full-time at Monotype, and especially since I took over as UK Type Director last Spring, work has consumed a larger and larger part of my life. This would be bad if I didn't love this job...

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The Devo/Letraset Crossover

I get irrationally excited when two seemingly unrelated things actually have an intersection I didn't know about: Booji Boy is a character created in the early 1970s by American New Wave band Devo. The name is pronounced "Boogie Boy"—the...

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A home for Sodachrome — at House Industries

I have already mentioned — on quite a few occasions — an eccentric typographical experiment called Sodachrome that my friend Ian Moore and I designed for our friend Rathna. Ian and I have always been very proud of Sodachrome,...

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Ex Libris Beatrice Warde

From a copy of the 1953 edition of Stanley Morison's A Tally of Types, here in the office....

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The Horror

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Teen Issues

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A Type Nerd's Time in India

Last year I submitted an article to a very excellent zine called FAQNP (which stands for, mischievously, “FAQNP's a Queer Nerd Publication”) for their “Queer Nerd Travel Guide” issue, since I'm a queer nerd who travels a lot. The gents...

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My contribution to TypoLondon

Sure, I'm scheduled to give a talk, too, but I'm a little more tickled about this set of Monotype banners I got away with designing: That last one, of course, is also one of my tattoos. Because I REALLY love...

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In Service for the Sailor

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Type choice and type use

I'm still getting back into the swing of things after an extraordinary one-week trip to Iceland for this year's ATypI conference in Reykjavík. Although I've attended ATypI before, this was the first year I've been a speaker, and one lucky...

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Time and Times again

As satisfying as it was to blow off a little steam with my earlier rant about the misinformation surrounding Times New Roman, I knew that there would still be more to say on the matter. The history of this typeface,...

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Prime

I'm this much....

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Web Designer tips

Just a quick one for the clippings file: I wrote up a few quick tips about choosing typefaces for the web (or any screen-based project, really). Nothing major, but some ideas to chew on. This is from the web typography...

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72-Line Japonica

Chromatic initials caps from the Tokyo Tsukiji Type Foundry...

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From Russia, with love

Just earlier this evening I was talking about how I really ought to do some serious research into Cyrillic typography soon, and get a handle on the range of options for different styles of Cyrillic typefaces. And then this...

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Love type? Looking for work?

I'm passing this along on behalf of my employers at Monotype Imaging. We have an opening for a Field Marketing Representative to work out of the New York City area. This is not a design job, but more for a...

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The new era of type

In my official capacity, I wrote an opinion column for the latest issue (no. 192) of Computer Arts magazine about the state of digital type. I'm not sure if the article will be posted to their website, so just to...

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Traveling companion

I'm traveling in type-nerd style now. Well, I'm sure it just falls back to full-on nerdiness in my case. Nevertheless, I've been a little obsessed with this since I saw it a few months ago, so I finally gave...

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It was never called Times Old Roman

Journalism is frustrating, because it has a way of making its errors become part of the public record, and then they take on a life of their own. So pardon my pedantry, but I want to clear up a couple...

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Purveyor of High-Class Meat

Isn't this an exquisite letterhead? Modernism had its place, but I really do miss the craftsmanship and exuberance of things like this....

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Typodarium 2012

I contributed to the Typodarium 2012 calendar with Copse and Astloch....

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Exciting New Gay Magazines

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Complete

Yup. Complete. Nothing else needed or available. [via From Beyond the Unknown]...

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5 easy ways to overcome shyness

So far, however, none of these have worked....

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Popular Slut Club

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All lifestyles

I don't know how I managed to miss this bit of type nerdery for so long, but I just noticed these lyrics in “All Lifestyles”, from the Beastie Boys' 2004 album To the 5 Boroughs: So what'cha want? So what'cha...

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Boys' books

My kingdom for a high-res version of this! touchoflavender: Unite!...

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Hello, Dolly

Now that it's healed, it's a little easier to show off the latest addition to my collection of typographic tattoos. This little beauty is from the italic face of Dolly, available from Underware. I had mentioned to one of...

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Every Thursday

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FAQNP #3: A Queer Nerd Travel Guide

I contributed an article to the zine FAQNP for its third issue, “A Queer Nerd Travel Guide”. My photo feature, “A Type Nerd's Time in India”, is a look at how well (or for the most part, how badly)...

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Treasures from the attic

About five years ago, when I was getting ready to move to England and take another crack at grad school, I was starting to worry about what to do with all my stuff. I'd surrendered many treasures as I downsized...

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Avant Garde

I spent the day working on a custom version of this typeface, thinking that it's one of those designs that only seems to deserve its fame when it's used just right, but the rest of the time feels a...

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Street Life, 1960s

[via I Am So Retro]...

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Childhood dreams

I've been trying to be diligent about duplicating here what goes into my Tumblr feeds now that I've pulled the old stuff into the archives, but this time it makes more sense to combine these three posts into one. As...

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Dazzling array of Bengali book covers

While I'm on the subject of Indian lettering, I should give a shout to this exquisite collection of book covers posted to Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski. The range of lettering and illustration styles shown in these covers will blow...

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Hand-Painted Type

It's been a treat to see Hanif Kureshi's completely awesome HandPaintedType project getting a lot of attention and praise during the last month or so. I met Hanif back in March, at Typography Day in Ahmedabad, and immediately took...

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That's MISTER Queen to you

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Bear Parade

Pink Mince #5, obvs. All the Tumblr attention isn't that much of a surprise (there was a certain shameless pandering to my art direction for that article), but I wish all the visibility would lead to a few more...

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Ladies & Gents

Quite a bargain on Balls Pond Road, Dalston...

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The most likely prospect

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The Art of the Book Jacket

wordsandeggs: The Art of the Book Jacket, front and back cover design by Hans Tisdall. From the 1949 exhibit catalog for The Art of the Book Jacket at the Victoria & Albert Museum in England. From FullTable, via the always...

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Samson

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Pink's a-poppin'

Dig the new shirt from the Pink Mince store, all jazzed up with some of the offerings at House Industries' amazing Photo-Lettering site. Pick up one of your own right here, or see if you like some of the...

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3 Scissors

numberoftheday: matchindia073 (by pilllpat (agence eureka))...

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P.S.A.

