“Curved, Pointy, and Nervous-Looking Types”

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

It is 1953, and you are a graduate student at the Yale University School of Art. Alvin Eisenman has just established a new discipline called “graphic arts,” in which you are studying — under the legendary Josef Albers, Herbert Matter, and Alvin Lustig — a new approach to design, which will come to be known as Modernism.

Teens, Typography, and Tim Gunn

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Young typophiles today have more outlets for their enthusiasm (you are here), but next Monday will gain rare access to the profession as well: National Design Week begins October 18, when the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum will inaugurate the festivities with its 2009 Teen Design Fair in New York. “Designers…” I knew I wanted to work with type by the time I turned eleven.

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Typography at the Cooper-Hewitt

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 6:30–8:30pm. Continuing its celebration of the tenth anniversary of the National Design Awards, The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is offering a wealth of excellent programming this season. On display through April 4, 2010 is Design USA: Contemporary Innovation; if you’re planning a visit soon, make it next Tuesday evening, when you can also attend Thinking in Type , a lecture by Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones.

Typography at the Cooper-Hewitt

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 6:30–8:30pm. Continuing its celebration of the tenth anniversary of the National Design Awards, The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is offering a wealth of excellent programming this season. On display through April 4, 2010 is Design USA: Contemporary Innovation; if you’re planning a visit soon, make it next Tuesday evening, when you can also attend Thinking in Type , a lecture by Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones.

John Downer at The Propagandist

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Twenty years ago, John Downer and I were introduced by a mutual friend. He’d introduced us as “type designers,” a flattering description of my professional achievements to date (I was a recent refugee from graphic design), and a somewhat elliptic summary of John’s credentials. Whether or not he was intentionally vague, I’ll never know, but it set me up for a very entertaining afternoon.

A Treasury of Wood Type Online

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

The Hamilton Manufacturing Co. traces its roots back to the very first wood types made in the United States. Darius Wells produced the first American wood type in 1828; his business was reorganized into Wells & Webb, then acquired by William Page, later passing back to the Wells family, and finally sold to Hamilton sometime before 1880. The product of this consolidation was a type specimen book issued in 1900, Hamilton’s Catalogue No.

Lubalin’s Legacy

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Opening Reception Thursday, November 5, 2009, 6:00–8:00pm. Exhibit on view through December 8, 2009. Leonardo da Vinci might have made scientific studies of the vascular system and designed the steam cannon, but today he’s best remembered as the painter of the Mona Lisa.

Typography Without Ink

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

This weekend, I replaced a DVD player that finally conked out after eleven years. Whatever delight I once took in acquiring a new piece of electronics has long been eclipsed by the responsibilities of dealing with its byproducts: its packaging, thankfully limited to recyclable cardboard and biodegradable packing peanuts , and also the carcass of the old device itself, which this year a local equipment recycler will be disassembling and recycling as responsibly as possible.

Things We Love

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

This morning’s post by the always-fertile Grain Edit reminds me that I’ve wanted to write something in appreciation of Mark Weaver. As with so many things I like, Weaver’s work is difficult to classify: design? illustration? The term “collage” might do as a formal description, but it’s a shabby word to describe Weaver’s mysterious inventions, which so successfully bypass both the senses and the intellect and go straight to the mid-brain.

Down Mexico Way

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

An enchanting bit of Gotham seen en route to ATypI Mexico: timbered lettering, on the storefront for Guru, a gallery and design emporium in Cuauhtémoc owned by graphic designer Quique Ollervides. Thanks for sharing this, Nick! —JH

“Someone Found a Letter You Drew Me, On the Radio…”

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

This afternoon, typography joins the ranks of the wonderfully obscure on Please Explain, my favorite segment of the Leonard Lopate Show : Steven Heller and I will be on hand to discuss, if not actually explain, typography. If you’re in the New York area, join us around 1:20pm EST at WNYC-FM 93.9 or AM 820, or follow the podcast at wnyc.org. —JH

DETAILS (A TAXONOMY FOR BEGINNERS)

Illustration Art

Here's how it goes: There are details that hum and details that sing. There are details that accumulate like silt when the artist isn't paying enough attention, and smother the picture. Then there are details where artists with impeccable technique find refuge from larger questions of meaning and purpose. Wrightson There are details that are diamantiferous. Briggs all the way down to the subatomic level.

Tobias Frere-Jones: An Exhibit at the Royal Academy of Art

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

This Friday, the prize passes to the next recipient, an occasion marked by two festivities: Wim Crouwel will receive the 2009 prize, and the Royal Academy will open an exhibit of Tobias’s work. Tobias is the fourth and current holder of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize, which was presented to him in 2006.

To the Best of Our Knowledge

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Since you’ll be at home tomorrow anyway, hopped up on leftover miniature chocolate bars that you couldn’t pawn off on discerning neighborhood kids, tune in to Wisconsin Public Radio to hear To the Best of Our Knowledge: tomorrow’s program will be about fonts. Join me, Tobias Frere-Jones, and Matthew Carter for an hour of typography, either on the air or online.

