Playing with Typekit

So I finally got around to setting up Typekit on Sketchbook B. I’ve been interested in the service since seeing a demo at TypeCon in Atlanta this summer. The font you should see (as long as you have a recent browser like Safari 4, Firefox 3.5 or Chrome) is Font Font’s Nuvo Web Pro.

I’ve got a free trial account which puts a little badge in the lower right hand corner of the site. These badges are optional with the paid accounts. If you click on it, you can learn more about the type used on the site.

It’s a great service. Exceptionally easy to use. Seems to work well with Squarespace. For now, I’m sticking with the free account, but $25 a year for access to such a great library of fonts is a deal. I’ll be playing with this more over the next couple weeks…

Only at TypeCon...

I took this shot a few months ago and completely forgot about it. At TypeCon 2009 in Atlanta, there were two meetings happening in adjacent rooms. one meeting was the type critique that was open to attendees. The other meeting was a planning session for the web fonts panel the next day and was private. The rooms weren’t well marked so someone in the web fonts panel meeting grabbed a sheet of paper and wrote a quick sign…

Only at TypeCon does a quick handwritten sign look like this… If you haven’t heard the panel discussion, audio is posted online. It really was an interesting look at the challenges behind getting a workable web fonts model…

Filmotype and the CBS Wall

I had planned to release a series of reflections on TypeCon 2009 immediately after the conference, but instead ended up in bed with pneumonia…

TypeCon featured lots of great speakers and projects about current typeface design, experimentation and challenges facing the community. And there were several sessions of note about historic preservation of some of type industries forgotten treasures.

The Filmotype

Stuart Sandler from Font Diner and Font Bros detailed the forgetton history of the Filmotype. The Filmotype was a portable photo typesetting machine that became popular in the 1950s. (Portable might be generous. The thing looked like it weighed a ton…)

Basically, it was used to set headlines without having to send the work out to a service. To support it, the Filmotype Company created hundreds of alphabets to their clients. Stuart has published a book on the Filmotype and purchased the rights to the font library.

He is working with a group of type designers to digitize the collection. Several of the typefaces have already been released.

The CBS Wall (aka, the Gastrotypographicalassemblage)

Rick Anwyl from The Center for Design Study in Atlanta detailed their efforts to restore the CBS Wall – also affectionately refered to as the Gastrotypographicalassemblage. It’s an amazing piece – and an amazing story. Basically, this inticate wall was created for the CBS cafeteria in New York by Lou Dorfsman and Herb Lubalin in a pre-computer, pre-laser fabrication era. It was dismantled and discarded… and rescued. And then sat in storage for decades.


The Center for Design Study in Atlanta is in the process of cordinating the resortation of the Gastrotypographicalassemblage. You can visit their site for details on the project.

TypeCon 2009 Thursday and Friday Highlights

So I’ve been at TypeCon 2009 in Atlanta for the last day and a half. Here are some of the highlights from preliminary workshops and the first full day of sessions.

Historical Calligraphy – This workshop focused on the calligraphic roots of modern letter forms. To demonstrate the process, the instructor, Joey Hannaford – covered the walls with paper and we experimented with letterforms on a large scale with foam brushes and tempera paint. A really engaging way to teach the relationship between historical and modern forms.

A great way to teach the calligraphic roots of modern lettering. On a large scale…

Hatch Show Print – I’ve seen Jim Sherraden’s lecture twice before when he visited AIGA South Carolina. He has expanded his normal presentation and it’s more inspirational than ever. He’s a great guy and the presentation is amazing.

Gail Anderson from SpotCo – Gail gave a delightful talk about her love of type and her history. She also gave a preview of her upcoming book with Stephen Heller, New Ornamental Type, and showed some fascinating typographic videos done by her students. Great presentation.

The “Playroom” – Local Atlanta printer Jessica Germaine brought in her gear to allow TypeCon attendees to experiment with letterpress printing. We were able to use three small presses and a selection of metal and wood type.

Printing my notecards on a small letterpress.

Jessica walked us through all the details and helped with the process. I was able to select and set my type and made some Sketchbook B notecards. I’d never had an opportunity to work with letterpress and the whole experience was amazing.

My completed notecards.

Coming Up – I’m looking forward to the next two days of sessions. Lots of stuff on the schedule, including… Armin Vit from Under Consideration will be talking about the TypeCon identity for this year. REM’s Creative Director Chris Bilheimer (and a former AIGA South Carolina speaker) was added to the agenda. Also on the schedule is a two hour panel discussion on web typography with a various foundries and designers. I’ll post more highlights as the weekend progresses.