SbB Runabout Superwide is a Fontstruct Top Pick

My new experimental unicase typeface, SbB Runabout Superwide, was named a Fontstruct Top Pick. I'm really excited about how it's turned out. Or to be more accurate, is turning out... It's still very much a work in progress. My intent is to use Runabout as the foundation of a whole series of fonts — with a range of widths, weights and designs.

You can download SBB Runabout Superwide over at Fontstruct.

Typographia's Best of 2015

I’m always a fan of Typographica’s Year in Review. Each year, they assemble a panel of experts who select amazing type that debuted in the previous year. And while I’ve seen many of the designs throughout the year, I always find more than a few typefaces that I missed.

The 2015 edition continues the tradition of excellence and offers up a wide variety of designs. Stuff you don’t see highlighted elsewhere. Each selection has an accompanying essay to give context to why the piece was included. 

Among my favorites:

  • Tripper. I love a stencil font and this gem from Underware is awesome. I especially love the T and the W.
  • Hobeaux. A reimagined “Hobo!” I have no where to use this, but I love that it exists.
  • Garibaldi. Classy and elegant. A nice, large typeface family. It’s got a nice energy and I bet it looks sharp in long documents.
  • BC Mikser. What a odd monospace design and yet… I really like it.  Five weights and italics. Quirky in a good way.

If you love type, do yourself a favor and take a look at the entire selection.

New font: SbB Runabout

I started working on some sketches for a new typeface design and moved over to Fontstruct to prototype. I really like the way the prototype turned out, even if it looks virtually nothing like my sketches.

I’ve released two designs over on Fontstruct: SbB Runabout and SbB Runabout Superwide. They are free to download with a Fonstruct account.*

A couple of notes about Runabout:

  • Unicase, but mostly lowercase. Most unicase designs are primarily uppercase, but Runabout is mostly inspired by the lowercase.
  • Short ascenders and descenders. I tried to keep the design vertically compact, with very short ascenders and descenders.
  • Flexible. I’m releasing two weights: Regular and Superwide. My plan is the have a range of weights and widths.
  • Aligning the accents. I’m playing around with the idea that accents don’t need to be centered over the letter.
  • Work in progress. I’m going to continue to develop Runabout. I don’t know if I’ll release more on Fontstruct or if I move development over to Glyphs.

* You can see and download all my published Fontstruct designs on the Sketchbook B Fontstruction page.

The Eric Gill Collection

I’ve long been a fan of the Eric Gill’s designs.* I worked at a company for a few years were Gill Sans was one of the typefaces in the corporate identity. And I later designed an annual report entirely in Joanna. His book, An Essay on Typography, is an interesting look at typography during the industrial revolution and is a great read if you are interested in historical models for typesetting.

Monotype has released new, expanded versions of Gill’s most well known designs. More weights and versions make these designs better fits for modern identity systems.

Gill Sans Nova adds a number of weights and widths without losing the charm of Gill Sans. And it keeps the wackiness of the heavier weights – which I think is a good thing despite the fact that I still hate the lower case, ultra bold i. New alternate characters are a great addition and display versions add inline, shadow and deco versions that look sharp and playful.

But Joanna Nova  gets the most attention and is the most impressive part of this release.** Previously limited to three weights — light, roman and bold, Joanna now boasts 10 weights. The italic versions are beautiful, too. And add to that a new sans serif — Joanna Sans  — to serve as a companion. 

With all this depth and complexity, I think it’s a matter of time before we start to see Joanna used in new identity systems everywhere. Each of the families is $99 for limited time, or you can spend $199 for the entire Eric Gill Collection.

Monotype has a site for the release that lets you look at everything in detail.


* I’ve long been a fan of Eric Gill’s designs, but not a fan of Eric Gill himself. We wasn’t a good man at all.

** I might be biased. Joanna has always been one of my favorite fonts and most people don’t know about it. Joanna has always been my favorite "best typeface you've never heard of" recommendation to young designers.

Introducing Intermodal

I’ve been fascinated by stenciled type for a while. Stencils started as a practical necessity – an easy and utilitarian way to reproduce type. But the use of stencils has evolved and is now visually representative of industry and military.

A few weeks ago, I quietly rolled out my latest stencil typeface on Creative Market: Intermodal.