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Grooming

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Univers Devanagari

Univers Devanagari by Adrian Frutiger and Mahendra Patel...

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Are you a perfect Tarzan?

touchoflavender: take note boys and step on the pedestal...

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The pretty one

mosshh: God save Rory....

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The cavalcade of perversion

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Overlooked masterpiece

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Note to self

Ease off the ass....

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Future of Web Design

Ubelly’s been doing sketch notes of the talks at the Future of Web Design conference. This includes their take-away from my talk about web fonts....

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The Pink Mince mood board

pinkpanthers: “We’re here, we’re queer, we riot!”...

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Arcadia

myfavourite-veryeclectic-things: arcádia, candyshop, porto...

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The big red book

All this stuff I’ve been writing about webfonts just makes me want to crack open a dusty old specimen book and enjoy some ink on paper....

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Mike's Tattooing

rubyredglitterpumps: Tattoo Shop from the 1950s...

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: From Gately’s Universal Education, 1883-1886. Via Sheaff Ephemera....

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The Pink Mince mood board

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Leftover Beefcake

Check it out — a new Pink Mini! “Leftover Beefcake” is a bonus pack of vintage gentlemen....

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Under a dollar

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Covers of Indian 45s

These few samples are just a small portion of a gorgeous stack of covers for old 45s (well, some are 33rpm records of the same size) that my pal Erin (the amazing Hindi Rinny) was given while we were travelling...

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In mailboxes across the USA

At last! Americans are getting their copies of Pink Mince #7. jessiewonka: Taken with instagram...

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Fin.

morbidsouls: Flickr...

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Dreamboat

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Gilley's

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Physical Graffiti

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Take the AA train

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Electro-Tutor

wordsandeggs: Electro-Tutor! It’s like the game Operation, but for maps! From today’s French Friday post HERE....

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Web Fonts: Type Choice & Type Use

Everyone in the type world seems to be talking about web fonts, which is a bit of a bummer when you find other typographic challenges more fascinating. Nevertheless the subject has become something of a juggernaut in the past couple...

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Player's

adventures-of-the-blackgang: shop front...

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Noise pollution

publiccollectors: An anti-noise poster designed by Müller-Brockman, Switzerland. Scanned from Graphic design: visual comparisons by Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes and Bob Gill,Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York, 1964....

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Bionic Showdown

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The Pink Mince mood board

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The TV Party!

jockohomo: The Lost Art of The Hip Hop Flyer - Talk about “original street art”, using extinct tools and resources like Rub on Letters, Wax Machines, Exacto Knives, Graph Paper and Photocopiers, you had to have some serious SKILLZ to...

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House Industries sticks it

I have been wrapping EVERYTHING with this stuff lately. wordsandeggs: Letter tape from House Industries, via Design*Sponge....

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The Funny Pages

I’m really proud of this one, and totally think you should pickup a copy. “The Funny Pages” is a special giant-sized edition of Pink Mince, a loving tribute to the comics. Featuring the work of James Bainbridge, Drub, Sina Evil,...

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Alpine Ski 29

numberoftheday: Alpine Ski (by Boldover Design)...

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Shoreditch

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Photo finished!

I have been eagerly waiting YEARS for this to be ready. SO EXCITED! I made this thing as an excuse to play with the fonts. colinmford: Photo Lettering, Inc. is alive! It’s really cool—for those of you who don’t know,...

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Arnhem

Arnhem, the Netherlands...

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1963

numberoftheday: 1963 (by Skinny Ships)...

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Oh l'amour

wordsandeggs: Andre Beato type/design, via GrainEdit....

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Made in Japan

wordsandeggs: Vintage Japanese Safety Match label, via Design Related/Karen Horton....

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Pre-order your Mince

Pre-order your copy of Pink Mince #7 — The Funny Pages — and get your hands on a copy as soon as it arrives back from the printer! (Or pick up a 6-issue subscription and always get the latest copy.)...

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Gothic exercises

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From the scrapbook

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Official business

April Fool's Day is probably a bad time to make a major announcement, but I swear this one is for real. As of today, I am employed full-time as a senior type designer at Monotype Imaging, based out of our...

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Let me adorn you, the bold design of you

GAY TYPOGRAPHY ALERT! If you are a regular here at Ultrasparky, then there's a good chance you're either a type nut, or kind of a homo. (Those are both wonderful things, and I applaud for either. You may still be...

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CXXVI

I endorse these products, and the groovy lettering that’s on them. joncontino: Brand new season and website for my brand, CXXVI Clothing Co....

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Practically perfect

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The ascender to my descender

OK, when you put it like that it makes more sense to me. Thank you, Diesel Sweeties. [Note: This comedic use of simile is relevant to my interests, but only in the abstract. Oh, how I wish it had...

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Gujarati

wordsandeggs: Vintage matchbook cover, via Agence Eureka....

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From the scrapbook

numberoftheday: Dutch-Indian Art Exhibition in Krefeld (1906)Artist : Johann Thorn-Prikker (1868-1932)...

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Prado 264

numberoftheday: Prado 264 - Havana, Cuba (via Phil Marion)...

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Bag of Treats

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One is No. 1, one isn't

adventuresinmonotype: If you, dear reader, had manufactured two very, very different kinds of oil for your machines, would you really decide to call one of them ‘Mould Oil’ and the other ‘Mould Oil No.1’?...

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Sturdy pants

sissydudeomen2: (via “I thought the placement of the hole was strange” - mr. simpson)...

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Meat Team

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Bollywood!

I've just come back from an incredible two-week trip to India — a whirlwind tour with stops in Bombay, Ahmedabad, Boroda, Calcutta, Serampore, and Bangalore — and there's a lot of material to sift through, a lot of new...

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Power of the Pouch

Pink Mince #6 — STARKERS!...

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From the scrapbook

retrogasm: Sparky says… via...

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Come on everybody!

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Slash

jockohomo: Irreverence You Can Almost Touch -“The most disposable yet fascinating of all magazines are the small do-it-yourself, photocopied or offset-printed fanzines. Before Web sites and blogs, these zines were a bridge between mainstream magazines and personal newsletters. Well, maybe...

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Introducing Astloch

This is my second experiment for the Google webfonts project, somewhat hot on the heels of Copse. Astloch is a pair of fonts based on the interplay of sharp angles and large, loopy curves found in Fraktur lettering. (Astloch...

