Typographically, he’s been very consistently an all-caps-Futura man. While he outlined it for The Life Aquatic, Bollywood half-opened something not-quite-Futura for The Darjeeling Limited and emboldened and threw it on a curve for Fantastic Mr. Fox, he’s established an iconic typographic style that is very recognizable. That said, I’m not at all sad that he hired the fabulous Jessica Hische to make a custom script for this one! It fits in with his aesthetic perfectly, and grants the coming of age story a wistfulness that the cold caps of Futura wouldn’t.
*Note that all-caps Futura does make an appearance at least thrice in the trailer, notably on the awesome mimeographed-handwriting-practice-paper letterhead.
Stupid type joke: T-Mobile uses VAG in pink, AT&T uses Omnes in orange (which they took on after consuming Cingular). If the former absorbs the latter their rebrand is going to look like Dunkin’ Donuts. Ha. Anyway. Ahem.
We’re in the age of the rounded sans. Why, ten years ago, Helvetica rounded and VAG were about all there was. Now not only do we have a plethora of new loveliness like Omnes, Sauna, Bryant, Estilo, Brevia and ooh look at Mija wouldya — we’re also seeing new releases of rounded versions of classics and recent favorites like FF Unit, Gotham, Museo, Din, AG Book, and Proxima Nova.
It’s been a while since we’ve done a TypograFriday for y’all, but Wood Type Revival seems like a worthy candidate to bring it back. Digitizing wood type is not a totally unique idea — there are definitely some wood type fonts out there (most of them aren’t even close to the real thing). But, based on the description of Wood Type Revival methodology, it seems like they are going to put the work in to making these some pretty awesome typefaces. Even more awesome, they are all available on typekit, so you can have rad wood type online. Started as a Kickstarter project, their shop is now live and they have 4 fonts available!
Here is their kickstarter video explaining a bit more about the project:
Last weekend we saw the new Mike Mills film Beginners. Afterward I said it was my favorite movie of the new decade, and I have yet to take that back. Its got incredible heart, innovative pacing, a fantastic script, and an admirable sense of authenticity. But enough about the film. Do we look like a movie review blog? Just go see it: let’s talk type.
Beginners with its beautifully awkward brushy cursive (shades of Interview masthead and Quiksilver logo but far more humble/charming than both) belongs squarely to the last grouping I mentioned in my analysis of handwriting-on-movie-poster trending — that is, it is typecast with the painfully earnest Freaks and Geeks, Beautiful Losers (which he’s featured in along with handletterer Geoff McFettridge) and Where the Wild Things Are (by fellow Beastie Boys collaborator Spike Jonze and fellow enthusiast for the authentic Dave Eggers). His previous feature film Thumbsucker also falls into this category, as does Me You and Everyone We Know(the first feature film of his wife, artist Miranda July). Indeed, though not movies, so does her book of stories or his great series of products, “Humans.” These are all linked by a raw earnestness signalled by their use of handlettering.
So, wait. I know handwriting and that… some of that is not handwriting, it’s Helvetica. The more I look at Mike Mills’ work (of art rather than design for clients) the more it seems he has two modes: handwriting and Helvetica. And I’m generally not a fan of the font without qualities, but with his content in it, I’m a bit in love. Words from the heart makes sense in scrawled lettering, but it’s a bit obvious. Text about the human experience, or sadness, in the typeface of generics and megacorps is sort of beautiful.
For much more Mike Mills, visit his site. I recommend watching his short film Deformer — though the preview on his site is only a minute of its 17-min run time. If you live by me, I’ll lend you the issue of the Believer it’s in.
The first time I went to Europe, I went on an EF tour — plus, I have travel on my mind right now — so these videos are right up my alley. They are lovely and educational, but what makes the Live the Languageseries extra special is the fantastic regionally-appropriate typography, done by Albin Holmqvist. I hope they add one for Rome — I’m trying to learn Italian, and I love any opportunity to see Italy.
I heard Jonathan Safran Foer speak with Vendela Vida (yep, co-editor of my favorite magazine ever) the other night as part of the excellent series City Arts and Lectures. After talking lucidly at length about his nonfiction book on the ethical implications of meat,Eating Animals, Vida asked him about a new book he had just finished called Tree of Codes. She showed him a copy (which is one of only ten dummies of the work extant) and he couldn’t contain his curiosity; he hadn’t actually seen it yet.
He was fascinated by his own work for this reason: he didn’t write the words to this book, and its form is rather interesting. London upstart/art publishers Visual Editions reportedly came to him with this offer: “we can’t pay you, but on the other hand we’ll make any sort of book you can imagine.” Their second book, after their ambitious edition of Tristram Shandy, will be his reaction to this challenge (“It’s gonna have to be really interesting to make that worth it”). All the words were written by Bruno Schultz, in his classic collectionStreet of Crocodiles. What Safran Foer brought to the work was, well, scissors.
Inspired by FBI, wartime or totalitarian redaction of documents, and by Schultz’ own erasure — Safran Foer called the work an “erased text” and told a little bit of the fate of Schultz, who was spared death for a time during the Holocaust by painting murals for a Nazi officer that were subsequently obscured, revealed, and smuggled from Poland by the Mossad — Safran Foer clipped away words revealing a new text: Street of Crocodiles. Visual Editions found a printer willing and able to make it: the published book, incredibly, will be diecut with a different die for every page.
