You are here


  • People powered: Split's Graft typeface goes digital for the North

    Designed as a display face for Split's giant People Powered Press, Graft is a new condensed typeface forged in the north of England for the largest letterpress printing press in the world per Guinness World Records.

    The typeface has been expanded for digital release in four weights and with an extensive character set.

    The letters’ forms take inspiration from the north’s rich industrial heritage, using the shape of the cross section of a steel I-beam as their starting point. But it’s through their purpose, to amplify local voices – in part realised through the creation of the People Powered Press – that Split offers up Graft as a typeface for the North” notes Leeds-based studio Split. 

    “Broad ee-bah-gum-Yorkshire is by no means the only language spoken in the north of England. Graft’s extensive character set has been designed in recognition of the region's linguistic diversity. Over 300 languages are now spoken in the UK. For the many northerners speaking the wide variety of languages using the Roman alphabet, Graft works.”

    Split has collaborated with paper company Fedrigoni & printers Pressision to create a sampler for Graft, which comes in a zip-perf folder, holding a singer stitched booklet and fold-out poster that tells the story of the typeface’s design and how the People Powered Press came to be. The sampler is printed throughout in black and metallic silver.

    Split has also created a limited edition set of prints using Graft on the People Powered Press. The four fonts, the sampler and the prints are all available from Split’s shop, here.

    “Proceeds from all sales of the sampler, font, and prints will be used to support the People Powered Press and its work” adds the design studio made by and for the people, Split. 

    For more on the People Powered Press, officially the world's largest letterpress printing press per Guinness World Record, in London head over here.

    All images via Split

  • Type to the rescue: RANKIN X Switchboard campaign against LGBT+ hate crimes

    Since 1974 Switchboard has taken more than three million calls from people across the UK looking for a confidential and non-judgemental space – a safe space – to talk and feel supported. “The last five decades has transformed life for our communities, however recent figures showing a two-fold increase in LGBT+ hate crime in England and Wales since 2014 reminds us of the challenges we still face and the necessity of safe spaces” notes Switchboard which partnered with the RANKIN GROUP to create Safe Space

    The multi-stage heavily-typographic typographic advertising campaign to raise awareness of Switchboard's services -especially in areas with poor representation, isolation or high incidence of hate crimes. 

    “With increased levels of isolation and loneliness, the need for Switchboard is ever-present. It’s these people that we want to reach with the Safe Space campaign, showing that we’re a national service focused on supporting those who need it most” notes Natasha Walker, Switchboard Co-Chair.

    Launching at Pride in London 2019, the first phase of the campaign exhibits some of the most common questions posed to Switchboard, from concerns about an LGBT+ loved-one’s well-being to questions about terminology and emotional distress.

    Across billboards, social media, print and digital advertising and events up and down the country, the Safe Space campaign is a national call against hate and bigotry as London pride parade, the UK's biggest LGBT event, marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when gay activists clashed with police in New York, kickstarting an equality movement worldwide. The year also marked 30 years since the founding of UK's leading gay rights charity, Stonewall, by a group fighting to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which sought to prevent the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools. 

    “For years I thought I was pretty in tune with what it was to be LGBTQ+. After all, lots of my friends, acquaintances and frenemies are from the community. Then I read a book by Matthew Todd called 'Straight Jacket'. It was a game changer for me” wrote Rankin on his Facebook profile. “Within three chapters, I realised how little this middle-aged, straight man knew. I had no clue how tough it could be, and that even the most casual of remarks could have such a negative impact. I’ve definitely been guilty of thoughtless comments and assumptions, and I want to continue to learn, understand and appreciate what people go through on a daily basis. So, when it came to working on this Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline campaign, I knew we had to help. Too many people out there feel alone and isolated with no one to talk to and nowhere to go, but this isn’t the case. #Switchboard offers a safe space to discuss anything; from coming out, to trans issues, to work queries, to LGBTQ+ places to go in your area, they are at the end of the phone, on email and instant messenger, with the sole aim of listening and helping. And with new analysis from The Guardian showing that homophobic hate crimes have more than doubled since 2014 across England and Wales and transphobic attacks have trebled over the same period, this fantastic organization is needed now more so than ever. We need to spread the word and let people know that Switchboard is here and ready to give anyone and everyone a #safespace” he adds. 