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Windmills of my mind

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Endorsed

joncontino: For sale at Doane Paper tomorrow!...

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The Pink Mince mood board

temple-of-apollo: SEA MEN...

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PLINC

A personal favourite in my collection. Sigh, if only SOMEONE could make it possible to use these designs. (via kariusbaktus)...

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: Simon Walker, via Grain Edit. I love PBS....

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The Pink Mince mood board

dulltooldimbulb: Boys Wanted...

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S'Truth

comicallyvintage: In This Issue....

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From the scrapbook

WANT. laureola: » Etsy :: Numeric Glasses...

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From the scrapbook

burnhazard: Golden Age Comic Book Stories Big Little Books - an assortment Published by Whitman & Saalfield ~ 1930’s-40’s...

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A pal of mine did that calligraphy that’s all over Colby Keller

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From the scrapbook

Thanks, Sissydude...

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From the scrapbook

Graffiti on the Temple of Dendur...

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From the scrapbook

mudwerks: 13: Welcome to THE HOUSE OF TERROR!!...

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From the scrapbook

drawnblog: “Whale of a Convention” (by K. James+ Add Contact) The clean graphics, type choices, and faded, distressed ink on this 1955 periodical are a beautiful combination....

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The Pink Mince mood board

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The Pink Mince mood board

Dreamboats in any language. (A surprising collision of the more disparate Pink Mince interests.)...

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Copse’s first month

A really nice thing about Google’s web font project is the usage statistics that are visible for all the available fonts. For instance, let’s take a look at the numbers on Copse, the single-weight design I contributed last month: I’m...

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The Pink Mince mood board

retrogasm: Shoot they’re closed…...

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From the scrapbook

Speaking of which, I also ♥ what the Typejockeys did for this concert. I was drooling over the poster before I even realized who did it....

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From the scrapbook

I ♥ the stuff the Typejockeys do so much. I’d hate them if they weren’t such good friends. wordsandeggs: Lebkuchenherz for Austrian newspaper diePresse. Via TypeJockeys, by way of WeLoveTypography....

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: From Wallace Design House. More on my blog HERE....

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: Between Jamalpur & Raikhad, Ahmedabad — from Meena Kadri’s streets of India series over at Design Observer....

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From the scrapbook

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Helvetica

Fuck yeah Helvetica. For realz....

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Toys for Boys

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Pink Mince in exile

Pink Mince is all packed up for our two-month relocation to New York City, including a stack of back issues for any orders that trickle in. Now to think of what to publish while we’re there! Also, invitations to hang...

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From the scrapbook

adventures-of-the-blackgang: Great Central Railway - “To and from the Continent - Grimsby to Hamburg, Rotterdam and Antwerp” - timetable and map folder A folder advertising the Great Central Railway’s (GCR) shipping services via Grimsby in 1912. Original...

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Photo-Lettering

numberoftheday: 1967 Photo-Lettering Alphabet Yearbook via Grain Edit...

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Sublime

adventures-of-the-blackgang: Art Direction Spanish Railways Timetable guide, 1929 Original (1706 x 2584)...

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By the Typejockeys

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From the scrapbook

jockohomo: Wasn’t tomorrow wonderful?...

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From the scrapbook

iconoclassic: The dirty child...

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From the scrapbook

retrogasm: This must have been awesome…...

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From the scrapbook

adventures-of-the-blackgang: 1947 Johnson Line brochure (composite) *click thru to see images of the interior, passenger areas and accommodations Johnson Line; Sweden(Johnsonlinjen - Rederi AB Nordstjernan) timetableimages.com...

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Introducing Copse

I performed a little experiment during the the first two weeks of this month, and designed a typeface called Copse. The design is not very experimental, but the process was. When I realized I would need some freelance projects...

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From the scrapbook

numberoftheday: My new fixie (by Francois de Halleux)...

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Menu

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The Pink Mince mood board

wordsandeggs: Journal cover, via MoonmothPress on Etsy....

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From the scrapbook

retrogasm: Xx is for X-Ray...

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Vintage Indian paperback covers

So exciting! Check out these glorious examples of lettering in various Indic scripts, gathered in this Flickr set, with a bit more info over at the blog A Journey Round My Skull. So pretty! And a bit of a goldmine...

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: Vintage hotel label, via DavidGeorgePearson. More on my blog HERE....

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: But don’t send it to me, please....

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From the scrapbook

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: Via YeeHaw Industries....

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Daily routine

colinmfordkabk: Zen and the art of opening FontLab....

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From the scrapbook

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Hero

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Super

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From the scrapbook

adventures-of-the-blackgang: Ship-Mates Pinball...

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From the scrapbook

numberoftheday: india bidi paper (via hannakez)Here spelled “Beedies”...

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The Elite

Overall, this Economist article on the legendary Matthew Carter is quite good, but for me this is the bit that stands: "Mr Carter sits near the pinnacle of an elite profession. No more than several thousand type designers ply the...

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The Pink Mince mood board

feastingonroadkill…...

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From the scrapbook

kupferschrift: मेरा भारत महान by Meena Kadri...

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From the scrapbook

adventures-of-the-blackgang: Home-Cote Quick Dry Enamel...

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Woody

kupferschrift: Morgan Press Wood Type (Sat./SI/EN!) (via kindra)...

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From the scrapbook

adventures-of-the-blackgang: Sketches of Maine - Art Direction from the Monkeyfist collection...

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My style

I totally want these. No lie. Especially the jacket. publiccollectors: Scanned from a Summer 1969 Sears catalog. Usually I hold back on the judgment and editorializing about things I post on Public Collectors but these patriotic shopping list ensembles just...

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From the scrapbook

numberoftheday: allumettesmotochiffre029 [ via pillpat (agence eureka) ]...

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Times Modern and the modern Times

There's a tendency when talking about typefaces to focus on the little details. However, this is a story about the life cycle of typefaces, specifically the way typefaces have been a crucial part of the life cycle of The...

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From the scrapbook

The Stilla “Z” really IS kind of great, which is why I have a tattoo of it. numberoftheday: Back issues of U&lc have been made available for download from fonts.com. Page 15 from volume 1 number 2, first printed in...

