Type News: Shoulder Check

George Santayana once remarked … “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” To help us avoid that rather dire-sounding scenario, let’s jog our collective memory with a nod to an old friend, a handful of fresh faces, and some titillating typographics.

The type community was saddened to hear that Paul Stiff, professor of typography at the University of Reading, passed away on February 12th. His Material Texts presentation was arguably one of the highlights of ATypI 2010 in Dublin.

Looking back a couple of months ago, we mentioned Eben Sorkin’s easy reading Merriweather project for the Google Font Directory. You can now follow the development of this typeface (and Eben’s thought process behind the design) on the regularly updated Merriweather Font site.

A pair of our favorite Flickr groups were making the rounds again this week. Kris Sowersby reminded us what type designers have to put up with on a daily basis via FontLab Errors and the LTypI: Lack of Typographic Imagination pool is always deserving of a another peek (and perhaps some fresh contributions).

Moving from the past and into the present, how about some new type?

Alix specimen

Matthew Butterick, the smarts behind Typography for Lawyers and designer of several families for The Font Bureau, has released Alix FB. Inspired by IBM’s reliable Prestige, Alix is structured like a monospaced typewriter font, but maintains “the liveliness and comfortable readability of a proportional design”. With proper cursive italics and proportional OpenType alternates, it even makes pages of legal boilerplate seem palatable.

Pavement specimen

Dutch designer Johan Manschot’s aptly named Pavement echoes the concrete canvas used by street artists and city workers alike. Solid, angular, and unapologetic.

Pragmatica Slabserif specimen

Vladimir Yefimov and Olga Umpeleva designed Pragmatica Slabserif as a complement to Pragmatica. Inspired by Phil Martin’s quirky hybrid Helserif, Pragmatica Slabserif conceptually welds square serifs onto a Helvetica-esque substrate.

Walsheim specimen

Otto Baumberger’s typography on early 20th century Swiss posters defined GT Walsheim, a geometric grotesk by Noël Leu. The eight weights — ranging from ultra light through ultra bold — include the distinctive Baumberger ‘G’.

Arcano specimen

Using Chinese ink on Japanese calligraphy paper, it took Giuseppe Salerno over four months to create the 36 decorative, hand-drawn glyphs for Arcano. The slideshow of photographs on his site showing the pen and ink process are quite stunning.

And now, a selection of sundries and other diversions:

Speaking of awards, a hearty congratulations to Erik Spiekermann on being presented the prestigious 2011 Personality Award by the German Design Council.

That wraps up another week in type news. Did you spot something we missed? Let us know in the comments.

It was a pleasure filling in for Erik this week, as he took time off to celebrate the birth of Abram Orville Vorhes. Congratulations, all.

 

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