Font Founders #5: Max Miedinger

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As a young man, Max Miedinger (1910-1980) was trained as a typesetter in Zurich, Switzerland. He became a typographer for Globus department store’s advertising studio in 1936. From 1947-56 he was a customer counselor and typeface sales representative for the Haas’sche Schriftgießerei in Münchenstein near Basle. In 1956 Miedinger went freelance when Eduard Hoffmann, the director of the Haas’sche Schriftgießerei, commissioned him to develop a new sans-serif typeface. His typeface Haas-Grotesk was introduced in 1957. But in 1960, the name of the typeface was changed—to Helvetica.

Cool font, Max.

maxmiedinger-dealwithit


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Whether it’s Typography Tuesday or Favorite Font Friday, we’re with you on the constant hunt for typographic inspiration. That’s why we keep a constant flow of stand out examples streaming through our professional font manager, Suitcase Fusion (and Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).

We released Suitcase Fusion™ 6 in the autumn to help you make the most of precious creative time and explore and organize your entire font collection in a single, searchable location.

We created Fontspiration over a year ago as your crystal ball to look into the font future, past and present:

  • Locate new and interesting fonts for your creative work
  • See what other creative pros are using in real-world projects
  • Explore the boundaries of lettering, typography and fonts in design
  • Dig into what professionals from bygone eras have learned about type

The Fontspiration continues—Check out some seasonally-inspired design! Our March pieces feature type by Delve Fonts, Mostar Design, Mahti Type Studio and Cultivated Mind. Take a gander.

Keep Your Design Inspired With New Fontspiration; Mahti Type Studio

Foundry: Mahti Type Studio
Typeface: Delisia Regular
Artist: Blue Collar Agency, designed by Jaime Singer.
Inspiration: Vivid colors from the morning sunrise combined with your AM routine of grinding beans and drinking joe.

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Funnel, Inc has created a very fun infographic that visually displays all of the steps in the book publishing process at Webcrafters Inc. It’s a great example of how a graphic imagery combined with good planning and tight writing can make a long process easily understandable.

funnelinc_factory500


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Ban Comic Sans 2You know that a topic has gone full circle when it bubbles up into the mainstream. It took a while before the technologies of blogging and Twitter hit the mainstream. Now, they are both commonly used by individuals, corporations and beyond. I suppose that though time and exposure, any topic can bubble up beyond those with a special interest into the mainstream.

That’s exactly what has happened to the debate surrounding the typeface Comic Sans. Yup, the ubiquitous font that’s on all of our Windows machines, that has long been the subject of debate with design-nerds, is now a topic that you can chat over with your family at the dinner table. It’s been codified in the Wall Street Journal, so you have our permission to argue its merits with Uncle Bob at the family reunion. You can even point him to any of the myriad of websites that publicly express their love or disdain for it. For example:

Heck, check out the response that a design blog got for their April Fools day joke of changing all of the type on their site to Comic Sans.

Maybe you can even convince someone that Comic Sans is an expression of the “evil of typographic ignorance.” And while you’re at it, feel free to let them know how much a font manager like Suitcase Fusion 2 could help manage the thousands of other fonts that they’ll be using instead of Comic Sans.


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The New York Times isn’t necessarily a newspaper or website that I think of when I think of innovative design. The Times is a paper that typically goes with tried and true respectable designs that lend credibility to their stories (whatever side of the political fence you fall).

That’s why I was surprised to see a feisty use of typography on their website in their recent ‘Buzzwords of 2008‘ story. The story includes images in that display each buzzword, that is filled with colorful imagery. The typeface is consistent throughout, which makes it a bit more grounded. Had they gone with varying typefaces, it would have been even more distracting to the eye.

While this approach definitely isn’t perfect for most stories, I think that this was a great opportunity for them to branch out and try new things on their site.

BTW, anyone know which font was used? I tried to identify it in MyFonts.com’s What the Font, but came up empty handed.


The Quick Brown Fox

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It’s the standard phrase that’s used to display all 26 of the letters in the English Language, and every student who ever had a typing class or basic keyboarding class in school knows it.