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From the scrapbook

wordsandeggs: “The Tattooed Man” (1930), via Agence Eureka....

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Dust-up

comicallyvintage...

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From the scrapbook

jockohomo: Stereo Stack - If only because I’m still a vinyl junkie, even though I don’t have room....

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From the scrapbook

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The Pink Mince mood board

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Type is only skin-deep

Ready at last! Feast your eyes on this little video clip of me getting my tattoo of the "w" from Type Mafia's Actium Black Italic this Summer. Henk Schiffmacher, the tattoo artist, was quite a character, and luckily he...

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From the scrapbook

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The Pink Mince mood board

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From the scrapbook

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248 t-shirts I don't own

I’m completely stunned that someone could assemble a list of 250 typographic t-shirts and only two of the ones I own make the list. I have a lot, and frankly it's become a bit of a cliché that I’ve been...

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From the scrapbook

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Kooky buttons

(via sissydudeomen2)...

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The many faces of Sparky

My career seems to be at the point where I rarely need to tailor or tinker with my CV (or résumé in the American parlance), but I need to rewrite short bios over and over again. that’s a good sign,...

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Colliding obsessions

My squeal-inducing find of the day was the blog of Todd Klein, who has been working for ages as a letterer for comic books, and producing outstanding work. It's a bit inaccurate to say that his site is just...

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From the scrapbook

typefacedesign: Excellent points for all designers!...

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From the scrapbook

typefacedesign: During lunch, Dan Rhatigan explaining the complexities of Bengali on mobile screens. Dan talked about the collaboration between the University and Monotype to develop new fonts for the mobile and web environments in India. NB: Not just Bengali, which...

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From the scrapbook

jonnodotcom: Gay Liberation Front poster - New York, 1970...

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From the scrapbook

colinmford: (via baubauhaus)...

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From the scrapbook

specimenism: Battista...

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From the scrapbook

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Glyphs on film

One of the intrepid designers who have purchased a license for Sodachrome (perhaps you recall me mentioning that lovely typeface designed by the talented Ian Moore and me?) is my pal Todd Macfie, a designer in Vancouver who I got...

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Uniqlo

(via fuckyeahhelvetica) Circular link to a link that links to my photo...

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Bear hug!

Not to pander to a certain demographic or anything, but you can now get that little graphic — based on an idea from Mr Moore, using his typeface Leyton (which you should buy) — from the Pink Mince t-shirt...

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Apprenticize!

There don't seem to be any details online yet but since this was officially announced at the Pen to Printer seminar in Ditchling this weekend, I suppose I’m free to spread the word. The Wynkyn de Worde Society is funding...

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Maple

specimenism: Maple...

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Caring for yourself & your home

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From the scrapbook

pium: idiopolis: (via nevver)...

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NASA

kiske: Allen145 (via leifpeng)...

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Thrift Shop

(via dirtylittlestylewhore)...

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Apologies

antithetic: I need a stack of these....

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Travesties, but not

kiske: Deuce Design®...

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Sigh.

(via sissydudeomen2)...

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Vegas, baby

(via roughtrade)...

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From the scrapbook

(via iamseanwelker)...

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Gay old Spark

Originally uploaded by alistairh....

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Superheroes without Borders

Every single one of these covers from old Arabic editions of Superman comics is exquisite, somewhat surreal, and perhaps a nice reminder that Superman only started fighting for the American way in the 50s during the thick of the Cold...

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Wise words on webfonts

My brain shuts down over webfonts. I can't muster the will to care. Partially it's because I really hate designing and building websites and I just don't want to know more because then it will be easier to avoid it...

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Enter the Void

One of the points I try and make when I talk about "bad" type (let's just say it's of dubious quality, for whatever reason) is that a good designer can do brilliant things with almost any typeface with enough imagination...

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Oh Coney, My Coney

The start of Summer always makes me long for Coney Island, especially now that it's so far away and I'll probably never see it again before it finally gives in to all the pressure and becomes something else. But there's...

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Don't be a snob

I’ve been really focused on getting things ready for a talk I gave to the design students at Central St Martins last night, because it was a whole new presentation that required me to really digest and process a lot...

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Raising the bar

I completely adore what my colleagues and pals are doing to establish their up-and-coming foundries like the Type Jockeys and BAT Foundry. Of course, it just makes it harder for the rest of us — all dazzling, charming, and talented...

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Filed for future reference

I’m too damn tired to digest this information right now, but I should later so I’m just dropping in the link since you might find it useful, too, if you're a giant type nerd who has to think about these...

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The Art of Working Together

I wanted to draw special attention to Jonathan Hoefler's remarks about collaborative typeface design from this Typophile thread, because they are wise, and they give credit where it's due, and because they paint such a clear picture of the kinds...

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The Land of Oz

I’ve been gathering and sorting images for a talk I’m giving tomorrow at Central St Martins on type design, and how looking at "bad" typefaces and awkward signage and eccentric hand-lettering can teach a type designer a lot. The basic...

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Modern Typesetting

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Ed Benguiat's Glorious Caslon

I can't say I’m a fan of John Mayer, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to own this mouth-watering poster designed by the masterful gents over at House Industries. Just look at those dazzling Photo-Letters in action. Sublime,...

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Credit where it's due

As you may expect, there's been a lot of press about J. D. Salinger since he passed away last week, but the negligence of some of it has irked me. The covers of Salinger's books have always been iconic...

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It's Sodachrome Day!

Until I was reminded by the talented Rob Keller, I had completely forgotten that today is Sodachrome Day in the 2010 Typodarium calendar. Woo hoo! Although it's a shame that we weren't able to show off our efforts in...

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Commercial Commercial

I was all excited a while back about the impending availability of the Guardian type family, but its creators didn't seem to do anything public about it for a while. Well, the wait is finally over: Paul Barnes and...

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The booming interest in bad writing

I don't expect a lot of quality from cheap journalism in low-end newspapers, but when the subject is near and dear to me, it almost causes me physical pain to know that someone got paid to look through Google results...

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Non-Latin domain names coming soon

Wow, this'll be a huge change. ICANN is getting ready to allow internationalized domain names — web-site domain names that use non-Latin character encodings instead of the regular western alphabet. Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are domain names represented by local...

