type design


Type design is the art of designing typefaces.

It is not very often that I come across type that is so unusual, so strikingly different that I can’t place it. Hansje van Halem’s Wind is one of those rare examples, so I asked her if we could publish it
Typeface stories · 8 December 2017 · English
Traditionally, Hebrew printed typography doesn't have a notion of ‘italic’, a concept linked with the evolution of the Latin alphabet. Hebrew, however, when written by hand used cursive forms taught at schools simultaneously from when children start to read, the informal style hasn’t integrated into printed typography. Michal Sahar proposes a cursive Hebrew for continuous text.
Essays · 11 October 2017 · English · 1075 words
An article on the process of designing typefaces for the language other than your own — challenges of looking at unfamiliar patterns, letters, and their cultural significances.
Essays · 5 October 2017 · English · 1920 words
From the single-style, monolingual fonts of the metal-type era to the complex, sprawling, multi-script families of the digital present, typography and type design have evolved, not only to embrace developments in print and communication technology, but also to support a world where unity and diversity must meet if we are to survive.
Essays · 2 October 2017 · English · 1302 words
Calcula is an experimental display typeface inspired by the idea of exploring the grey area between typeface design and lettering.
Typeface stories · 12 June 2017 · English · 2060 words
This article describes the process of designing Thesaurus typeface, based on the types that Robert Estienne brought from Paris to Geneva, and in some way, serve as a bridge between France and Switzerland, between Catholicism and Protestantism, and now, through Thesaurus, between past and present.
Typeface stories · 15 January 2017 · English
Lettering is very different from type design, Zico is a typeface inspired by sport aesthetics that brings elements of type and lettering design into one project.
Typeface stories · 13 June 2016 · English
Uni Grotesk is a modern adaptation of the ubiquitous but awkward Universal Grotesk, a typeface that dominated communist Czechoslovakia.
Typeface stories · 7 March 2016 · English · 1550 words
Personal notes of the author on the design process and development of Echo and Charlie typefaces.
Typeface stories · 12 January 2015 · English · 1376 words
Ondrej Jób is describing the process of designing Woodkit, a playful fixed-width display series of typefaces inspired by wood type.
Typeface stories · 20 October 2014 · English · 1150 words
Riccardo Olocco and Jonathan Pierini’s Parmigiano is a reinterpretation of the work of Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813) commemorating the bicentenary of his death.
Typeface stories · 7 July 2014 · English · 1116 words
Aware that there is no such thing as total neutrality, Neutral typeface explores how the absence of stylistic associations can help the reader to engage with the content of a text.
Typeface stories · 21 March 2014 · English · 1847 words
Tribunal went through multiple iterations in a very public trial-and-error process as the custom font of the cross-platform Slovene student magazine Tribuna. Its key stylistic features were developed to meet the functional requirements of a constantly evolving publication with a limited budget.
Typeface stories · 13 December 2013 · English · 1424 words
Our daily lives are full of noise, but when we immerse ourselves in reading, it seems to disappear. But what if the shapes of the words we read also contain perceptible noise? Does it disrupt the reading process, or do we learn to filter it out?
Typeface stories · 25 September 2013 · English · 1592 words
Lava was design to bridge the digital and print editions of a newly designed magazine.
Typeface stories · 5 September 2013 · English · 689 words
Article on the process of designing Karloff typeface, showing just how closely related beauty and ugliness are.
Typeface stories · 25 September 2012 · English · 957 words
Este articulo discute los métodos de distribución convencionales de la tipografía digital y sus alternativas. Fue escrito originalmente para el Centre National des Arts Plastiques y esta enfocado al ámbito de la tipografía en Francia.
Essays · 23 May 2012 · Spanish · 1725 words
Greta Sans was been planned from the outset as a system of interrelated styles. From the very beginning, work proceeded on multiple styles simultaneously. This text is a reflection on the process of designing large typeface systems.
Typeface stories · 25 April 2012 · English · 1709 words
Documentation and research that lead to design of Arabic newspaper typeface
Typeface stories · 21 March 2012 · English · 1436 words
What is the value of type competitions? A brief reflection on the common practice of awards hunting.
Essays · 20 March 2012 · English · 620 words
Hans Eduard Meier’s typographic work is the fruit of his passion for letter design which has lasted over 60 years, against a background of profound technological mutations. The research he conducted in the 1950s is still relevant today, notably in his book The Development of Script and Type and his Syntax typeface, a key humanistic sans serif. He is still designing typefaces today, such as Schulschrift. His output in this domain can be seen as a type of “sustainable typography”.
