New Font Choices in iBooks 1.5 | 52 Tiger

by jfjudah

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.

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