Type News: Babel and Dingbats

This week: TypeCon 2010, new webfonts and fun with dingbats.

The big event is of course TypeCon, which runs through Sunday, in Los Angeles. If you wish you were there (or if you are) and want to keep up with everything that’s happening there, you can follow along with Si’s posts on the official blog, Type Talk. For those of us who prefer stream-of-consciousness coverage, check out the Twitter hashtag. And if you’re a visual learner or just like photography, Flickr has got you covered.

Webfonts have been a hot topic at TypeCon, most notably the commitment of major browser vendors to implement the new WOFF draft specification; Readable Web and Webmonkey can get you up to speed.

In addition to the news out of TypeCon, lovers of fine web type will be pleased to learn of Adobe’s announcement that many of its fonts are now available on Typekit.

There’s a new webfont service available, as well. Font Bureau and Ascender have launched Webtype. Webtype has some lovely exclusive faces, such as Interstate, Pescadero, Antenna Compressed, and Bell. The service’s model is different from the others already out there (including offerings from Typekit, Fontspring and Fontdeck). Each typeface includes a 30-day free trial, and in case you want total control over your site’s assets, Webtype also offers a self-hosted option. If the use of JavaScript is a concern, you will be happy to know that the Webtype service is CSS-only.

Drew Wilson’s beautiful new dingbat font Pictos has generated the most buzz, though. Drew is pitching Pictos as an ideal substitute for bitmapped icons on the web, but because the icons are mapped to standard ASCII characters, this raises serious accessibility issues. For those curious about the development of this controversy and a possible Unicode-based solution, look no further than Jon Tan’s excellent post on the matter.

If you enjoy beautiful type and activism in equal measure, feel free to sign Jeffrey Zeldman’s petition to improve the font situation on the iPad, especially for use in Apple’s iWork suite. Jeffrey (and now at least 250 others) humbly request, “Please either add the ability to retain fonts (and all their settings) when importing Keynote, Pages, and Numbers documents from computer to iPad, or else please create a simple font management tool for the iPad that allows us to import a reasonable subset of our fonts to the device.”

Before you get back to TypeCon or whatever has you occupied today, enjoy some of the fine type found in Chicago, courtesy Shawn Hazen’s ChicagoType.

I’m sure we missed something that happened this week. Do you know what it is? Please let us know in the comments!

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