When I first started my career in graphic design, inspiration came in the form of printed material to the mail box. Digital design was for the most part a foreign concept. Almost all work was done the old fashioned way, analog, and the internet wasn’t available. I used to wait anxiously for the next issue of Upper and Lower Case magazine to arrive so I could check out the latest trends in typography, graphic design, and get industry news. It was a go to source for many years, and probably still would be if it still existed. The articles were always interesting to read and the publication felt and read like a newspaper.
“U&lc will provide a panoramic window, a showcase for the world of graphic arts – a clearing house for the international exchange of ideas and information.”
U&lc began publishing in 1974 and for 26 years it was a faithful source of information and inspiration for it’s readers. Each issue was 25 to 30 pages in length, printed in black and white, tabloid size, and except for a few times, hit it hit your mailbox with complete regularity. Now thanks to fonts.com, every back issue will be made available in PDF format. All 26 years worth.
Every month fonts.com will publish an entire years worth of U&lc, and it will be available for download via the fonts.com blog. Now, with that said, be warned the files are a bit big. Not unmanageable, but large. Around 85 megabytes in size. fonts.com also says the files aren’t perfect, since they were created from scans of original materials. Some of the pages are sometimes faded, cracked or torn. There are over 9000 scanned pages for you to go through if you so desire. I plan to go get as many of these as I can. It was a timeless source of inspiration and information back in the day, and still will be.
I kind of love / hate the video below. I love the fact that the video tells you the correct way to pronounce a typeface name in its’ native language. I’m not so sure about the subtle arrogance of the narrator at the beginning. Anyway, if you have ever pondered how to pronounce the name of a typeface like Akzidenz Grotesk, any 23 others from Europe, the video below will show you they way. Once you know how, you can annoy all your designer friends by teaching them how to properly pronounce their names as well.
I found font love this morning. I was looking for a modern script that would have good readability in a video/motion design project I am working on, and I found Benson Script, designed by Kyle Wayne Benson. Available in 2 styles, six weights, and 3 contrast levels, Benson provides solid readability at all point sizes, and the informal quality will make it easy to animate.
I love that this font has a hand lettering quality to it while remaining clean crisp and legible, which is a must for something that will be moving and only be delivered on screen.
“Modernism’s desire to fit all elements within geometric constraints and adhere to strong verticals has spread throughout type design, but has had little to do with the frills and ornaments of script. Cutting a script down to its bare bones has is an offensive idea to many—almost seeming insulting to its genre. Benson Script bridges that genre gap between frill and function. As a matter of genre Benson Script errs on the side of modernism, and adds flair as a last resort.”
Over the last few years there has been a trend toward hand lettering styles with the chalkboard look reach a white hot furry in the last year or so. That look dovetails onto the sketchbook look that was so in design fashion a few years back, and in my opinion has jumped the shark. Maybe that is why I am drawn to a couple of new typefaces, one that is a redone classic from the 1930’s and another that is based on the Swiss International style.
Directors Gothic which is being offered by MyFonts was painstakingly developed from the original 1930s glass masters. The new digital set includes a full international character compliment, automatic fractionals, ordinals, and an impressively large assortment of alternate characters.
The original font was inspired by the Art Deco movement popular that had gained popularity toward the end of the 1920’s and early 1930’s. Directors Gothic was designed with an eye toward expanded utility for use in advertising headline and smart corporate materials. The redesigned font was created by Neil Summerour for Lettering Inc.
Over the last 4 years Swiss design firm Maximage has developed Programme which is based on the geometry produced by computer programming, and calligraphy. Programme is an innovative typeface that originated s two different versions, a more sophisticated softer form, and a more angular rougher version. Because the font is OpenType you are able to switch between versions and combine them into specific sets. Because Maximage designed the font with the computer in mind, the font is optimized for both display and text needs. I love the geometry of the letter forms here, and the combination of both styles adds just a bit of that retro 1980’s vibe that is starting to make some headway into design circles these days.
I love hand lettering. I think it’s because I used to do it, and I know what goes into it. It is a skill and a craft that requires practice, patience, and true talent. Lost Type introduced “Dude” about 8 months back. The font is a reverse contrast, serif western font. It has loads of style. Designed by Dan Gneiding, Dude comes in 12 different serif styles, all of which were inspired by country music legends. The video below features painting and animation by Colt Bowden, using Dude be lettered by hand, the old fashioned way with a paintbrush.
If you are a designer one of the first things you probably learned along with Lorem Ipsom is the sentence, The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. That sentence is by far one of the most popular greeking phrases used to see how fonts will look in your design work. It is the default for most font management systems, and it is a line that hardly anyone ever changes.
If you are a type geek, design geek, or poster lover, the people that run Typolution have created a fun poster built around that sentence using a number of fun fonts, and a cute little fox illustration. All done up with a slightly distressed look, and folded the old school way that broadsheet posters used to be delivered.
The poster measures approximately 20 by 27 inches and will set you back 19 Euro ($24.75) plus shipping. You can get it here if you so desire.
I’ve been looking for some new fonts for a side project I have, and I want something that has a hand written feel, with a retro fluidity to it. Something that is light, and summery, without feeling to old-fashioned or dated. While digging around the My Fonts site I came across Magasin from designer Laura Meseguar. This font meets all of my needs and it is a visual treat to look at. I love the flowing curvaceous lines, the varied weigh of letter forms, and the feeling that this is a modern font with a deep heritage. The notes below are from the designer.
About the Design:
Magasin is based on the idea of designing a display typeface inspired by the pointed pen calligraphy with geometric, upright and connected construction and high contrast. What I wanted to show is the obvious accuracy that can be seen in any calligraphic work, but with a close attention to the creative combination of linked letters when creating words, bringing a lettering flavor.
1. the wavy shapes to emphasize the rhythm
2. four different ways of linking letters, always merging at half of the x-height
3. loops and drops reminiscent of pointed pen calligraphy