20,922 words
about letters.

New details about the origins of Akzidenz-Grotesk

Nobody knows who designed Akzidenz-Grotesk. For about 20 years it was attributed to Theinhardt, but this has recently been proven untrue.

What is new

Producing a new typeface is almost trivial — it can be done in a day. But making it feel new in the wider sense, making it feel culturally relevant is the hard part.

10,000 original copies

European concepts of originality and authorship form our current understanding of typeface design. Typographic history is written as a discrete sequence of “originals” created by “authors”. But can copies be equally as important?

A typeface is not a tool

The assertion “a typeface is a tool” is a typical justification for making new typefaces. It’s convenient, reassuring and sounds practical. It’s also false.

Plainness and sweetness

My grandfather used to say occassionally while I was growing up, “Not everyone gets to be special, but everyone can be useful.”

Heavy metal typography

A typographic analysis of the logotypes of Motörhead, Megadeth, Misfits, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin and Poison for Smith Journal.

The reseller discount demand scenario

When a stranger demands a discount on their customer’s behalf, what can you do? A small thought experiment for makers and sellers of digital files.

Tilting at windmills

Rudy VanderLans’s reply to our “Welcome to the Infill Font Foundry” article.

Welcome to the infill font foundry

A response to Rudy VanderLans’s claim of “In-fillism” in the typeface design industry.

Why we need new typefaces

The alphabet is a concept made concrete through countless written and designed letterforms; the alphabet is not defined by a single typeface but expressed through all of them.

Towards an ideal OpenType user interface

All digital typography is mediated by user interfaces. OpenType fonts have subtle, complex behaviour that needs clear actions. Currently it’s mediocre — can do better?

What is your inspiration?

There is no scene to set for inspiration. The more harder I look the more elusive inspiration is. So I don’t look. “Out of the work comes the work.”

Playing favourites, part three.

“What’s your favourite font?” is an impossible question. I like too many to answer with brevity. So here are some I like, accompanied by specimens and short explanations.

Playing favourites, part two.

“What’s your favourite font?” is an impossible question. I like too many to answer with brevity. So here are some I like, accompanied by specimens and short explanations.

Playing favourites, part one.

“What’s your favourite font?” is an impossible question. I like too many to answer with brevity. So here are some I like, accompanied by specimens and short explanations.

The Air New Zealand logotype

The design process to create “a wordmark that reflects an innovative, modern company but projects our history, credibility and with a timeless elegance”.