Essays · 1 February 2012 · English · 5749 words
La obra tipográfica de Hans Eduard Meier refleja más de sesenta años de pasión por la letra y atraviesa profundas mutaciones técnicas. Si, por un lado, la investigaciones que realizó en la década de 1950 no han perdido vigencia –tanto su libro La evolución de la letra como el Syntax, esencial dentro del repertorio de tipos humanísticos sin remates–, por otro lado, su trabajo continua en la actualidad con nuevas creaciones como el Schulschrift. Por ello es tentador calificar su producción como «tipografía sostenible».
Essays · 1 February 2012 · Spanish · 6027 words
L’œuvre typographique de Hans Eduard Meier révèle plus de soixante ans de passion pour la lettre et la traversée de profondes mutations techniques. Si ses recherches des années 1950 restent d’actualité – aussi bien son livre Le Développement des caractères que le Syntax, essentiel dans le répertoire des fontes sans sérifs humanistiques –, il poursuit aujourd’hui avec de nouvelles créations, comme le Schulschrift. Il est tentant de qualifier sa production de « typographie durable ».
Essays · 1 February 2012 · French · 5625 words
Julien is a playful geometric display typeface loosely inspired by the early 20th century avant-garde. It is based on elementary shapes and includes multiple variants of each letter.
Typeface stories · 12 November 2011 · English · 630 words
The Nara typeface was completed more than 20 years after the initial design. This is the story of the search for gaps in type classification.
Typeface stories · 14 September 2011 · English · 1665 words
Is there any reason to make new fonts when there are so many already available for downloading? It's time to reflect on motivation to draw new type. While there is no reason to make uninspired new fonts, still, there are typefaces which haven’t been made yet and which we do need.
Essays · 15 July 2011 · English · 492 words
Detailed look at the English edition of Letter Fountain, typographic reference book examining the form and anatomy of Latin alphabet.
Reviews · 24 June 2011 · English · 1218 words
This article presents the Diwani style of Arabic which lead to designing Thuraya, a contemporary yet faithful interpretation of the Diwani style with extensive calligraphic features.
Typeface stories · 9 May 2011 · English · 2033 words
Designer and programmer Jürg Lehni analyses the evolution of typographic technology and the nature of digital fonts, and introduces Donald E. Knuth’s groundbreaking TeX and Metafont systems. An essay complemented by interviews with Peter Biľak, Erik Spiekermann and Dimitri Bruni (NORM).
Essays · 14 April 2011 · English · 4373 words
Jürg Lehni and Peter Biľak in a conversation about the role of technology in type design, font formats and production tools, and Donald E. Knuth’s Metafont.
Interviews · 14 April 2011 · English · 1544 words
Dimitri Bruni of NORM talks to Jürg Lehni about designing with systematic procedures and limitations, the influence of tools and their projects Replica and Sign Generator.
Interviews · 14 April 2011 · English · 1691 words
A glossary of tools and technologies mentioned in Typeface As Programme.
Essays · 14 April 2011 · English · 1084 words
In November 2010 Peter Biľak was invited to give a talk at a one-day conference ‘Conceptual Type – Type led by ideas’ in Copenhagen about the underlying ideas behind typefaces. This lecture questions the possibility of conceptual type and compares type to other disciplines.
Essays · 24 February 2011 · English · 1738 words
Peter Biľak speaks with Mark Thomson about his beginnings, running a type foundry, magazines, print media in general, modern dance and typography. This interview appeared in Eye magazine No.75, Spring 2010 in the Reputations series.
Interviews · 27 September 2010 · English · 3447 words
A real-life situation that forced a type designer to evaluate his profession. One small typographic detail (an incorrect version of the diacritic over the letter L) caused troubles with the authorities. With a happy end.
Essays · 25 September 2010 · English · 1466 words
This article was written to coincide with the launch of the new Typotheque website and the release of Charlie, a slab serif typeface designed by Ross Milne. An in-depth record of the design process is documented below, including some personal notes on the design process and its historical roots in the slab serif traditions of the nineteenth century.
Typeface stories · 25 September 2010 · English · 1347 words
Hinting, or screen optimising, is the process by which TrueType or PostScript fonts are adjusted for maximum readability on computer monitors. This text compares different ways of hinting (black & white, grey-scale, ClearType, DirectWrite), and explains the behaviour of fonts under different rasterisers.
Tutorials · 17 May 2010 · English · 1920 words
Two years after releasing History, Peter Bilak reflects on the process of creating this skeletal system in which different styles are imposed on a Roman capital base. Previous experiments are mentioned, as well as inspiration sources for the typeface.
Typeface stories · 9 March 2010 · English · 1792 words
Article written for the Centre national des arts plastique, discussing conventional distribution methods of digital typefaces and their alternatives. The text focuses primarily on the French typography scene.
Essays · 21 December 2009 · English · 1763 words
Article written for the Centre national des arts plastique, discussing conventional distribution methods of digital typefaces and their alternatives. The text focuses primarily on the French typography scene.
