Type News: Corporate Ligature
We’re hurtling toward the end of another decade (if you’re pedantic about that kind of thing). This week’s news and new typeface releases are keeping pace. Without further ado, we bring you the news, including a major corporate purchase, more on webfonts, and new type.
Monotype’s acquisition of Ascender is the big news this week. It’s a reunion of sorts; for a very brief history of Monotype and its relationship to Ascender, follow the links in this tweet from @typographica. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the rest of the type universe.
On the webfont front, Tim Brown continues the Typekit blog’s series on type rendering, this time about font outlines and file formats. Miguel Sousa writes about the benefits of OpenType over TrueType. John Berry celebrates the flood of webfont-related activity during 2010. And OurType tweeted about its very liberal license when it comes to font embedding. (Be sure also to read our review of some of the more readable serif webfonts, by the indefatigable Stephen Coles.)
Think of your favorite birthday present, and prepare to be envious of what leads this week’s new type (well, maybe; I’m sure your gifts were this awesome, too):
In celebration of director Jean-Luc Godard’s 80th birthday this past week, Atelier Carvalho Bernau created the two weight Jean-Luc typeface. Based on lettering used in the title sequences of Godard’s films, the faces have roots in a 19th century French graphic vernacular. Need a beefy, utilitarian display type that’s just a little peculiar? This might fit the bill. Jean-Luc (the director and the typeface) has a fascinating backstory, and it’s absolutely free (the typeface, that is).
Miller Type Foundry’s Nikaia is a modern, squarish headline sans mysteriously billed as “the fastest typeface in the world.” That statement could certainly describe the smooth, streamlined characters. It could also be referring to the surprising, and quirky, script variation of each weight.
Fresh from Fountain, the Satura Suite is a typographic conversation piece. The collaborative result of Göran Söderström and Peter Bruhn bouncing ideas across Sweden for months on end, Satura consists of four “related, but distinct” families. It moves organically from reverse contrast display face to an ultra clean text sans. If you care to get your Scandinavian on, there’s a brief write up about Satura over at Cap&Design, as well.
Five years in the making, Bruno Bernard’s Adso is a very contemporary, blackletter-inspired display family. Consisting of simple, monolinear shapes draped over a gothic grid, Adso comes in weights ranging from ultra light through extra bold, plus true italics.
If ever there was a name perfectly matched to a typeface, FF Massive would probably be it. Donald Beekman’s superchunky type system is indeed massive, at least in stature and attitude. Designed to be stacked and remixed, FF Massive comes with eight varieties of typographic building blocks.
Moving from leviathan to legible, FontShop’s second release of the week is FF Basic Gothic, a versatile sans by designers Hannes von Döhren and Livius Dietzel. Basic Gothic contains whispers of Gill Sans and Antique Olive, but with a uniform precision across the 16 full-featured styles.
And now for something in an entirely different direction. Right to left, that is. Working with Adrian Frutiger, the talented Nadine Chahine has expanded the neo-grotesque superfamily with the release of Univers Next Arabic. Sporting the cleanliness and low contrast of its Latin counterpart, this Kufic-style extension supports Arabic, Persian, and Urdu languages.
Nadine Chahine is in the news for more than her Univers Next Arabic; she’s written a great essay for The Guardian about what it means to be a typeface designer. If you find yourself intrigued by the craft of type design, there’s still time to register for “Gourmet Typography,” at the School of Visual arts and taught by Ilene Strizver. For a taste of what you’d be in for, read her explanation for why she doesn’t have a favorite font. Also on the academic front, the first term of the typeface design program at The Cooper Union has concluded. There was some beautiful work on display at the final typeface critique.
Speaking of beautiful work, the entire library of fonts from Hoefler & Frere-Jones is now available in OpenType. Also in the “old but new” category: too late for Monovember, but smack in the middle of Decemonober, Linotype has released a Monospace Value Pack, with five useful fonts for your coding and typewriter-faking needs.
If none of those typefaces are what you’re looking for and you browse the web with Safari, Chrome, or an iPad, you can search the MyFonts collection with Henrique Gusso’s clever ttype service. Or you can draw inspiration from Veer’s list of favorite fonts from 2010.
Are you feeling social and in reasonable proximity to Mount Hood? You’re in luck! On Monday Thomas Phinney announced a new, monthly Type Tuesday gathering in Portland, Oregon. This month’s Type Tuesday has already passed, but you can sign up for a mailing list to learn when and where the next one will be.
Still looking for the perfect gift? Here are a few choice items:
- Thinking about getting some typographic ink, but not ready to commit? Now you can get your street cred without ever stepping foot in a tattoo parlor, and you won’t need lasers to remove it. “Scripts for Life” features Piel Script by Alejandro Paul in black ink on a silver American Apparel tee.
- If you aren’t that adventurous and enjoy stating the obvious, consider the “Everything is beautiful in Bodoni” shirt.
- What better way to say “Happy Holidays” than to use real letters?
- If you’re feeling particularly cheap, you can still score points by directing your friends, enemies, family, acquaintances, strangers, and yourself to the fun (and free!) Helvetica vs. Arial iPhone app.
Finally, you absolutely must watch Jarrett Heather’s brilliant, hilarious, subtle, bombastic video for Jonathan Coulton’s equally witty “Shop Vac.”
That’s it for this week. Stay toasty by flaming us in the comments for what we overlooked!
Thanks to the indomitable Grant Hutchinson for writing about this week’s new typefaces.
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