Typografriday: Round Sans Roundup

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.

Here are a few of our favorites:










Brioche!

Posting has been a bit light over here at The Experts; we’ve been traveling and working tons. But thanks to our pal Jesse Ragan, we can break our dry-spell. Through him we learned of Jessica Hische‘s lovely new font Brioche which she designed for his Type@Cooper class. It looks like a pretty fun face and I think she is right, it would be great for weddings. You can purchase it through Jessica’s site.

TypograFriday: The Alphabet

For the first TypograFriday of 2011, here is a lovely little font-filled film, The Alphabet from Alessandro Novelli.

The Alphabet from n9ve on Vimeo.

via Public School

TypograFriday: Shahn

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One of my favorite artists ever is Ben Shahn; his linework was terrific, his color sense really interesting, his sociopolitics inspirational, and his handlettering fantastic.

Above and below, a few scans from the book November Twenty Six Nineteen Hundred Sixty Three, a Wendell Berry poem about JFK’s death which he illustrated and lettered. I’ve tried lettering with jaunty mixes of thicks and thins like this before, and let me tell you, it’s super tough to keep it from not looking totally goofy. That he set type as serious as a poem about national grieving using it is astonishing.

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A few other of his pieces which incorporate his fantastic lettering:

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Public Sale, 1956

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Parade for Repeal, 1933

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Maimonides, 1954

Teach thy tongue to say I do not know and thou shalt progress? Such a good quote.

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For those of you who are font-hungry, there are (at least) two fonts on the market which are based on Shahn’s lettering: Bensfolk from Haroldsfonts and thorny tuscan Rendevous GRP from Grype. Although both are pretty nice, the supersmart Opentype version with dozens of smart contextual alternates that rotate in… is sadly yet to be made. You’ll just have to use a pen, folks.

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TypograFriday: Fonts of 2009

We’re a little late to the party here but the last month and a half has been a busy one. Here we are, weeks into 2010, finally getting around to bidding adieu to 2009′s year in type. Here’s some of our favorite typefaces released last year – please click through for larger more interactive samples:

mostranuevo
Mark Simonson’s Mostra was on my watchlist back when it was an all-caps display face a la AM Cassandre with a few weights and stylistic alternates. Mostra Nueva adds several more weights as well as lowercase, making it a useful contender that one can set shorter text in as well as display type. I often find retro letterforms like those curved-line “s” distracting or inappropriate: for me a type is profoundly better when it offers the standard forms as options as well.

lizapro
Underware makes our day with every release. Liza Pro, a lively upright brush script is perhaps their best yet. The caps version plays great with the script and the jauntiness of the whole thing is as right-on as House’s releases.

mreaves
Some people hated Mrs. Eaves, Licko’s mid-nineties Baskerville with a zillion ligatures. We really liked it, though over time it sort of faded from our hearts. However, Mr. Eaves, the sans companions, are fantastic: the “sans” form is like Gill but with fewer awkward spots (and more resolved heavy weights and italics) while the “modern” version changes out some details to become a warmer Futura. Both are well-proportioned and quite beautiful.

gothams
It’s funny to think of type as commerce, but on some level the idea of making narrow and condensed forms of Gotham is as clearly a good idea as making a sequel to a Hollywood blockbuster. Gotham has been used all over the place in the last few years, and extending its range by making more condensed versions will only heighten its ubiquity. The narrow in particular I think we’ll see a lot of in 2010.

catacumbo
While the standard forms of Catacumba Pro are interesting and charming in a decidedly pre-digital way, the floriateed/tuscaned display version really shines. It’s so expressive and unusual I have found myself stealing its forked tongue serifing for type in my sketchbook.

Eloquent
Although it was released in 2009, Eloquent is a revival of a late 60s ad typeface. Given the enduring contemporary trends (mostly in music/culture) for retro swash ITC and, say, Avant Garde Ligatures + the Si Scott et al maximalist hyperswashiness, it’s not surprising this would be revived in (or feel so at home in) 2009.

buttermilk
You know we love Jessica Hische. Buttermilk is only her first foray into commercial typemaking, but we hope not the last. She’s an ace with the letters, for sure.

trilby
We also love slab serifs and are always on the lookout for more really fine examples. We only sometimes love reversed stress type (Ben Shahn did some fantastic ones) – generally speaking they’re not fit for consumption outside of circusy/western posters. Where Trilby differs from the PT Barnums of the world however is that its stress proportion is subtle and very considered: the balance of form and counterform in the face are as beautiful as Caecilla or Clarendon.

vesper
This sample doesn’t do it justice. A very legible face with fantastic sharp curves and bracketed serifs, Vesper is like faves Vendetta and Freight Micro but with a more calligraphic basis.

hannah
Like the titles of Dr. Strangelove, and more current films like Where the Wild Things Are, Hannah is handlettering in a confident monoline. Charmingly, it comes in three degrees of compression, which mix and match to great effect.

libelle
2009 was the year I learned how to write pointed pen (copperplate) calligraphy. In the course of that class, I was surprised to see that, while there are dozens of digital models of the form, there are few that are anything but stiffly mechanistic. Libelle corrects that lack; with plenty of contextual alternates plus a very warm flowing line, it feels more like what I went into that class to learn than anything I have seen on a computer screen.

