Opinionated Type

Just Like Yours, Only They’re Mine: Josh Farmer

Tag: Adelle typeface

Exclusive Interview: TypeTogether Releases Tablet Gothic

There are many incredible type foundries — Underware, House Industries, Village, Type Jockeys, and so many others — and TypeTogether is at the top of my list. They consistently impress, breathing new life into familiar categories.

As background, TypeTogether is the two-person company co-founded and run by Veronika Burian and José Scaglione, both graduates from the University of Reading with MAs in Type Design. According to Tiffany Wardle’s “Female Type Designers” entry on Typophile, Veronika has more than ten type family attributions — three other women are tied with her and only four have more type families than she. This is far more than impressive since TypeTogether has only been in existence since 2006.

TypeTogether focuses on typefaces for editorial use: magazines, newspapers, fine book type, and on the web. Skolar, Bree, Adelle, and Ronnia are four of their most popular families, and with good reason. They are modern, they work well in all mediums, and they have a special ability to charm the eye.

For instance, only a few days ago TypeTogether released a new editorial family, Tablet Gothic.

Tablet Gothic by TypeTogether

Tablet Gothic comes in an astounding 42 styles — seven weights in each of six widths — guaranteeing that, whatever the publication format is, there’s a Tablet Gothic font that will do the job and perform well both technically and aesthetically. TypeTogether says the wide, normal, and narrow widths produce a beautiful texture and highly readable text blocks at small sizes. The almost-vertical axis is one of the keys that allows the family to come in a wide range of weights without losing its signature look.

Weights of Tablet Gothic by TypeTogether

Weights and Widths of Tablet Gothic by TypeTogether

Tablet Gothic Widths in Bold

Tablet Gothic Widths in Bold

Notice the subtle line that angles up and to the right throughout a line. This quality, harnessed so well in Jos Buevenga’s Calluna, pushes the reader’s eye through the line and on to the next. It is especially noticeable in Tablet Gothic’s semibold weights and heavier since the terminals have more definition and are a large part of this visual propulsion.

Tablet Gothic Sample 3 by TypeTogether

Tablet Gothic Sample 3 by TypeTogether

Speaking of propulsion, TypeTogether granted me an interview about Tablet Gothic and their perspective on type design.

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Josh Farmer: Thanks for talking with me today, Veronika.

TypeTogether: My pleasure.

JF: You’ve just released the personable Tablet Gothic family. What was the inspiration behind it?

TT: We wanted to design a sans serif workhorse for extensive editorial use and give our recently released text family Abril a good companion. Our initial inspiration came from early grotesque designs in Britain and Germany. However, we didn’t want a revival, but a typeface that looks to the future of publishing with a clear understanding of its history. As always, our focus was on functionality while allowing a good measure of personality at the same time.

JF: For readers who do not know, what is a grotesque model and what is so appealing about it? Can you give examples of other grotesques you like?

TT: Grotesques are the early sans serif typefaces from the beginning of 19th century. To the eyes of the public at that time, a typeface without serifs looked odd and unfamiliar, so the name grotesque came about. They are quirky, quite ugly, and disproportionate to our eyes today, but that is what gives them a certain charm. They are much less regularised than static sans serifs like Helvetica. New typefaces modeled on the old grotesques, however, are usually stylised and adapted to the needs and tastes of today. One of the most famous grotesques is Akzidenz-Grotesk. A newer version I like is Kris Sowersby’s National by Klim Type Foundry.

JF: What characters did you begin with for Tablet Gothic and was there a specific reason behind those choices?

TT: We usually start with so-called control characters: the lowercase n, o, a, c, p, and the capital H and O. They set the proportions, stem thickness, and contrast. Most of the other letters are derived from these.

JF: Do you feel there is certain glyph which sums up Tablet Gothic’s voice, and why or why not?

TT: The most distinctive letter in the alphabet is always the lowercase a and sometimes the k and s. They are the most complex ones that a designer can play with to set the tone for the typeface.

Weights of Tablet Gothic by TypeTogether

Tablet Gothic Sample by TypeTogether

JF: Tablet Gothic has 42 total styles. How long did the family take you to complete?

TT: Actually, it took us only about four months from the start of the idea.

JF: That’s quite a fast pace. How do you accomplish such a wide range of work in such a short amount of time?

TT: We worked extensively with the multiple-master technology and two interpolation axes: weight and width. This facilitates the process quite a lot, but with 42 fonts everything gets a bit more complicated, and we had outside help with the kerning.

