May 15th, 2013 by Amanda Paull
Join Thomas Phinney, our in-house typography guru, for part 3 of the Web Safe Fonts Are Dead Webcast series.
It’s the Wild West with web fonts online, but we’ll help you navigate a safe journey. You do not need to have attended the first 2 to get everything out of part 3!
Tuesday, May 21, 11:00 a.m. Pacific / 2:00 p.m. Eastern
The most basic element of typography is the letter, each composed of unique shapes. Because it’s hard to discuss those shapes without specifying which part of the letter we mean, a specialized vocabulary has evolved to describe the anatomy of letters.
Our resident typography expert, Thomas Phinney recently wrote a detailed blog post covering the language that we use when we talk about typographic elements.
Want to sound like you know what you’re talking about the next time typography is discussed at your next cocktail party? Check out the article.
I have a couple of talks coming up in New York (AIGA/WebVisions, Feb 27) and Austin (SXSW, March 9) in which I will be talking about my “Font Detective” cases: basically cases where I have been called upon as a font expert to authenticate or debunk dubious documents, or make other typographic determinations with legal consequences. Come learn how mistakes in typography, printing and font selection ruined what could have otherwise been perfectly good forgeries!
Although I do a variety of moonlighting and consulting on the side from my day job here at Extensis, this is far and away my favorite kind. I have looked into over a dozen cases since 1998, and I can’t imagine having more fun than investigating puzzles like these, seizing on each and every angle, trying to come up with decisive elements that could prove forgery with certainty. (One can’t really “prove” a negative, like something not being a fake.)
Among the folks who have consulted me over the years: a US Treasury agent, a Fortune 10 company, the Washington Post, and the PBS TV show “History Detectives.”
My version of the talk for New York will be “the long version,” a whopping two hours (including questions), but I am confident that people will be kept engrossed that whole time. When I did the “long version” in Chicago, the audience was so involved that when I tried to let them have a 10-minute break after an hour, they refused to go! I had let on that I could cover more if we went straight through, and they wanted more cases instead. In the New York talk I will cover eight of my cases, including the big ones and several smaller ones that have unexpected conclusions, because it turns out real life is not actually the same as the movies. This talk is to benefit AIGA New York, and is sponsored by WebVisions and Extensis.
At SXSW in Austin I will be doing “the condensed version,” an hour focused on my three most interesting cases, including my first case (a forged will) and one involving then-President George W. Bush.
I hope to do the full talk here in Portland to benefit our local AIGA some time soon, and doubtless it will spring up elsewhere! Maybe by then I will be able to talk about my two most recent cases—each with millions of dollars at stake.
February 6th, 2013 by Alexandra Barltrop
Frisch aktualisiert steht unser Font Management Best Practices-Leitfaden für OS X jetzt für Sie zur Verfügung. Diese neue Ausgabe beinhaltet die Informationen zu OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion sowie eine Vielzahl weiterer nützlicher Tipps und Hinweise.
Wollten Sie schon immer Ihre Schriften auf Ihrem Mac endlich unter Kontrolle bekommen? Dieses 29-seitige Dokument erläutert Ihnen bis ins Detail, was Sie wie tun und was Sie besser lassen sollten, darunter:
- Erfassung und Bereinigung Ihrer Schriftenbibliothek
- Aussondern von Schriftdubletten
- Beseitigung defekter Schriften
- Und vieles, vieles mehr
Der Leitfaden vermittelt Ihnen das Verständnis für Font Management-Aufgaben und erklärt, worauf Sie bei der Auswahl einer Applikation für das Font Management achten sollten.
November 19th, 2012 by Edward Smith
Thomas Phinney and I were in the Windy City this last Saturday along with AIGA Chicago to conduct a (sold out) web font workshop. The idea for the workshop was simple: get a bunch of designers and their laptops into a classroom, and walk them through the process of using real web fonts on a website.
Before the hands-on part of the workshop, Thomas also primed the class on interesting and useful topics related to web fonts such as the history of typography on the web, advanced OpenType and CSS3 features, and how to choose fonts and set type.
My favorite part of Thomas’s presentation was when he demoed a self-censoring font: type in a swear word and the font automatically “translates” the curse into something more socially acceptable.
As for Tori R. from Chicago, I’m guessing her favorite part was when she won an iPad Mini (congrats Tori!)
A big thanks goes to AIGA Chicago and Artisian Talent for helping put on the event, as well as Starter League (formerly known as Code Academy) who hooked us up with classroom space at 1851—a hip co-working center for digital startups.
Are you interested in a web font workshop in your city? If so, let us know in the comments section below.
In the United States, today is election day. A day when every responsible citizen drives to their polling place, and drops their ballot in the box. It’s an exciting election where US citizens are electing who will be the President for the next four years.