Uptown App, for iPhones

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Manhattan’s urban grid is a vaunted model of simplicity, a rectilinear plan of numbered streets intersecting numbered avenues.

Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 17

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

I wonder what sort of psychological profile one could draw from my favorite childhood possessions. I neither played nor followed football, but clung to my NFL lunchbox that showed all the team helmets with their different insignia. I had no special interest in English History, but was fascinated by the chart in our living room that traced the succession of British monarchs from William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II.

The Gerrit Noordzij Prize, Part 2: Incoming

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

It’s especially daunting when its subject is a living colleague, as was the case last Friday when our own Tobias Frere-Jones presented an award of his own design to Wim Crouwel , winner of the 2009 Gerrit Noordzij Prize. (In Type designers are accustomed to approaching the line between homage and parody with great care.

These Aren’t The Fifty States You’re Looking For

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

In Fast Company , Ellen Lupton writes: The graphic designer Michael Bierut, a partner working in the New York office of the firm Pentagram, designed a 21-foot sign for the new U.S.-Canada Canada border crossing at Massena, New York. The sign, as well as the building, which was designed by architects Smith-Miller & Hawkinson, has received substantial praise as a bold and daring piece of federal design. Too daring, perhaps.

Made With H&Co

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

An optometrist’s business card, the packaging for a rubber band gun, a basketball court, a scented candle, the concrete signage markers for subtropical hiking trails: these are just a few of the marvelous projects for which designers have chosen fonts from Hoefler&Co They’re sharing their work over on our Facebook photo page , where more than 3,000 fans are currently perusing the collection.

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Made With H&Co

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

An optometrist’s business card, the packaging for a rubber band gun, a basketball court, a scented candle, the concrete signage markers for subtropical hiking trails: these are just a few of the marvelous projects for which designers have chosen fonts from Hoefler&Co They’re sharing their work over on our Facebook photo page , where more than 3,000 fans are currently perusing the collection.

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Sham Rock

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

I have for exactly one year been waiting to open up the monumental copy of Ornamented Types of L. Pouchée that we have in the office, to find the example of the delicately curlicued shamrock type that historian James Mosley attributed to an unknown punchcutter he designated “Master of the Creeping Tendril,” and to post it here. This is not that type.

INK AND COMMITMENT

Illustration Art

Sophie Herbert You should turn to ink only when you are no longer afraid of commitment. If you're looking for a more casual relationship, choose a pencil because I guarantee you, ink will still be there in the morning when you wake up, and she ain't leaving after breakfast.

AUDUBON AND THE VEILED LADY

Illustration Art

John Audubon (1785 - 1851) lived in the wilderness during the early years of the United States. He camped and hunted along the frontier as he studied birds for his illustrated masterpiece, The Birds of America. He kept a remarkable journal of his adventures along the Mississippi and down the Ohio River to western Kentucky. After a year traveling along the Ohio river, Audubon came to New Orleans in 1821 and paused there to earn money teaching art.

ARTISTS AT WAR: GILBERT BUNDY

Illustration Art

Gilbert Bundy (1911-1955) painted with a light and elegant brush. Look at the graceful way he handles the bouquet of flowers on the table: or the foliage and chandelier in the background: Bundy gained fame as a cartoonist in the pages of Esquire magazine in the 1930s. He painted delightful watercolors of the leisure class at play, specializing in millionaire sportsmen and glamorous show girls.

ONE LOVELY DRAWING, part 24

Illustration Art

What is it? A slashing tempest? A rugged granite cliff? A rolling river? The tail plumage from a firebird? Nah, it's just the way Robert Fawcett draws the face of his friend Al Dorne: This intense little portrait (approximately 4 inches tall) is a virtuoso performance by a master draftsman. Look at the speed and facility with which Fawcett employs a dazzling array of marks on paper to channel the designs of nature. This is what I call drawing!

SACRED WRITINGS

Illustration Art

Some artists try to honor sacred texts by translating the holy words into pictures. The result is not intended to be read like a conventional book, but rather experienced as visual art. For example, some Korans from 17th-century Turkey, Iran and North India are so elaborate and ornate they are virtually impossible to read except as a visual embodiment of the beauty of the words.

PASSING THE TORCH

Illustration Art

The illustrations of William A. Smith capture the mood of his era. I especially like the gritty, urban paintings he did in the 1940s and 1950s which have a tough, noir feeling.

New Fonts: A Graphic Designer’s Perspective

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Most graphic designers choose the fonts that best fit their projects. Brian Hennings does the opposite: he chooses the projects that best fit the fonts. A resident designer at Hoefler&Co, Brian shares with me the responsibility of creating all of the sample art you’ll find on this site.

PETER MAX

Illustration Art

"Mistah Kurtz, he dead" Like Andy Warhol and LeRoy Neiman, Peter Max was a talented, hard working illustrator before he became a pop culture sensation. He studied for years with the great teacher Frank Reilly at the Art Students League in New York and learned the skills of a serious artist. In 1963, Max was assigned to paint a jazz record cover. The young artist worked hard to finish the project on time, but his art director didn't like the result.

