Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Typography 2.0

   Bam!  Starting right off with one of my favorite program fonts.  I'm using "program" here in the sense of program music, in which the composition is intended to evoke a particular story.  Think Copland's "Rodeo" (that's the "Beef -- it's what's for dinner" music) or Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (the one with Mickey in Fantasia).  I specifically mention the Sorcerer's Apprentice because this font looks like the sort of thing that would appear in a spellbook, or engraved on some ancient tablet.  On a more technical level, one of the common elements you'll notice in these program fonts is a strong implementation of kerning.  If you investigated the links on the first typography post, you'll know that kerning is an adjustment of spacing between certain letter pairs, like A and V, which can overlap slightly.  Mael kerns Ls, Rs, and Qs to an extreme extent, along with many others.
   None of these fonts in this second typography update are suitable for anything that's meant to be read.  However, they do provide a great visual quality if you're more concerned with how the words look.  These are all free fonts for noncommercial use, so if you'd like to use them personally, i'll provide a link to each.

   This crazy text is "Oblivion Worn", which is a typeface used by the video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  This version is fan-made and graciously licensed for public use by parent company Bethesda.  Instead of repeating any existing language, Bethesda invented an entirely new set of characters, which necessitated drawing a new typeface.  Because of the strong association here with the games, i've included it here for comparison to Mael rather than for any sort of suggested use.  If you aren't up for making your own font, tab on over to 1001 Free Fonts and grab yourself one.  There are so many great free fonts that there isn't any excuse not to find a novel one that isn't everywhere.  A note on the link -- those are free for non-commercial use, but you "have to" buy them to use them commercially.  Don't steal.

   Here's a whimsical one.  Like the name suggests, it's looking to capitalize on the stereotypical horror flick style.  Unlike most of these other typefaces in this second typography post, Chiller looks better in block text than it does as a title.  The downside of this text is that it's SO iconic that it's pushing cliche.  Still, it could be put to good use as a starting point for some Photoshoppery such as the "dripping text" effect.

   Code Bold is a good example of creating a strong impression without a lot of whistles and bells.  It doesn't take an incredible amount of gimmick to make great design, which is a theme that will certainly appear frequently throughout this blog.
   This is a complete 180 from Code Bold; AlphaRuler is wildly prescriptive.  The empty space inside letters is reminiscent of stencils or early 80s computer readouts.  The thin lines also make it difficult to apply any Photoshop effects, but you could always pick up the bold version of AlphaRuler if that's your interest.

   There are far too many script fonts to keep track of, but i'll include a pair here for comparison.  I'll post the second without further comment so you can view both on one screen.

   Scriptina has the appearance of grace and ornament...until you see Tangerine.  The impossible perfection of Tangerine's script is the sort of thing you'd expect on wedding invitations.  Consider for a moment that people used to actually practice their script until they could craft letters this precise for important documents.  On the flip side of that comparison, Scriptina manages to look just sloppy enough to create the illusion of handwriting.
   There's talk of fonts with multiple entries for each letter that will randomly grab one of the options so there's less repetition, but i'm not sure if it's possible in the .otf format.  If you've seen one of these in circulation, let me know.
   What's YOUR favorite typeface?


  1. Code Bold is my favorite! Makes a clear statement and is easy to read.

  2. Oh man, so many good fonts!

    I love how perfectly circular those Code Bold Os are.

    Favorite general/writing font: Book Antiqua, Goudy Old Style.

    Favorite silly heading font: Desdemona

    Guilty pleasure font: Harrington. Does that make me a bad person?

  3. Ah! Desdemona is the font that Jocundry's used (before they closed down)! That was my parents' favorite bookstore. I think i still have some of their bookmarks tucked away between some pages somewhere...