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  • Monotype's Walbaum elegant restoration is the ambitious modern serif font du jour

    "Monotype's Walbaum typeface is the modern serif font to beat all modern serifs" notes the renowned type foundry of it's Walbaum typeface. Dating back 200 years, the freshly restored by Monotype Walbaum typeface  "oozes charm and sophistication, while remaining warm and approachable". 

    The typeface, designed by Charles Nix, Carl Crossgrove, and Juan Villanueva morphs "from elegantly matter of fact, to unashamedly attention-grabbing – and that’s before we've even mentioned its collection of ornaments" claim the designers.

    "Typeface restoration is a careful balancing act. Designers walk a fine line between preservation and modernization – staying true to the spirit of the letterforms, while reimagining them for contemporary use. So when Carl Crossgrove, Charles Nix and Juan Villanueva started working on a restoration of Walbaum, they set themselves a simple mantra: 'What would Justus do?'

    Justus Walbaum’s original display sizes were relatively limited. But given the time, the tools, and the array of type uses of today, what would Justus have created?" notes Monotype.

    "Justus Erich Walbaum designed his typeface in Germany in the early 1800s – creating an elegant yet readable modern serif that still “pushed a boundary in a very artful way”, as Nix describes it. However the typeface was a victim of history and circumstance, with the Napoleonic Wars and the death of the designer’s son preventing Walbaum from fulfilling its potential. Although comparable typefaces such as Bodoni or Didot thrived, Walbaum flew largely under the radar – except for a period in the mid 20th century when it became a favorite choice for book typography. A range of weights, a much more robust character set and the ability to move seamlessly across the full range of text sizes are just a few of the updates Carl introduced for contemporary digital use" adds the team.

    With 32 weights including italics, ornaments and two decorative cuts, the Walbaum typeface wants to take the original design to its "most extreme form of expression". 

    Learn more of the ambitious restoration here

  • Pentagram gives Nashville’s beloved Frist Art Museum an Art Deco inspired sans-serif upgrade

    "Realizing the significance of the museum’s Art Deco heritage the Pentagram team created a new logotype featuring the words 'Frist Art Museum", set in a friendlier upper and lowercase in a contemporary sans-serif typeface called Cádiz, except for the letter 's' in 'Frist' which resembles the snake-like, Art Deco letter 's' of the museum’s original logotype" notes Pentagram of The Frist's visual upgrade. 

    "The original identity adopted by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in 2001 featured a mark that was a line drawing of one of the elaborate Art Deco tiles found in the building. The mark was locked-up with the word 'Frist' set in all-caps in a slender vintage 30s font. The Art Deco style letter 'S' in the word took the form of an elongated snake. That original word mark was affixed to the front façade, above what was previously the main entrance to the building, and on the back of the building, which has now been designated as the primary entrance. At some point the Frist identity was updated and the Art Deco style logo was dropped. The new logotype, which consisted of the words 'The Frist' set all-caps in a generic san serif typeface and reversed out of a black rectangle, was an attempt to modernize the museum’s identity and to emphasize the catchier handle, 'The Frist,' over the wordy descriptor, 'Center for the Visual Arts.' It did look more modern than the previous Art Deco iteration but it lacked personality. Even though the museum had adopted a new identity the previous Art Deco style identity remained affixed to the exterior of the building. It was still there when the Pentagram team was approached about working with the Frist to develop a new name and identity" adds Pentagram. "At the end of the day, the goal was to give the museum a modern identity that is simple, confident, and has staying power―that will still feel fresh and undated in ten years―but also pays tribute to the institution’s Art Deco roots".

    Learn more of the project here.

    Images: Pentagram

  • Microsoft Font Maker: create your own fonts with this free Windows 10 app

    Microsoft wants everyone to create their own fonts out of their handwriting through the Microsoft Font Maker app.

    The app is free on Windows 10 and requires a stylus. 

    "Creating a font using Microsoft Font Maker couldn't be more straightforward. When it boots up, you have a screen full of characters to write by hand and then after selecting next you have to write some sentences. You can then make adjustments to kerning and spacing to make the font look more like your natural writing" notes WindowsCentral. "You can then save your font with whatever name you'd like. Installing the font is just like any other font on Windows 10. You can create the font on a device with a pen and then install it onto any Windows 10 device that you'd like. Microsoft Font Maker is a versatile tool. It allows anyone to create a custom font including calligraphers who want to use their talents on their PC, to kids who can use the tool to teach them penmanship and computer skills".

    Microsoft Font Maker for Windows 10 is literally a platform for creativity. Play the typographic game here

  • #TGIIF: The only Instagram account to follow this Friday is @montagueprojects

    Julian Montague is a Buffalo, N.Y.-based graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, and installation artist. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Montague moved to Buffalo with his family when he was 11. After receiving a B.A. in Media Studies from Hampshire College (Amherst, Mass.) in 1996, he returned to Western New York and began working in graphic design.

    Montague’s work has been featured in several books including design historian Steven Heller’s The Design Entrepreneurs (Rockport Press, 2008), Typography Sketchbooks (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011) and Gestalten's The Modernist (2011). His work has also received attention from Artnews, Art in America, Frieze, New York Magazine, the Toronto Star, BBC World Service, Dwell, and other internationally known media outlets. 

    Montague has worked as a graphic designer since 1998. From 2001 to 2006 he served as art director for First Hand Learning, Inc., a company that develops and markets science education materials. In subsequent years he formed Frazer/Montague Design with partner Betsy Frazer; the duo have worked together and individually on a wide range of projects, designing logos, posters, brochures, packaging, books, catalogs, and websites for a variety of businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

    Montague is a founding member of Trans Empire Canal Corporation (TECC). Enter his world and his typographic explorations through his Instagram account and his official site

    Images via @montagueprojects

  • #TGIIF: The only Instagram account to follow this Friday is @letterformarchive

    “My discovery of the day was the Vienna Secession’s 1903 Ver Sacrum calendar" notes AIGA's Susan Merritt of the Letterform Archive, this stunning collection of typographic treasures which has come to life thanks to a man's obsessive, ultra typographic, mission.

    "For over 40 years, graphic designer Rob Saunders has been collecting books, periodicals, maquettes, posters, and other ephemera that reflect his passion for letterforms and graphic design history. As his collection swelled to 15,000 pieces he started to consider its destiny. Realizing that other designers would benefit from access to the materials, in 2014 he established the Letterform Archive in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill district. Saunders, whose background also includes teaching and publishing, serves as the archive’s curator" notes Merritt.

    From style guides for Coca-Cola, book design in the 16th century, or the hand-written origins of some of the world’s most famed fonts, the Archive collects, preserves, and tells the story of the importance and fascination with letters reports Juxtapoz of the collection which has a stunning Instagram account to follow this TGIIF

    Images via @letterformarchive