Type design hot takes

24

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  • xzcvJames Puckett said:
    “Classic yet modern“
    “For text and display“
    “For screens, print, and branding”
    Brilliant! Can i use those? 
    (Last one reminds me of a mechanic advertising "We specialise in domestic and foreign cars").  :D
  • My new hot take is: designers who say “design for the future.” Whose future? Graphic design and its typographic branch are, like fashion and architecture, forever aware of their past, which inevitably point the way to their future. Things are added along the way, but nothing is ever lost—at least not for long. Not only is the past (including yesterday) where our stuff comes from, it’s where we get the language to talk about our stuff. 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?

    Several years ago I wrote an article on this theme for a collection edited by Steven Heller, Teaching Graphic Design History. You can find it here: 
    https://www.academia.edu/39702196/WHAT_WE_TALK_ABOUT_WHEN_WE_TALK_ABOUT_GRAPHIC_DESIGN

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,255
    I think we're migrating from hot takes to pet peeves.
  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 239
    edited April 6
    I think we're migrating from hot takes to pet peeves.

    It didn't stop me, but actually, I wasn't entirely sure what a "hot take" is:
    Now I know

    ... , a hot take is a "piece of deliberately provocative commentary that is based almost entirely on shallow moralizing" in response to a news story,[1] "usually written on tight deadlines with little research or reporting, and even less thought".[2]

  • My new hot take is: designers who say “design for the future.” Whose future?

    Well I'm not even a real designer. Dodged a bullet there! :grimace:
    In any case, feel free to replace it by «design for the present» if you're uncomfortable with it. Design for the living people who are going to use your fonts, not for the dead ones.
    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?
    And yet, Trajan is so famous because it looks awesome, not because it's historical, and its present-day version has happily shed any anachronisms that would have held it back, like writing V for U.
  • I have no issue with the Th ligature. The one that drives me crazy is the TT ligature in Arno which comes across as a bloated Π.
  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 239
    edited April 7
    I have no issue with the Th ligature. The one that drives me crazy is the TT ligature in Arno which comes across as a bloated Π.
    I see your point, but, would one be wrong in assuming the reader knows what script they're reading?
     B) 

    Another hot take while I'm here: The demand for Variable type is overrated. 
    Again, B)
  • Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 144
    edited April 7
    As for the Th ligature, @Stephen Coles shared the link up in this thread about Hermann Zapf's Hunt Roman:

    "Instead he designed a ‘Th’ ligature, a significant letter combination in the language in which it would be used most. While this ligature has become a standard in many fonts today, especially through OpenType, it was quite a novelty in the early 1960s."

    Not sure Zapf first used it, but it might popularize it.

    @Simon Cozens and @Alex Visi got DISAGREE for being honest, whoever downvotes them, please remove it :)


    I remembered one more, I dislike oversized spiky overshoots (diagonals of A, N, M, W...) on some geometric typefaces. Futura has it only in lighter weights, but NIVEA logo is the example where they kept it in bolder as well. Neutraface was when I first notice it a decade ago.

  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,175
    All fonts should be libre.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    @Simon Cozens and @Alex Visi got DISAGREE for being honest, whoever downvotes them, please remove it :)
    I think it’s ok, although it would be interesting to know the reason.

    All fonts should be libre.
    Do you mind me asking why and how?
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 605
    edited April 7
    Russell McGorman said:

    I see your point, but, would one be wrong in assuming the reader knows what script they're reading?
    Usually I do (though admittedly I’m not the world’s most attentive person). That’s why I'm always a bit surprised to see an elongated Greek letter in the middle of a latin text.

  • Another hot take while I'm here: The demand for Variable type is overrated.
    That fits "a hot take" I guess (as non-native speaker).
    But now I am thinking - I can't even remember this demand expressed much in the community. It seems like they just appeared at some time.

  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    I just seems strange that I haven’t seen a concerted effort to make something a little more in keeping with those values.
    Perhaps, it’s the same reason why all anti-capitalist opinions are being posted with an iPhone through Social Media.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,384
    All fonts should be libre.
    a hot take is a "piece of deliberately provocative commentary that is based almost entirely on shallow moralizing"
     Nailed it, Dave. :D 
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,175
    edited April 9
    I don’t understand why so many anarcho-socialist designers release and work for one of the largest, most outright capitalistic tech companies that has dipped its toe into this industry.
    If you are genuinely interested to understand, look into the differences between the software user freedom movement, and the open source movement. 

    For myself, as someone interested in the former much more than the latter, the point is to make typefaces available under user-freedom-respecting terms. Google has no issues with commissioning typefaces for release only under those terms, so it is an excellent patron/employer. There are other organizations that have commissioned libre fonts, but since Google has spent the most money on doing so, the most people interested in making libre fonts have taken such commissions. 

    That is to say, for me, whatever the anarcho-socialist stuff you refer to is, it is an epiphenonemon of the software user freedom movement.

    But I think you may find a things to be the kinds of concerted efforts to make somethings more in-keeping with those values: velvetyne.frfontlibrary.org, osp.kitchen...


    Alex Visi said:

    Do you mind me asking why and how?

    If you want to learn more about the "shallow moralizing" why, check out gnu.org/philosophyfreedomdefined.org, the preamble to the OFL, etc. 

    If you want to learn how, well, simply put, you make a typeface project and make it available  to users under a libre license. There are common ways to do that, recommended practices, but that's the point, to me, and there's myriad ways to do so. Of course the most common question is "how can I be paid to do it?" and there are also a few ways, but a common theme is that the customer believes it will be more valuable for them if the type is libre instead of not.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    If you want to learn more about the "shallow moralizing" why, check out gnu.org/philosophyfreedomdefined.org, the preamble to the OFL, etc. 

