Mike Parker, long-time Director for Font Development at Mergenthaler Linotype (USA), died in February of this year.
Born in England in 1929, he began his typographic career at the age of 30. He worked under Jackson Burke as an assistant at Linotype, sorting letters of various fonts. Over the years, he worked himself upwards to the post of Director for Font Development. Thanks to him, fonts like Helvetica and Snell Roundhand found their way to Linotype; in this way, he helped the company establish itself as an international leader in fonts.
At 52, Parker and Matthew Carter founded the company Bitstream, the first company in the world to specialize exclusively in the digital sale of fonts.
With his sense for fonts, Parker was a pioneer in the font world until the very end. He was a font designer, consultant and historian even at 85 years of age.
Parker leaves behind a great legacy, which the international community of typography fans will remember for a long time.
Erik Faulhaber had already designed Xenois Sans, Serif and Semi; now the complementary versions Super, Soft and Slab are also available. This completes the Xenois super family that can be used in a vast range of contexts and design situations thanks to the use of a standardised construction principle that involves a reduction to essentials.
The three new styles also employ the same basic concept and are pared down so that they retain the crucial elements only. Characteristic features are the lack of descenders on the ‘Q’ and the ‘J’, while x-height, descenders and ascenders have been made more consistent.
In addition, each style has a matching italic, there are various sets of numerals and an extensive range of alternative glyphs. Xenois not only supports Western European text, but can also be used to set texts in Central European languages.
The elegant and contrast-rich styles Xenois Super and Xenois Soft are both sans serifs. Xenois Soft is particularly suitable for use on signage systems and in headlines, especially in situations in which good legibility must be guaranteed. On the other hand, Xenois Slab with its marked contrast between fine and rectangular serifs works best when used to set both body text and headlines.
Holder of the world heavyweight title Wladimir Klitschko is going for the knock-out in his fight against illiteracy. To show his intentions, he dipped his fists in blue paint and punched the 26 letters of the German alphabet on individual canvases.
A digital version of his alphabet has been created – you can now download this for free from Linotype.com.
For the past several weeks, a new feature known as ‘infinite scrolling’ has been available on the Linotype.com website. This means that a search no longer only generates the specific hits for a particular page; instead, the list of hits for search criteria is displayed in the form of an infinitely scrollable roll that is automatically extended. This provides for a better overview of search results and ensures that website visitors can more rapidly find what they are looking for
Thousands of fonts from Linotype, Monotype and ITC can now be purchased direct on Linotype.com and make it possible to generate coordinated designs, suitable for all types of platforms, from print media to Internet purposes. The use of web fonts offers yet more advantages: good readability on screens, indexability for search engines (not possible when texts are represented as graphics in the Internet), faster generation and updating of texts on websites, support for all major types of browser. In addition, the Linotype web fonts support more than 40 languages and can therefore be presented in almost every international layout. The licensing model for web fonts on Linotype.com is based on the pay as you go principle, in which a defined package with page views is purchased and further page views can be added, whenever the package is used up – in this way there is no need for a subscription with additional costs.
The 42-year-old designer Stefan Claudius discovered his love for font design very early in life. When he was still at school he constructed and arranged letters in the squares in his exercise books. Even then he felt impelled to experiment, to explore and thus to create something completely new. To date, the designer from Essen has designed some 40 font families and from these he has developed seven text fonts with numerous font styles.
He began on the creation of his Yalta Sans font as long ago as 2005. He became interested in subtle contrasts in stroke weights and tried out this effect in sans serif fonts. However, he found this protracted working process a positive thing – in this way he was able to continue to develop the font and return to its development again and again with a fresh critical eye.
Thus a font emerged, in which the flexibility of a humanistic font, the clarity of a sans serif and the geometric, technical aspect of a square sans come together – humanistic technicity, as he calls it.
However, even personally the aspect of the various origins in Claudius’ life became evident. The German-Swiss felt himself very attached to Swiss design. For him it combined the playfully experimental character of the Dutch and the meticulous, reflective work of the Germans. The designer says this about himself: “In this sense I am probably going back to my roots and trying to say that light-hearted enthusiasm is as important to me as mulling over a subject.”
