Moon | Typeset In The Future

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For dedicated Media students, it really does’t get any better than the website Typeset in the Future, which is  blog dedicated to typography in science fiction films.

For anyone who wants to learn about the power of type to evoke an era and to create a mood, look no further.

And for my students who think my obsession with type is a bit strange, please note that I did not start that blog. Other people are, in fact, far more obsessed than I. I’m the well-adjusted one.

This typeface is OCR-A, which was designed in 1968 for use in optical character recognition systems. It’s actually an ISO standard for character recognition. Moreover, it looks like THE FUTURE, and so it makes a perfect choice for on-screen interstitial positioning shots. (Matthew Skala has very kindly made a modern implementation of OCR-A available for free on his web site.)

Read more: Moon | Typeset In The Future.

via daringfireball

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New Statesman to go back to the future with masthead makeover

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We’re delighted to announce that the New Statesman is unveiling a brand new look to celebrate its centenary, using the popular Comic Sans font. Starting today, we’ll be replacing our web header and text fonts with Comic Sans, and the magazine will soon change too. Here’s our new masthead:

Read the rest, before 12: New Statesman to go back to the future with masthead makeover.

Of Type and Time: the naked letter and the parasite: my new ebook about typography

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Typography arouses passions, and has been doing so for more than 500 years.

From the very beginning of moveable type, there has been debate about what is the “ideal” letterform, and printers through the ages have made arguments for different styles of letters. Gutenberg based his type on the national handwriting of the time, while his student Jenson went back to the 9th century to base his first roman type on the Caroline minuscule. The Caroline (or Carolingian) minuscule has a history itself, dating back to the Roman half-uncials of the 3rd century. Uncials, minuscules: names for different kinds of letter. Minuscules are what we call lower case, but the phrase lower case itself only dates back to the invention of printing.

This new ebook, Of Type and Time is a critical investigation into debates concerning type design, with a focus on legibility and the endless search for the “perfect” letterform. Originally produced as a Master of Arts dissertation in Critical Theory, this updated and revised text links the discourse around type to ideas about noise in communications and cultural movements, including Arts and Crafts and Modernism.

The theoretical approach is based on the work of French polymath Michel Serres and his work on noise/interference in communication. I try to relate the endless arguments about type legibility (how easy it is to read) to Serres ideas about essential noise within communication systems. I also point to a solution to the argument about what exactly is the “perfect” letterform.

The 2013 version of the text has been changed to reflect some of the changes since 1996, when it was first written, and the illustrative material has been enhanced.

The book is available now on the Amazon Kindle store.

Here’s a link to the Amazon US store. The book is also available (in English) in other territories.

The Font War: Ikea Fans Fume over Switch to Verdana – TIME

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Those of you who think I am strangely obsessed with fonts are always sceptical when I claim that lots of other people share my obsession. Well, the IKEA adopts Verdana story has now appeared in Time magazine, and I’ll have you know that I have nothing to do with it.

The Font War: Ikea Fans Fume over Switch to Verdana – TIME. Snip:

Others seem mystified by the choice to eliminate one of the chain’s key identifying features. “The former typeface definitely better reflected Ikea’s design philosophy, giving it a very special, unique flavor that actually fit the company’s style,” says Vitaly Friedman, editor in chief of the online Smashing Magazine, which is dedicated to Web design. “With Verdana being used all across the Web, Ikea’s image not only loses originality, but also credibility and the reputation that the company has built since the 1940s.”

Here’s another take on the controversy: Why, Ikea, why? Snip:

Like many other critics of the switch I would counter that Verdana was specifically designed for use online. Why didn’t IKEA just switch to Verdana online and keep the typographically superior Futura for their print applications? I shudder at the thought of hovering Verdana-emblazoned billboards and bus stop ads.

Videogame Classics – a set on Flickr

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Via BoingBoing, Videogame Classics – a set on Flickr. Old media meets new.

The original Penguin and Pelican book covers of the 1930s were inspired by earlier German designs for Albatros books (Albatros, Penguin, geddit?), which were very “new typography” in their use of sans serif fonts on the cover, with an even colour on the page.

For their typography, Penguin used Eric Gill’s (then new) Gill Sans for the covers and Stanley Morrison’s (then new) Times New Roman for the text inside the book.

After the second world war, the founder of the German New Typography movement Jan Tschichold, who had fled to Switzerland to escape Nazi persecution (Hitler hated sans serif fonts: fact), was invited by Penguin to oversee a redesign of their paperback range.

He came up with a subtle change in the look of the covers (example above), allowing the title/subject of the book to influence some of the cover. I believe the text in the books was then change from Times New Roman to Plantin. Tschichold later helped design Sabon, which is a beautiful serif typeface reminiscent of Garamond.