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Marking time on typography

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Typefaces & fonts

Just the other day I was sounding off about the improper use of the term font in computer software menus. In the language of printing a font, or fount, used to be a complete set of type of a particular face and size. So a better term to put on the computer menu would be type face if more than one size is available, or type family if there are variants such as bold or italic. I wondered who had misappropriated such a usefully particular word.

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Friday 17 April 2009

50 years of Strunk & White

The elements of style (3rd edition, 1979) lurks on the shelf near my dictionaries and style guides. Some of its specific advice on grammar is weird, so it’s not a useful reference book. But as an argument for clarity in writing it’s wonderful.

White’s reworking of William Strunk’s original little book appeared in 1959, and was a publishing hit. Its anniversary has been marked by a new commemorative edition, and a flurry of comment.

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Sunday 11 December 2005

Donald Knuth

Some idle reading about ways to break a paragraph into lines took me to an article in Wikipedia about TeX, the typesetting program created by Donald Knuth. A consumate ratbag, as I surmise from the article:

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Tuesday 3 February 2004

Shooting the courier

Thanks to typographica for pointing out a report on the ABC website:

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Saturday 13 December 2003

Inappropriate symbols

In an open letter Microsoft Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky has apologised for his company’s offensive behavoir.

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Saturday 11 October 2003

Stockholm street typography

I enjoyed this photo gallery of type in the streets of Stockholm. The pictures were taken by Stephen Coles, editor of the excellent Typographica weblog.

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Friday 25 July 2003

Digital Gutenberg bibles II

My post about digital Gutenberg bibles has a sequel. Another Gutenberg bible has been digitised. [via kottke.org]

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Sunday 8 September 2002

FontBitch

Thanks to Scott Johnson for inventing the term FontBitch:

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Tuesday 13 August 2002

Web fonts program stopped

I have praised Georgia and Verdana, the very screen-legible typefaces designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft, saying: You can download them for free. It’s one offer from Bill Gates I recommend you accept.

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Monday 29 July 2002

Cooper fan club

To follow the Bodoni incident, here’s another web homage to a hero typographer: Behind the typeface: Cooper Black tells a ripping yarn about Oz Cooper and his best known typeface. My thanks to Dean Allen for pointing out this site​—​and I’ll pass on his warning: 3 MB, Flash 6, laboured satire.

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Friday 26 July 2002

Bodoni fan club

Things you find on the net: On the website freie.klasse.de [Forum für Kunst und Kommunikation] is this page with links to something called Bodoni rap in streaming audio, in two versions​—​street mix and a capella. I find rap lyrics in English hard to follow, and my German is very rusty.

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Wednesday 10 April 2002

Alphabet books

I have been reading them lately. They don’t have a strong story line, but graphic quality and humour can redeem them. I saw Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich’s Bembo’s zoo: an animal ABC book on the web, and added it to my wish list. In this first book for children, de Cumptich… has created an abecedary of animals made entirely from Bembo letterforms and punctuation marks — nothing else. And you know the conceit works [New York Times].

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Thursday 28 February 2002

Digital Gutenberg bibles

In March 2000, ten researchers and technical experts from Keio University in Tokyo and from NTT spent two weeks in The British Library creating digital images of the two [Gutenberg] Bibles and the other related items.
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Thursday 17 January 2002

More on Counterpunch

I finished reading Fred Smeijers’ Counterpunch: making type in the sixteenth century, designing typefaces now, which I already mentioned here (20 and 25 December). The book was good to the end, so I have written a little review for the ironic column.

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Tuesday 25 December 2001

The value of history

After Christmas lunch I read a few chapters of Fred Smeijers’ Counterpunch (which I mentioned a few days back). I was taken with the way he answered the question ‘what is the value of history’:

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Sunday 23 December 2001

Not letterpress

To follow Thursday’s piece about hand made metal type, I show you this example of the excesses of digital type design. Using a computer to make type is just too easy. A font like Lushus might never have happened if it had required weeks of skilled work with files and counterpunches. Thanks anyway to Andy for pointing out this degenerate specimen.

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Thursday 20 December 2001

Letterpress

I’m reading Counterpunch: making type in the sixteenth century, designing typefaces now by Fred Smeijers. Fred is a digital type designer who has gone back to the roots of printed type. He has studied early type-makers’ tools in museums, and taught himself to make type punches used for making moulds for casting type for hand setting. A fascinating book.

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Tuesday 27 November 2001

Readable text (again)

Jeffrey Zeldman has just argued the case for specifying web type in pixels, in A list apart: fear of style sheets 4. He says only two things always work: (1) Use pixels (not points, not ems, not percentages, not keywords) to specify your font sizes. Or: (2) Use nothing. He makes some good points, but he doesn’t convince me altogether.

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Saturday 24 November 2001

Readable text

I wrote to Andy Crewdson in April to thank him for the enjoyment I’d had from lines and splines, his typography weblog.

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On this page
Typefaces & fonts
50 years of Strunk & White
Donald Knuth
Shooting the courier
Inappropriate symbols
Stockholm street typography
Digital Gutenberg bibles II
FontBitch
Web fonts program stopped
Cooper fan club
Bodoni fan club
Alphabet books
Digital Gutenberg bibles
More on Counterpunch
The value of history
Not letterpress
Letterpress
Readable text (again)
Readable text

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