    The campaign hits all the right notes as homophobia is on the rise with LGBT people facing “shocking levels of hate crimes and discrimination” -according to a 2017 survey by the charity based on YouGov polling of more than 5,000 LGBT people, one in five had experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation in the previous year. The report also said four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes went unreported, with younger victims particularly reluctant to go to the police notes AlJazeera.

    London's Metropolitan Police confirmed the rise in hate crimes, saying the number of incidents went up from 1,488 in 2014 to 2,308 last year. In May, two women on a London bus were physically attacked because they refused to kiss as demanded by a group of men.

    The number of transgender hate crimes recorded by the police in England, Scotland and Wales rose by 81 percent last year compared with 2017, according to data collected by the BBC.

    Meanwhile in Russia the LGBT activist community is targeted, listed and killed reports radio Free Europe. Obviously, Safe Space is more than needed in UK and beyond.

    Read more here.

  • Monospace fonts: this #fontsunday your love is monospaced

    Today's #fontsunday is dedicated to #Monospace and Design Museum calls Twitter to pay its tribute to the typefaces whose letters and characters each occupy the same amount of horizontal space.

    A monospaced font, also called a fixed-pitch, fixed-width, or non-proportional font, is the opposite os the variable-width fonts, where the letters and spacings have different widths.

    Monospaced fonts are customary on typewriters and for typesetting computer code and were widely used in early computers and computer terminals, which often had extremely limited graphical capabilities. 

    Popular in computer displays as ever monospaced fonts are usually the default typeface due to the readability of source code, which is often heavily reliant on distinctions involving individual symbols, they provide. 

    Monospaced fonts are also associated with the creation and viewing of ASCII and ANSI art. Some poetry composed monospaced on typewriters or computers also depends on the vertical alignment of character columns. E. E. Cummings' poetry is often set in monospaced type for this reason. 

    Monospaced fonts are used in some classic video games (e.g. Nethack) and those imitating their style (e.g. Dwarf Fortress), in biochemistry, monospaced fonts are preferred for displaying nucleic acid and protein sequences -they ensure that the representation of every nucleotide or amino acid occupies the same amount of space- and all over the entertainment industry as both screenplays and stage play scripts frequently use 12 point Courier as the industry font standard to make it easier to judge the time a script will last for from the number of pages. 

    Examples of monospaced fonts include CourierMonaco and PF DIN Mono.

    Do send your examples with the appropriate #Monospace hashtag here.

    All hail the true King of Grid and TDC Medal recipient 2019, Wim Crouwel

    E. E. Cummings used the typewriter to change the design (layout) of the words in his poems to give time poetic effect. His grasshopper poem is perhaps the most famous example via 

    Occupy Monospace by Aaron Gillett, Luke Robertson

    PF DIN Mono Pro is the latest addition to the ever-growing set of DIN superfamilies by Parachute®. This is a monospaced typeface which is comprised of characters with fixed width. Traditionally, monospaced fonts have been used to create forms, tables and documents that require exact text line lengths and precise character alignment. DIN Mono Pro, on the other hand, can prove to be more than a useful typeface for technical applications. In the world of proportionality, DIN Mono stands out as an alternative to the popular standard, particularly for publishing and branding applications. 

    Barrie Tullett’s ten things you should know about Typewriter Art. One of them well, Typerwiter Art is not ASCII Art. 

  • Iconic font company Monotype just got sold for $825 million

    Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: TYPE) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which HGGC, a leading middle-market private equity firm, will acquire all outstanding shares of Monotype common stock for $19.85 per share in cash, representing an aggregate equity value of approximately $825 million.

