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  • Darden Studio has just extended the Grotesque Sans typefaces

    Halyard’s personality is at once familiar and pleasingly distinctive” writes Joshua Darden, the man responsible for a typeface which looks familiar for a reason. “Halyard’s familiarity results from cherry-picked elements of classic designs of the 19th and early 20th centuries by Schelter+Giesecke, Miller and Richard, and Morris Fuller Benton. Distinctiveness is achieved by bringing an almost impetuous vigor to Halyard’s shapes and through a willingness to adapt surprising historical forms into genuinely useful ones, which is so characteristic of Darden Studio designs” explains the typographer.

    “Halyard radically extends the typographic utility of the now hyper ubiquitous category: the Grotesque Sans. Each of Halyard’s subfamilies were purpose built to perform optimally at its intended optical size. While starkly different in appearance, when seen together, the Halyard superfamily maintains a consistent personality at their intended size creating the impression of a single type design. The Halyard superfamily is beautifully robust and lively, ready to work at any size” adds Darden of the New York based Darden Studio which “pursues typography that is the result of earnest inquiry, appropriate for current editorial standards and technology, and rooted in the values and practices of five centuries of typefounding”.

    “In an increasingly global marketplace, a distinct typographic voice is more important than ever – using good typography that will withstand the whims of fashion and embody a clear, unique brand message far into the future” claims this “holistic” studio and we oblige to approve.

    “Design is an extension of the human experience — typeface design acutely so, because it’s present in nearly every aspect of our daily communication. We approach typeface design as a middle place between technology, language and aesthetics, we pursue our work alongside other activities which expose us to more of the world: drawing, painting, metalworking, gardening, stonecutting, music-making, reading and writing are as important to our office culture as evaluating artwork and writing code” says the studio.

    Explore more of their work here

  • Typophiles alert! Typenotes is a magazine for all things type

    Simultaneously dispelling the notion that typography is just for design geeks and catering for font fanatics”, TypeNotes is a new print magazine love letter to letterforms published by the type foundry Fontsmith in London. The first issue which has just been released “explores all things type-based from a passionate and knowledgeable standpoint” with voices from around the creative industries worldwide such as Lance Wyman, APFEL, Craig Oldham, Hey Studio and Why Not Associates to name but a few.

    “Delving into the minutiae of drawing type, the magazine also offers an in-depth look at designing more unusual punctuation points. Elsewhere, a specially designed pullout explores how best to design for luxury clients, and examines how different high-end brands use their fonts. Each issue comes with a free typographic terms poster designed by Exeter-based studio Believe In”.

    Get your own copy here

  • Introducing XYZ Type, a fresh type foundry with playful intentions



    Time to welcome XYZ Type, a brand new independent digital type foundry, launched by typeface designers Ben Kiel and Jesse Ragan, who are entering the type market through an online storefront at

    The foundry’s initial offering of products includes two new type families, Aglet Slab and Export​, as well as the previously-released Cortado. Kiel and Ragan focus on designing and distributing typefaces that are conceptually “interesting, clever, and impeccable crafted”.Kiel works from the company headquarters in Saint Louis, collaborating long-distance with Ragan, who works in Brooklyn, NY. The two have worked independently for years on retail typefaces and custom commissions, and on freelance projects for other type foundries. After collaborating on several projects in recent years—including Cortado, which they released independently in 2014—they chose to formalize their partnership with this new ventureEach of the partners was previously employed by one of the world’s most esteemed type foundries. Kiel was instrumental in creating the Photo-Lettering service at House Industries, and Ragan contributed to the designs of Gotham and Archer while working at Hoefler & Frere-Jones.

    As for the name “XYZ Type”, taken from the end of the alphabet, it implies the thorough and meticulous attention paid to every detail in a typeface. Branding designers Topos Graphics carried the themes of “small details” and “the end” further by punctuating the company’s logotype with a period. Designer Seth Labenz comments, “We’ve deliberately designed the brand identity and online products space solely using characters from XYZ’s typefaces. The structural simplicity of each isolated period highlights the details of line and shape that distinguish one typeface from another, but when they all appear together, they become a kind of cast in an typographic production—each with its own personality.”

    Ben Kiel received his MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading. He currently teaches at Washington University and Type@Cooper. Jesse Ragan who has served on the board of directors for AIGA/NY and has taught at Type@Cooper (which he co-founded) and Pratt Institute, holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.

  • IDEO has just organized the stunning universe of font with AI

    “While exploring what others are doing with machine learning, I found an image created by researcher Andrej Karpathy, who used AI to organize thousands of photos onto a single map through higher order visual recognition” writes Kevin Ho, software designer and project lead at IDEO (pronounced "eye-dee-oh"), the international design and consulting firm founded in Palo Alto, California, in 1991 which uses the design thinking methodology to design products, services, environments, and digital experiences.

    “The visualization not only showed how effective AI has become at organizing visual information, but it also made me wonder how it could be applied to daily challenges we face as designers. Choosing a font is one of the most common visual decisions a designer makes. Often, designers fall back on fonts they’ve used before or search within categories like serif, san-serif, or grotesque. These categories are a useful starting point, but even within a font category there is a wide range of aesthetic differences. Plus, even if a designer finds the perfect font, it may not fit when applied to a layout or website. Designers need an easier way to discover alternative fonts with the same aesthetic — so I decided to see if a machine learning algorithm could sort fonts by visual characteristics, and enabling designers to explore type in a new way” he explains.

    This is his open invitation to explore IDEO’s AI experiment titled Font Map and be mesmerized by this hyper addictive interactive map of more than 750 fonts organized using machine learning.

    “This quick dive into machine learning made me even more excited about the potential to create new, intelligent systems that can aid the design process. Assuming the data is available, mapping thousands of fonts is scalable with this approach. I’m also curious to explore how popular pairings would show up on Font Map. Is there an underlying pattern exposed through visualization that can help us understand what makes a good pairing? The design community here at IDEO came up with these questions and more, creating rich discussions around the role of AI and machine learning. I hope this inspires fellow designers to play around with machine learning and AI, and use these new capabilities in ways that are insightful, inspiring, and valuable” he adds.

    Start discovering the interlinking universe of fonts here

  • Mies van der Rohe’s Allzweck alphabet reconstructed

    Mies van der Rohe & James Stirling: Circling the Square” at RIBA's London headquarters explores the what-could-have-been's of the historic site where Number 1 Poultry by James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates stands today. During the 1960s, architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo commissioned Mies van der Rohe to design the unrealized and hotly debated Mansion House Square for the very same site. Now on display at 66 Portland Place through June 25 “Circling the Square” examines both significant architectural schemes along with never-before-seen objects and drawings – yet there is more to it and typography is involved.

    “We have drawn a bespoke version based on Mies’ letters with some elements of English vernacular alphabets” explains Mathias Clottu to It’s Nice That of the renowned architect’s set of sans-serif extended capital letters which inspired him to bring this new typographic project into the limelight. Van der Rohe’s Allzweck alphabet which was used on correspondence and to annotate his blueprints has been redrawn by Studio Mathias Clottu.

    “The result is a more regular set of capitals but keeps some of the more drawn characteristics found in the Allzweck. Its weight is in between a regular and a medium font… We have redrawn three variants of numerals for the graphics of the exhibition: the Allzweck extended numbers relate to Mies van der Rohe’s scheme; regular weight is used in a document related to the public debate; and sans-serif non-lining numbers for the James Stirling’s scheme” he adds.

    Check more here