In April this year the Lebanese award-winning type designer, Dr. Nadine Chahine, gave a lecture at agIdeas in Melbourne as part of the Design Matters initiative. Her presentation took a look at the way politics and culture affect Arabic type design. She presented her work including the typographic re-design of the largest Lebanese daily newspapers and argued how a country’s political background can strongly influence design.
Nadine studied at the American University of Beirut, the University of Reading in the UK, and Leiden University in The Netherlands. In the course of her career she has specialised in Arabic type design and among other achievements she designed the best selling Frutiger Arabic and Palatino Sans Arabic and was named by Fast Company as one of its Most Creative People in Business in 2012.
She works at Monotype’s Bad Homburg office (formerly Linotype) and is responsible for Arabic related projects. The subject of her doctoral thesis, and one that she has been concerned with since she began her career as a designer, is the legibility of Arabic typefaces.
So, to return to her lecture at agIdeas – Nadine poses the question as to what modern Arabic typography is today and how should it develop given the new technological freedom. Should typefaces go back to the traditional and complex calligraphic styles or stay with the contemporary simpler designs?
Nadine’s legibility studies showed that the complexity of design decreases the legibility of Arabic typefaces. However, there is great beauty inherent in the calligraphic forms and there is still a place for that level of complexity. There is also beauty in the simplicity of form and an example of that are the typefaces developed for the An-Nahar newspaper: simple, bold, and sculptural in approach.
That typeface was meant to symbolise strength and to give a strong and powerful impact. The design was a statement supporting the freedom of speech and of opinion, which must exist, despite or perhaps because of the political situation in the Lebanon.
For Nadine is of the opinion that type design cannot be divorced from the reality it lives in and to be able to design for a certain culture one needs to understand and analyse the larger context in which typefaces come to life.
Agmena was designed as a book font in 2012 by Jovica Veljović, a Serbian type designer who currently lives in Hamburg. Although no specific typeface was used as a model, its form is reminiscent of an Antiqua font of the Renaissance. Veljović himself claims that his main purpose in designing Agmena was to create a new book font that would remain legible even in the very smallest point sizes. This has been achieved by means of the use of large x-heights, generous counters and the provision of clearly defined, open letter forms. But the single most defining feature of Agmena is its wealth of detail apparent, for example, in the differing ascending strokes for the ‘b’, ‘d’ and ‘h’, the variation in form and length of serifs and the rounded tittles over the ‘i’ and ‘j’. The punctuation marks have the diamond shape characteristic of quill script. Although these details may only be particularly evident in the larger point sizes, they also provide text set in smaller font sizes with a vibrant, poetic feel.
Agmena is available in the styles Book, Regular, Semibold and Bold and each of the weights has a matching italic. There is also a wide range of variant glyphs – every style comes with small caps, different numeral sets, alternative letters and ornamentations. In addition, the Latin alphabet is supplemented by a selection of Cyrillic and Greek letters.
The “Movie Fonts” feature at Linotype.com has been specially designed for all lovers of film and fonts. This has been recently supplemented by a detailed article on the fonts used on posters for the latest cinema hits and with this in mind we have been looking at what fonts are most similar to those used on the film posters.
This is a congenial way to discover not only more about current movie trends but also to explore how fonts are used and their historical contexts.
Are there, for example, fonts that are more frequently used in connection with certain film genres? And, assuming this to be the case, what is the supposed effect of the selected fonts? And do they really have the intended effect on us? Accompany us on a typographic tour of discovery through the world of the latest films.
With the Yalta Sans, the font designer Stefan Claudius has created a cross between a humanistic font and a square sans. The latter introduces a technical character, which, when it encounters a humanistic typeface, produces a very readable result.
The sans serif is available in eight font styles and ranges from Thin to Black. The dynamic aspects of the font, which prevent it from assuming too formal an appearance, are particularly striking. Some of these aspects are, for instance, the conical terminals of the ‘b’ and ‘d’, as well as the curve on the foot of the ‘l’. In addition, there are the numerous slanted line ends, which produce an almost calligraphic character, and the rounded off points.
This designer from Essen has really put his effort into the Italic font. For here he has designed two sets of uppercase letters at once and has made his Italic font resemble more closely a true cursive font than a sans serif. Thus, the ‘a’, for example, is transformed to a closed form and the ‘f’ is given a descender. The accentuation of the horizontals and the subtle contrasts in the stroke weights make the Yalta Sans suitable for numerous applications, even in small font sizes, in the text and display area.