He described the process as something he expected to be fun but was in fact very frustrating. But, one excellent quote from the evening was something like “as time goes on I have less and less faith that I can write something good, but I have more and more faith in accidents.” The juxtapositions and phrases he found in the process are all creative accidents: they surprised him and were not what he would have come to with his own devices.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled about the book. It’s right up my alley. I am fascinated by redaction and erasure. I like diecuts quite a bit. And, not only does it conjure memories of Street of Crocodiles (which is great, distinctly textured, both as a collection and as a somewhat different film by the Brothers Quay — the entirety of which is in two clips after the jump) but of experimental writings I have loved.
Burroughs used cut-ups. Oulipo writers have some games that start with found texts or otherwise artificially limiting word selection to force the creative accident. I dig artists books. And my favorite artist book ever,A Humument, is a similar project to this one. I first encountered A Humument when its pages were exhibited at the museum when I was a kid. I found an edition years later as if from a remembered dream, and have bought three or four copies since. Artist Tom Phillips painted and drew directly over pages of the Victorian novel A Human Document, leaving words joined by proximity or rivers of white space to make new prose-poems (and a sort-of narrative starring a hero named “toge” who can only appear by name when the original text speaks of togetherness) with the remaining words; for each subsequent edition he’s repainted some pages differently so that the overall text changes over time, eventually becoming a wholly different piece than the original.
More pics after the jump and the whole thing here.
The observant among you may have noticed that the type here at the ‘Agree is a little different. We’re dipping our toe in elegant typography using typekit, and we’re pleased as punch about it. If you don’t know much about using good type on the web yet, but want your site to look good (like ours does we hope, or like my brother’s blog which inspired us to take the plunge, or like thedieline) we definitely recommend it.
If you want to figure out how to make your site look unbelievably good, you should definitely head over to Jason Santa Maria’s site. He not only puts together some of the best examples of good web type, but he’s one of the clearest voices on explaining the new tools and finally, not coincidentally, one of the primary developers of those tools, including Typekit and the WOFF format.
His latest blog entry is a detailed behind-the-scenes of the making of the most fantastic typographic things on the web yet. Lost World’s Fairs. This was made to promote IE9′s support of WOFF (just when most of us were about seven years into considering IE dead). Santa Maria’s Moon one shows live type on a slant, shifted baselines and slant within a text box, overlapping text, text behind alpha masked objects and other things you thought the web couldn’t do. Naz Hamid‘s El Dorado has lovely overlapping transparent type, shifted letter by letter. (Yeah that’s all live css type… Crazy right?) And Frank T Chimero‘s Atlantis one is particularly awesome, combining excellent use of extended slab Hellenic and Simonson’s Avenir-contender Proxima Nova plus extended scrolling-as-narrative movement a la the best webcomic I can remember, When I am King.
We’ve mentioned Niels “Shoe” Meulman before, but in case you hadn’t looked closer at his Calligraffiti pieces, I wanted to show a few more. I’m not generally even a big fan of graffiti (and nazis and ed hardy have both seriously threatened my love for fraktur) but his hybrid of a loose blackletter and the drips and attitude of grafitti is inspired and beautiful.
Oh and he makes fancy big silk Unruly scarves too, with lovely color combinations and hidden subversive texts (e.g. “Society Fools,” shown on the model). I’m tempted to buy one but maybe just because it comes with a signed copy of his book.
Although he is fierce at defending his turf, Shoe isn’t the only writer at this intersection. I’ve recently discovered Luca Barcellona, whose lettering work is fantastic, and all the better when he mixes it up with spraypaint on a wall. Here’s a flickr set full of crossover work with his “Rebel Ink” crew.
Happy TypograFriday! It’s been a few weeks, type fans, but the type world went and moved on without us. In case you missed its debut a month back, there’s a new typophile magazine in the world. 8 Faces is a project of British designer Elliot Jay Stocks, and it’s a very approachable magazine for people obsessed with letterforms. The 1000 copy print run sold out in two hours, but there is a PDF edition available too.
The magazine is primarily long interview/profile pieces with luminaries in different subsections of the type world such as veteran designer Erik Spiekermann, superhot letterer Jessica Hische, webtype expert Jason Santa Maria, and quality freefont pioneer Jos Buivenga. Earls asks good questions, and they give interesting responses.
For as timeless (or even classical) an art form as type design is, there is a recurring discussion of the very interesting times we are in, in terms of webtype formats, technologies, pricing models and so on. One needn’t be a total typophile to appreciate it; it’s probably the clearest resource I have seen for where the present and future of webtype.
And the title of the magazine comes from a spread that ends each interview, where the designer answers the eternal question: if you could use just 8 typefaces for the rest of your life, which would you choose? I love hearing people’s answers to these sorts of questions (and if you do too may I suggest Types Best Remembered/Forgotten? And because we aren’t holding our breath for Earls to profile us, we’ve preemptively answered the question for ourselves.
Kirsten: I use the same five almost all the time… Futura, Avenir, Helvetica, Century Gothic, Cursive Handwriting
Jessica: Some obvious. Some cheesy. Some very similar to others. Some I really like, but haven’t yet had the pleasure of using. Futura (obviously), Avenir, Clarendon, Century Schoolbook, Cooper Black (that’s right, I said it), Mrs. Eaves, Rockwell, Neutra
Owen: Sentinel (I was going to say Clarendon, but the folks in 8 Faces #1 convinced me that Sentinel supercedes it now), Neutraface, Knockout, Omnes Pro, Futura, Freight (love the versatility of the whole family but even if it was just Freight Micro it might make it onto the list anyway), Bodoni, AGaramond
Samantha: Estilo Text, Vendetta, Neutraface, Clarendon/Sentinel, Futura, Garamond, Omnes Pro, GarageGothic (good thing we’re married)
There will be a second issue in a longer print run before Christmas, themed “You.”