Monthly Archives: December 2011

Typographic Countdown — 25 Days ’til the New Year

I can’t believe it’s G already. G is the first letter we come across where we can actually credit a single, citable human from recorded history. Spurius Carvilius Ruga worked as an educator and school superintendent in 230 BC when he associated G with its present consonant sound. Growing tired of using K as a double-duty stand-in to represent this sound, the Roman Republic eagerly made room in the alphabet for the letter. The G in Silas Dilworth’s Facebuster squeezes every bit of use out of its counter with a tight fist.

Typographic Countdown — 26 Days ’til the New Year

Funny that the Phoenicians, who had a perfectly serviceable F decided to spell it with a P-H. Their F historically represented a hook on the end of a staff and made a sound like a V. Of course in english we haven’t rid ourselfes ov making the two letters interchangeable for the sounds.

Careful not to confuse ‘long s’, ſ, for lowercase f, as many people, and most OCR programs do. Long s often has a lead-in stroke, but never has a crossbar. The character fell out of disuse starting in the late 18th century. Unless you’re typesetting a historical or period work, you may never touch one.

Pedro Leal’s Penna delicately writes our F in a formal calligraphic style.

Typographic Countdown — 27 Days ’til 2012

It’s time for E. We adopters of the Latin alphabet rely on E with more frequency than any other letter (Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, and Turkish being noted exceptions). Such common occurrence led inventor Samuel Morse and his assistant Alfred Vail to represent E with a single dot of Morse Code across the telegraph line. ‘Dit,’ the ham radio operators would correct me. We celebrate the letter with Nathan Williams’s Dusty Circus.

Typographic Countdown—28 Days ’til the New Year

D is for door. Apparently here’s a word that has kept its initial sound through the years. The Egyptian hieroglyph depicting a door shows up later in various Semitic languages, including Phoenician. The form of the Greek’s Delta got its final rounding out by the Etruscans. In Burgues Script, designer Alejandro Paul depicts the penwork of Louis Madarasz in beautifully drawn characters like this one.

Typographic Countdown—29 Days Left ’til 2012

If you draw a C with two straight strokes instead of a single curved one, you get closer to C’s nearest ancestor, the Greek Gamma. Your drawing will also approximate Kappa, absent its vertical stroke. This is of course no coincidence, but rather one reason for C’s broad range of consonant sound. Occasionally you’ll see C with a little extra mark attached below called a cedilla, translated roughly ‘little zed.’ This indicates the letter is spoken with its soft consonant sound, seen, for example, in the word ‘façade.’ Frantisek Storm offers his own “transcription” of the work of John Baskerville in the carefully considered Baskerville Original Pro, which includes this gem of a C.

FontShop Friday Five: Early

We know you’re busy and the Internet is a crowded place, so we’ll try to give you a little reminder on Fridays of what’s going on out there. Below please find five recent FontShop-related threads that you may have missed.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Eager to experience the inaugural TYPO San Francisco? Tickets for this conference of design, culture, society – with a little bit of kerning went on sale this week. Get a great deal with early bird pricing through the end of the year.

Be Early in Exploring New Typography

Here’s our list of November’s new fonts.

Start Celebrating Early

We began counting down to 2012 this week, in typographic terms of course.

Get Your Early Issues

Yves Peters explores the new issue of 8 Faces. Also, sign up early to receive next week’s edition of the FontShop Newsletter.

Gone Too Early

We end this week on a somber note, with a memorial to the multi-talented Hans Reichel.

Friday Five Fonts: Miss Lankfort by Sudtipos and Filmotype Horizon by Filmotype

Typographic Countdown—30 Days Left ’til 2012

Exhibit B. This letter makes it to our alphabet by much the same path as A, though archaeological evidence points to a much older Egyptian precursor to the Phoenician form, rendered Beta by the Greeks. It means house, and shows up in such familiar city names as Bethesda, Bethany, and Bethlehem; the houses of pity, song, and bread, respectively. It’s perhaps also worth noting here that Beta’s lowercase, β, shares much in common visually but is not Eszett, or the German double-s ligature, ß. Gerard Unger’s Swift is drawn with tension in its curves resulting in a strong, solid, and nimble perfomance.

Typographic Countdown—31 Days ’til the New Year

We begin our typographic countdown to 2012 with A. We borrow the letter along with several others from the Greek, Alpha, though the Greeks admit to borrowing it from the Phoenicians. It is the first and therefore the least, like the lowly ox, for which the letter served initially as a pictogram. Bello from Underware renders the letter in a lively thick brush script style that lets the speed of its stroke work show through.

If you ever need an A without the crossbar, take a look at capital Lambda. (Remember that not all fonts include the Greek alphabet.)

Registration Opens for TYPO San Francisco

Registration opened today for TYPO San Francisco Connect at The conference, presented by FontShop, will take place at the Novellus Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), April 5-6, 2012.Eager to experience two days of design, culture, society – with a little bit of kerning? A limited supply of early bird tickets are available at great discounted rates through December 31. Professional early bird tickets are available for $400 and student early bird tickets are $200. Students must provide valid proof of enrollment.

TYPO San Francisco will feature a diverse array of creative and inspiring speakers across multiple industries. Erik Spiekermann and Kali Nikitas will facilitate in the main hall. The event will also feature typographic workshops and screenings at YBCA.

Regularly priced tickets ($500) will be available January 1 through February 29, with late registration ($600) beginning March 1 up until the conference.

About TYPO Conferences

TYPO Conferences are a huge success in Europe. TYPO Berlin has become Europe’s premier annual three-day design conference featuring a veritable who’s-who from the elite of design with cultural commentary and social relevance presenting a design barometer of the rapidly changing creative arena of the last 17 years, and as you might expect, more than a little key knowledge of the world of typography. TYPO London premiered to rave reviews in October 2011.

About TYPO San Francisco Connect

San Francisco is a key location for design. Technology and software development have seamlessly entered the design process with creativity and innovation underpinning the way people are educated, conduct business and think about society. We all connect with the world every day. Good design makes this fun and easy, bad design ruins the experience. Being over connected can be fulfilling or overwhelming. Disconnecting can be a relief or isolating. And all of this is changing constantly with technology. TYPO San Francisco Connect brings together incredible speakers from both European and American design communities to share their work and insights on what it means to connect.

Conference sponsors include FontShop International and Communication Arts. More information on sponsorship is available at