Andy Murdock is co-founder of The Statesider: “The most interesting US travel stories, delivered directly to your inbox.” Here he writes about the 222 fonts he found with names associated with US states.
Before 1984, I had never encountered the word “font.” Then a Macintosh computer showed up in my house.
A beige block with a too-small black and white screen and a thingy called a “mouse,” the first thing I saw when I turned it on was “Welcome to Macintosh” in what I would soon learn was a font called Chicago. Both the smily Mac and the Chicago font that greeted anyone booting up a Mac in the mid ’80s were designed by Susan Kare, and they both captured the friendly, accessible new era of computing that made the Mac so revolutionary.
There wasn’t much to do on it right away. I got a text adventure game version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because a clerk at Egghead Software dropped a shelf on my mom’s head and gave it to her as a “please don’t sue us” gift. Otherwise, I had MacPaint and MacWrite where I could draw and type whatever I could think of, and there was a menu of fonts to choose from — not just Chicago, but a list of fonts named for world cities. Monaco, London, San Francisco, Cairo. Words weren’t just words, they could be design, history, geography.
Scunthorpe Sans, according to its promo material at Vole.wtf, is “[a] s*** font that f***ing censors bad language automatically.” The Vole.wtf page has a font generator, where you can input the foul words of your choice and see the censorship in real time (scroll down for an example of what it looks like). Indulge your inner 12-year-old for some silly f***ing fun and go try it!
[Scunthorpe Sans is] able to detect the words f***, s***, p***, t***, w***, c*** and dozens more, but with a special exemption for “Scunthorpe”; that town has suffered enough.
The fearsome Hydra provides a handy illustration of current vs. future trends in digital typography.
Current: typeface “families” with a different cut for each style: e.g. 8 pt/12 pt/ 18 pt, thin/regular/bold, condensed/regular/expanded, etc., and combinations thereof. (“Cut” refers to the metal type of yore, in which the master for each style was literally cut differently out of metal.) Each style is contained in a separate file.
Different cuts are/were important to customize each version of a typeface to maximize its legibility and readability at any given size/style. (E.g. more space on either side of letters at small sizes so the eye can differentiate between them more easily.)
Future: typefaces that are designed so that a single master style dynamically (mathematically) alters itself to suit the designer’s need. All styles are contained in a single file, smaller than the many files of the family versions.
On 31 March, 2017, Gilbert Baker the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag sadly passed away. Mr. Baker was both an LGBTQ activist and artist, and was known for helping friends create banners for protests and marches. To honor the memory of Gilbert Baker, NewFest and NYC Pride partnered with Fontself to create a free font inspired by the design language of the iconic Rainbow Flag, the font was named ‘Gilbert’ after Mr. Baker. A preview version of the font can be downloaded for free in the download section.
Klackin Fans are awesome, rude, queer-themed fans with awesome, rude, queer-themed phrases on them (plus the odd 420 or political one) in mostly garish colors and with terrible font choices and kerning. They beg to be seen by huge crowds at a bar or festival, but that’s not possible anymore in most places. They’d be great for a big Zoom call though, particularly if everyone had one and was snapping and fluttering it in unison/harmony to mutually-chosen music. If you do this, send me the link!
A common use of imagery on hand fans seems to have been informational rather than just decoration. This one is for “666” brand remedy for everything from malaria to neuralgia. The stylized illustration of Diana is in the traditional depiction of the ancient world of gods and goddesses. The handle of the front of the fan uses a classically Art Deco all-caps font, with its low crossbars on the “E,” stylized “S,” and geometrically circular “O” and “Q.”
Apart from the small matter of the horrifying death and illness we see around us and in the media, by now we are all heartily *tired* of this pandemic. Whether we are stuck at home, stuck working, stuck taking on new household/schooling responsibilities, any combination thereof or—I hope not—stuck in bed with *any* ailment, a diversion is necessary.
Behold: April is fan month!
For the next three weeks, I’ll be bringing you font-related posts about hand fans: the old, the new, the folding, the fixed, the genteel, the rude. Today’s post is about the Victorian language of flirtation using fans (and other items).
Ways to tell the coronavirus: “I wish to get rid of you.”
Twirling a fan in one’s left hand or, alternately, placing it to one’s left ear
Biting the tips of one’s gloves
Twirling one’s handkerchief in the left hand
Carrying one’s hat in the left hand
Folding up one’s parasol
Placing one’s stamp in the left corner of one’s envelope
As a left-handed person, I am buoyed by these acknowledgements of the power of the sinister (see what I did there?).
On 31 March, 2017, Gilbert Baker, the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag, sadly passed away. Mr. Baker was both an LGBTQ activist and artist, and was known for helping friends create banners for protests and marches. To honor the memory of Gilbert Baker, NewFest and NYC Pride partnered with Fontself to create a free font inspired by the design language of the iconic Rainbow Flag, the font was named ‘Gilbert’ after Mr. Baker. A preview version of the font can be downloaded for free in the download section.
The human world is going to hell—if it’s not there already—but our animals still need us. No fonts today. Long post.
Walking your dogs and petting your cats (and other critters) helps both them and you
I miss my kitty “socializing” at the SF SPCA
The Fear Free® training program was helpful for me
From the soothing effect of watching fish in a tank to the warm wiggliness of a guinea pig to the calming reaction to petting a dog or cat, and then the frisson of sensation as the cat bites you, animals provide an important presence of unconditional love in many of our lives. And they inspire us to give them unconditional love back. Right now we need them, and they need us, more than ever. With many of us staying home from work or school, if we can, pets are receiving an unexpected but welcome bonanza of attention.
In San Francisco, we’ve been under “shelter in place” orders since Tuesday, March 17; just a few days but it feels longer. Taking breaks from worrying about the terrible and undoubtedly soon-to-be-worse pandemic apocalypse, shortage of PPE for our beleaguered medical staff and first responders, governmental clusterfuck of inaction and bad information—where was I, right, taking breaks—to pet and play with our animals can help reduce our considerable stress, and enhance the bond between us and them. Animals pick up on our stress too, so you can reassure them with petting, exercise and (occasional) treats.
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