17th October, 2005

For the typographically challenged

OK. I’ve had enough of ace print designer and soon-to-leave-for-London colleague Jamie taking the piss out of me for only knowing three fonts or whatever. I will not have him look round at me in his you don’t even know what kerning is way ever again. It’s time for me to become a better designer. It’s time to learn about type…

As a web designer who rarely does anything for print, I know sod all about typography. I know almost all there is to know about controlling fonts with CSS, but I’m perpetually confused by typography terminology - what is a glyph? For me, when it comes to font choices, it’s Verdana, Lucida Grande if I’m feeling adventurous, bloody Arial, and… erm, well, that’s kind of all I use. Oh wait! Geneva, Courier. Erm…

Getting my kit together

I’ve installed Type Tool, Linotype’s FontExplorer X (like iTunes for fonts, and free!), and had another look at Apple’s Font Book (seems universally hated, but it was always OK for me). I’ve set up some bookmarks including the ridiculously lovely TypeTester, but there’s little more at this stage.

Seeking inspiration

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Last month I purchased Computer Arts Projects (the sister mag of Computer Arts) as I always do. In the absence of a decent web design mag, I always buy CA and CAP because what they lack in tutorials, they sure as hell make up for with inspiration. Generally, there’s enough focus on the web within the mag, and they always feature my Black Convoy buddies. It really is the only magazine I genuinely need.

Anyway, the issue I bought was a typography special: The Type Issue. Absolutely bloody perfect if you are at the same stage as myself, covering stuff such as a Type Glossary, designing your own typeface, using sIFR, a typography showcase, classic fonts and a brilliantly authoratative history of type. The latest issue is out now, but I strongly advise grabbing it from their back issues dept.

I now need many more resources

So you now know what I’ve collected, but I’m sure there’s more. I’m interested in great articles about using fonts in adventurous ways within websites. I want to know how to make fantastic curly logos for sites using Illustrator or whatever. I’m keen to find more useful apps that can help me customize, organize and categorize my growing font collection. I want to know what the rules are, and when it’s OK to break them. Basically, I wanna know what you know.

If you think there’s something out there that I need, drop a link below. Share that knowledge, kids…

I’ll leave you with a relevant joke

Comic Sans walks into a bar and orders a drink. The barman flatly refuses to serve him. “Why?”, enquires the font. The barman answers, “We don’t want your type in ‘ere.”

Ba-boom. I’m here all week.

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