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.

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.

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...

Museum-caliber modular type

Last week, Stefan Sagmeister unleashed the most high-profile modular typeface design since Wim Crouwel's New Alphabet.

The redesign for the Jewish Museum in New York features two modular typefaces. You can get all the details over at Brand New. It's a complicated and massive identity. I like what Sagmeister has done and the whole system works well. But those modular type designs stood out to me — especially the primary "script" type.

As a fan of modular type and the work of Crouwel in the 60's and 70's, it's really nice to see a high-profile, modern designer embrace a modular aesthetic.

(If you want to play around with modular type, head over to Fontstruct and build something awesome.)

Periodic

I designed the original Periodic as a pixel font on Fontstruct. As I played with the design, the more I fell in love with it. I like the idea of using the exposed pixel as a design element. Over the past few months, I’ve been tweaking it so that it would work better in print. And I’m using Periodic on my new business cards.

For the final version, I’ve connected the corners and broken the strict pixel grid for some of the special characters. The entire design is monospaced with old style numerals. I’ve also added an oblique version. It’s very readable at small sizes and distinct at display sizes. Get SbB Periodic from the “Download Fonts” section.

Pixels in Print

I’ve been wanting to get Sketchbook B business cards for a while. And I wanted to use my own fonts for the identity system. I’ve played around with several different looks, but never pulled the trigger and ordered them. Finally, my new cards are printed and they use two typefaces that started life on Fontstruct: SbB Dradis Alpha and Periodic.

I just released the SbB Dradis family. It’s an odd experimental display typeface that can be used without spaces in between the letters. I’ve updated the masthead on the site with a new Sketchbook B logo in Dradis.

Periodic is a monospaced, pixel font with old style numerals that I designed to be used in print. For most designs, visible pixels are a no-no, but I think they add some texture and interest. I’m using a version of Periodic that I’m still tweaking. It’s a refined version of the one I quietly released on FontStruct. Once I finish polishing Periodic, I’ll release it here.

FontStruct on iPad

I love my iPad. And I really don't care about the fact that iOS doesn't support Flash. With one exception... I'd like to run FontStruct on my iPad.

The other day, I found iSwifter for the iPad. It's essentially an alternate browser that allows you to open websites with Flash. It's "free" to try, but if you want to use it for more than a few minutes you have to pay $0.99.

And using it, I was able to open FontStruct on my iPad and create a typeface. It's slow - really slow - but it works. The real problem is that FontStruct isn't designed for a touch interface. The controls are too small. And it's very hard to be precise. After creating a few characters, I gave up. For FontStruct to work well on iOS - or any tablet - it's going to need an interface redesign. It's more than simply supporting Flash.

So I'm still waiting for FontStruct on my iPad (and I'm very willing to pay for an iOS app.)

Typographic Taunting, 2010 Edition

Last year, after South Carolina beat Clemson, I built a quick font based on South Carolina’s Block C logo. I called it Scoreboard and included a glyph that had the SC-Clemson score for the 2009 game. Well, after South Carolina once again beat Clemson on Saturday, I decided to update the font with this year’s score. (I previously had added the USC baseball team’s national championship score this summer, but never posted about it.) Anyway, download Scoreboard for free at Fontstruct…

 

Launching Alliance

Today, I’ve posted new typefaces, Alliance Standard and Alliance Stencil, in the Download Fonts section. And I’ve also made available 4 additional typefaces over at Fontstruct: Alliance Dot Five, Alliance Dot Seven, Alliance Pixel Five and Alliance Pixel Seven.


Alliance and Alliance Stencil

Alliance is an odd experimental typeface. And it’s one I’ve worked on sporadically for a long time. It started as a series of sketches centered around the concept of a modular science fiction stencil system. Alliance is somewhat inspired by Joss Whedon’s Firefly and the inefficient bureaucracy of the ruling government, the Alliance. Building a modular stencil system where the stencil pieces come together at a 45 degree angle seemed like an inefficient concept. However, the result is an odd set of letterforms with a unique structure.

There are nine stencil shapes that can be combined to make the characters. The dots in the middle were added when I realized that you would never be able to line up a stencil system like this without some sort of guide.


Dots and Pixels

I built Alliance’s modular stencil system before I discovered Fontstruct. I liked the basic letterforms and saw opportunities to expand the concept with Fontstruct. So I translated the design into two of science fiction’s favorite type cliches: dot matrix and pixels. And then, I did nothing with it. 

Limitations

I finished the design, but never released it. While I was happy with the general structure, I was unhappy about the limitations of the typeface. Punctuation was a problem. Should I build out a full character set or only the characters that could be built using the system? Stylistically was it too limiting? Was it even worth finishing? Should I scrap the whole thing and start from scratch?

As I took my time finishing it, I adopted many of the concepts for some of my other Fontstruct typefaces. Power Grid, Transmission, Cereal Box and Technobabble all take cues from some of the letterforms in Alliance. But Alliance sat unreleased.

Finishing up

A few months ago, I came across some of my original sketches. And I decided to finish Alliance. In an effort to make it usable, I made some compromises on the system for some punctuation. However, it does not have a full character set.

You can download Opentype versions of Alliance Standard and Alliance Stencil from the Download Fonts section here at Sketchbook B. And you can download Dot Five, Dot Seven, Pixel Five and Pixel Seven over at Fontstruct.

Power Grid and Power Grid Oblique in Open Type

UPDATE 8/17/2014: Check out Power Grid 2.0.

Power Grid was one of my earliest Fontstruct designs. The basic concept was inspired by early 20th century constructivist designs and has a very industrial feel. I’ve recently revisited the concept and am releasing Power Grid as an OpenType font.

powergridlinesamples.gif

While converting it to OpenType, I was able to add an oblique version. Something that wasn’t really possible in Fontstruct. Hopefully, it makes Power Grid more useful as a family. (Note: Both fonts start with an SbB prefix to differentiate them from the Fontstruct originals.)

Oddly enough, Power Grid works well in both “high-tech” applications and constructivist-inspired retro designs. I’ve included some samples below that are directly inspired by some constructivist poster designs.