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The Typejockeys are unstoppable

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Poseurs

See that Sex Pistols flyer above? It's being auctioned by Christie's with a starting bid of $2,000-$3,000. The thing is, though, it's totally a fake. You know how you can tell? Typeface analysis. And the gratuitous use of Comic...

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TDi: intensive typeface design

This July — as in, soon — Reading is offering a week-long version of the MA Typeface Design course. I wrote a little more about it over at I Love Typography....

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Oh, Hitler

He's freaking out about fonts again: I like the shout-out to I Love Typography in that one....

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The Alphabet Shelves

I am in love with this installation/cluster of shelves shaped liked letters. (I may also have a bit of a crush on the guy who made them, but that’s a different matter entirely.) Check out his other stuff, too:...

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NSFW vault

Tee hee! [Photo by givepeasachance at Flickr.]...

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The Master Reads

It a truth universally acknowledged that the Hitler-loses-his-shit scene from Downfall is an almost endless source of comedy gold if you play around with the subtitles. Finally, a version that cuts to the chase on a subject very dear to...

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The New Rail Alphabet

Available at last! Margaret Calvert and Henrik Kubel have released the New Rail Alphabet, their gorgeous revival of Calvert's classic design for British hospitals and transport networks in the 60s. As you can see, it's like a Helvetica, but...

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Diesel type

Sorry for the shitty photo, but it gives a glimpse of the awesome use of wood type to jazz up the fitting rooms in the Diesel men's shop on Carnaby Street. There's also a nice border of type going...

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You will like my sense of style

"Let me adorn you, the bold design of you." I absolutely love this song from Towa Tei's second solo album, Sound Museum. When it came out in 1998, I had no idea who Kylie Minogue was (and although I...

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Processional

My supremely talented and charming pals Eric and Nicole of the Process Type Foundry delivered a great, illuminating talk about their work recently at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Luckily, you can view it on YouTube (below), or download...

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More on Sodachrome

A few people have been asking about how Sodachrome actually works, and how a user would assemble the pieces to work properly. It's actually a lot simpler than it might seem: no crazy OpenType features, no complex setting. It's just...

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The Colour Grey, revealed

I may have hinted at this before, but for a chunk of the last year, I have been collaborating with my good friend and fellow MATD alumnus Ian Moore on some type and graphic design projects. Need some bespoke type...

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Genuine Imitations

If you're a type nut who will be in the London area on Thursday, 28 May, Matthew Carter is going to be giving a free lecture, "Genuine imitations: a type designer's view of revivals", at the St Bride Library. It...

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Teaching new dogs old tricks

My associate Mr. Moore — a popular but occasionally controversial contributor to Design Assembly — has written another great piece. This time around he's kicking off what will hopefully be a series of "old book reviews" by considering the pearls...

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The Internet says I know something

It gives me a mild flash of nerdy glee to know that I am now cited as a source for information in not one but two articles on Wikipedia. If you ever have any need or desire to read about...

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Unreleased, untitled Gill typeface

Note: This is really a response to a question posed in this Typophile thread, but I’m also jotting down some info here so I can find it more easily some day. In September 1935 Gill drew for Monotype a stressed...

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Take the H Train

The Times hops on the Helvetica subway car with this shorter, simpler version of the Paul Shaw's history of subway typography. [I am totally waiting for the Helvetica backlash to kick in any day now.]...

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Processional

One more shout-out: dig this profile of my pal Eric Olson in the November installment of Creative Characters at MyFonts: Eric's awesome wife Nicole Dotin (the other half of the Process Type Foundry) was a classmate of mine at Reading,...

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Typejockeys

It's a real shame I don't know German, since I would love to read these this article and this interview about Typejockeys, Vienna's sassiest new type and design studio, coincidentally run by my good friend, former flatmate, and fellow MATD...

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Standard Medium

A lot of people who've met me — who quickly learn in the course of chit-chat that I’m a type nut and that I’m from New York — will often say something about the use of Helvetica in the New...

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Local Colo(u)r

Over the summer I moved from my lovely flat in quiet Reading and moved into a little sliver of a neighborhood at the far end of Tooting in South London. Living in London is decidedly more interesting, but I can't...

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House in the house

I’m a big fan of House Industries, not just as designers and fellow pop-culture enthusiasts, but also as a bunch of really good-natured, fun, talented guys. It pains me regularly that they release all these zesty, beautifully crafted typefaces...

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A font walks into a bar

Believe it or not, corny jokes about typefaces are the kind of thing that are usually too geeky even for me. Nevertheless, I feel like I ought to just post something about this now before every other person in the...

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These go to 11

Rejoice! The MA Type Design program at Reading has just unleashed a new batch of gorgeous, freshly minted typefaces! Behold! I’ve had a real blast getting to know these guys during the past year, but since I wasn't actually there...

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Typography for Lawyers

Once you start thinking about typography, you begin to realize that it affects everyone to some degree or another: it's not just the preoccupation of the font nerds in your life. (Just ask any of the many people I’ve turned...

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Badger

If you think you would enjoy an extremely cute but sad tale of a lonely badger living in a flat in South London (and really, how could you not enjoy it?), then you should buy a copy of Howard...

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And people think I’m fussy?

I giggled at this passage that I just encountered in The Joe Orton Diaries: Peter Willes rang up. 'What do you mean by sending me such an atrocious script?' he said. 'What?' I said. 'All the "O's" are out of...

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ΩÖØ

Do you like the idea of using crazy characters in your blog posts or online profile headlines, but just can't remember all those nutty character entities? Fret no more! This website is a tiny little thing that lets you copy...

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Read about Reading

If you can find yourself a copy of the current issue of Baseline (number 55, Summer 2008) you'll find a nice little profile of the stuff that goes on at the Typography Department at Reading. [Baseline's website doesn't seem...

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Oh Guardian, my Guardian

Just this past weekend I was saying how much I wished the Guardian family designed by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz was done with its exclusive contract with the Guardian and available to other people. Lo and behold, the time...

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Undervalued much?

Here's one for the type designers out there, especially those of you who've dipped your toes into the murky depths of non-Latin typefaces: The project is for outputing a variant Typeface from an existing open source Typeface, where the variant...

