typography archives

The Best Design Is Invisible

Former colleague August de los Reyes pointed me to a 1932 typography article by Beatrice Warde posted on Design History:

Imagine that you have before you a flagon of wine. You may choose your own favorite vintage for this imaginary demonstration, so that it be a deep shimmering crimson in color. You have two goblets before you. One is of solid gold, wrought in the most exquisite patterns. The other is of crystal-clear glass, thin as a bubble, and as transparent. Pour and drink; and according to your choice of goblet, I shall know whether or not you are a connoisseur of wine. For if you have no feelings about wine one way or the other, you will want the sensation of drinking the stuff out of a vessel that may have cost thousands of pounds; but if you are a member of that vanishing tribe, the amateurs of fine vintages, you will choose the crystal, because everything about it is calculated to reveal rather than to hide the beautiful thing which it was meant to contain.

Even a tee-totaling Mormon like myself can appreciate the point: the best design is invisible. Warde applied it to typography specifically, but the same applies to design in general. Often, our goal in design should be to get out of the way, so that people can consume the content or perform the task that they came for. I think too often we get caught up up in the decoration and adornment of our own particular golden goblets, and don’t pay enough attention to the content and tasks that are so central to the experience.

posted by ted 2 hours ago

If Comic Sans MS took on human form, who would it be?
My first thought was Richard Nixon—crooked and unrepentant. I then considered Justin Bieber—juvenile and inexplicably popular. Perhaps Jar Jar Binks? Ill-considered, inappropriate, and despised by hardcore fans.”
More on Comic Sans, the font we love to hate, at Site Point.

posted by ted on Monday, Sep 20, 2010

Check out FontShop’s educational materials. Downloadable PDFs with tutorials and tips on typography.

posted by john on Wednesday, Aug 04, 2010

So You Need a Typeface by Julian Hansen. Accurate, funny and looks exceptional on a 30” display. Be sure to check out the Comic Sans flow.

posted by michelle on Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010

Public Gothic is a new gothic font by Antrepo with 4 fantastic variations, and it’s free.

posted by jason on Thursday, Nov 12, 2009

Typophile Film Festival 5 Opening Titles from Brent Barson on Vimeo.

“Handcrafted with love by BYU design students and faculty, for the 5th Typophile Film Festival. A visual typographic feast about the five senses, and how they contribute to and enhance our creativity. Everything in the film is real—no CG effects!”

posted by kaleb on Saturday, Sep 05, 2009

Carsonified goes Cooper and monochromatic. Also ThinkVitamin isn’t a magazine anymore, it’s just the Carsonified blog. Just whatever you do, don’t click on Team. Ouch!

posted by jason on Thursday, Jul 09, 2009

A post from Ryan Sims audio tumble. He takes a song and produces some great typography to portray the meaning of the song while using the color scheme from the album cover. The above is a line from Along the Road” by Radical Face

Good Design. Good Music.

posted by craig on Friday, May 08, 2009

For anyone out there who ends up creating images for titling (because sIFR is too complex to set up or otherwise) I recommend Cufón (pronounced koo-fone, like “I love the features of the iPhone.” “Yeah, it’s a pretty koo-fone.”)

It creates an image of your text on the fly with javascript. It uses the canvas element in all browsers that support it and for IE it uses VML.

I haven’t run it though any extensive tests but in everything I’ve tried it seems very promising. They are aware of some current limitations, foremost among them being selectable text. They’re working on a solution. Check it out; it may save you some Photoshop time and bandwidth costs.

posted by nicjohnson on Wednesday, Mar 04, 2009

“If anyone is interested, I’m thinking of doing a type poster representing the Church Office Building, set in Hobo and Impact. $200? Let me know if ur interested.”
Jason, commenting on the fact that Cameron’s magnificent letterpress poster of the Salt Lake Temple has sold out after only a couple of days.

posted by ted on Monday, Dec 22, 2008

I’m one of the least typographical guys in our group. But even I can appreciate a good cross between typography and 80’s cartoons with the Optima T-Shirt :)

posted by aaron on Wednesday, Nov 26, 2008

Wordle for last October’s General Conference, via Larry Richman. Nice job—love the font and color choices!

Clarification: Connor Boyack is actually the one who created this arrangement, using Wordle. See the comments for more info.

posted by ted on Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008

Just learned from PRINT Magazine that iLife and iWork have an OpenType palette. Though it seems you can’t access all open type features (e.g. stylistic alternatives), you can still get to ligatures, small caps and old style & lining figures.

To access the Typography palette: from the Fonts palette, click the gear icon in the lower-left and select Typography.

Oh, and don’t forget the Glyphs palette in Illustrator & InDesign


posted by sam on Wednesday, Nov 05, 2008

Reading stories to my kids this morning, I was impressed by the hand-drawn type on the cover of The Little Engine That Could and found it interesting that you can still see the rules the artist drew to guide his baseline and x-height. It’s interesting how typography has been both blessed and injured by advancements in technology. Even the best designers among us get lazy and let the computer do too much. Here’s a casual reminder for you this morning to not forget that it’s just a tool and that it’s still up to you to make sure that your type is set perfectly. An example of this is the introductory line in the book that our team is currently reading. I was shocked to see that the last word was hyphenated. It looked horrible. It’s sad that the publisher let that go to print.

posted by wade on Sunday, Nov 02, 2008

I’d like to discuss this book for our next team off-site.

posted by kaleb on Sunday, Oct 26, 2008

“Graphic design is an organic process that uses type and image to create a visual solution for a communication problem. Much like leaves make up the shape of a tree, a graphic design solution is made up of many elements working together to create the whole. Research and knowledge are at the root of design. Formats and grids offer structure—the branches. But it is the smallest elements of design—the letterforms—which bring a design to life.”
Thoughts on Leaves & Letters, a leaflet from Vangool Design & Typography

posted by wade on Sunday, Oct 19, 2008

“There are two types of people in the world:
those who can’t tell the difference between
Arial and Helvetica, and those who despise Arial.”
Grubing Fireball, on the new iPhone-ready Flickr.

posted by jason on Wednesday, Oct 01, 2008

“There’s a very thin line
between simple and clean and powerful
and simple and clean and boring.”
Graphic designer David Carson,
former art director of Transworld Skateboarding and Raygun magazines,
and former professional surfer, in this clip from Helvetica.

posted by jason on Monday, Sep 29, 2008

“Your Journey Made Simple” by Shaz Madani

A response designed to promote the M25 motorway. On one side the poster gives exact directions that would have to be taken in order to travel from one side of London to the other illustrating the complexity and confusion involved in taking alternative routes through the center of the city. The reverse side reads: “wipe away the confusion take the M25″.

posted by kaleb on Friday, Sep 19, 2008

Nice use of contrast and a good understanding of type and form.
Simple still looks good.

posted by frank on Thursday, Sep 04, 2008