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

The t-shirt artist, Eskimokiss, put up a pretty darn cool t-shirt on Threadless that takes this phrase and morphs the type into a literal image. Great idea, eh? Check it out.

[Thanks to Inside Corporate Account Representative, Nathalie Hodgson for the tip!]


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Designer Jacob Nyland has spent some time playing around with type in Adobe Illustrator and I like the results.

Most of his type experimentations haven’t been fully fleshed out into fonts that you can use on your computer, so it will be a bit more difficult to use them. Yet, since most of them are display faces and look better when used at a very large size, you will likely want to cut, paste and kern each glyph yourself anyway.

Download the source Illustrator files from the Just My Type website.


Common typography mistakes

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This is one of those “I should have written that” posts. The fine folks over at The Design Cubicle have put together a list of ten common typography design mistakes to avoid.

This is a great list that you can use to show your clients when they’re asking for something that you just know won’t turn out well. Heck, how many times have you told a client that they can’t put light colored text on a white background?

It’s nice to have an unbiased third party to help settle those sticky questions that pop up in a design review.


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If you’re a Gmail user, you’re probably accustomed to the tried and true blue and white look of the mail application. Well, if you haven’t been upgraded yet, you probably will soon have a myriad of different email themes to choose from.

Choosing a new theme re-skins your entire mail window so that it has different colors, graphics and features. I like being able to change how an application looks, but changing colors isn’t what I immediately noticed. What I like the most is that Google chose to update their Gmail logo with many of the themes.

Here’s the standard Gmail logo.

Many have two color treatment where the entire logo is a single dark or light color, like this one from the New Blue theme.

Things start to get fancy when gradient colors are applied to the logo in the Sunset theme.

The Shiny theme is by far my favorite. Using a sleek, modern sans-serif typeface with a subtle hint of a reflection.

The Desk theme takes a very informal approach to the logo implementation.

The Beach theme uses yet another another informal sans-serif typeface.

The ZooZimps theme logo takes the traditional ‘Google doodle‘ approach to the logo by adding little characters to the lettering.

A playful serif face is used for the Candy theme Gmail logo.

And sketchy lettering the is what was chosen for the Bus Stop theme.

The Ninja and Tea house themes both use a informal, slightly italicized face. I wonder if they added the crossbar to the letter A?

And the final Gmail logo really took me back to my days learning to program in Basic on a Tandy TRS-80. Gotta love that terminal look.


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* This image is from the My Favourite Letters Pool on Flickr. Most of the images are deskstop sized, and this one was my favorite.

Portland is full of graphic designers, web designers, freelance designers, and all kinds of other super creative types. One of them happens to be Bram Pitoyo, geek about town and general fan of type and and good design. He recently did a couple of articles for Designer Daily about typefaces, and alternatives to (sometimes tired) old standards that get trotted out from time to time.

Bram wrote two of these: One for serif type, and one for sans serif type. Both of them were very interesting because I realized there were a lot of alternatives that sometimes people don’t always consider when it comes to using type in design. It’s one of those things like getting a haircut or wearing slimmer clothes-people may notice A change, but they aren’t sure what it is exactly. I found a lot of use in the sans serif article because I prefer sans serif fonts in virtually everything, so seeing Helsinki and that adorable little Bryant were very appealing. But even Neohellenic was a lot nicer to look at than I figured it would be, what with the serifs and all.

I know I spend a lot of time with fonts, and know more about fonts than a lot of people (those would be the people to whom I have to explain my Battlestar Helvetica shirt is NOT a typo). But Bram is, and I say this in the nicest possible way, a power type nerd of a VERY high magnitude. Picking his brain on font knowledge is a VERY fun experience (if you enjoy type discussion, that is), and if you do ask him font questions you can tell he’s enjoying every minute. It is like asking me about Star Wars!

So dig a little bit into these articles and find some new perspectives on the same old words. It can be fun to shake things up with a different font, and people will wonder what your secret is!


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