Intermodal started as an experiment. I wanted to create a design that had only vertical stencil cuts. I didn’t like how the cuts on other stencil designs didn’t line up cleanly. By only using vertical cuts, I didn’t have to worry about the horizontal alignment.* 

Intermodal is an all cap design, but includes a wide range of foreign language characters, a set of Opentype tabular numerals and an alternate “9.” Intermodal doesn’t have traditional weights. Instead, there are five widths, from A to E. A is more narrow and E is wider. The different versions can be used together to create a utilitarian look. I’ve also got an oblique version of each width for a total of 10 fonts in the family.

For now, the entire Intermodal family — 10 fonts in all — is available exclusively at Creative Market for $29.

Intermodal is one of my favorite creations. I hope you like it.


* After my first set of sketches, I noticed that it was structurally very similar to Power Grid. So I added a stencil version to Power Grid 2.0 and I continued to refine Intermodal. Different look, but similar design approach.

All of my fonts in one place...

I just completely overhauled the fonts* section of Sketchbook B. You can now see everything I've released over the last 7 years** in one place. I've created bigger previews and a more interesting layout.

A few notes:

  • I had forgotten about some of my older Fontstruct designs. I really need to dust some of them off and finish working on them in Glyphs. Woodrow and Grande, I'm looking at you.
  • Also, I completely need to do something with my dingbots. Maybe a t-shirt? Coffee cup?
  • The pro fonts are available through Creative Market and/or MyFonts. Free fonts can be downloaded directly. And Fontstruct designs can be downloaded from Fontstruct after you sign up for a free account.
  • Squarespace really does make the process of creating these pages easy. I've had a Squarespace site since 2008 and it just keeps getting better.

The fine print: * I really prefer the term "typeface" over "font," but I fear that is a losing battle. And a much longer blog post. ** Well, everything that I've released with the exception of a couple of designs I took off the site until I can update them...

Washington Redacted

There's been a lot of talk this summer about renaming the NFL's Washington Redskins. But this week, sports talk radio has discussed that some announcers will be going out of their way to not even say the name "Redskins" during a broadcast. 

If the network truly deems the word to be offensive, they could just bleep out the word "Redskins" with the 7-second delay. Just think...

"Welcome to an epic battle between division rivals. The Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington BLEEEEEP. John, what do you thing about the matchup today? What do the BLEEEEEP need to do to beat the Cowboys."

Awesome, right. Or considering how much the Federal Government loves to redact classified documents, we could just rename them the Washington Redacted. The logo could look like this:

The logo for the Washington Redacted.

The logo for the Washington Redacted.

Same colors. And same number of letters as "Redskins" so die hard fans can pretend the name of their team hasn't changed. Think of the possibilities. You could redact the name of players on their jerseys. Announcers can use all sorts of bad puns. Fans could chant "Redact that kick." Or not.

Washington Redacted, secondary mark.

Washington Redacted, secondary mark.

Of course I'm kidding, but it will be interesting to see what happens with the Redskins name. I'm pretty sure Daniel Synder isn't willing to change it, but who knows, maybe the league or some other outside pressure will force him to change it.

(And by the way, the "official" typeface for the Washington Redacted is Power Grid 2.0, which I released this week. You can buy the entire family for $29.)

Typekit integration

At the top of the Type menu in Adobe InDesign CC is a new addition: Add Fonts from Typekit...

Selecting it will open Typekit in a browser window and you can choose typefaces that you would like to install.

Pick which versions and weights you want to use and sync them to your computer. There are lots of tools to help you discover new type, allowing you to search for type styles, thicknesses and weights. Creative Cloud automatically downloads and installs the fonts for you. 

A large selection of type, including Mark Simonson's excellent Proxima Nova, are available as part of your Creative Cloud subscription. I'm surprised at how many folks have no idea that this is part of your monthly subscription cost. And the type can be used in any app.

Every Wednesday, I post a tip on an Adobe product.

Sketchbook B now on Creative Market

So far, I've only offered my fonts for sale at MyFonts. Today, I've added another distribution channel. You can now buy Valdes Clarendon at my shop on Creative Market.

Creative Market is a new marketplace that sells fonts, images, templates, themes and more. I'm excited to be a part of it. I also like the idea that I can sell more than just type. (As for what those products will be... well... I've got some ideas...)

For now, Powerlane will remain a MyFonts exclusive. I'm not sure it's right for Creative Market. But my plan going forward is to offer all my fonts through Creative Market and MyFonts.