Fingerprint Font Friday

Typeface? Drawing? These typographic works of art, described by Christian Goldemann at typostrate.com, are by design as unique as their creators. Not to be confused with my post Fingerprinting Font Metrics Font Friday.

Daniel Eatock had this great idea on his first day as a graphic design student. He wanted to create a real typography self portrait and asked persons to simply follow these instructions he gave: Using an ink pad make a print of your thumb in the center of a white page. Enlarge this thumb print on a photocopier to match the approximate size of your face. Place a thin sheet of copy paper over the photocopied enlargement of your thumb print and secure it in place with tape or paperclips. Starting anywhere you wish and using a black ink pen and your natural/everyday handwriting, compose a text about yourself following the contour lines of your thumb print as a guide. Use a light box or window to improve the show-through.
The final result combines a real fingerprint, a real handwritten text and finally the real typography self portrait.

Continue reading “Fingerprint Font Friday”

Fahrenheit Font Friday

Fahrenheit signature

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was the inventor of the mercury thermometer and creator of the temperature scale that bears his name. On the back of this thermometer — only the third original thermometer of his ever found — is an inscription in his handwriting of “Fahrenheit Amst”: his signature and the place where the thermometer was made, i.e., Amsterdam.

From thehistoryblog.com:

It actually looks like his autograph, too. It’s not just printed or engraved in generic font. Compare it to the signature on this May 7th, 1736 letter to Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish naturalist who invented the binomial system of taxonomy we still use today to identify plants and animals.

Fahrenheit signature

Fahrenheit signature Continue reading “Fahrenheit Font Friday”

Fhtagn Font Friday 1

H.P. Lovecraft cursive font

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn*

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (headquartered, naturally, at www.cthulhulives.org) sells more than 50 fonts from the age of Lovecraft for a mere $20, here. The HPLHS has revived many of them from vintage sources, including the 1923 American Type Founder’s specimen book and the Mergenthaler Linotype catalog from the mid-1930s. Be the creepiest kid on your block and give your work that indefinable madness-bound feel. NOTE: These fonts are for your own personal entertainment purposes, not for commercial work. (See also my post Fhtagn Font Friday 2: a Cthulhuian alphabet.)

*A fictional occult phrase from H. P. Lovecraft‘s The Call of Cthulhu, said to mean, “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”



HPLHS-Lovecraft Cursive is a replica of H. P. Lovecraft’s own handwriting, scanned from his letters to Willis Conover. The font includes HPL’s signature.



HPLHS-Lovecraft Block is a replica of H. P. Lovecraft’s own block-lettered handwriting, scanned from his letters to Willis Conover.



HPLHS-Autograph Lanier is a replica of the handwriting of Sidney Lanier, a 19th century American poet



HPLHS-TextSerif is an adaptation of the Linotype font Antique No. 1, also very similar to Bookman.



HPLHS-TextSerif Oblique is also based on Antique No. 1.



HPLHS-OldStyle1 is a font revived and digitized from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.



HPLHS-OldStyle Italic is a font revived from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.



HPLHS-OldStyle Small Caps is a font revived from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.



HPLHS-Bulfinch is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Colwell is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book. A great vintage 1920s look.



HPLHS-Colwell Italic is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Cromwell is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-National Oldstyle is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Post Monotone is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Atlas Italic is a replica of hand-drawn type found on vintage maps.



HPLHS-Italic is a replica of hand-drawn type from old advertisements.



HPLHS-Victoria is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Manuscript Caps is a font of ornate hand-drawn medieval capital letters meant to be printed in two colors.


HPLHS-Blackletter is an irregular hand-drawn textura font based on the lettering of French heraldic engraver Charles Demengeot. It is appropriate for old occult tomes where you want a written-by-insane-monks kind of feeling. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.


HPLHS-Tome Pi is a font of medieval letters, astrological and alchemical symbols, and occult illustrations and diagrams, scanned from various vintage sources. Great for making old books.



HPLHS-WW2Blackletter is based on actual German documents from the late 1930s. There are two versions: one with ornate descenders and one without. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.



HPLHS-TypoScript is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-TypoGothic is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Copperplate Roman is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Gothic520 is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Times Gothic is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Telegram is a detailed replica of the type used on real Western Union telegrams in the 1920s and ’30s. Available FREE.



