Archive of March 2015

On Heroes

Ashley Nelson-Hornstein:

In a continuing series, I’ll highlight newfound heroes of mine. Each hero is someone that I did not know existed until recently, whose achievements were not mentioned in any of my textbooks. This inaugural post of the series begins with Annie Jean Easley, an African-American computer programmer, mathematician, and aerospace engineer who worked at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from 1955 - 1989.

Rational Expressions: The End!

Michael Pershan:

To end a blog is to reject this ethos. It’s to recognize that these things we do on the internet do have endings. And having an end is a wonderful thing to have, because to have an ending is to have a beginning and middle too.

Looking forward to whatever comes next.


If you haven’t already read this, Mandy Brown has some thoughts on Medium, blogs, and Leonard Nimoy:

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that our core discomfort with Medium—with most of online publishing—is we can’t quite see how the money works no matter how hard we squint. And we’re naturally suspicious of the ways that money skews our relationships, with each other and with art.

Typographica’s Favorite Typefaces of 2014

Some of my favorites that made the list this year:1

  • Source Serif is a wonderful project from Adobe to create an open-source companion to Source Sans. So far, they’ve released an increased number of weights, but for a text face it’s still sorely missing italics. Source Serif draws inspiration from the work of Pierre Fournier, so it has a striking resemblance to Matthew Carter’s Charter, which for now I’d still recommend if you need a complete text face for the web.
  • Marr Sans is a flexible sans from Commercial Type, one of my favorite foundries. It has just enough quirky details to keep it from being dry, but feels extremely durable.
  • Cooper Hewitt: The Typeface is the new identity for the Cooper Hewitt Museum, which open-sourced the font. It’s gorgeous, has several weights, and a narrow frame which makes it extremely mobile-friendly. Since discovering it, I’ve found myself recommending it for use on résumés, where it performs admirably.
  • Druk is another new entry from Commercial Type, this one designed by Berton Hasebe. It comes in an unbelievable array of widths.
  • Input is a font for code from David Jonathan Ross at Font Bureau. If you haven’t already checked it out, it’s dazzling. And free for personal use in your text editor of choice, to boot.

Don’t miss Coles’s list of Other Notable Font Releases of 2014. I’m especially surprised that the Questa Project wasn’t among this year’s selections, if only for sheer chutzpah.

  1. It hasn’t escaped my attention that I’ve been more drawn in the recent past to fonts which available for free in some sense. Source Serif and Cooper Hewitt have both been open sourced, and Input is free for personal use. Lately on this very blog, I have been using a pair of open-source fonts through Google’s font service: Karla and Libre Baskerville. My desire for freely-available fonts has shifted as I’ve moved from client work (where I can include a budget for fonts on given projects) to teaching (where I’d like my students not to rack up any additional debt if possible). In professional design work, I still have some strong feeling about organizations which should be able to afford it being stingy about type-related expenditures, but at the same time I don’t think that the economics of fonts have caught up to the changes in typesetting brought on by the web. I’m not convinced of the staying power of the subscription model myself, in part because I feel uncomfortable about what it might mean for our ability to retain cultural artifacts from this period of the web. But I believe there are still types of businesses and individuals who probably would spend more on type and professional design services, if there was a better system in place.

    My number one ask, which sounds nearly impossible, would be for a rise in fonts which are free for use on personal computers, but must be licensed for use in distributed materials. That would be an absolutely incredible change. In the meantime, I am intrigued that there were so many high-profile “free fonts” entering the market this year.