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The Evolution of Metro & Its Reimagination as Metro Nova

Left: W. A. Dwiggins at work in Hingham, Massachusetts, circa 1939. Photo by Randall W. Abbott. Center: Linotype matrices for 18pt Metrolite & Metroblack No. 2. Photo by Tobias Frere-Jones. Right: Fictional in-use sample from Metro Nova specimen, 2013. Show More Summary

Variable Fonts: the Future of (Web) Type

I love typography, but I love the web even more. So when news broke of OpenType 1.8 and the type community erupted with excitement, I immediately tried to figure out what variable fonts would mean for web developers. Quick wins JohnShow More Summary

The Prints and the Pauper

In 1450, Johannes Gutenberg entered into an agreement with one Johann Fust, a Mainzer goldsmith and guildsman, to borrow a staggering 800 Rheingulden at 6 percent interest. Gutenberg’s sales pitch must have been convincing, for Fust would later testify that he himself had borrowed money in order to fund the loan. Show More Summary


Graphic designers occasionally feel the need to incorporate a handwritten look into their work. These days, the first thing many of them do is look for a font to do the job, when what they really need is actual hand­writing. That’s why I usually redirect these folks to lettering artists, not typefaces. Show More Summary

BC Mikser

Monospaced fonts aren’t meant to be pretty. They’re a hack, invented to accommodate the fixed advance widths of early typewriters. Later, monospaced fonts made it easier for primitive CRT monitors to display text as rows of uniform modules,...Show More Summary

Making Fonts: Proza Libre

When I started the development of Proza, I didn’t want to deal with the limitations of a low-resolution rasterizer. As a result, Proza is completely stuffed with diagonal and curved lines, and tiny details that help to bring the texture alive in print, but that are something of a nightmare for a low-resolution rasterizer. Show More Summary

Typewriter?/?Typeface: The Legacy of the Writing Machine in Type Design

Typewriter typeface: once referred to the typeface used for writing in a personal printing machine || Currently used to define the appear­ance of faces that remind us of those that were used in typewriters. We all know what “typewriter” and “typeface” mean as separate concepts, so there’s no need to define them. Show More Summary

Making Grifo

???Grifo, the Portuguese word for griffin, a mythical creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. We can imagine how threatening this creature might appear, and would probably want to stay well clear of its sharp claws and beak. Grifo the typeface also has sharp serifs and terminals. […] Sponsored by Hoefler & Co. Visit the ILT store Making Grifo

Rejecting Infill-ism and Waterfalls of Mediocrity

Two recent interviews touch on a perceived degradation of quality and originality in type design. “It has become a lot easier to come up with a design that looks acceptable at first sight. But this does not mean that new things are automatically genuine or authentic. Show More Summary

The First Roman Fonts

The Renaissance affected change in every sphere of life, but perhaps one of its most enduring legacies are the letterforms it bequeathed to us. But their heritage reaches far beyond the Italian Renaissance to antiquity. In ancient Rome,...Show More Summary

New Lands in Arabic Type

Greta Arabic is the counterpart of the Greta Sans type system. This text is a reflection on the journey of creating and developing the first Arabic type system of this scale. It starts with Greta Sans. A type system conceived by Peter Bilak and designed together with Nikola Djurek. Show More Summary

Brim Narrow – making a chromatic typeface

Brim Narrow is chromatic typeface. It has eight type styles, designed to stack together. Combining particular styles and assigning each a color produces a huge variety of visual effects. While producing Brim, I met a number of technical challenges and discovered some fascinating quirks that are peculiar to chromatic type. Show More Summary

The First Title-Pages

The book in its present form is a product of evolution, serendipity, and design. Its size and proportions accommodations to the human form: the length of our arms; the type size a concession to our visual acuity. Ostensibly, the form of the book has changed little in the past 500 years. Show More Summary


I have chosen to write about Hoefler & Co.’s Obsidian because I gasped when it came out and I still gasp?—?or at least breathe heavily?—?whenever I look at it. Typographers will appreciate its extensive glyph set (highly unusual in a display face of this complexity), made only marginally easier by being the offspring of Surveyor […]

Viktor Script

Dear Viktor, As we approach Valentine’s Day, and there is so much love being declared over at Alphabettes, I got carried away by emotion and decided to tell you I love you! When I first saw your shapes, they already made a good impression. Then we got closer as I touched your software. You have […]


SangBleu Sans embodies a spectrum of tensions that, from a type designer’s perspective, are particularly difficult to give form to. In this case, the tensions occur between the characteristic traits of a serif typeface and the expected behavior of a sans, blended in a common skeleton. Stemming from a sibling project, Romain, SangBleu departs from […]


Monoline with a twist, Khang explores the intriguing interplay of monolinearity and modulation. At first glance, Khang is a contemporary humanist sans with a large, airy lowercase?—?and an unexpected impulse toward animated warmth. A...Show More Summary

Eksell Display

Eksell Display is an odd font in more ways than one. Some of its letters are decidedly strange, but so also are its origins and its reason for being. The design is based on an alphabet?—?not a typeface?—?that Olle Eksell, a modernist Swedish designer, drew in 1962. Söderström has done little more than digitize the […]


NSW01 is a compact display face that takes some unexpected turns. At first glance, it seems very modular and const­ruct­ed (and, to this reviewer’s eye, remin­iscent of Neville Brody’s 1980s typefaces). But a closer inspection reveals many idiosyncrasies. For starters, NSW01 features unicase glyphs, which make it a great choice for setting solid, tightly-leaded headlines […]

Noe Text

Noe Text is a proper text typeface. Many words could go into analyzing and dissect­ing the features of the lettershapes, but the reason it just works lies in the texture it creates. And who doesn’t like solid, triangular serifs? A subtler version of the beautiful and more extreme Noe Display, Noe Text is as crisp […]

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