JF: What tools (software and hardware) are necessary for your such a fast workflow?

TT: We work with Fontlab, Superpolator, and Prepolator. As far as hardware, we have several Mac workstations and good A4 laser printers.

JF: How do you know when a typeface is finished and ready to release to the public?

TT: When we are happy with the quality of the shapes, the whole character set is drawn, spacing and kerning are done, and all the other necessary post-production is finished.

Tablet Gothic Sample Mix

Tablet Gothic Sample Mix

JF: When will the web version of Tablet Gothic be released and where can fans go to buy it?

TT: Within a few weeks, I think. It will be on Typekit, Fontdeck, and WebINK.

JF: How do you decide which type designs to pursue and which to wait on?

TT: Well this is not as straightforward as you might think; many factors play a role here.

JF: You’ve partnered with Wolfgang Homola, David Březina, and others to release their designs through TypeTogether. What do you look for in a new typeface? Is there a certain aesthetic or certain values the design or the designer should have to become part of the TypeTogether catalog?

TT: Quality is one thing and the design should fit into our font library. We also look for aesthetic values that we like or think would be interesting to our customers.

JF: What advice would you give to a graphic artist who is quite interested in type design?

TT: Go and look at old manuscripts, letterpress books; trace the shapes of the typefaces you like most; give calligraphy a try to experience where the letter shapes come from; read about typography and type design; take part in a workshop . . .

JF: What new typefaces or expansions do you have coming up?

TT: Adelle Sans, Adelle Cyrillic, Soleil Italics, Eskapade Fraktur, Bree Serif, and the 42 matching italic weights of Tablet Gothic, which will be coming very soon.

JF: You all are incredibly busy, so thanks again for taking time to discuss Tablet Gothic and TypeTogether. Can’t wait to see your newest family in use and to see what else you have in store.

TT: You’re welcome.

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If you like the samples TypeTogether made, grab the free semi-condensed extrabold weight of Tablet Gothic. Just add the correct weight to your cart and use the coupon code ba9daa9d when you check out.

With another superfamily under their collective belts — Ronnia has 28 weights, Karmina Sans and Adelle both have 12, Abril has 8 text styles and 12 display styles — José and Veronika could be excused if they took a short break. But their release calendar for the near future is looking quite nice, with several strong families preparing for their time in the spotlight.

As far as creating typefaces that are highly functional and carry a distinct voice, TypeTogether’s impact in six short years been stunning. And their effect on the way we read and feel text, as well as its myriad expressions, is only beginning.

Awesome Adelle Typeface Deal

For everyone interested in fonts, here are two weights of the incredible Adelle typeface for an 80% discount. These Heavy and Heavy Italic weights together are only $25 bucks, it’s only available for a limited time, and you can’t beat this face for a modern news feel. When you use this face, you’ll have heavy-hitting headlines and a real sense of balance.

Use this link to grab yours and pass me some kickback love:

 

http://www.mightydeals.com/all_deals?fid=7e7657a2

Adelle Heavy and Heavy Italic Sample

Adelle Heavy and Heavy Italic Sample

 

Speaking of TypeTogether, have you seen their Freebies page? Really good stuff there.

Favorite Typefaces from 2011

This was a great year for type.

Apple got a bit more serious about their font choices in iBooks. Adobe acquired Typekit. Hoefler & Frere-Jones set to slabbing Gotham for President Obama’s second presidential run. Individual foundries stepped into a new level of webfont prowess. Codex magazine was released. 8 Faces continued its solid run. Typekit partnered with WordPress to add a “customize” feature for type choice, and they made sure to steer the average blogger toward appropriate typefaces for their needs. Matthew Carter’s seminal web typefaces, Verdana and Georgia, received solid updates. Gerard Unger partnered with Type Together. Many familiar families received updates or had more styles and weights added. And some newcomers were given a chance to shine. Here are the typefaces I think are really worth a serious look — my favorite typefaces from 2011.

Sans

Ideal Sans by Hoefler & Frere-Jones

You can’t make a best-of list and not include one of the greatest foundries today. Ideal Sans puts the anthropomorphic back in humanist sans. Angles, curves, pointed terminals, and flares are the name of the game here. This to me is one of their most energetic faces to date. Let me see if I can explain why. H&F-J remind me a lot of how Steve Jobs is remembered: as those who tweak what is familiar or lacking and turn it into something that feels almost necessary. They reinvigorate stale or stalled categories to give them new life. Gotham, Vitesse, Sentinel, and Tungsten aren’t show-stoppers, but they feel brand new and are done with such excellence that you can’t help but be drawn to them. They are certainly good. But compared to them, Ideal Sans is not an inspired tweak or even a drastic improvement, it feels like a new path has been forged.

