“”Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form, and thus with an independent existence. Its heartwood is calligraphy – the dance, on a tiny stage, of the living, speaking hand – and its roots reach into living soil, though its branches may be hung each year with new machines.””
Dave Shea – Fine Typography for the Web
I’ve been using Italia as the display and logotype for a weblog cum magazine that I have been working on recently. I like the shape of the letters at large sizes but the capital T is a bit wonky or perhaps simply unique. At small sizes the T has a cliché Asian look about it which actually fits in with the theme that is being used. I like unique square typefaces like this. Here is what font.com and linotype have to say about the typeface.
“Italia font is the work of Colin Brignall, a refreshingly different serif typeface. At first glance, Italia might seem comparable to any other square serif typeface, but it has a distinctive pattern all its own. Italia font can be used as either a display or text font and will give any text a unique look.” (Linotype)
“The Italia font family was designed for Letraset in 1974 and licenced to ITC in 1977. Italia was based on the Jenson Old Style of American Type Founders, cut circa 1893. This in turn had been based on the fifteenth century letters of Nicolas Jenson. With little contrast between thick and thin strokes, Italia is a fairly heavy face, best suited to display and advertising work.” (Fonts.com)
Italia™ Font Family
I’ve always loved the look of Chinese and Japanese characters for the way look more than what they are trying to communicate linguistically. I love the space between the letter forms and the shape of the characters. I love black on white. Nick Currie writes for the AIGA about the meanings of a cross-section of Japanese signs.
“Communicating with graphic design is complicated enough when you’re operating within your own culture, using the 26 letters of the English alphabet. But imagine having to design in a country with three totally different writing styles; for instance, Japan, with its hiragana, katakana and kanji. For a foreigner who doesn’t read Japanese, even just consuming the visual chaos can be stressful. But it’s also a fascinating way to find out how many meanings can cross cultural boundaries and stay intact, and just how much, when the literal contents of signs are stripped away, the tactile qualities of “look and feel” alone might be able to communicate across cultures. ”
AIGA – How Was It For You?
Gerard Unger typeface designer of Swift (1985), Amerigo (1986), Flora (1984), and Gulliver (1993) (the typeface used in USA Today) has produced a Web site that is a wealth of information on type design in general and his own designs in particular.
From an interview at Artyears.com:
“Type design serves the reader not only in good legibility but also in recognising certain objects. Typefaces offer orientation and identification. When you see information spread around the globe it becomes almost a world in itself. You have to find your way in the information world and typefaces give identity to objects, books, magazines, record covers. It helps people orient themselves if books look like books.
Typography has thrived since the introduction of typesetting technologies. It has evolved with the changing times and adapted to newer technologies. There are many type designers who have made a significant impact in the field of design and graphic activities. Gerard Unger is one such luminary from the world of typography.”
Link: Gerard Unger
An older excellent article on the prevalence of Arial on computer desktops and a sidebar which shows typographically challenged designers how to tell Arial from the typefaces it was designed to imitate.
“Arial’s ubiquity is not due to its beauty. It’s actually rather homely. Not that homeliness is necessarily a bad thing for a typeface. With typefaces, character and history are just as important. Arial, however, has a rather dubious history and not much character. In fact, Arial is little more than a shameless impostor.”
Read: The Scourge of Arial and How to Spot Arial
“100% practical. Sketches have been made to explain some basic issues in type design during the workshops. They get used to point out some problems which raise while creating a new typeface. Only some foundations are shown, no deep sophisticated details.”
Link: Type basics
I created a short book of fonts as part of a typographic study I was working on. It’s largely just a print out of some type I was using at that time. Its a bit of a large download at 5megs.
Download Font Book
Typography is an instrument of communication. It must communicate clearly in the most urgent form. Clarity must be emphasized because, in comparison with prehistoric pictographs, it is the essence of script. Our intellectual attitude to the world is individually precise (this individual precision is today changing to collective precision), as opposed to the old individually and later collectively amorphous forms. Therefore above all, unambiguous clarity in all typography. Legibility communication must never be allowed to suffer for an aesthetic code adopted in advance. (Whitford; Masters and students p.186)
Link: Typography of the Bauhaus
Once there was a typeface called Helvetica. It was extremely popular. Later came a software company called Microsoft. They