HPLHS-Persnickety is an adaptation of the art deco display font Bernhard Modern.



HPLHS-Roman Engraved is a replica of hand-drawn letters from a 1904 sign-painter’s manual. It has very rough edges.



HPLHS-Mercantile is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Mercantile Oblique is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Mercantile Card is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Headline Modified is revived and digitized from the 1923 American Type Founders specimen book.



HPLHS-Headline One is a replica of real newspaper headline type. It has softly rounded corners like old lead type. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.



HPLHS-Headline Two is a roughened adaptation of the Linotype font Erbar, as used in newspapers in the 1920s and ’30s. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.



HPLHS-SlabSerifis a condensed wood type alphabet. It’s appropriate for subheads in newspapers, wanted posters, and the like. Available for FREE in the HPLHS font pack.



HPLHS-ExtraExtra is a replica of wood type used for headlines in old newspapers. The upper and lower case are really two different fonts.



HPLHS-Extra is a replica of wood type used for headlines in old newspapers.



HPLHS-Forsythe is digitized from vintage advertisements.



HPLHS-MetroThin is revived and digitized from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s.



HPLHS-MetroLight is revived and digitized from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s.



HPLHS-MetroMedium is revived and digitized from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s. Often used for newspaper picture captions.



HPLHS-MetroMedium Italic is revived and digitized from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s.



HPLHS-MetroBlack is revived and digitized from the Linotype catalog of the mid 1930s.



HPLHS-Policy Gothic is a replica of rough sans serif type found on an old insurance policy. Available in Macintosh PostScript format only.



HPLHS-Black Gothic is a replica of hand-drawn lettering from old advertisements.



HPLHS-Gothic Compressed is a replica of hand-drawn lettering from old advertisements.



HPLHS-Black Condensed is a replica of hand-drawn lettering from old advertisements.



HPLHS-Black Oblique is a replica of hand-drawn lettering from old advertisements.



HPLHS-Electro Gothic is a replica of hand-drawn lettering from old advertisements.

Extreme Typographic Nerdery, Part 2: Making Sense of Type Classification

Collage of names of classifications of type

By from SmashingMagazine.com:

In the first installment of this two-part series on type classification, we covered the basics of type classification — the various methods people have used, why they are helpful, and a brief survey of type history, classifying and identifying typefaces along the way. Unfortunately, we only got as far as Roman (traditional serif) typefaces and the early-19th century. Now we’re back for part 2!

Part 2 will primarily cover sans typefaces, with a nod to display typefaces and other less common categories, as well as address a few of the questions people have about whether type classification is helpful and necessary.

If you haven’t read part 1, now’s your chance to go over it. It lays important groundwork for this article, covers the categories of serif typefaces, and contains plenty of useful information about the development of serif type. If you already have read it, here is a quick recap to get us started before we move on to the new material.

type classification

Review

Type Classification Systems

Type has been classified in many ways over the years, both formal and informal — Thibaudeau, Vox, British Standards, etc. None of these are complete or all-encompassing, but they’re helpful as an aid to study as well as for learning to use type correctly and effectively. The material in this two-part series draws heavily from the Vox-ATypI system, which is the most “official” of the systems today, having been adopted by the Association Typographique Internationale in 1962 and still the most commonly referenced system.

Is it perfect? No, but it provides a good overview of what is out there; and when you describe typefaces using the terms you’ll learn in this series, anyone who is reasonably familiar with typography will know what you’re talking about.

Here is a quick overview of the type categories we covered in part 1.

Humanist/Venetian

Venetian Typeface Characteristics

  • Notable calligraphic influence, patterned after handwriting.
  • Strongly angled axis or stress.
  • Based on typefaces designed in Renaissance cultural hubs such as Venice.

Garalde

Oldstyle Typeface Characteristics

  • Less calligraphic influence because type began to be viewed as separate from writing.
  • Named after influential type designers Claude Garamont and Aldus Manutius.
  • Still has a tilted axis but less obvious than in Humanist type.

Transitional/Neoclassical

Transitional Characteristics

  • No calligraphic influence. Designed independently, sometimes on a grid.
  • First appeared in the late-17th century.
  • Virtually vertical axis and high contrast between heavy and thin strokes.