Ideal Sans Sample

Ideal Sans Sample

Soleil by Wolfgang Homola at Type Together

Not since Gotham’s appearance has a more rational, familiar, and pleasing face shone its geometric tranquility. Where other geometric faces lean toward the austere or distasteful, Soleil gives slight hints of a real personality. For example, the friendly lowercase f, the curved and open c, the large x-height, and the & seem to bring what could have been the love child of Futura and Gotham into our current times.  Two words of caution, though — there are no italics and the O seems excessively spaced. (Try it in an all caps sentence without spaces.) The first, I am sure, will be remedied soon enough; the second you can easily take care of on your own.

Soleil Sample

Soleil Sample

Pluto by Hannes von Döhren at HVD Fonts

Exhaustive doesn’t even begin to explain this type family: there are 16 upright weights and 16 italic weights. Pluto feels like a playful mix of Gill Sans/Mr. Eaves and a bit of Coquette and Bree, but with a touch more cheekiness, a wide stance for each character, and a goliath x-height. All that adds up to a big personality even when set at 9 or 10 pts. There is no skimming past the words Pluto voices.

Pluto Sample

Pluto Sample

Serif

Georgia Pro or 2.0 or whatever it’s now called by Matthew Carter

Is it just me or does Georgia’s new caps look a bit more aggressive? Either way, I like it.

Georgia Sample

Georgia Sample

Pollen by Eduardo Berliner at Type Together

Calligraphy meets regularity; feminine softness melding with vibrant writing speed. Pollen is equal parts vigorous and sensuous, and the italics only accentuate the speed. If this is possible, it feels like a mix of confidence and demurring or gentility at once. The & is gorgeous and the tails on the descenders, especially the italics, curve and flare just as hoped. I’m just waiting for the day when a women’s line makes this award-winning typeface their own (and partners with Type Together to expand its weights beyond the three it now has).

Pollen Descender and & Sample

Pollen Descender and & Sample

Pollen Paragraph Sample

Pollen Paragraph Sample

FF Spinoza by Max Phillips at FontFont

Eleven years in the making, Spinoza is worth the wait. Heavy serifs, sharp and deep cuts (top of r and h and bottom of e and c), and high contrast are its distinctive characteristics. Together these characteristics give it a strong horizontal line and an intense clarity that will hold up under the worst printing circumstances. I am drawn to the modified ball on the c, the black version of the c, and the lovely sweep of the italic y. The dot over the i goes from a squircle in the roman to almost brush-like in the italic, emphasizing the line speed quite effectively. Spinoza is perfectly aligned with the great trend of distinctive typefaces that have character and indestructibility. Among the newer offerings are Karmina, Malabar, Harfang, and Vesper — all great choices.

FF Spinoza Large Sample

FF Spinoza Large Sample

FF Spinoza Advertising Sample

FF Spinoza Advertising Sample

Abril by Type Together

Type Together creates excellent, new typefaces in the editorial category. Some of their families are used for display sizes, but mostly they’re intended for dense amounts of text in publications like newspapers, magazines, and websites. Abril actually has two faces within the family, a display and a text version. The text version is based on scotch roman and slab serif models while the display is based on Didone; that makes the text darker and with less contrast than the display, which is exactly what each needs. At first they may look practically identical, but the details will not escape the careful observer and lover of type. It is these details that smooth the transition from one family to the other as well as distinguishes them. And I just love those modified ball terminals. Hope you were able to get the free display weight of Abril a little while ago.

Abril Differences Sample

Abril Differences Sample

Bree Serif (brand new) by Type Together

Bree was an immediate, unmitigated hit. It was simple, friendly, and had a great personality — not to mention the alternate glyphs that introduced degrees of regularity. Billed as the serif cousin to Bree, Bree Serif is still friendly but more mature. And the regular weight is free. Free to download right now. Who takes a runaway hit and releases a new version for free when they could easily make a buck on it? Pretty cool. Bree Serif was released right before Christmas. And a very merry one to you.

Bree Serif Sample

Bree Serif Sample

Decorative & Script

Reina (PDF) by Maximiliano Sproviero at Lian Types

Latin America is known for its painterly and script typefaces. Reina is one of the most exhaustive I’ve seen in this category — there’s basically four versions of every character, from no-frills to swashtastic. If you do nothing else today, get the PDF and use it as your manifesto for typographic beauty and for excess. Simply gorgeous, but by no means simple. And Sproviero is only in his late twenties. I can’t wait to see what else he comes out with.