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Glyphs on Film

I finally had a chance to watch the outtakes from Helvetica (the documentary that any and all type and/or graphic designers know about, but the rest of you may or may not know about), and I was pleasantly surprised....

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Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #785

Apelad makes me smile extra big today. Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #785, Originally uploaded by Ape Lad....

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The New Swiss Typography

A ton of congratulaions to my Reading classmate Valentin Brustaux, whose gorgeous typeface Tiina won a prize for text/type family in this year's Type Director's Club competition....

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Perfection

The perfect simile to explain a thorny issue about type history to people who are familiar with fonts as things they pick from a list: ...there can never be a definitive Bodoni, Garamond, Jenson, or Fleischmann typeface, as their oeuvres...

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Recognition!

Observed on Design Observer today: At least we know someone got one of the specimen booklets we sent out. Thanks for the shout-out!...

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On your radio

BBC Radio 4 had a nice little bit about fonts this morning, which you can listen to through internet magic. The font stuff happens a little way into the show (so a bit of patience is required, although the rest...

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Oldie but a goodie

The Big G from the NL dug up this old Guardian article about the MA Typeface Design program here in scenic Reading. Not a bad summary, to be fair, although the days of class numbers being "strictly limited to just...

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The Alphabet Thesaurus Nine Thousand

For sheer typographic exuberance, it's hard to beat the old specimen books published by Photo-Lettering, Inc., a now-defunct phototypesetting outfit that flourished for about 50 years in New York. The Photo-Lettering library was massive, mostly made up of a mind-boggling...

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Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

This is what my typeface and some of my graphic design work looks like when it's rolling of the printing press:...

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Busy Bee

Progress on my dissertation has been an uphill battle against two very demanding design projects I’ve been plowing through at the same time. One, thankfully, is on its way to turning out very well after a few hiccups on press...

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The Reading Mafia, West Coast Edition

20070803-DSC01007.jpg Originally uploaded by Joe Pemberton. Spotted in the photos of Typecon Seattle: future and former tenants of my flat, and members of Gerry's international shadow army. (Plus, of course, the charming Miss Tiffany, adjunct operative of the shadow...

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14 Faces

...but enough about me. You should check out what my obscenely talented classmates have been up to this year. 14 dazzling type families that cover scripts like Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Gujurati, and Tamil — and we're all just getting...

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Introducing Gina

Another deadline finished! We turned in our typeface files last week, and I just turned in the specimen booklet this morning. Next it's an essay on the development and production of the typefaces, and after that it's on to...

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Greek Relics

A week later, and I’ve finally had a chance to unpack from my trip to Θεσσαλονίκη. (I’m procrastinating on the typeface, naturally.) I brought back some lovely souvenirs to remind me of my Greek adventure: Candy is essential for keeping...

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Heavy Metal

Casting Originally uploaded by Jaypeg. I followed a link to this lovely Flickr set of one woman's pictures of the letterpress workshop at an old place where she housesits, and I suddenly realized I had already been there! It's...

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Not Interchangeable!

My classmate Ian e-mailed me this link with the subject "T-Shirt for Dan". It doesn't take long for folks to realize I love a nerdy type t-shirt, and I can't resist a little pedantry when it comes to typesetting....

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Typecasting at the Plantin-Moretus Museum

One of them many incredible places we visited during last week's whistlestop tour of Holland and Belgium was the extraordinary Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. (Flickr it.) From the world's two oldest printing presses to the incredible array or original...

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Settling on Proportions

We had an informal group crit a couple of weeks ago, and it was good to get feedback from more people after so much time alone with my typeface. It was no surprise that there are still a bunch of...

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Cuteness Trumps Kerning

Oh, my beloved Diesel Sweeties, you've done it again. At its worst — and it's rarely bad — this comic is still adorable and comfortably nerdy. At its best, it's like those crazy pixelated robots have escaped from the eccentric...

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Ultrasound

Wow, that was a bad idea. I posted a sample image of the typeface I’ve been working on, but I looked at it for a few seconds and realized it looks really, really shitty on screen. It's slowly — sloooooooooowly...

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Essay Feedback

We're finally getting feedback on the essays we completed back in January, drawing a long period of uncertainty to a conclusion. I haven't done any kind of academic writing in quite a long time, and considering the rather modest...

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that’s Not How I Learned to Kern

I saw these lewd typographic posters show up in a few conference presentations this past summer, but could never track down the images. Thankfully, someone tracked down the evidence....

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SoStupidRIGHT?

It is my fondest wish — professionally, at least — that organizations would stop trying to establish their brands with creative capitalization. It just causes problems and makes them look juvenile....

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Questions, Questions

While having a mini-reunion with my mother, sister, and a bunch of very distant relatives in Limerick this past weekend, I found myself trying to explain many, many times what it is I’m doing here. If only I’d known that...

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So Sketchy

Sketches, as requested. Notice my many explorations of how to build an "a" that fits in? (I’m partial to the third from the left, bottom row.) Drawing was better today, but the letters became too distorted when I tried to...

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Sketchy Sketches

Work on my typeface is coming slowly, despite my rushing ahead. My method for the first couple of weeks was to plow ahead from rough sketches to tight contour drawings to cringeworthy Fontlab outlines, just so I can get a...

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Nerd It Up

Since helpful pals like Jean-Baptiste insist on enabling my penchant for typographic clothing by showing me gems like the Hel-fucking-vetica shirt, I thought I may as well let you all know how to head down this slippery slope with me....

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Wrap Me, Read Me

I know that Dave from Helveti.ca is finishing up his first book design project over here, so I am shamelessly scooping, and shamelessly stealing these pictures of awesome typofabrics from India, Ink. Even though I can barely sew on a...

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You Can Judge a Book by Its Counters

Now that we've started drawing and sketching for our practical work, I’ve been spending more and more time thinking about the kinds of forms that might work well for the problems I’ve been talking about so far. In many ways,...

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The Stroke of the Pencil

I’ve been very frustrated with my type sketches so far. The act of making these precise, controlled contour drawings has felt very alien to me. I’ve never done much calligraphy, so using shaped markers or pens (or simulating their strokes)...

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The Unger Method: Day 1

After a slow-ish couple of weeks of introductory sessions and reading, we finally began drawing some type today. It was a slow, clumsy start to be sure, but surprisingly encouraging b the end of the day. Gerard Unger gave us...