    The $19.85 per share cash consideration represents a premium of approximately 23% to Monotype’s closing share price on July 25, 2019, the last full trading day before today’s announcement. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by Monotype’s Board of Directors, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019. Following completion of the transaction, Monotype expects it will remain headquartered in Woburn, MA.

    “We are pleased to reach this agreement with HGGC, which enables our shareholders to realize immediate value at a significant premium for their shares. This transaction is clear recognition of the tremendous value and reputation that Monotype has built” said Pamela Lenehan, Chair of the Monotype Board of Directors.

    “Over the last several years, Monotype has strategically shifted its business from primarily serving a small group of OEM manufacturers to one that addresses the needs of thousands of brands and millions of creative professionals worldwide. As a private company, we will have the financial support and added flexibility to invest in ways that deliver more value and improve the overall experience for our customers. This transaction is a testament to our talented employees and their dedication to serving our customers, and we look forward to partnering with HGGC as we continue helping customers maximize their customer engagement in today’s digital, mobile and global landscape” noted Scott Landers, Monotype's President and Chief Executive Officer. 

    “We have been impressed with the quality and expertise of the Monotype team led by Scott, whose relentless commitment to customers has helped brands realize their full identity and express it to the world. We look forward to working together to help advance Monotype’s strategy and continue delivering the products and services that allow for brand expression and differentiation” commented Rich Lawson, CEO and Co-Founder at HGGC.

    Following completion of the transaction, Monotype will become a privately-held company and shares of Monotype’s common stock will no longer be listed on any public market. Monotype will not continue paying its quarterly dividend through transaction close.

    HGGC is a leading middle-market private equity firm with $4.3 billion in cumulative capital commitments. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., HGGC is distinguished by its Advantaged Investing approach that enables the firm to source and acquire scalable businesses through partnerships with management teams, founders and sponsors who reinvest alongside HGGC, creating a strong alignment of interests. Over its history, HGGC has completed more than 130 platform investments, add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations and liquidity events with an aggregate transaction value of over $20 billion.

    Read more here.

  • New Yorker on how posters became art

    “Printed public notices were seen on public walls in the fifteenth century, but the modern-day poster did not emerge until the eighteenth century” writes New Yorker's Hua Hsu in his article How Posters Became Art.

    “At the time, printing was expensive and cumbersome, requiring the use of engraved metal plates. In 1796, after years of experimentation, Alois Senefelder, a Bavarian actor, and playwright, emerged with the technique we call lithography. First, an image is rendered in greasy, acid-repelling ink on a slab of limestone. Treating the surface with acid 'etches' the ungreased portions, retaining only the artist’s original drawing. The stone is then moistened, and an oil-based ink is applied. The ink sticks only to the original drawing, which is then pressed onto a piece of paper, resulting in a near-perfect reproduction. Cheaper and more efficient than the engravings that most printers relied upon, lithography offered artists more freedom to layer colors and images.In the mid-eighteen-sixties, the French artist Jules Chéret, having apprenticed with a lithographer in England, returned to Paris. After seeing an exhibit of Japanese woodblock prints, Chéret adopted some of the artists’ approaches to depth and perspective. His posters, which often featured free-spirited, effervescent women, were enormously successful, and such women became known as Chérettes” notes the writer in this insightful story of the poster revolution.

    From the Russian Constructivist manifesto which urged everyone to “be a poster” through Susan Sontag's argument that the poster had originally been invented “to seduce, to exhort, to sell, to educate, to convince, to appeal” to Cyan's poster experimentation on display at New York's Poster House Museum, New Yorker delves into the art of the poster and how it defined our visual language en masse. 

    The article also appears in the print edition of the July 8 & 15, 2019 New Yorker issue, with the headline “Beauty in the Streets.”

    Read it here.

    Jules Chéret via Wikipedia

    Cyan via Poster House