Reina Numerals Sample

Reina Numerals Sample

Reina Sample

Reina Sample

Burgues Script OT by Sudtipos

The Sudtipos foundry is well-known for their expressive, exhaustive script designs. Burgues Script is no surprise in that respect; it fits right in with their reputation of excellence. Like Reina, what sets it apart is the breadth of characters and swash options. I rarely look further than Sudtipos for my script needs.

Burgues Script Sample

Burgues Script Sample

Ambicase Fatface by Craig Eliason for Teeline Font at FontShop

Few typefaces seem destined for drop caps situations like Ambicase Fatface is. This family is a refined version of Ambicase Modern and is intended for use at monstrous sizes. There is no lowercase because each character combines both the upper- and lowercase into one character (look at the A, E, and G). It’s a great mixture with all the OpenType features you could want.

Ambicase Fatface Sample

Ambicase Fatface Sample

2010: Better Late Than Never

Since I didn’t put this list together last year, I thought I’d throw in a few of last year’s exceptional lot. This includes updates as well as brand new faces.

Maiola Book weight by Type Together

Maiola isn’t new, but weights were added so it gets a nice shout-out. It carries tension in each curve and doesn’t let up through the straight lines. Much of this is owed to the hard breaks and sharp angles placed throughout each glyph. These contours make the face feel as if it was etched rather than typed. It feels more human, like it went through a rough journey instead of just appearing fully formed. I visualize a stone carver chipping away at a cement block from the outside in, never having a smooth surface upon completion but always arriving at the satisfaction of being done. Maiola shows that each variation, however, is perfectly in place and at home — resolved in the best way possible without losing one bit of expressiveness.

Maiola Sample

Maiola Sample

Harfang by André Simard at PSY/OPS

Harfang is an aggressive face with a vertical stress. The huge x-height and short descenders and ascenders allow it to be densely set. Taken together, these aspects make it a very compact family with a dark overall color on the page. It also makes for a distinctive logo typeface; I was able to accomplish this with a client this year, and they were very happy with how it turned out.

Harfang Sample

Harfang Sample

Calluna Sans by Jos Buevinga at exljbris

A great addition to a fantastic serif. Familiar, clear, readable for long text. You can’t ask for much more.

Calluna Sans Sample

Calluna Sans Sample

Aniuk by Typejockeys

This gets my award for the most distinct face of its release year. It’s friendly. It’s odd. It’s got sharp corners that contrast with sweeping curves. And that lowercase y is daring in its several forms. It would go perfectly with an organic product line as well as a line of children’s products or services. Let Aniuk push you into categories of boldness and fun.

Aniuk Sample

Aniuk Sample

Adelle by Type Together (thin weights added in ’11)

Since its release, Adelle has been the go-to typeface for those wanting to define “new news” for their audience, and Type Together knows how to please. They expanded the family by adding weights this year. Now you can present your huge headlines in the thinnest weights while keeping your rock-solid credibility.

Adelle Sample

Adelle Sample

Tiina by Valentin Brustaux at OurType

Here’s a good site with great photos of Tiina in use. Based on the teachings of the Dutch graphic designer and professor of typeface design Gerrit Noordzij, Brustaux created Tiina with the intention of creating a specific rhythm throughout entire blocks of text. Every vertical stem contains a gentle wave, even the lowercase a which has a small dip right above the foot serif. In fact, the designer apparently based most of the alphabet on the lowercase e and n so the rhythm was preserved. With a massive x-height and short descenders, this family can speak loudly even in extremely small sizes. The high quality of OurType foundry ensures it will be an absolutely gorgeous text face. If fine book typography (print or letterpress) is your goal, Tiina would be a fantastic replacement for Perpetua or Joanna.

Tiina Sample 1

Tiina Sample 1

Tiina Sample 2

Tiina Sample 2

Tiina Sample 3

Tiina Sample 3

Tiina Sample 4

Tiina Sample 4

That completes my list of favorite typefaces from 2011 (and 2010). I hope you find your next go-to face in this grouping. What are your favorites from the last year?

New Font Choices in iBooks 1.5 | 52 Tiger

What’s New in iBooks 1.5 | 52 Tiger.

