Finding Your Type.

I’ve had a long fascination with typography. It’s been a huge influence in my life and in my design work. I’m a type-geek. No doubt. I drool over hand lettering. I stop in my tracks to marvel at hand painted lettering in the windows of say…old butcher shops and independent hardware stores. I love to see it in motion (thank you Stefan Sagmeister for the above Standard Chartered Bank). My fascination is not unhealthy. I swear.

Both my grandfathers had an early influence in my type fascination. One of my grandfathers was an architect. He would hand letter all of his drawings. I always thought he had wicked style. My other grandfather taught himself calligraphy and hand wrote beautiful letters to me and my family. His calligraphy looked magnificent and I thought of him in high regard because of this skill. It just seemed so damn classy.

I can remember as a pre-teen adolescent, pondering the marvels of the album cover artwork in my collection and recreating the lettering from my favorites. The Who, Journey, Boston, Asia, Van Halen, AC/DC, just to name a few. Too many to list.

My father’s oldest brother, also had a deep appreciation for typography. He was a PR man, and a hobby printer (to put it lightly). He had several letter presses and enough wood and metal type to be dangerous. He dabbled with printing for many, many years and just recently got rid of his collection, but not before he created some amazing family books.

With all this influence, it’s no wonder I found design to be one of my great passions. Typography, to me, is one of the key elements to good communication design. Disciplined typography can have a tremendous impact on messaging, to say the least. It can influence at a subconscious level and it can be the difference between something communicating successfully or not.

Good design and typography go hand-in-hand, and are not always easy to achieve–especially in web design. Web typography has been limited at best with a handful of system fonts. Sure, web folk got creative and developed workarounds to incorporate type into graphics. But those crafty solutions always came at a price (bloated page downloads, unsearchable, and restrictive designs).

But NOW there’s another solution that’s taking hold in web design/development. Necessity is the mother of invention. Thanks to the on going browser wars webfonts or @font-facing is an option. Essentially, webfonts are font files embedded in websites using the @font-face rule. There’s a number of resources out there, commercial or otherwise (see list below), but the overall browser support is very high*. Font files are placed on servers and then accessed when a browser gets to a website. This is a great solution because design can shine and still play nicely with search engines. I’m looking forward to implementing this for our clients in the future. Long live type. Beautiful. Searchable. Type.

Webfont Resources/Services

Website that are using webfonts

Here are some great examples of typography I’ve found recently

Rules of Typography Poster by Evan Stremke

35 Inspiring Examples of Typography in Album Covers

Hatch Show Print & American Letterpress Museum (Video)

What are some other resources that you find compelling? Please share. I’m still hungry for more.

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