Type News: Choosy

This week: new fonts, exciting news, and a moment of silence.

ATypI 2010 just wrapped up in Dublin and received great coverage from The Irish Times. Next year, ATypI is in Reykjavik, Iceland. Meanwhile, there is ATypI’s Letter.2 competition, which “aims to provide a wide-angled snapshot of the state of typeface design around the globe ten years after the 2001 competition, and to promote typographic excellence and best professional practices.” Any typefaces published between October 2001 and August 2011 are eligible.

There is big news on the webfont front this week. Monotype’s webfont service is out of beta. If your site demands Frutiger, Univers, or thousands of other fonts from big foundries like Linotype and ITC, this service is probably for you. Monotype also boasts that their service has the “best language support,” including South and East Asian characters, which might spur other webfont-delivery services to improve the ways their users can subset fonts. For more about the development of this service, see ”Fonts.com Web Fonts: Feedback, Fonts and Features,” by Chris Roberts.

Microsoft has released the beta version of Internet Explorer 9, which has excellent support for webfonts (and better type rendering than any previous version of IE). As a part of the launch, the “Friends of Mighty” have crafted a fantastic exposition of web typography, Lost World’s Fairs. The site renders beautifully in any modern browser that supports @font-face. (If you haven’t seen the site yet, we won’t spoil the surprise.) As a part of that site’s implementation, Paravel created Lettering.JS, a handy jQuery plugin that can help you with an almost absurd level of typographic control.

With this much continued activity with webfonts, Paul Hunt’s “Choosing Type for Screen” has arrived with impeccable timing. (Only two posts in, Adobe’s weekly series on web typography is shaping up to be something special.)

Acuta specimen

Elena Albertoni has released Acuta, a distinct and highly readable serif with subtle swashes, multiple weights, and decent European language support.

Skilt Gothic specimen

From Mårten Thavenius and the Font Bureau comes Skilt Gothic. Slightly quirky letterforms and subtle details—check out the capital H in the “Ultra” weight!—should make this font stand out in the crush of quality sans serif faces already out there.

Platform specimen

Platform is a geometric sans that designer Berton Hasebe should be proud to have as his first release. There is something especially friendly in its italics (I hesitate to call them oblique).

Charlie specimen

Over at (the redesigned) Typotheque and from Ross Milne comes Charlie, a great slab serif. It’s readable even at extremely small sizes.

Brioni Sans specimen

Also from Typotheque this week is the release of Nicola Djurek’s lovely Brioni Sans, which promises to play well with others (including Brioni).

A few items of interest:

Finally, we bid farewell to the mind behind MyFonts, Charles Ying, who passed away on September 9. For more about Mr. Ying’s legacy, please read Chris Lewis’ eulogy at the MyFonts Blog.

That’s the news we uncovered this week. What other treasures were out there? Please let us know in the comments.

  • 1. Tim Brown’s avatar Tim Brown Sep 17, 2010

    Wonderful job, Erik. Concise and packed with info as always.

  • 2. Richard Fink’s avatar Richard Fink Sep 19, 2010

    Love the news roundup.
    However:
    <em>With this much continued activity with webfonts, Paul Hunt’s “Choosing Type for Screen” has arrived with impeccable timing. (Only two posts in, Adobe’s weekly series on web typography is shaping up to be something special.)</em>

    Too much puff. It don’t rate it. Special how? I found Hunt’s use of typographic terminology way, way off the mark for the average web designer. (I am assuming web designers are the audience for web fonts, right?)
    What’s an x-height? Really, what is it and why should I care?
    WTF is a “counter” and why should I care if it’s clogged?
    Any web font you pick, at least it’s not fecking Georgia! I’m sick of Georgia.
    Frankly, I found Hunt’s piece unhelpful. Experimentation should be the order of the day, not unsubstantiated rules of thumb.

    To paraphrase Duke Ellington: “If it looks good, it is good.”

  • 3. Erik Vorhes’s avatar Erik Vorhes Sep 20, 2010

    Thanks, Richard.

    I agree that Hunt’s article is heavy enough on typographic terminology that it could be intimidating to someone unfamiliar with it. At the same time, I don’t feel that Hunt’s overly prescriptive—having some rules of thumb won’t discourage experimentation.

    And sometimes, if something looks bad, sometimes it can be helpful to know why. (Even when that explanation is unsatisfying over my head.)

    As far as “special” goes, yeah, that’s a bit of fluff. Perhaps it’s special that Adobe is paying such close attention to web typography. (Which may or may not be enough to make the series itself special.)

  • 4. Richard Fink’s avatar Richard Fink Sep 26, 2010

    @erik
    <em>“Perhaps it’s special that Adobe is paying such close attention to web typography.”</em>
    I agree that’s a good thing. I’m just a little frustrated, is all.

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