Type design hot takes

135

Comments

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 997
    Who would have thought, in 1989, that some letters carved stone in 114 A.D. would become the most popular type ever for movie posters? Who, in the 19th century, would have thought that the types we’d be reading most in the next century would come from the 15th through 18th centuries? And who would have thought that a modest grotesk from 1896 would, with small modifications, take over the world?

    I don't know about movie posters per se, but the importance of the Trajan Column to the design of capital letters in Roman typefaces is something type designers have never forgotten about from the days of Jenson to the present.
    In 1896, which, admittedly was rather late in the 19th Century, Daniel Berkeley Updike founded the Merrymount Press. From his book 'Printing Types: A Study in Survivals', it's easy to see that he thought that the ubiquitous Scotch Romans of the 19th Century were the pits. Somehow, I doubt that he was alone.
    But I do have to admit that it would have taken unearthly prescience to look at Akzidenz Grotesk when it first came out, and foresee Helvetica Medium signage in airports everywhere.
  • aLl sCriPts sHoUld bE uNicAmEral.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,880
    “Classic yet modern“
    “For text and display“
    “For screens, print, and branding”

    Plus “Geometric and humanist”
    (I saw this today, re. a new type with “brutal and elegant details”.)

  • John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 47
    Once Google buys out and owns all existing type designs, every glyph in every font will be encoded inside a newly expanded 64-bit Unicode standard.
  • Plus “Geometric and humanist”
    I made one of these! :grimace:
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,443
    Using the same anchor names for mark and mkmk positioning is madness.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 625
    Using the same anchor names for mark and mkmk positioning is madness.
    Literally today I managed to balls up a font by doing exactly this.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    Plus “Geometric and humanist”

    Avenir?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,880

    Apparently not.
    The point being that vendors use one set of descriptors for keywords/tags, but another for marketing—and it is this oxymoronic quality of advertising copy, laying claim to the best of all possible worlds, which is James’ hot take, to which I added.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,415
    classic modern
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 625
    “Suitable for display, headline and body text” just means the designer didn’t really know what they were making.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 997
    edited April 22
    “Suitable for display, headline and body text” just means the designer didn’t really know what they were making.
    I don't know. Surely there are some typefaces that are usable in all three situations, even if one of them might be preferred. For example, many Jensons might fill that bill. It's possible to use Goudy Oldstyle, normally thought of as a display face, for body text, as an example.

    Alex Visi said:
    Plus “Geometric and humanist”

    Avenir?

    Since Adrian Frutiger himself stated that he intended Avenir to be "a more organic take on the geometric style", that is indeed a good example of an attempt to find an intermediate between, if not a combination of, two clashing styles.

    1. I find f-ligatures distracting when I'm reading. I can see how useful they are but when I'm reading, they often trip me up and I prefer a natural fi or fl gap in most cases.
    On this, I could not disagree more (I am naturally tripped up, in a serif font, by a lack of a ligature). I wonder if this is connected to the fact that I actually have the f-ligatures in my handwriting.
  • classic modern

    And of course the always fresh, "Modern classic ".
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,196
    edited April 25
    “Suitable for display, headline and body text” just means the designer didn’t really know what they were making.
    I don't agree :)

    Before opsz VF support, it's annoying to use sets of static fonts with size specific designs, so the majority of high quality postscript era type was/is drawn with a single set of outlines that look good at large sizes, but are spaced appropriately wide for  body text; and professional dtp app designers know/knew to track in at display sizes, to use a slightly lighter weight at headline sizes, and to not use the extreme weights and widths at small sizes.

    It's very rare I think that someone says that their text typeface hasn't been drawn to look good at large sizes and is intended only for use at small sizes, caveat emptor. I believe this because the Roboto Flex and Amstelvar minimum opsz are done this way, to economizer on file-size - there's no duovars or triovars (corner masters) to make the 6pt design look good at large sizes. 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,880
    I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion, or merely a pet peeve, but I detest history books illustrated with halftone reproductions of typography.
  • I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion, or merely a pet peeve, but I detest history books illustrated with halftone reproductions of typography.

    It’s certainly unpopular with me! Very well made photographic reproductions are the best method for the reproduction of print typography. Two of the samples here, the 17th-century Dutch book and the arrangements of Vs printed by Jack Stauffacher, were both photographed with raking light by E.M. Ginger, at her company 42-Line. Imagine how utterly ineffective it would be to photograph or scan these as line art. Nick, you need to find a new pet peeve!




  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,880
    It’s not about photography, as all the typography is photographed before being printed anyway. 
    The issue, if you’re going to use halftones, is at what resolution?
    This is what burns me up, in a relatively new book (2013), 133 line screen, with the type (reproduced at around 9 or 10 pt. size) lost in a fog of dots and the paper on which it was printed represented by 15% black.


  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,322
    I agree with everybody:
    - there are times when photos of type are good/helpful
    - there are times when screened reproductions of type are mostly lost resolution and are a really bad choice

    Now, that said, I think of all the cases I have seen of this, the overwhelming majority were of the latter sort. So while @Scott-Martin Kosofsky is totally right in theory, most real-world usage matches @Nick Shinn’s complaint: it seems to just degrade the quality and gives no advantage.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,478
    A good well-done example using halftones is Art of the Printed Book, 1455-1955, published by Godine. It's printed in rotogravure duotones, so the halftone screen is virtually invisible. Unfortunately, on a few pages the duotone is slightly out of register. Even with this flaw, it's still one of the treasures of my type book library.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,880
    Right. Gravure rocks.  
    Anatomy of Printing by John Lewis (1970) is interesting, in that there is no attempt to render the paper, all the old typography is 100% black with the background knocked out—and printed on a very raggy, cream-coloured stock, as the originals were.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,443
    Collotype for the win.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,880
    But not in this reproduction John, in which the background is a dull gradient.
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 609
    edited April 30
    Earlier I’d commented on how the T_T ligature was too close to ∏. A MyFonts ad I ran across today gives an even more perverse example:



    Addendum: The first time I saw this I hadn't noticed the location Yogyakarta. I now can't help wondering whether this face wasn't designed by someone whose native script was Javanese rather than Latin.
  • (T_T) is the face I make seeing this.
  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 213
    Eh, it's an expressive display face modeled on hand lettering. As such, it includes some of the delightful and distinctive quirks of sign painters and letterers. There's very little chance it'll be confused for Pi when used in its intended context.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,196

    Addendum: The first time I saw this I hadn't noticed the location Yogyakarta. I now can't help wondering whether this face wasn't designed by someone whose native script was Javanese rather than Latin.
    Ummm.... have you been to Indonesia?

    When I went there, I was sad to see how little the local script is used. I don't think such people exist...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Javanese_script#Decline
Sign In or Register to comment.