SPANKING CATS

Illustration Art

Cosmic disturbances sometimes engulf our planet in violent magnetic storms, yet you can sit there calmly sipping your jasmine tea and munching cucumber sandwiches, oblivious to the vast drama going on around you because our senses can't detect magnetic storms. You'd have to look at a compass and see the needle going haywire to figure out that something was taking place. Art works the same way; we remain unaware of layers of meaning when we lack the experience to understand them.

House of Flying Reference Marks

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Last spring, when answering a reader’s question about our favorite characters to draw, I got to spend some time with some of our beloveds: the ¶ and ß that rarely see the light of day, as well as H&Co’s middle name, & It took great self-control not to spill the beans about another pair of favorites, the dagger and double dagger, for already waiting in the wings were my favorite daggers to ever come out of H&Co.

Sure, I Guess That’s My Final Answer

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Monday, November 9, 2009, 6:30–8:30pm. I have a friend, an editor at a renowned university press, who is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the English language. He is my go-to man for typo-lexico-philological questions, like whether there’s an English word that contains the adjacent letters h and x ( there is ); he’s the sort of gent to casually drop the words “usufructuary” and “megaboss” in the same sentence.

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Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 16

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

“Modern Gaspipe” is the charming taxonomic name for this kind of letterform. We’ve explored the style in our Tungsten type family — itself a fine holiday gift, ahem. But for those with a hankering for decor, the always fruitful Three Potato Four has this unlittle item for sale, a huge handpainted wooden figure three (34" / 86cm), perfect for your living room, studio, or threearium.

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G Thing

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

An Acropolis Italic sighting is a rare event, so even at 48 pixels I couldn’t help but notice that George Garrastegui used the font’s letter G in his Twitter icon. George was kind enough to send me the original file, though it’s not the mere design fragment I’d assumed: it’s a photo of a foot-high sculpture in corrugated cardboard, made manifest by fellow designer Maurizio Masi.

A Type Tablet

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

When Abi Huynh sent me this image, I thought at first that it was a website graphic in the prevailing style: a digital rendering of high-gloss black acrylic, against a reflective white surface, in that “web 2.0” ” style that will not go away. But no! It’s an actual artifact, and a lovely one at that.

Fonts in Time and Space

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

By the way, that tiny screen grab below — which even fixed in time is so charmingly reminiscent of that CBS cafeteria designed by Lou Dorfsman — is but part of a captivating typographic video designed by Gretel. Greg Hahn was kind enough to share with me the original ; I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. —JH

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The Gerrit Noordzij Prize, Part 1: Outgoing

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Wim Crouwel will receive the 2009 Gerrit Noordzij Prize on Friday, when we’ll have the first photographs of the award that Tobias designed for him. One charming aspect of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize is the design of the award itself. By tradition, it’s something created by the current prize holder, and presented to the incoming awardee.

Introducing Tungsten

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

A few years ago, we started wondering if there was a way to make a flat-sided sans serif that was disarming instead of brutish, one that employed confidence and subtlety instead of just raw testosterone. It was an unusual design brief for ourselves, completely without visual cues and trading in cultural associations instead: “more Steve McQueen than Steven Seagal,” reads one note; “whiskey highball, not a martini” suggests another.

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Mortal Enemy of the Hyphen

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Above, the full name of the Philadelphian typesetter who was otherwise known as “Wolfe+585,” or less mercifully, “Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Sr.” ” to his friends. Could there have been many? —JH

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Laminitis, or English As She Is Drawn

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Some would argue for Bleak House, others Middlemarch. The Great Gatsby has its proponents as well, along with Lolita and Heart of Darkness. But for me, it is none of these: there is a clear winner in the category, a single book that is the finest work of literature written in the English language. It is English As She Is Spoke , an 1853 phrasebook by Pedro Carolino, offered to Portuguese speakers as a guide to the English language.

Inside the H&Co Drawing Office

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

A View of the Drawing-Office of Hoefler&Co, Manufacturers of Phonograms & Allophones. Special Designs & Estimates Submitted on Enquiry. Write: H. & & Co., Houston-Street, New York. Just kidding. Thanks, Eric Baker, for the photo! —JH

Inside the H&Co Drawing Office

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

A View of the Drawing-Office of Hoefler&Co, Manufacturers of Phonograms & Allophones. Special Designs & Estimates Submitted on Enquiry. Write: H. & & Co., Houston-Street, New York. Just kidding. Thanks, Eric Baker, for the photo! —JH

Ask H&Co: Fonts for Financials

Fonts by Hoefler&Co.

Annual reports offer designers a marvelous opportunity to strut their stuff. In the hands of a thoughtful typographer, a dense volume of technical text can become warm and welcoming, its changing rhythm of introductions, statements, analyses, and disclosures calling for a beautiful typographic system to help organize the text. Financial data can be uniquely satisfying to design, offering an irresistible opportunity to work with large type families in intricate ways.

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