    If you want to learn how, well, simply put, you make a typeface project and make it available  to users under a libre license. There are common ways to do that, recommended practices, but that's the point, to me, and there's myriad ways to do so. Of course the most common question is "how can I be paid to do it?" and there are also a few ways, but a common theme is that the customer believes it will be more valuable for them if the type is libre instead of not.
    The customer believes that free anything would be more valuable for them. The question is who should pay the cost. Sales is the most direct and efficient way to do so; other ways are possible, but they themselves come at an extra cost, which means either the designer or the customer pays more. In case of libre fonts, they are mostly paid for by the designers, occasionally their clients. Apparently, paying for your own work is morally right.
     
    Google obviously has nothing to do with the font market, and neither does your income from them, Dave; that’s a hot take from an outsider. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but saying “all fonts should be libre” unfortunately means that you don’t understand the consequences of that: poor quality, low quantity, type designers switching to other kinds of jobs. Look at the communist countries, home of “free everything”.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,175
    edited April 11
    Alex, clearly many customers do not believe that libre fonts are for them, which is why the retail font market continues to grow year over year. You've got nothing to worry about. Why the scarcity mindset?
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    I was talking only about the hypothetical “all fonts” standpoint of your comment. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with some fonts being libre for whatever reason.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,175
    edited April 11
    Alex Visi said:
    I was talking only about the hypothetical “all fonts” standpoint of your comment. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with some fonts being libre for whatever reason.
    Oh I see :) This isn't hypothetical.

    The reason all users of all fonts (and all functional digital works) ought to have freedom to use, modify and redistribute the works as they wish, is that these freedoms are fundamental to living a good life. We can go so far as to say that its a matter of ethics; it is ethically better to have these freedoms, and to respect those of other people.

    Plainly, I think it is much better when you have to use something, and it doesn't work they way you want, and you could fix it, and you are permitted to fix it, so you do, and you share or sell that fix with other who also need it.

    I think it an ethical dilemma when someone asks me something, and I say, "sorry, I agreed with the person who told me to keep it a secret." Or, for digital works, "sorry, I agreed not to share a copy with you." Its better not to get into that situation, and to not learn of or use proprietary knowledge/software/fonts.

    Like eating vegan, or not smoking or drinking, I think we are all entitled to different ethical positions on this -  and I think its unreasonable to dismiss people who have a different ethic than you do. 
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    Frankly, that sounds nice but utopian for a couple of reasons:
    If someone ought to have something, let’s not forget that someone else ought to give them that. Why is that ethical? There’s a difference between freedom of speech or freedom to breath, and freedom to take something from someone.

    Second, good quality and quantity only comes from someone either making good money off of it or being enforced. Intellectual property rights is an extremely important part of innovation and high standards of living in the developed countries. Part of the reason non-Latin font markets barely exist is because they are all libre, so to speak. There’s no motivation to make anything.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 930
    I believe Ray's intention was to have fun spouting hot takes, not to debate them ad nauseam.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,193
    @Stephen Coles True, but feel free to start or annex another thread.
  • Here's my hot take: Vignelli was too generous, and humanity would be absolutely fine with 1, maybe 2 good quality typefaces total (especially if those typefaces supported every script). It'd be boring but otherwise have no ill effect on civilization whatsoever.
  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 239
    edited April 15
    Type "Vignelli" into Google... 20 pages in and its still nothing but Massimo Massimo  Massimo. Occasionally Massimo and Lella. The man was and is to this day, the object of a personality cult. He was driven by a massive craving for notoriety to make controversial, even outrageous pronouncements to hold the loyalty of his followers: 
    “If you do it right, it will last forever”, “Good design is ubiquitous”, "The computer is really like a pencil"...  "All you need is 5 fonts." 
    His legacy cannot be trusted. 
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,175
    Alex Visi said:
    Frankly, that sounds nice but utopian 
    Look upon my works ye mighty and despair.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 173
    edited April 18
    Alex Visi said:
    Frankly, that sounds nice but utopian 
    Look upon my works ye mighty and despair.
    Aren’t they proof of my point? People still buy fonts despite there’s a ton of free ones. Apparently, there are criteria other than “freedom”, which libre fonts can’t meet (see above why). Which is why I’m calling it utopian.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,860
    edited April 18
    Look upon my works ye mighty and despair.
    In time, Google’s empire will vanish, and all that remains will be a testament to its grandiose vanity. (As per Ozymandias).

    **

    My hot take: Souvenir.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 965
    I think you have every right to your opinions. I have to admit, I disagree with them.
    1. Small caps have their uses. I wish that they would be added to Unicode just like lower case belongs to Unicode.
    2. I never found f-ligatures distracting in books printed from hot metal. I do, however, agree that they would complicate text editing on a computer, and there are typefaces that shouldn't have them.
    3. Comic Sans is not good for some uses, such as text in comic strip word balloons. It is well-done, and has a role as a casual "blackboard" style typeface.
    4. Here, I almost agree with you. I think that Papyrus fills a real need - the need for an 'exotic' typeface that doesn't carry with it the danger of offending people that a 'foreign face' typeface does these days. That, in my opinion, is why it is so "overused".
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 965
    (Last one reminds me of a mechanic advertising "We specialise in domestic and foreign cars").  :D
    Someday, that will make sense. It will mean... we specialize in cars made on Earth, as opposed to cars made on other planets.
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