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Typography

Name that Typeface from 1932: Advanced Font Search

Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 07, 2014

Designing a poster for a production of “Ragtime” and want to achieve typographic authenticity? Visit the Advanced Search feature on Fonts in Use. The search parameter will permit you to search for fonts by publish date, or covering dates before or after a particular year. Additional search fields will let you select by foundry, designer or agency, published format (including tablet/iPad), location, etc. The results are displayed in thumbnails with the typefaces used listed underneath. Clicking onto the font name will take you to a page listing the designer and foundry, with links to their websites, and a list of related faces.

The samples displayed are pulled from examples submitted to contributors to Fonts in Use, and are limited to that database. Searching by multiple fields can yield little to no results. However, Fonts in Use is soliciting contributions to their collection. To do so, you must create an account. Once that’s done, you can upload samples from your computer, or add images directly from the Web or Flckr. Submissions are reviewed by staff, who can also identify the submitted fonts. (Custom lettering is not accepted.)

While the material on the site is published under the doctrine of fair use, the website encourages contributors to include the source, designer, and photographer, if possible. The site also asks that they be notified if any work is identified as infringing on copyright. A full description of how to contribute to the collection is included in their FAQs page. Fonts in Use is a public archive of typography founded by Sam Berlow, Stephen Coles, and Nick Sherman. It exists independently of any type foundry or corporation. In addition to the collection, the site includes a blog with articles written by contributors such as Roger Black and Indra Kupferschmid.

Using Fonts: A Typographic Treasury

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 24, 2014

FontShop is one of many top notch resources for anyone purchasing typefaces, offering thousands of fonts from a variety of foundries as well as its house brand, FontFont. Many of the new releases are featured on FontShop’s blog. But anyone who assumes the blog is just another advertising medium should take a closer look. Selecting FontShop blog articles tagged with “Using Fonts” pulls up a stellar series of informative articles on typography, authored by letterer David Sudweeks. The article series has garnered praise from the likes of Erik Spiekermann.

Sudweeks had intended the series to cover the fundamentals of typography, and many of the articles handle basics, such as “Using Baseline Grids” and “Basic Kerning.” Sudweeks doesn’t refrain from digging deeply into the most mundane subject matter, and the result is a goldmine of information. For example, an article on using Search and Replace delves into GREP, that mysterious search option within the InDesign Find/Change dialogue box. (As it turns out, GREP – from a Unix term – permits one to search for a string of characters. Who knew?) Similarly, an article on “A Sense for Type Scale” was continued into a second article, which lead naturally into a two-part article on “Understanding Visual Hierarchy.”

Some articles cover more fun topics, such as “Wedding Invitation Typography,” or “Making your First Font.” Sudweeks also doesn’t limit himself to typography for print. Several articles deal with responsive typography, CSS, and @font-face. For those who think excellent typography crosses all media, a particularly wonderful article covers “Understanding Cascading Styles in Print and Web.”

 

Brought to our attention by @espiekermann.

From Croatia, with Love (and Inspiration): The Design Blog

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 18, 2014

Croatian designer Ena Baćanović  (aka Ruby Soho) made a splash when her “If I Wanted to Work for Free…” poster went viral in the summer of 2012. Few realized then that she is also the founder and curator of The Design Blog, a collection of inspirations and resources from around the globe. The Design Blog seeks to live up to its mantra, “Don’t Just Be a Designer  – Be a Good One” by featuring beautiful work and resources. The homepage features selected projects, elaborated upon with text and photographs from the creators.

The site also has recurring sections, which showcase work and projects across a range of disciplines on selected days of the week, such as Designer of the Week, Web Design Wednesdays, UI/UX of the Week, Featured Video, and Friday Freebies. (The moniker “of the Week” is a bit ambitious. Although posts for each section are frequent, they don’t seem to appear on a weekly basis – hardly surprising considering the breadth of disciplines which are covered.) An extensive list of resources lists typography resources and inspirational blogs.

The Design Blog is all the more impressive when one considers that Baćanović is only 23 years old. She’s both energetic and multi-faceted. In addition to running The Design Blog and working on her own projects, she’s the drummer in the female band Punchke.

Images @ Ena Baćanović. Used with permission.

Too Close for Comfort: the Pitfalls of Designing your Own Identity

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 27, 2013

Jord Riekwel, the proprietor of the design firm Larkef in the Netherlands, has written a thought-provoking article on the pitfalls of designing your own logo. Although he is a logo designer by trade, Jord discovered that he was at an impasse in designing his own identity. His own designs were lackluster, and he felt he needed another pair of eyes. So he hired “lettering artist” Sergey Shapiro, who created the warm, flowing Larkef logo.

Jord cautions creatives to not assume they can do it all, but to recognize they are not “polymaths”. After failed attempts at his own website design, and afer producing sloppy, trite copy, he hired a website developer and a professional copywriter to take on those two tasks. His take-away:  “Invest money in good design. Hire a proper logo designer, web designer, copywriter, or photographer. You won’t regret it.”

Below: Larkef logo sketches by designer Sergey Shapiro.

Larkef logo sketches by designer Sergey Shapiro.

Butterick’s Practical Typography

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 19, 2013

Butterick's Practical TypographyLawyer and type designer Matthew Butterick has self-published a treatise on typography: Butterick’s Practical Typography. Although the book is targeted to non-designers, it is a clear, easy-to-follow overview of the basics of typography that even designers well-versed in type layout will enjoy revisiting. Butterick builds a solid basis on typography best-rules, starting with “Why Typography Matters,” and proceeding with thorough discussions of type composition, formatting, font choice, and page layout. He concludes with an appendix of valuable features such as a meaty bibliography, a list of bad typewriter habits, and keyboard shortcuts for common accented characters.

Butterick’s Practical Typography is not only a well written treatise on the fundamentals of sound type usage, but also an experiment in web-based book publishing. Butterick created Pollen, the publishing system used for the book, using the programming language Racket. The result is a simple, elegantly designed online publication which is easy to navigate and free. Butterick intends to keep the book ad-free, but requests that users support the expensive project by buying Butterick’s fonts, sending a donation, or buying his previous book, Typography for Lawyers.

Butterick comes by his expertise through a career built on design and typography. After receiving his BA from Harvard in visual and environmental studies, he worked as a type designer and engineer at the Font Bureau, and created Herald Gothic, Wessex, and Hermes. After founding the web design firm Atomic Studio (later bought by Red Hat), he went to UCLA Law School and joined the California Bar.

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