Other posts related to fonts

 | December 3, 2010 4:43 pm

Note: Still working on the book, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!

There is a place in his book, “The Elements of Typographic Style,” where Robert Bringhurst talks about the the spirit and personality of type:

Letterforms have character, spirit and personality.  Typographers learn to discern these features through years of working first hand with the forms, and through studying and comparing the work of other designers, present and past … The subject is a lifelong study, and for serious typographers, it is a lifelong source of discovery and delight.  (Elements of Typographic Style, p. 99 – 103).

Like in most things, Bringhurst is right.  Exploring typefaces, their history, use, and meaning is a fascinating journey.  As you study and learn more about them, you realize that there may just be right ways and wrong ways to use a font, and, that there are stories behind the craft.

“Frederic Goudy, for example, is widely regarded as the most ebulliently American of all type designers.  The sensitive designer would not choose one of Goudy’s faces to set, let us say, the text of the Canadian or Mexican constitution.”

Which is why, perhaps, typographic specimen books are so interesting.

Type specimens are publications in which a typeface is shown and presented.  It details what fonts the type consists of and allows for designers to understand how a particular typeface behaves on the printed page.  They are, quite literally, typography for the sake of type.

Even better, specimen books are usually crafted by the typeface designer.  This means that they showcase the font as it is meant to be seen (or at least as envisioned by the mind responsible for its creation).  It also means that specimen books are beautiful pieces of art.  Many designers have gone to extraordinary efforts to show their typefaces in the best possible light.

While hunting about for different pieces of typographic art, I’ve come across several specimens worth sharing.  You can find the photos below.

Note: The Storm type books are available for purchase at the storm website: www.stormtype.com/printed-materials.html

 | August 12, 2010 3:14 pm

Over the past two days, there has been an interesting (and wide ranging) conversation happening on the LyX users mailing list.  Steve Litt, author of the troubleshooters series of books, started a conversation about favorite LaTeX packages.   Then, someone wrote in to ask about document classes and the best way to craft a thesis.

This finally morphed into a conversation on the aesthetics of document design.  (Or at least, that’s I summarized the main point of the thread in my head.)  It’s also the point that I decided to jump into the conversation.

I sent the following letter in response to a question about which fonts I prefer to use when writing with LaTeX.  It lays out some of my thoughts on fonts, layout and document appearance.  I liked it so much, that I thought I would post it here.  (Yes, I know you’re not supposed to smitten by your own writing.)


Note: This isn’t exactly the letter that was sent to the LyX-Users list.  Just the one I wish I had sent.  It has been proofread, edited for clarifty, and expanded when compared to the original.  I have also toned down the snark (if only barely).


Image from http://new.myfonts.com/newsletters/cc/200711.html.  Shows letter form sketches from the notebook of Dino dos Santos.

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