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Nick Shinn


Nick Shinn
Last Active
Member, Type Person
Invited by
Admin James Puckett
  • Re: Calligraphic lettering critique

    First learn the style with a pen and paper, that will make the fakery more convincing.
  • Re: Are we heading towards a "VariableFontCloud"?

    Then, practising type designers will become high-concept style curators.
    That is, if their social media identities are free of blemish. 
  • Re: I trained a neural network to kern a font (mostly)

    Theunis, I wasn’t addressing drudgery, but the quality of a type design. 

    By artificially removing the type designer’s exercise of taste in determining spacing, design veers towards impoverished me-too sequel, proscribing emergent qualities. That’s how algorithms create bubbles to trap people in cultural stasis.

    Artificial means fake, dontcha know. What’s intelligent about that?

    On the subject of drudgery, I suspect many type designers might actually enjoy putting on some favorite tunes and playing with the lovely glyphs they’ve drawn, getting to know the relationships between them all a little more profoundly, exercising one’s judgement, thereby keeping one’s good taste in shape (fitness!) and up to date.

    As well as drudgery, kerning might also be considered meaningful human activity, after Morris, or Gandhi’s spinning. Type drawing is craft.

    It’s important to develop new techology in a humanistic manner. For algorithms, that means treating them as tools to enhance the user’s abilities, not bypass and atrophy them. Therefore, the interface is critical. The worst situation is offering no control of the settings (preferences). Even when those are editable, so often the user just sticks with the default. Worse, many agencies and design firms change the default kerning settings in InDesign etc. to “Optical”, a dodgy proposition which can go spectacularly wrong.

    But all this is theory; let’s see some typography.

  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    A big IBM insert in today’s Globe and Mail.

    I note that the word “IBM” in Plex Sans, featuring a serifed I, evokes the slab-serifed “I” of the company’s logo. 

  • Re: Junctions and 1 or 2 nodes

    Ironically, the two-point node scales better.
    That’s because it is not so dependent on the resolution of the rendering mechanism.

    Also, the sharpness of a single point node, especially in the groin of B, may be odd and uncomfortable in a typeface which has nothing else anywhere near as acute.