Athelas Sample

Athelas Sample

Dave Caolo gives a nice overview of what’s new in iBooks 1.5. Overall it looks like a good update, but he left it up to the type nerds to chime in on the new typefaces Apple has added — and they’re excellent choices.

Stephen Coles, of FontShop’s FontFeed blog and other type-related sites, listed the major typographic follies of the iPad in April 2010. Type choice was a major problem because they only offered one — and then, spontaneously, two — decent choices for screen fonts: Palatino and Georgia, respectively. The others were the I’ll-never-die-but-I-will-eat-your-brains zombie Times New Roman, IKEA’s-Achilles-heel Verdana, the classic Baskerville, and the part-sharpened-fang, part-wide-molar Cochin.

We can’t say for sure, but it seems Apple heeded the experts in this category because now we have some sure-fire, bona fide, I’m-all-in kind of winners.

The list now includes:

  • Athelas by TypeTogether
  • Charter by Matthew Carter
  • Iowan by John Downer
  • Seravek by Eric Olson

Charter and Iowan seem like logical and somewhat safe choices, but I’m quite impressed by the inclusion of Athelas and Seravek. Athelas does not have stage fright; it has been featured on several readability-centered services, such as Typekit. What Perpetua was to fine book printing and Georgia to reading at the advent of the web, Athelas is to both mediums. And Seravek is a clean, welcoming sans without too much of a distracting voice. Seravek feels like the type that’s been seen before: comfortable, not too flashy. Whereas the choice of, say, Gill Sans would’ve pummeled the reader with it’s way of reading due to Gill’s unmistakeable tone, Seravek is content to let you use the voice that’s already in your head.

TypeTogether launched as a powerhouse font foundry and they haven’t slowed down. Each release garners fresh awards, and each partnership showcases a new type design star. Maiola, Karmina Sans, Skolar, Bree, Givry, Adelle, Ronnia. These have ruled the new designs of the last several years — especially those designs that are specifically focused on type. And they keep forging new relationships with the top grads from each master’s class of their alma mater. On top of that, Gerard Unger, Jupiter himself, has aligned his orbit with TypeTogether’s stellar team.

But don’t think of it as if you have to notice them in order to be in the know; just know that you get to. There’s honor enough in just being alive at a moment when the planets align.

Eric Olson has made a name for himself all by himself. Klavika is one of the quintessential square sans faces, as impacting large as it is legible when small. Bryant is an underused geometric star. Maple is just begging to be a great company logo. (I could see it for Town & Country magazine’s masthead.) His Seravek was a perfect sans choice for long-form reading. I’ve recommended it before.

Seravek Sample

Seravek Sample

Hopefully we’ll see more great decisions like these from Apple and the others who battle for the digital reading category. Right now, this is a great start.

Let’s say five more typefaces were going to be added in the next few months. What would you suggest for extended reading on digital devices, whether e-ink or glass-and-pixels?

UPDATE: Yves Peters has now posted on the update in iBooks.

Motorola Droid RAZR review | The Verge

Motorola Droid RAZR review | The Verge.

Hold on, I thought a sealed battery was supposed to be a bad thing.

And in case you missed the headings because they were too small, that slab serif is Adelle by Type Together. Same for captions. Beautiful, sturdy, and it means business — authoritative without being bossy.

The Path of Least Resistance: Logically Integrating Typekit Into Adobe’s Creative Suite

Adobe owns an enormous type catalog. They also have the corner on the design market with their Creative Suite. They had a hold on the driving technology behind the web advertising sector through Flash, but that is somewhat dwindling as open technologies are gaining back ground. Not only do they push Adobe Air, but they also acquired PhoneGap which positions them perfectly in the mobile computing market. Now Adobe has added Typekit to their offerings and have announced their pursuit of space in the cloud.

This is great lineup of products and services and I think they can go one step more. As some have requested, it would be awesome to see native Typekit integration in the Creative Suite. Adobe would be ridiculous to not have already had this idea cooking.

So why not just acquire Typecast as well? Typecast is a perfect tie-in to Typekit, it works as a web application, and, when incorporated into the Creative Suite, would answer the designer’s request for a native way to design for the web in programs they’re already familiar with. Plus, Typecast is using Adelle in the bold weight by TypeTogether, which just makes everything better. (Notice the lowercase y in “typecast” looks shorter than the lowercase p. When a curved descender is modified, such as they did with the y, the curve needs to come below any straight descenders so they look even. Great thought for the modification, but it needs that one more tweak.)

Adobe, let me know when to expect the finder’s fee.