Because typography plays such a critical role in the branding of any product, service, or in this case, presidential campaign, we thought that it would be fun to see how the candidates would fare if selected purely upon the fonts used in their campaign materials.
So, vote for the font that you think better represents the future aspirations of a great nation. We’ll share the results when we know how the actual election results fare. By all accounts, it’s going to be a close one!
October 17th, 2012 by Thomas Phinney
Dr Myra Thiessen from the University of South Australia (Adelaide) presented some interesting new research at the annual ATypI international typography conference in Hong Kong last week. It was supportive of the results from the previous “ugly fonts” study, but she pointed out that does not mean she agrees with the conclusions generally being drawn from those results. She had some pretty convincing arguments as to why making stuff harder to read in general might not, in fact, enhance learning. Don’t go and immediately make all your presentations, essays and marketing materials harder to read!
Luckily, I got a quick photo of the slide where she summarized the arguments against. Here is the text:
However, if more cognitive capacity is needed in identification that means that less is available for higher-order functions related to comprehension and assimilation.
- long-term cognitive capacity may be negatively affected
- no cognitive capacity to engage with other stimular (i.e. less likely to notice the gorilla in the room)
Reading is as much about preference as it is about legibility
- if a text is difficult to be read it is less likely to be read
- reader fatigue is more likely
Mediocre photo from my smartphone below. (I note that her comments about “preference” are basically why people will tend to prefer and read more legible documents.)
Check this out. Here’s a video that displays every character that’s included in Unicode 6.0, all 109.242 of them. I dare you to watch the entire thing!
Did you know that the typography used in a document can help identify whether a document is real or fake?
In this SXSW submission, Thomas Phinney will present his clues and conclusions from several cases he has been called into as a font detective, including a forged will, legislated point size requirements, a seemingly fake rabbi, an NFL Hall of Fame induction, and documents about President Bush’s National Guard service.
Learn how mistakes in typography, printing and font selection ruined what could have otherwise been perfectly good forgeries!
Other Extensis submissions
Looking for other great stuff from us? Check out these options. We hope that you’ll vote for them as well!
- Rebooting a Fugly Brand by Amanda Paull
- Don’t Use Comic Sans on That! by Jim Kidwell
- Are You a Digital Hoarder by Edward Smith
With TypeCon 2012 recently concluded, I’ve had a bit of time to stew about what I learned from my time at the convention that encompasses all things typographic.
Since there were over 40 events, I’ll just give you the highlights.
Creative greatness is not typically a solo venture, and usually requires someone with good business sense partnered with the creative genius.
Oswald “Oz” Cooper, developer of the famous Cooper Black typeface, had a devoted partner Fred Bertsch whom he supported even after Bertch had to retire after mental breakdown from untreated syphilis.
Ottmar Mergenthaler, inventor of the Linotype machine, is probably one of the greatest, but least widely known, inventors. Mergenthaler had not only a partner, but an entire board to market his genius. Unfortunately, Mergenthaler did not fare so well and died at the young age of 42 from tuberculosis, not recognizing his success and fortune from the Linotype machine.
Developing high quality OpenType Arabic typefaces is more that a little complex. Multiple contextual replacements can be the best solution to make the final script readable. Shaping and placement of letters is a challenge.
More than a little effort has been expended to determine the emotional response of people to fonts. Starting with small sample groups, this can easily be expanded to larger research samples.
“Every society rewrites its past, every reader rewrites its texts, and, if they have any continuing life at all, at some point every printer redesigns them.” D.F. McKenzie, Bibliography and Sociology of Texts
Typesetting tools have changed dramatically over the years, they are no longer dangerous and are definitely much more efficient.
Beer is the most consumed drink in Columbia, replacing the previous favorited homemade fermented corn mush “Chicha,” that was banned in 1910 over health concerns and a desire for the increased tax base from beer.
You can get a new pangram (a sentence that uses every letter in the English languge) a day from http://dailypangram.tumblr.com/
Mark Simonson has a great little pangram creation helper tool on his site called the Pangram helper.
Kickstarter can be a great way to fund a typeface development project, just don’t expect it to take off immediately without continual love and effort.
The Medium is the Massage. Yes, that’s ‘massage’ not ‘message.’
Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is one kickass place. Wish that I could spend a year perusing their catalog. We could easily have lost our WebINK PM, Brad Dunzer in there just playing with all of the tools.
The brain is programmed to notice change: motion, color, form and position in space.
“FMRI studies have studied that visual systems are faster at deciphering knowledge than language,” says Beth Koch.
7.5 maya are alive today. Two million speak the mayan language. Mayan has 20+ languages in total.
There are some pretty cool bits of chrome typography on cars.
SOTA always does a wonderful job putting together Typecon, and I look forward to returning in the coming years.