(texts from Time’s list of top 10 Animal Stories of 2009 except Libelle’s — dang LinoType doesn’t have a previewer)

TypograFriday: Meet Mr. Eaves

MrEavesA

We’re pretty excited about Emigre’s latest font release, Mr. Eaves — designed by Zuzana Licko to be the sans serif companion to her super popular Mrs. Eaves. It comes in a “sans” and a “modern” — the former like a warmer, quirkier Gill Sans and the latter geometricizing out some of the humanism (double-storey “a” and “g,” tailed “l”) and approaching Avenir or Neutra Text. They both have delicious italics, small caps and a heavy weight which has no correspondence in Mrs. Eaves (and which one hopes will help displace the frankly hideous Gill Sans Ultra Bold).

MrEavesDMrEavesC

Continue reading TypograFriday: Meet Mr. Eaves

TypograFriday: Taschen’s Type 1

We’re type geeks for sure. But, then there are the Jonathan Hoeflers and Robert Lees of the world, who collect type sample books from centuries past and trade anecdotes about the quirkiness of the editions. Now, with Taschen’s help, we can aspire to join their elite level of type-geekery.

president
edelweissslinkhardt

Type. A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, Vol. 1 reproduces over a thousand pages from type specimens 1628 – 1900 (volume 2 will cover 20th century specimens). And it comes not with a CD, but with an account code to download high res scans from the originals, not printing-rosette’d reproductions. They are fantastic. Oh and the book is gorgeously hefty, matte-paged, and printed with spot-gold accents.

More pictures and type-talk after the jump.

Continue reading TypograFriday: Taschen’s Type 1

Typografimonday: Canadatype sale!

canada1

Attention loyal readers; one of the most prolific foundries around is having a spectacular half off everything sale for one day only this Monday. Get em while the US dollar’s worth somethin! Ten of our favorites after the jump.

Continue reading Typografimonday: Canadatype sale!

TypograFriday: No Futura

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ddcikea3

Paul Renner’s Futura is an amazing typeface, equally adept at playing 60s modernism as timelessly contemporary cool. Some have made iconic use of it: A. Volkswagen (an Erik Spiekermann variant), B. fave-director Wes Anderson (not just for titles but in-film signage), C. Barbara Kruger (bold italic), D. Draplin Design Co./Field Notes and E. Ikea… whoops, until now.

ikea2

Yes that’s right. Ikea just switched from their bold, iconic use of Futura to Verdana, and their stated reasoning reflects a very poor thought process. They want to use the same type for all countries, including Asian ones, and Verdana has Asian character sets. And yet: there’s tons of modern monoweight Asian character sets that would match Futura perfectly well. They want to match the web to print. Yes, that does get a bit tricky, but other companies have found workarounds, and besides haven’t these people read “Harrison Bergeron“? Handicapping your display signage by putting it in a web text face just so that everything can match, for shame! So Futura doesn’t have Asian characters: Verdana doesn’t have effin display weights, it’s made for onscreen legibility! Use it large (as Ikea is bound to do) and it looks plain goofy instead of awesome like big Futura. Will every piece of furniture be available only in websafe colors?

There’s a lot of outcry and discussion on this (see designer discussion on typophile, mostly nondesigner discussion on metafilter, a good visual post on idsgn, the online petition, sets on flickr, etc.) and our hope is they quickly reverse their decision. The CIO claims that their identity is not wrapped up in Futura, but we disagree. See this 1965 catalog for what we mean.

ikea1965

Typografriday: playplayplayplay

It’s not new but people who aren’t type geeks may never have seen it. Quietly, unassumingly, and for years on and off, thirsttype founder Rick Valicenti, along with young designers Robb Irrgang and Satoru Nihei have been curating The Playground.canada goose mens jacket

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Mike Essl

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Andrea Tinnes

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Guang Yu

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Rick Valicenti

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Marian Bantjes

play_0000_Paula-Scher
Paula Scher

play_0001_Ed-Fella
Ed Fella

The interface/navigation is one of my favorites ever, and the concept simple. Each project’s designer makes an alphabet of 26 characters (or sometimes more; Paula Scher did like a dozen alphabets). The letters, some details about the alphabet and its designer, and in many cases a few designs using the type, are available to explore. Recent designs are available for download, though this is disabled after time. Type lovers: take some time to play.

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