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  • New York Times: Jonathan Hoefler on the ABCs of designing a dial

    The typography expert Jonathan Hoefler revealed in a recent episode of the Netflix series “Abstract: The Art of Design” how he created one of his latest type designs, Decimal.

    Speaking to New York Times, Hoefler also spoke of the typography of luxury watches.

    “In the 1980s, we start to see fonts being used. These are things that work in a rigid tradition and are designed to work in systems. Typographic forms are different from those that can come from sign painting or calligraphy or engraving. You start to see forms designed for typesetting advertisements scaled down for watches and the flavor starts to change” he says.

    “A lot of the typefaces chosen for modern watches are chosen badly or on the basis of some kind of emotional quality as opposed to a practical one. So you see men’s watches using typefaces used on sports drinks or women’s watches that have the kind of wretched script seen on wedding invitations. There’s very little thought given to mechanical constraint, to what kinds of letters reproduce well small or what kinds of watches can be decorated with different kinds of lettering.”

    Read more here.

  • #ComicSans: Conservatives weaponise Microsoft's font on Twitter for Brexit

    In one of the most awkward moments in the visual of politics in the UK the Conservatives are trending on Twitter due to a new, rather unconventional, typographic choice.

    Prior to the key votes on the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement on Brexit the @Conservatives Twitter account posted a series of messages. Some of them were colourful. Yet, one of them got viral thanks to the popularity of Comic Sans.

    Featuring the words “MPs must come together and get Brexit done” in Microsoft’s Comic Sans font the hashtag #ComicSans topped the Twitter trends in UK.

    “Comic sans for a comic Government,” read one reply yet this typeface gained the attention it strived for.

    “18 minutes ago the Tories tweeted a slogan written in comic sans. I’ve seen it quote-tweeted four times on my timeline already. Good job everyone” tweeted Guardian's technology editor Alex Hern. “That’s weaponised Comic Sans,” added journalist Mic Wright.

    “The Tories are understood to have employed New Zealand creative agency Topham Guerin to execute their new social media strategy since Mr Johnson became PM” reports County Press. Topham Guerin “is known for using memes and pop culture references to gain traction with audiences on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.”

    According to pollsters YouGov claimed 52% of Brits actually like the font. #Brexit or not, #ComicSans is winning.


  • Thunberg does type: Greta Grotesk is activism in typography

    Greta Thunberg is not just an activist for the climate change. The teenager from Sweden which took the world by storm through her climate strike actions every single Friday has her own downloadable font. 

    Inspired by Thunberg's protest signs the handwritten typeface, aptly named Greta Grotesk is an all-caps font designed by former creative director and SVA instructor Tal Shub, along with a team of collaborators from his climate-focused design company Uno. 

    Per Fast Company the creatives are inspired by Thunberg's activism which they want to celebrate it in the form of a typeface.

    “From the very first moment of seeing her sign, I was really impressed by the bold design and clarity of the message,” says Shub. “It seemed only right to make the letters from the powerful words that initiated this movement to be available to everyone.”

    The letterforms are extracted from Thunberg's protest images and converted into vector format.

    “A pretty common approach to drawing a new typeface is first defining the lowercase n, i and o characters because they provide the straight, round and dot shapes that can then be extrapolated into other letterforms,” the designer says. “So much of what we did was just that—finding common forms and borrowing parts from the limited characters Greta had drawn. We repurposed elements from letters that had multiple options—for example, there was a total of six uppercase K letters and six uppercase T letters.” 

    Greta Grotesk is available online as a free download here.

  • Game on! Arcade Game Typography is our favorite book of the day

    Monotype's UK typeface designer Toshi Omagari wants us to appreciate a different kind of type. His first book “Arcade Game Typography”, published by Thames & Hudson, is an open invitation to explore the fascinating new world of typography aka the pixel typeface. 

    “Video game designers of the 70s, 80s and 90s faced colour and resolution limitations that stimulated incredible creativity: with letters having to exist in an 8x8 square grid, artists found ways to create expressive and elegant character sets within a tiny canvas” writes T&H. 

    Featuring pixel typefaces carefully selected from the first decades of arcade video games, Arcade Game Typography presents a previously undocumented ‘outsider typography’ movement, accompanied by insightful commentary from author Toshi Omagari and screenshots of the type in use.

    “Exhaustively researched, this book gathers an eclectic typography from hit games such as Super Sprint, Pac-Man, After Burner, Marble Madness, Shinobi, as well as countless lesser-known gems. The book presents its typefaces on a dynamic and decorative grid, taking reference from high-end type specimens while adding a suitably playful twist. Unlike print typefaces, pixel type often has bold color ‘baked in’ to the characters, so Arcade Game Typography looks unlike any other typography book, fizzing with life and color.”

    Grab your own copy here. Game over.

    All images via Toshi Omagari's twitter account.

  • Watch Marta Bernstein defending those ugly typefaces we love

    “The types cut between 1810 and 1850 represent the worst that has ever been” or maybe not.

    Marta Bernstein, one of the founders of CAST digital type foundry and a partner at TM, an architecture and design studio based in Seattle was one of this year's Typographics conference speaker and now her talk which took place in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union on June 15, 2019 is live on Vimeo for all to explore. 

    Through her research on Italian Nineteenth Century type, Marta Bernstein builds a case in defense of loud, quirky, overly-decorated and extremely lively typefaces and the century that generated them.

    “Marta’s talk was one of my favorites at Typographics this year. The content and its presentation are great, and her love for weird typefaces is infectious. I also like her advice to break away from modernism more and embrace design solutions that aren’t necessarily timeless” notes typographer, typeface designer, web designer, typographic consultant, and Fonts In Use cofounder Nick Sherman of her insightful talk streaming online.

    Marta Bernstein's true passions are type and typography and they act as common threads of all her projects. Bernstein has a soft spot for 19th Century type, a topic she has been researching for more than ten years.

    She collaborates with international companies, several start-ups and public institutions and she has a decade long experience in developing identities across various media, and designing wayfinding and signage systems.

    A teacher as well Bernstein is an adjunct professor in Typography at Milan’s Polytechnic, visiting professor in Architecture and Design at University of Navarra and regular lecturer for the Interior Design master at Tongji University, Shanghai. Bernstein has completed her B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Graphic Design at Milan’s Polytechnic and her M.Des in type design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

    The live streaming and video recording of Marta Bernstein's “Ugly Fonts” talk were made possible by a generous sponsorship from Google.