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Word Shapes

In Counterpunch, Fred Smeijers talks about the importance of word shapes in how we read: At the root of configuration or overall visual arrangement is the design of the word. . . . Though it might seem that the type...

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Notes for Practical Stuff

And a few other ideas to file away for the practical work: The STIX folks have been keeping up with developments to Unicode, and are maintaining tables of recommended Type 1 character names. Look into that. Structured documents can have...

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Euler Thoughts

An article by Donald Knuth and Hermann Zapf about the development of their Euler fonts for typesetting math gives me a lot to chew on. More than I can lucidly process right now, so instead let me jot down a...

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Future Tendencies of the Past

It's interesting to read "Future Tendencies in Type Design" in 2006, 20 years after Hermann Zapf first wrote this article about whether or not there is any point in updating classic typefaces for yet another new type technology. (Short version:...

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More Math Notes

The more I think about it and discuss it with people, the more I like this idea of concentrating on a typeface that’s optimized for setting math and other technical material. Aside from the amount of time I’ve spent grappling...

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ATypI 2006 Resources

Adobe's Tom Phinney was kind enough to gather up PDFs for many of the presentations from this year's ATypI in Lisbon and post them on his blog. He promises he'll post any others that speakers send him, so it might...

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No Word Shapes in Math

While griping about the hassles of typesetting math in this Typophile thread, I finally put my finger on what makes so many otherwise good typefaces fall apart in math or technical work: character-level legibility. A good text face works best...

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Helvetica Will Consume Us All

While we're on this Helvetica kick, let me point out helveti.ca: all Neue Haas Grotesk, all the time!...

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For Your Swiss Chalet

Hot on the heels of the typolicious preview I saw for Helvetica! The Movie (Well, it's just called Helvetica, but damnit a documentary about a typeface deserves an exclamation point) comes this absurdly sexy system of wall panels made...

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Wiped Out

Another year, another TypeCon. (that’s a good thing, by the way: TypeCon is always a highlight of the year for me. 'Cuz I’m a nerd.) I am deeply, deeply exhausted after 5 days of workshops on type design, presentations on...

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It's Competation!!

My new battle cry from now on is: "It's Competation!!"...

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Censorship in 17th-Century England

In Charles T. Jacobi's Gesta Typographica (London, 1897, although I was only reading passages reprinted in 1964 at the Maidstone College of Art), there's a mention of a decree made by the Star Chamber on July 11, 1637, that limited...

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Book Design Tips

An informal but pretty clear and useful explanation of how to start designing book interiors, writeen by India Amos at India, Ink. And while we're on the subject of books, here's a bunch of interesting (maybe even useful) statistics about...

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The Art of Kissing

This charming little booklet was published by the Haldeman-Julius Company of Girard, Kansas. The put out all sorts of teeny newsprint screeds like this, sadly undated. This particular edition is mostly sweet, occasionally tongue-in-cheek (pun intended, I confess), and occasionally...

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The Original Boy Butter

I don't even know where to begin. Should I talk about the photo (wretched but intriguing, like a Stepford kid), the typography (strangely modernistic for a product with that down-to-earth feel), or the very notion that a package like...

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Modern Typography, Part I

I finished Kinross' Modern Typography last week, but it will take a while (and probably a few subsequent readings of things in it) before I really digest all of it. It might be the most lucid examination of the whole...

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Ugly-Ass Math

Although I’m open to serendipity (or pragmatism) when it comes to choosing a thesis topic for next year, I’m leaning very heavily in the direction of working out a type family with closely integrated Greeks and math characters. It's a...

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Typologia, Part II

I finished up Goudy's Typologia a few days ago, and my overall impression is that it's an excellent source of information about why Goudy's types look the way they do. That might sound a little snarkier than I mean it...

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Help for Small Talk

It's not much more than a puff piece, but this little article from The Indiana Star does a decent job of explaining what most typeface designers do these days. In effect, it's the sort of concise answer I always reach...

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Typologia, Part I

I’ve just started reading Goudy's Typologia and before he even begins discussing type design itself, I’m enamored of how he develops his points. (Hopefully, of course, he'll write this well throughout the book.) After a brief introduction in chapter I,...

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MATD Print Resources

Entries in bold are items I own. I'll link to any comments about each as I work my way through the list... Type Design: General [Anon] & Carol Twombly, "Becoming a type designer." Designer Graphics, no 4, 1994, pp 9–27...

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And It's Official

I got the official word this morning that I have been accepted into that geek-o-luxe, type-alicious MATD program at the University of Reading (UK, not PA). Yeeeee-hah! As the program director pointed out in his e-mail, this was not a...

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Future Living

While retelling the glamorous story of my visit to Moonbase Alpha recently, I remembered that I’d wanted to link to an even sexier recreation of life the Space: 1999 way. If you're like me, then living in the 21st century...

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It's Fundamental

In better news, I’ve been offered a spot in the typeface design program I’ve been investigating. It was awfully nice to feel such giddiness and awe about all the work they're doing, and then have them say that my weird,...

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It Isn't Ironic

A recent thread at Typophile ponders what might be used as a punctuation mark to express irony. The suggestion so far, picking things up from here and here (that last one's a French Wikipedia article, in case wants to leave...

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Typovillains

Brace yourselves, gang, I’m about to geek out way beyond any geekery you've seen here yet. Today I’m going to meld together comic geekery and typographic geekery, and it's not going to be pretty. I’ve been meaning to rant for...

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Yo, I Talk Good

Some kind words from my latest evaluation for the type class I teach: In his comments to students, Professor [that’s not really what I am, but it's what they call everyone who teaches] Rhatigan pointed out issues of scale, cropping,...

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WTF

Last week I was explaining ligatures to my typography class, another in a series of lessons that explain how typefaces contain many, many more characters than just letters (both upper- and lowercase), numbers, and the basic marks you see on...

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Type Geeks

Just about all my waking hours for the last few days have been spent in the midst of fellow typography nerds at Typecon, where we all get to let our freak flags fly and rant about the differences between the...

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Astroland

Astroland is not the largest or the fanciest amusement park there is, but it's the heart of Coney Island and it's fantastic in all it's low-rent glory. The rides are crudely awesome, the crowd is kinda rowdy, and the...