Essays · 20 December 2009 · French · 2068 words
A short essay scrutinising the general misconceptions of western typography, and the appropriateness of Euro-centric type terminology.
Essays · 3 May 2008 · English · 989 words
An essay on the history and definition of type families, type design parameters, and the possibilities of creating larger type systems today.
Essays · 31 January 2008 · English · 2705 words
This article is intended for an audience of contemporary designers and students who are at least one step removed from mid-century British typographic culture; it is a critique of the Gill Sans typeface and the idiosyncrasies of its creation from a contemporary perspective. The central argument is that an earlier typeface by Eric Gill’s mentor, Edward Johnston, is a superior piece of type design.
Typeface stories · 11 March 2007 · English · 2703 words
Interview conducted by Luciano Perondi and Silvia Sfligiotti discussing issues of translation, languages, teaching, writing, organizing exhibitions, and having no answer to question about parallels between design and science.
Interviews · 20 December 2006 · English · 4209 words
Peter Biľak, grafico e type designer slovacco attivo a L’Aia, con la sua fonderia digitale Typotheque e la rivista Dot Dot Dot si è fatto conoscere come voce originale e indipendente nel campo della tipografia e della riflessione critica sul design. Due anni fa ha iniziato una collaborazione con il Nederlands Dans Theater e il coreografo Lukáš Timulak, con il quale progetta e mette in scena performance di danza contemporanea. Lo abbiamo intervistato a Milano, nel cortile della nuova sede Aiap, il 30 maggio di quest’anno, il giorno dopo la sua conferenza all’Istituto Europeo di Design.
Interviews · 20 December 2006 · Italian · 3944 words
Essays · 11 December 2006 · French · 1345 words
Dieser Artikel basiert zum Teil auf meiner Forschung für die Ausstellung über das tschechische und slowakische Schriftdesign mit Schwerpunkt auf der Entwicklung der Typografie in den letzten zwanzig Jahren, die ich zusammen mit Alan Záruba 2004-2006 kuratierte. Die Ausstellung mit dem Titel 'Experiment And Typography' wurde erstmals 2004 an der International Biennale of Graphic Design in Brno gezeigt und zog später weiter nach Prag, Den Haag, Bratislava, Cieszyn, Ljubljana, Warschau und Budapest.
Essays · 28 November 2006 · German · 3875 words
This article is partly based on the research for the exhibition on Czech and Slovak typeface design that we co-curated with Alan Záruba in 2004-2006 focusing on the last twenty years of typography development. The exhibition entitled 'Experiment And Typography' was first presented at the Biennale of Graphic Design in Brno in 2004 and later travelled to Prague, The Hague, Bratislava, Cieszyn, Ljubljana, Warsaw and Budapest.
Essays · 3 October 2006 · English · 3891 words
L'Art Director di Collins descrive il procedimento seguito per il progetto di una nuova serie di dizionari, dal punto di vista storico, del layout e della scelta dei caratteri. Data la scala alla quale il contenuto del dizionario viene espresso, e il modo particolare in cui viene letto, le decisioni microtipografiche hanno un effetto amplificato.
Essays · 18 July 2006 · Italian · 3700 words
As a teacher of type design and typography I have always wished for a book which I could recommend to my students without hesitation, and so I was excited to receive Karen Cheng’s Designing Type. As the author remarks in her introduction, there are simply very few books that explain the type design process comprehensively.
Reviews · 13 May 2006 · English · 267 words
An honest appraisal of the role discussions about type design have in the broader culture today, and why there is a need for a more cohesive discussion within the field.
Essays · 7 June 2005 · English · 1142 words
The art director of Collins describes the process of designing the new set of dictionaries, their history, layout and choice of type. Due to the scale at which a dictionary’s content is expressed and the particular way in which the content is read, microtypographic decisions have an unusually large effect.
Essays · 28 April 2005 · English · 4514 words
Rudy VanderLans talks with Peter Biľak about the Typotheque founder’s education, design practice and experience as an ex-pat Slovak living in the Netherlands. Dot Dot Dot is discussed, as well as the typefaces Biľak has produced and his current teaching practice.
Interviews · 13 April 2005 · English · 4079 words
Steven Heller describes the guilty revelation experienced when he learned that typeface software licenses are sold for use on specific, not unlimited numbers of CPUs. He calls for the ethical treatment of type designers, i.e. respect for their copyrights.
Essays · 5 March 2005 · English · 1511 words
Andy Crewdson discusses the origins of the Dutch designer’s recent family of types.
Typeface stories · 24 February 2005 · English · 1573 words
The introduction to a series of interviews and articles by and about Martin Majoor, the designer of Scala, Seria, Telefont and others.
Features · 1 February 2005 · English · 221 words
An epistemology of the word ‘experimental’ as it applies to design and type, contrasted with its scientific connotations. Examples of past and current design, type and reading/language, as well as scientific experiment, are taken into account.
