December 3, 2008

Hitler’s subtitler starts moonlighting in Web development?

Posted in Tools, typography, web development at 10:36 am by India

And, speaking of parodies, did anybody else just get this e-mail from FontLab?

WebReady release e-mail
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December 2, 2008

Hitler’s subtitler gets a cheap font CD

Posted in humor, Rants, typography, Video at 4:24 pm by India

One of dozens of Downfall parody videos. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, but if you haven’t been subjected to them yet, you may find this instance amusing.

October 26, 2008

“I’ve got science for any occasion / Postulating theorems, formulating equations”

Posted in technology, typography at 1:18 am by India


This is so wonderfully geeky I can barely stand it:

Last week I mentioned the atomic pen, which scientists used to construct some awfully tiny letters one atom at a time. These are small letters indeed: measuring two nanometers in height, they’re about 1/40000 the thickness of a human hair, which surely gives their inventor sufficient authority to issue the casual throwdown that “it’s not possible to write any smaller than this.” But it is, of course, and the technique for doing so has been known to typefounders for more than five hundred years.

Go find out who won that throwdown: “Atoms and Aldus” by Jonathan Hoefler, (via Tom Christensen’s

October 14, 2008

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

Posted in advice, books, Design, Rants, Typesetting, typography, Work at 9:47 am by India

pond scum

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I should feel jazzed that a person I used to work with, who at that time did not know InDesign from Address Book, is still using my files as templates for new books today in his busy freelance design business. Being a spiteful, negative, unforgiving person, however, I instead find it just kind of disgusting. Because even though this person is apparently now making a nontrivial chunk of his income by designing and typesetting books (and perhaps double-billing for it, too), he clearly still doesn’t know typography from a hole in the ground.
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July 22, 2008

Make hay while you can still hit the nail on the head.

Posted in books, letterpress, Typesetting, typography, web development at 3:29 am by India

Composing stick loaded with a few words

I spent most of last week TypeCon, where I took three classes and attended about half of the presentations. The highlights were, hands down, the day I spent making mudpies at Hal Leader’s aptly named Paradise Press and Erik Spiekermann’s obscenity-laced presentation on opening night (big, big crush).

Overall, I think this was my favorite TypeCon of the four I’ve been to, but few of the conference sessions I attended stand out, so mostly I must have liked it because of my trip to Paradise. Hal’s just such a sweet guy, and he’s so enthusiastic about letterpress, and I love the smell of inky machinery, and I love doing meditative handwork like picking letters out of trays and building them into lines of text. The best TypeCon ever? Would be spending four days just doing that. I’d probably need a wheelchair afterward, though—it killed my feet to stand all day, and the next morning I discovered that I had a major sore spot way deep in my left shoulder from holding a composing stick full of lead all day.

Newsflash: Lead is heavy.
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July 9, 2008

What does a type designer’s handwriting look like?

Posted in handwriting, typography at 4:25 pm by India

Erik Spiekerman's handwriting

In case you haven’t seen it—I hadn’t—faithful reader Schizohedron points out the following fun thing to look at:

There’s great power in a typeface, but what’s always interested me more than the typeface is the designer behind it – why did they create the typeface? Where did their inspiration come from? How did they start?

Lately, I’ve been asking just one question, though. Something which has always intrigued me: these people that help us communicate … how do they themselves communicate? If we strip away the monitors, and the printing presses, and the typefaces … how would William Caslon have written on a post-it note?

. . .

So, to satisfy my own curiosity I asked a number of prominent typographers to send me a scan of their handwriting. This is the result.

The respondents are Erik Spiekermann, Göran Söderström, Nikola Djurek, Sebastian Lester, Mark Simonson, Kris Sowersby, Eduardo Manso, Veronika Burian, Marian Bantjes, and Dino dos Santos.

June 27, 2008

And attendance is the other 50 percent of your grade.

Posted in letterpress, Reading, technology, typography at 12:39 am by India

Free Hand Penmanship Series Writing Charts

Fonts can shape reality in intangible ways, as Phil Renaud, a graphic designer from Phoenix, discovered when he studied the relationship between his grades and the fonts he used for his college papers. Papers set in Georgia, a less common font with serifs, generally received A’s while those rendered in Times Roman averaged B’s.

—Peter Wayner, “Down With Helvetica: Design Your Own Font,” New York Times, June 26, 2008

Man, that’s why I got those B’s in college: Georgia hadn’t yet been designed.

(Thanks, Rose!)

. . .

In other news, I just registered for TypeCon again. Anybody else going?

May 31, 2008

MetaFilter Asks . . .

Posted in books, Design, Lazyweb, print-on-demand, typography at 6:10 pm by India

metal type

MeFi user Caduceus requests information about

Changing technologies in book design?
I’m looking for information about how new technologies have affected book design and typography.

I’m particularly interested in the affects of computers and design software, but information about how things like Print on Demand and ebooks have changed the status quo of book design would also be helpful. I’d be happy to be pointed to books, web essays, blogs, whatever information I can track down and dig through.

Kind reader Brian Winters directed Caduceus to this blog, but I don’t think there’s much here that addresses the question, since I started designing books relatively late in the digital age (around ten years ago, give or take). Most insight into such subjects around these parts comes from my more experienced visitors. So . . .

Should any of you more (or less! it’s MetaFilter!) informed persons wish to weigh in, there’s the thread. Of course, if you are, like me, too lazy to go register so that you can comment at MeFi, you’re welcome to deposit your thoughts here.
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May 29, 2008

The Recipe for Success

Posted in books, Design, production, Typesetting, typography at 1:49 pm by India

Book Cake

Following up on the popularity of her copyediting report, Rose Levy Beranbaum has posted another interesting entry about the production of her forthcoming cookbook: Book Production Phase 7 Pre Design Meeting.

The designer’s estimate had the text running forty-two pages over the initial castoff, so there was a lot of discussion about how to make it fit. She’s posted her notes from the meeting, which give a you an idea of the complexity of cookbook design. Read the rest of this entry »

May 3, 2008

So I guess there’s no Klingon italic, either

Posted in Reading, typography at 10:25 pm by India


The term “Roman” is customarily used to describe serif typefaces of the early Italian Renaissance period. More recently, the term has also come to denote the upright style of typefaces, as opposed to the word “Italic”, which refers to cursive typefaces inspired by the handwriting of Italian humanists. Thus Linotype offers fonts called Sabon Greek Roman and Sabon Greek Italic, (designed by Jan Tchichold), based on 16th century models. But by using terminology which is typically associated with Latin type and evokes the history of Italian typography, Linotype makes a careless statement. “Greek Roman” and “Greek Italic” are contradictions in terms, mixing two very different histories.

—Peter Biľak, “A View of Latin Typography in Relationship to the World,” Het Wereld Boek (Amsterdam, 2008), reprinted at Typotheque

Huh. Now that you mention it, yes, that sounds stupid.

Photo: Mandragoras by sp!ros; some rights reserved.

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