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Ray Larabie

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Ray Larabie
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  • Re: Share your pleasure and learning experience at drawing revivals

    The most fun I've had making a revival was Minicomputer. I tracked the development of magnetic typefaces Westminster in 1965 to the end of the MICR craze—which only seemed to last about 5 years. Apart from the initial MICR E13B numerals designed in the 1950s, everyone did their own interpretation of what the alphabet would look like with a certain amount of borrowing from one another. Everyone had their own plausibility level. Squared off designs like Yavroyan Egra. A mix of circuit board traces and LSD as in Hinge Computer. Data '70 and Computer were more austere and ended up becoming the standard. The style branched off into similar styles like Amelia, Williamson Program, Cucumber. I spent way too much time researching, not enough time working on my font. It's not based on any particular magnetic typeface. It's more of a what-if scenario. What if someone in the 1960s had been asked to make a magnetic typeface in multiple weights, covering Greek, Cyrillic and more symbols and punctuation that you'd typically find in a display font in those times.
  • Re: Ordinal/superscript feature for French

    ® Should almost always be superscript.
    Superscript ® is so annoying. Isn't it easier for users to superscript an ® than unsuperscript an ®? At least 3 times I've had to change the font for the ® on a web site footer because it was barely visible. And last week I had to swap an ® on a circuit board. It's even worse with older fonts where they didn't bother making different weights for the ®. With those, you can't even grab a lighter one from another weight and scale/shift it.


  • Re: Going dotty

    I've had a lot of experience with that technique and I've seen very strange things. In FontLab itself, things were fairly stable. There's a breaking point but it's easy to figure out. The problem was the exported, unhinted TTFs. I made the font renderer on MyFonts go completely bonkers once. When components had 8 points. No problem. 10 points? Fine. 13 points? Complete mayhem. Vectors shooting out all over the place. The complexity of the component seems to matter more than the number of components. And it's not a matter of too many points overall because the decomposed fonts are quite chill. It was nutso. The Windows font preview had seemingly random parts of the glyph offset several lines below. And, the number of components wasn't that crazy...like 30ish per glyph. Decompose that stuff before you export unless you want the gates of hell to open up.
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    Fonts like Plex change nothing. We'll have free, self generating typefaces in less than 2 decades. Not parametric type design but AI proper. You can try to hold back the tide but there'll be a day when nobody buys fonts anymore and it's not that far off.
  • Re: What was the very first typeface described as “feminine”?

    @Hrant H. Papazian
    Protecting gender stereotypes is like a nature conservationist focused on protecting the common housefly. We're in no danger of anyone in the world forgetting gender stereotypes exist. If you want to discuss the relationship between gender and type, that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. 

    Outside of ad copy, gender and type is an interesting thing to talk about. If a reviewer says a font is masculine, there's some context. We know who the reviewer is, we can think about it.

    I get what you're saying about the two triangles. I think we're all pretty round these days. But some women have narrow shoulders, wide hips, thick limbs, big muscles and sharp angles. Some men have wide shoulders, narrow hips, thin limbs and soft features.

    When gender stereotypes are used in ad copy to sell fonts, it's not a discussion. Think how that kind of ad copy reads to people who don't fit the stereotype. When type designers use these terms in their ad copy, they're usually not talking about the triangularity, the hip/shoulder ratio of the typeface. Enter some gendered terms into your vendor search tool and see what comes up. You'll see a few results that aren't stereotypical and plenty that are.

    Maybe there's a way to use gender in ad copy that's progressive. But I think the typical gender stereotypes used in typeface ad copy are a turn off for younger customers. When a young designer types "feminine" or "masculine" into the font vendor search bar, the search results have an effect on what the next generation will see.