Family vs Variable Font Friday

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. 

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Forensics Fonts Friday

Forensic fonts closeup

Forensics professionals pay a great deal of attention about what fonts to use in courtroom exhibits concerning or reproducing digital evidence. To quote a paper by Fred Cohen & Associates of the California Sciences Institute [abstract below] “fonts for forensics are less about the beauty of the presentation and more about the tradeoff between readability and being definitive about what is present.” Specifically, from a presentation by Cohen at SADFE, the Systematic Approaches to Digital Forensic Engineering in 2010:

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‘Fringe’ Font Friday

Notebook with hand drawn "Observer" text

The TV show ‘Fringe’ aired between 2008 and 2013 on the Fox Network. The series follows members of the fictional Fringe Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based in Boston, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe. (More information at Wikipedia and IMDb.)

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Future Font Friday 2

A gloriously obsessive examination of the typography in 2001: A Space Odyssey. This post stars Albertus, City Medium, Eurostile Bold and Bold Extended, Futura, Gill Sans, Microgramma, Spartan and Univers. Please also see my post Future Font Friday 1. Now, over to Mr. Addey:

2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi masterpiece – seems an appropriate place to start a blog about typography in sci-fi. Amongst other delights, it offers a zero-gravity toilet, emergency resuscitations, exploding bolts, and product placement aplenty. It’s also the Ur Example of Eurostile Bold Extended’s regular appearance in spacecraft user interfaces.

Right from the opening scene, we’re treated to Kubrick’s love of bold, clean, sans-serif typography:

2001: A Space Odyssey title card

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Phony Font Friday

Louis Vitton bag

Louis Vitton bagPart three of five articles concerned with spotting fake Louis Vuitton merchandise. This cool font-related piece is about the font and spacing of the characters in the signature heat-stamped label. Mostly the signals of an authentic label are subtleties of spacing, alignment, and character shape. Font geeks, pull up a chair!

Spotting Fake Louis Vuitton (III – Heat-stamped Label)


[Heat (hot) stamp] : Authentic Louis Vuitton fonts generally conform to a relatively constrained font that is heat (or hot) stamped into their label. These identifiable characteristics can be broken down and isolated by letter (or letter sequence relationships).

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Fingerprinting Font Metrics Font Friday

AE Æ glyphs

These University of California, Berkeley researchers studied a method of compromising web user privacy, “fingerprinting” of online text: using font glyph* measuring techniques in various browsers to decipher text. (More pages, or buy the ebook or paperback, at books.google.com. Not to be confused with my post Fingerprint Font Friday.)

*Loosely, a typographic unit

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Laser-etched glass with hand coloring

Red heart with black wingsI made this artwork by laser-etching glass and then applying color by hand.

I used a laser cutter at TechShop, a phenomenal resource for artists, builders and craftspeople of all kinds. They have workshops in several US locations with tools and space for woodwork, metalwork, industrial sewing, electronics, arduino, and more.

[Note: Since I wrote this, TechShop filed for bankruptcy and has been reborn as TheShop.build. Same space, same apparatus. I haven’t been there yet but I plan to.]

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Font Technologies Font Friday

Parametric fonts: Diagram of capital "A"
This article, from SmashingMagazine.com, explicates the concept of parametric fonts. The concept has been around for 40+ years but it has novel applications in web type design.

How Font Technologies Will Improve the Web

PARAMETRIC FONTS (original article)

Words are the primary component of content for the web. However, until a short while ago, all we had at our disposal were but a few system fonts. Adding to that, those system typefaces weren’t necessarily coherent from operating system to operating system (OS). Fortunately, Windows, macOS and Linux made up font-wise, and since then, all modern fonts have been compatible across those OS’. There’s no question, the future of web typography looks promising. Continue reading “Font Technologies Font Friday”

Font-Pairs Font Friday

Mixfont logo

Here are five font generator sites with added special sauce: pairings of fonts. (Not to be confused with my earlier bog post Four or Five Fonts Friday, which suggested techniques for  creating harmonious larger font groupings.)


 ByPeople has created 50 Google Font pairings. Each pair is shown in a layout—truly a labor of love. You can go to Google Fonts to see the fonts used in each sample, or get code for HTML and CSS. You can also download the whole article as a PDF (scroll to the bottom of the page).


  Fontpair lets you type or paste your own type into the header or text of suggested pairs to see what it will look like. You can also select general header/text pairings, e.g., serif/sans serif, sans serif/serif, serif/serif, etc. Unfortunately, you can’t seem to select or search for specific fonts, and the “cursive” font selection is all serif. All Google Fonts.


  Fontjoy has suggested font pairings, and again, you can put in your own text. You can “lock” one font to see additional suggestions for pairing, or search for a font. There are also links to Github, a font visualizer (I get an error with this), and Colormind, a color scheme generator.


Mixfont logo  Mixfont suggests and creates pairings of fonts. You can view top pairings, as upvoted by users, or poke around in the general section. Another cool thing is that they have the name of the type designer, as well as short blurbs about each font. They claim to show 1K+ unique fonts, 600K+ pairings, and 132 languages.


  Typ.io suggests and creates font pairings. They track: