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: Fraktur, Part 3

Because you demanded it: the third and final section of me talking about blackletter incessantly! I hereby promise a moratorium until at least January! In this section, finally, 10 great contemporary experimental hybrids that incorporate elements from this traditional calligraphic form with roman shapes to awesome effect.

factory
fakir
blackhaus
aeronaut
adhesivenrseven
bastard
keks
metalista
gothicgothic
brea

Credits and commentary after the jump.
Continue reading TypograFriday: Fraktur, Part 3

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

Dois Tempos

Dois-Tempos_1

A while back we posted about the Vai Com Deus, the amazing typographic facade done by R2 Design in Portugal. Well, it looks like R2 has done it again, but this time it’s newspaper headlines set in Neutra Slab with the addition of photo-luminescent ink. I think prefer the white-on-white color scheme of Vai Com Deus, but Dois Tempos looks pretty rad too. View more images of Dois Tempos here, or go to Portugal and see it for yourself before January 31, 2010.

Dois-Tempos_2

Photos by Fernando Guerra

Continue reading Dois Tempos

New Art

kasikov_detail

I am so excited that our artwork from Evelin Kasikov (who we featured a while back) arrived today. It is just as lovely as I had hoped — I can’t wait to get it on the wall.

kasikov

Typografriday: Wood on the Web

There’s a finite amount of woodtype out there in the world; nobody’s making the stuff anymore and haven’t for a while. Not only was some of it never produced in quantity, but much was lost over time, discarded when the letterpress era seemed over, burned during the Dust Bowl or (most aggravatingly) made into knickknacks or sold one piece at a time at antique fairs. It also represents a distinct (and distinctly American) transitory moment in typography, where all number of styles were flourishing – condensed and extended, bold slabs and tuscans, rough sans, display faces of all sorts.

Luckily, in this information age, some typographic/historicalminded sorts have put together some fantastic resources to keep woodtypes from fading into the dustbin of memory.

woodtype_kelly

The Rob Roy Kelly American Type Collection digitized. What Harry Smith did for American Folk Music, Rob Roy Kelly did for woodtypes. His book is by all accounts the one to get, (sadly we have yet to pony up for a copy). His 150+ specimens, plus copious information about the manufacturers and history, are all archived and well-organized at this University of Texas site.

woodtype_unicorn

Unicorn Graphics’ Wood Type Museum has scans of type specimen books, in their entirety, plus pictures of every piece of numerous full typefaces. Yes, the letters themselves. They seem interested in collecting and preserving more, so if you have drawers of woodtype lying about, you could do worse than to contact em to get it preserved digitally before selling it off piecemeal.

Vai com Deus

er293 copy
von02

This Portuguese typographic facade is just amazing—I wish I had seen it in person; I think I love it. It was designed by R2 Design and won an Honor Award from the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) and is one of the winners of the Type Directors Club’s TDC 55.

Here’s a little more about the project (from the SEGD site):

When an 18th century Portuguese chapel was reopened as an art gallery, the owners and R2 Design (Porto, Portugal) used its façade as the canvas for an artful typographic composition that recalls the building’s former use, but creates a new cultural venue.

With a tight budget and only two months to bring the project to fruition, R2 Design needed to draw visitors’ attention to the gallery, located down a small alleyway adjacent to several important historical buildings in Lisbon. They started by painting the yellow façade white and using it as the slate for idiomatic expressions that refer to God and that by force of repetition have crystallized in the Portuguese language.

The words were rendered at various depths and scales in Knockout type, chosen because it is a sans serif typeface that offers a wide range of sizes and expressions. The letters were built from Intasa MDF hydrofuge sheets, an environmentally friendly product recommended for moist environments. A thick paint made it possible to simulate the texture of the façade.

See a couple more lovely photos after the jump.

via The Refined.

Continue reading Vai com Deus

Buttermilk

hische1

We’ve been holding off on posting about Jessica Hische’s awesome lettering because we wanted to see if she would participate in our artist interview series (something that would be much more likely if we actually contacted her). But, with today’s release of her first font Buttermilk, we felt at least a brief mention was in order. It is available at MyFonts for $49 — definitely worth checking out.

TypograFriday: Microcosm

fotc_collage

Every once in a while, a sample set presents itself which offers a fascinating glimpse into the trends and influences of the day. This flickr set of 35 posters for the Flight of the Concords 2009 North American tour is one such example.

The disparate designers of these posters had no unified design spec, though of course they had the same band/tv show/season of year to reference. And yet looked at as a whole, a shocking number come back to the same overall colorschemes (midtone blues, greens and tans, very few dark colors). And in terms of type trends, the set reflects a terrific microcosm of what’s going on in the world of “indie”-flavored typography right now: filled-counter letters are inexplicably still super-hot across many subcultures, lifting from the 70s is perfectly OK, and innocently irregular hand lettering conveys a sense of rakish charm second only to Bret and Jermaine themselves.

Credits for type collage (for each artist, the first link goes to an image of the full poster on flickr, and the second goes to their own site)
Row 1: Diana Sudyka (website), Eyenoise (website)
Row 2: Doublenaut (website), The Silent Giants (website)
Row 3: Nate Duval (website), Mike Davis of Burlesque Design (website)
Row 4: El Jefe Design (website), DKNG (website)
Row 5: Tyler Stout (website), Delicious Design League (website)

anthropologie + hatch show print

The June Anthropologie catalog is stunning! The beautiful use of type and colors are absolutely wonderful. The creative team at Athropologie collaborated with Hatch Show Print to create the amazing piece. Check it out!

june_anthro_01-1

june_anthro_02-1

june_anthro_03

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