Type News: Thanks for All the Fish

This week, shockers abound. Erik Spiekermann professes his undying love for Helvetica, designers the world over recant their loathing of Comic Sans, and Typedia closes its doors. … Oh, who are we kidding. This is a serious news publication, no place for frivolous April Fools’ Day pranks. Onward with the real news!

Oh, all right, one more jokey thing. Rob Mientjes has released Comic Serif. You’re welcome.

Let’s start out with type on the web. There is a new working draft of the CSS3 Fonts Module. There are still implementation issues, though, and Matt Wiebe has uncovered several type-related doozies with the ::first-line and ::first-letter pseudo-elements. And the Karsten Luecke Type Foundry attempts to clear up some confusion over the @font-face implementation in Internet Explorer 9. If you’d like to try some of the webfonts from fonts.com on a site, you can now do so through their Web Fonts Previewer. Adobe’s webfonts can now be had on WebINK (in addition to Typekit). And Fontsmith webfonts are now exclusively available on Fontdeck.

Museum acquisitions are back in the news again, this time most notably with the first typeface acquired by the Museum of Art, Seoul National University for its permanent collection: Martin Majoor’s FF Scala. Congratulations! In other museum news, Paul Shaw has clarified his critique of the MoMA type acquisitions. Will any of this week’s new type inspire such passionate discussion? For now, let’s just take it in.

To many, the end of March means time for a bit of spring cleaning. This certainly seems to be the case in the new typeface department, as we have multiple releases from multiple designers this week.

Wagner Script specimen

Starting off with some newness from Canada Type, we have the subtle and elegant Wagner Script. Popularized back in the heady days of metal type, this updated display script was once known as a “continental face.”

Gibson specimen

Also from Canada Type is Rod McDonald’s Gibson. This solid humanist sans was designed to as both a tribute to John Gibson — one of the founders of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) — and an affordable starter family for design students. All proceeds from the sale of Gibson will go to support various GDC programs, including design education.

Alana specimen

From one namesake to another, Laura Worthington graces us with Alana, semi-connected handwriting script named after her “darling little sister.” The slightly roughened letterforms are accompanied by a bevy of alternates, plus several dozen stylish ornaments.

Wallflowers specimen

If several dozen stylish ornaments aren’t quite enough to cut the decorative mustard, Ms Worthington also released Wallflowers. This tidy set of detailed, flora-inspired dingbats provided suitable material for building borders, patterns, and other fanciful whatnot.

Decani specimen

Twenty-one-year-old design student Neal Fletcher pops onto the scene with a triple shot of simple, monolinear (and altogether free) display faces. Our hope is that these fonts are just the beginning for Neal and that he continues to flesh out the rather limited character sets and lack of kerning. For starters, Decani was Neal’s “very first typeface.” It blends touches of Art Deco, Arts & Crafts, minimalist geometry, and softened strokes. Three weights, plus italics.

Dalle specimen

Next, we have the industrial, slabbed Dalle which features extra generous letterspacing, a severe oblique weight, and an appropriate set of small caps in place of the lowercase.

Elega specimen

Last up is the ambitious Elega — a minimalist all-caps sans, again with a nod to Art Deco. Elega consists of light, regular, and bold weights with obliques of each. There is also a softer, rounded version available.

Chato specimen

If those last few fonts seemed minimal, then Ernesto Serros’ Chato must be dialed up to maximal. This chunky-style, display face is meaty, beaty, big — but definitely not bouncy. Three out of four ain’t bad.

Michroma specimen

You can see the deliberate cues that Vernon Adams took from Aldo Novarese and Alessandro Butti in their popular Microgramma and Eurostile typefaces. Michroma shares the same extended, geometric sans structure as its predecessors, but has character widths and stem weights tweaked to work specifically as a webfont.

Checker specimen

Nick Shinn’s Checker takes about as wide a turn as possible away from his Figgins Sans and Scotch Modern families. Dimensional tiles containing “properly italicized and back-slanted” letters are mixed with a bit of contextual OpenType magic to power this unique display face.

In addition to creating new type, Nick Shinn is more than happy to share his understanding of type history, style, and technique, as he guides us through the beauty and complexity of contextual alternates for I Love Typography.

And now for the rest of this week’s news:

And finally, we are sad to report that Kurt Weidemann has passed away.

That’s it for this week’s news. No fooling, we’ll be back next week. In the meantime, take us to task for anything we missed or any jokes in poor taste you wish we’d attempted. That’s what comments are for, right?

Thanks to Grant Hutchinson — who, despite rumors to the contrary, has renounced neither space-separated em dashes nor his Canadian citizenship — for covering this week’s type.

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