Machine Tags for Type
When learning about type, specimens and showings are essential. But sometimes the true personality of a face isn’t revealed until you see it in action. That’s why each typeface page on Typedia has a section called “In the Wild” placed prominently at the top of the second column. Here you’ll find examples of graphic design using the typeface in question, whether it’s on a sign, in a magazine, or part of an illustration. The goal is to shed light on how type really works—by seeing it at work.
Well, that’s the goal at least. Yet you’ve probably noticed that many entries either don’t have imagery or the images that do appear seem unrelated to the typeface in question. You’re not crazy. Typedia is casting a pretty wide net when it wades through Flickr for examples of a typeface, and the results are often less than optimal. We’re working on making smarter use of the Flickr API to do this, but this will also depend on smarter tagging of photos, namely by people making use of machine tags.
A machine tag is just like the plain old Flickr tag you’re used to, but it has a special syntax that defines additional structured data about the tag. By using machine tags Typedia’s image collecting can be much more precise. It’s like using a spear to catch exactly which fish you want, instead of sweeping everything up with a giant trawl.
Working with the folks at Flickr and smart gents like Tom Coates, we’ve defined a set of machine tags that will specify a good chunk of the information about the type in an image. Even if the minimum you feel comfortable tagging a photo with is the “face” machine tag, it will go a long way towards making Typedia more useful. Here’s the syntax for tagging a typeface, style, foundry, and designer:
For a name with a space, use quotes or no space at all. Both will work the same.
Of course, these special typeface tags are new and there are very few Flickr images that are blessed with them. But we’re not worried. Just like the rest of the site, “In the Wild” will only be as good as Typedia’s members. And we’ve got some damn fine members.
So the next time you see a some nice type on a café menu, don’t just drool on it. Shoot it and tag it!
Comments are closed on this entry.