Didone

Didone Characteristics

  • Extreme contrast between thick and thin. Rigidly vertical axis.
  • Abrupt, or unbracketed, serifs. Very precisely designed.
  • Named after Firmin Didot and Giambattista Bodoni.

Slab Serif

Slab Serif Characteristics

  • Very heavy weight and low contrast between thick and thin.
  • Unbracketed, prominent serifs.
  • First typefaces created expressly for display purposes.

[Full article]

Extreme Typographic Nerdery, Part 1: Making Sense of Type Classification

Collage of names of classifications of type

By from SmashingMagazine.com:

In my previous article on Smashing Magazine (“Understanding the Difference Between Typography and Lettering”), I wrote about how understanding type terminology can help us better appreciate the arts of typography and lettering. This article again deals with terminology, probably more specifically than most designers are used to, and the title gets to the heart of what I’m communicating in this article.

Everyone knows their serifs and sans, slabs and scripts, but most classifications go much deeper than that. Type classification, while helpful, is often convoluted, confusing and even controversial. This article, distilling some of the complexities into a more understandable format, lands somewhere in the middle between the basics and genuine type nerdery — the perfect level for a practicing designer.

Making Sense of Type Classification

Why Classify Type?

There’s a certain intellectual delight in knowledge, particularly knowledge about one’s field of work and study. More importantly, perhaps, there is a way in which seemingly impractical knowledge of one’s profession lends more credence to the designer. That being said, what you’ll read here is by no means impractical. It really comes down to solid design choices.

Artist-14-opt
Sets film in 1920′s uses typeface from 1975.

A good grasp of type history will help you avoid typographic anachronisms, which, although often lost on the general public, do not escape the notice of many designers, as demonstrated in Mark Simonson’s article on the 2012 Oscar winner for Best Picture, “The Artist,” and his other typographic scrutinies of popular movies and media.

It’s not exclusively about the history of type, however. Type classification is also helpful in pairing typefaces for projects, sometimes based on historical proximity but also by noting similar features that unify the typefaces, such as axis or x-height. In some cases, by finding enough disparity in the small features, very different typefaces become complementary.

Most importantly, perhaps, this article will not only familiarize you with general type history and commonly used terminology, but also help you learn to look for and recognize important characteristics of type and the inexhaustible minutiae that make typefaces unique, as well as arm you with useful descriptors of type styles.

Type Classification Systems

Over the past century, quite a few classification systems have been proposed. Most are generally believed to be subjective and incomplete, and many of them use the same terms for similar but slightly different classes. The impossibility of a truly complete classification system has led many people to dismiss any attempt to classify typefaces — there are simply too many variables to make anything close to a practical, comprehensive system. Essentially, classification describes typefaces; it does not define them. It’s not inflexible, and is more of an aid than a rule. However, for the reasons given above, I believe there is value to be found in it. Below are a few examples.

The primary “official” classification system currently is the Vox-ATypI system. Originally put together in 1954 by Maxmilien Vox, it was adopted in 1962 by the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI), which made a minor change at the 2010 conference (appropriately, held in Dublin) to include Gaelic as an extra category. It classifies typefaces in 11 general categories, with some subdivision. Its Wikipedia article provides an excellent overview.

The British Standards Classification of Typefaces, adopted in 1967, is also based on Vox’s original classification. It is slightly simplified and has remained essentially unchanged since its adoption.

Bringhurst, in his Elements of Typographic Style — perhaps the standard in typographic textbooks today — categorizes typefaces loosely after periods of art history; for example, Baroque, Rococo, Romantic, etc. A book designer himself, Bringhurst focuses on text typefaces and practically ignores display type.

Others are much more general. An early system by French typographer Francis Thibaudeau, which provided the base for Vox’s later more thorough classification, includes four broad categories: Antiques (sans serifs), Égyptiennes (slab serifs), Didots and Elzévirs (faces with triangular serifs).

Gerrit Noordzij, while at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the Hague, held that typography was essentially an extension of handwriting, teaching typography using loose categories of letters that might be written with a broad-nib or pointed-nib pen, as well as interrupted or uninterrupted strokes, with varieties of both serifs and sans falling into each category.

These are just a few of the ways people have classified type over the years. In this two-part article, I will condense the various methods slightly and present what is at the very least generally accepted as legitimate (as there will always be a few out there who refuse to give up a particularly unusual classification method, or who decry any method at all).

[Full article]