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 2063 words
The abstract for Emily King’s doctoral thesis which focuses on typeface design in the United States, England and the Netherlands between 1987 and 1997.
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 392 words
The introduction to Emily King’s doctoral thesis which focuses on typeface design in the United States, England and the Netherlands between 1987 and 1997 (part one).
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 1661 words
The first chapter of Emily King’s doctoral thesis which focuses on typeface design in the United States, England and the Netherlands between 1987 and 1997 (part one).
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 15154 words
The second chapter of Emily King’s doctoral thesis which focuses on typeface design in the United States, England and the Netherlands between 1987 and 1997.
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 18886 words
The third chapter of Emily King’s doctoral thesis which focuses on typeface design in the United States, England and the Netherlands between 1987 and 1997.
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 17408 words
The fourth chapter of Emily King’s doctoral thesis which focuses on typeface design in the United States, England and the Netherlands between 1987 and 1997.
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 15377 words
The fifth chapter of Emily King’s doctoral thesis which focuses on typeface design in the United States, England and the Netherlands between 1987 and 1997.
Essays · 23 January 2005 · English · 16066 words
A brief look at Peter Bilak’s ‘synthetic’ approach to type design which examines both his earlier Eureka and more recent Fedra families.
Typeface stories · 1 December 2004 · English · 838 words
Type design as accumulated knowledge and continuity: a look at the role of type designers, history and technology, revivals and invention.
Essays · 1 December 2004 · English · 774 words
Dan Reynolds reviews a travelling exhibit of Czech and Slovak type design from the past two decades, and compares this exhibit to the Fresh Fonts exhibit of Swiss design shown in Zurich until July 2004.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 2013 words
Stuart Bailey discusses the curation of a retrospective of Dutch design, illustrating the fallibility of presentation methods which treat design work as museum or gallery pieces.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 1080 words
A critical review of the design and content of a collection of some 20th century type and its applications.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 388 words
A thorough albeit pointed review, from a perspective of the early 1990s, of Neville Brody’s and Jon Wozencroft’s pioneering magazine Fuse. A timely piece of history for those interested in the design of type.
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 2662 words
This article by the designer of Scala and Seria is as much a typographic guide and history lesson as it is a personal account of his approach to type design.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 3195 words
The background of the design of Majoor’s font Seria.
Typeface stories · 29 November 2004 · English · 1104 words
A reduced and expanded exploration of Swiss design and culture across the 20th century.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 2388 words
A fascinatingly thorough investigation of the naming of typefaces. The naming of type as a window to history, conventions, the hermetic type world and cultural context, then and now.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1987 words
In 1996 Erik van Blokland relays the problems with font embedding, which a decade later has little success…
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 482 words
A mid-90s account of the development and current state of Dutch design and type in the context of its cultural and political history.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1756 words
A mid-90s appraisal of Dutch graphic design’s unique qualities, with an overview of various studios, designers and significant movements from the 20th century.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 2672 words
Martin Majoor, known for his typefaces Scala and Seria, is interviewed by Peter Biľak. The origins of his type, book design and working methods are discussed.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 1219 words
An interview from 2002 with the Font Bureau designer Tobias Frere-Jones, the creator of Gotham, Interstate and Garage Gothic to name just a few.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 1167 words
The globalisation and homogenisation of design, legibility and communication and the history of Emigre magazine are discussed in this interview with its founder, Rudy VanderLans.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 3323 words
A discussion from the late 1990s with Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum about their work as type designers designing programmers.

Just van Rossum,(1966) Erik van Blokland (1967), are known for their work that they done separately together under the name Letterror. They are both graduates from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. After a short work for companies abroad (MetaDesign, FontBureau) they started to work freelanced in The Hague. In 1990 they have introduced “random fonts”, computer programmed outlines that print differently in each impression. They have designed over 50 fonts for FontShop and FUSE. In their typographic work they extensively use programming.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 2326 words
A mid-1990s discussion of the state of type design, graphic design in the Netherlands and emerging digital media.
Interviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 1641 words
‘Scientific’ studies of typography and legibility are analysed by Ellen Lupton...
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 1246 words
Lars Müller is taken to task for his religious reverence for and faith in the omnipresent Helvetica, and the book he produced which is described as a sort of universalist, modernist gospel but several decades misplaced. What one might come away with from the book and review is the possibility that type preferences are simply individualistic... so what does it matter anyway?
Reviews · 29 November 2004 · English · 2322 words
A thorough look at the history and development of large type families across the 20th century.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 4197 words
A theory-heavy, mid-1990s look at the concept of Deconstruction, looking at its origins in French post-structuralist discourse and then current use in the design world.
Essays · 29 November 2004 · English · 5125 words