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More Identifying Marks

I decided to commemorate my latest departure from steady employment by getting an addition to my series of typographic tattoos. As always, the letters don't stand for anything, but are chosen for what I like about their abstract shapes. In...

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Architect Sign

Sign on an architect's office in Silverlake, Los Angeles. I believe these are the Neutraface letters sold by House Industries....

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Gothamish

I’m stunned. Not only did a completely gorgeous contemporary typeface make its way onto the Freedom Tower cornerstone (Thank you once again, Pentagram), but the Times even did a decent story about Gotham and its inspirations. It's the little things...

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Studio Tips

This little paperback is an invaluable source of information about the handicraft of design and illustration. It's also a time capsule about how things were done in the era before computers half the tips in the book are curious...

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Gay Glasses

They are festive, aren't they? My sister nabbed them from her neighbor's garage sale. I adore the typography....

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Astroland Cyclone

And while we're on the subject of Coney Island, here's proof that you can ride the Cyclone without dying. The best part of riding the Cyclone, in fact, is that it's so old and creaky that imminent death is...

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Superior Printing Press

I sold this off on eBay after finally admitting that I wasn't going to learn how to actually use the press, but I really miss having this groovy boxtop on display....

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Drummer Magazine

Fetish magazines aren't usually where I’d expect to find exuberant typographic solutions to design problems, but life is full of surprises. I guess this is from some time in the late seventies. [Update: Volume 1, Issue 6, from 1976....

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A Little Highbrow Topic for Discussion

A little bit if what I’ve been writing lately discuss, if you're so inclined: Book design has always responded to changes in technology developments in printing, papermaking, typesetting, and aesthetics. With all of these, though, the book itself was the...

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Soliciting Feedback

Working draft #2: I have always done my best work when I have been able to understand a problem or a task by engaging myself with the ideas underlying it, tinkering and exploring possibilities. The scope of a issue, the...

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Get Yer Shirts!

After a long, idle weekend (which was just lovely, except for the slight guilt about being so idle), I finally got down to business the last couple of nights and started working on some of those t-shirts I mentioned a...

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Fashion!

One of my latest ongoing projects has veered into the nebulous world of fashion, believe it or not. Fashion isn't much of a preoccupation of mine (which may be obvious if you see me in the flesh), but I think...

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Sweets from the Sweet

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The Hardest Working Man in Show Business

Now that I’m back in the freelance loop, the work from Thirteen is turning from a trickle to a flood. This isn't so bad, since it means some extra cash and a chance to do some things that exercise the...

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Ye Olde Camera Shoppe

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Type Freaks

Yes! Someone finally gets it! Someone understands. This is the best essay I have ever encountered about the peculiarities of the typesetting world, which doesn't quite exist anymore the way it used to. It's a strange world of marginalized freaks...

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Tidbits from the Archives

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Art Chantry Saved My Life

As I mentioned, I got a piece of unsolicited e-mail yesterday from my idol, a Seattle-based designer named Art Chantry. He was doing a Google seach and ran across this old journal entry of mine where I mention that he...

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Sparky's Typesetting School, Part 3

After looking through parts one and two of Sparky's Typesetting school, Cynthia reminded me that I forgot to talk about the ellipsis (you know, the dot-dot-dot thing). Just a little gripe, why is it that my editors don't freakin' know...

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Sparky's Typesetting School, Part 2

OK, now it's time to tackle the commonly abused dashes and hyphens. (This one's for you, Brad, baby.) This is an area of typesetting that people always seem to get wrong, presumably from some combination of never learning the rules...

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Sparky's Typesetting School, Part I

Like many others, I have a profound respect for correct use of the poor apostrophe. I’m going to take the issue a step further, however, and complain about a very particular pet peeve of mine: the flagrant misuse of correct...

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Morning Wood

One of the nicer perks of my ongoing eBay auctions is that I’m paying enough attention to other auctions now to hunt down old type, one of the few things I actually collect. (The rest is just the accumulation...

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A Plea to the Nerds

Do you have a math or science background? If so, maybe you can give your old pal Sparky a hand. I'll gladly barter trinkets or prominently featured links to your web site You see, in a little while I’m going...

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Tattoo U

The new tattoo. Another in my ongoing series of tattoos based on letterforms I think are beautiful. From a visual standpoint, I’ve been wanting something big, black, and smooth-edged that would peek outside of most clothing, but that I could...

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Old School

I don't mind being 29. In fact, I was speaking with Gina today about how I think I may have been born in time to enter the design field at just the right moment. My education and experience as a...

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Another Call to Arms, of a Sort

Subject: Neither Quark nor PageMaker is the answer Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 23:39:42 -0400 From: Daniel Rhatigan <Sparky@inch.com> Newsgroups: alt.zines Frequently, discussions in this group turn toward the practical discussions of zine-making: printing, computer programs, layout problems, etc. Everybody's...

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Is That Really Natural Gas?

Oh, the sad and sorry life of Francine Fishpaw! But the pungently sweet glories of having my very own Odorama card! Carefully preserved since a 1988 showing of "Polyester" at Cinema Village in New York, I only take this...

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What Made Me into the Nerd I Am Today

One of my primary reasons for starting the print version of Rumpus Room back in 1994 was that I had a burning, frustrated passion for graphic design. I had gotten it stuck in my head at an early age that...

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The Art of Kissing

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The Fashionable Nature of Valuables

To date, this is still the single worst — and the most delightful — butchered translation I have ever seen. From a package of Jian Fei Cha tea purchased at Shanghai No. 1 Department Store....

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Oooh, Typing - It's Dreamy!

This just turned up during my weekly visit to the local thrift store. Another beautiful example of design from an age of truly wonderful high-spirited typography. The package itself, though, is an anachronistic dream — a touch-typing course on...

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Le Car Cards

My roommate Mark came home from the weekly visit to the neighborhood thrift store with a set of Milles Bournes cards that Parker Brothers put out some time in the sixties. (Milles Bournes is a card game where you...

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Broiling or Frying Teenagers?

I found this little gem on the roof of my building one day, apparently a leftover from my landlord's Memorial Day barbecue. I’m so enamored of this mysterious boxtop that I don't even really want to know exactly what...

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