TypeShorts: 321 second talks at Type Talks 2

I am in Poznan for Type Talks 2 which is a really excellent event in central Europe.

Here are my liveblog notes. Usual liveblog disclaimer applies; personal pronouns are very suspect and nothing can be trusted. Enjoy!

(Update 2011-07-07: David Březina kindly sent some minor corrections which have been made inline. Thanks David!)

1 Claus: On-Screen Type

[Sorting laptop]

2 Viktoriya Gadomska-Grabowska: Prezentacja krojów pisma Armata i Young


Q: whats the difference between libre and pro versions?

A: The libre one has no polish diacritic signs! 😉 CROWD DOES NOT LIKE

3 Dan Reynolds: The Perfect Client

As a typography, its great to say “I dont have so many fonts but I really use them all” and it really is OKAY to say in earshot of type designers, “I dont buy fonts before trying them first” – because you buy the ones you really use.

Also, type designers love to hear “You are awesome to work with” 🙂

Dan heard from a book designer who loved his typeface Malbar but it had too much stroke contrast and was too heavy and the ascenders were too high. So Dan customized it for him!

The original Malbar was developed for newspaper printing, thus darker and more rich, and the designer thought it would work well in captions and sidebars.

Another typographer asked Dan for a ‘hand’ symbol in the font which was missing so he added it which was fun 🙂

Newspapers are awful, paper ink and printing speed means the font will ‘bleed’ around the edges. The thins get too thin on nice paper! And on screen the hinting makes compromises. Compare the ‘e’.

When Dan heard a big design magazine was using Malbar, Linotype improved the hinting. A web font service helped to push updates to all users.

Linotype did a full greek and cyrillic extension in 4 weeks at Linotype when a client needed it – super fun for Dan!

4 Wojciech Zając: Font embedding for the web

Who heard of CSS Font Stacks? 50%.

Fallback fonts! Name linked fonts, then system fonts, then a generic one.

For years designers only had the ‘web safe’ fonts from Windows XP in 2001. Its time to move on. These fonts are on 95% of desktops.

Designers came up with workarounds. Images of fonts. Many probems. Css image replacement. Others. Then @font-face came.

There were politics about font formats. Today there are 4 formats, TTF, WOFF, EOT and SVG.

You can use the Font Squirrel @font-face generator to generate them.



Everyone can download the TTF file from your server! They can make full use of it, ignoring the license and copyright law.

Web font hosting services came out which avoid the licensing problems.

The 4 most popular, are Google Web Fonts, TypeKit, Fonts.com and FontDeck.

Google is easiest. TypeKit is used by very big sites. Check out the sprungmaker comparison.

Remember, buying a font license for desktop doesn’t mean web distribution is allowed.

Q Adam Twardoch: In Poland, its important to say that some of these web font services – they are all great – but some only support Western Character Sets. Like GWF, you will find many fonts there but only a small subset support polish characters. Since I work for MyFonts and others I mention they offer web fonts licenses. These days, frankly, fonts.com web font service has the largest number of fonts you can use in Polish. Look for ‘Latin Ext’ and you find 3,000. MyFonts also has 3,000 or so that you can use. Some services you can pay a flat fee to buy the license, put the font on your server, or pay monthly a service. Both are good. I wish TypeKit and GWF will look outside Western Europe

5 Angelika Kaltenbrunner: A font between the dimensions

I made this font for 3D usage, you laser cut paper so you can assemble the letters into cubes by folding.

It has square strokes and filled corner ‘pixels’ and no counters.

The E and F are different; I had to look at all 16 cube fold patterns. They have a bar 1 unit longer to allow right side neighbours.

6 Kuba Rudziński: Typefaces in Windows

(Prepping my talk)

While travelling, I wanted to show type on glass windows – not computer 🙂

I was seeking a sense of the character of the country. My basic rule was to try to make the text flat.

Slovakia. Japan. I wanted to connect physical and digital typography.

7 David Brezina: Work from Rosetta

I’m a type designer, working on multiple scripts. Recently I set up Rosetta with Vik and Jose from Type Together. What are we doing?

We are not really a foundry, we are a ‘collaborative platform’ – we invite other designers to join our projects, we get a greek consultant to get help with greek work, a expert for each script to help make sure it is done properly. There are four to six main consultants, a “dedicated” person for each script or group of scripts (Greek, Arabic (Titus), Indian scripts, Cyrillic, etc)

We have a retail website as well as custom work.

Multi-script, not just non-Latins; Latin + Something usually.

Type Together has some non-latins. The scale of the work is big; normal Latin-focused foundries do 1/3 comparing with Cyrillic and Greek.

My Skolar has a lot of styles and scripts!

Titus’ Aisha, has Arabic and thats a playful style, so the Latin is playful too. Arabic don’t commonly have many weights. It won a TDC competition. One of the best competitions.

Nassim by Titus was released last week, designed from start for Arabic and Latin. Optimized for newspapers. 4 weights. **We are still working on the italics** (DC: WOW, VERY INTERESTING TO SEE FONTS RELEASED WITHOUT ITALICS). Its used by BBC Arabic, and so its one of the most read Arabic fonts in the world – certainly for web fonts. Fully hinted. Arabic and Persian versions. Its really nice!

Neacademia. Inspired by Aldine books; Its trying to be faithful to the Aldine types cut by Griffo. We are releasing the text version, he also developed optical sizes WHICH ARE NOT INTERPOLATED as in other types; they are all drawn individually. It supports Polish. It won a Modern Cyrillic. He’s a programmer living in Washington but a Russian guy. I learned more about Aldine type by studying this than reading about them!

Arek, by Khajag Apelian, a custom Armenian font that will eventually be retailed. We never met in person. This script doesn’t traditionally have an italic, its perhaps the first digital typeface that MARRIES a cursive style with an upright. He has pioneered this coupling of uprights and cursive style for Armenian!

He is working on a Latin complement too, and when that’s ready, we’ll retail it. 2 styles in multiple weights. In the context of Armenian typography, it was complicated to set complex texts. Of course there have been dictionaries, but now it will be easier with families like this to build more complex typography. A big Armenian magazine is using it so its private to them for now.

Sutturah. By Octavio Pardo. A FAT ONE. Lovely! Not his Reading MA project. We accepted immediately. No counters, just these CUTS. Its a joining script. Coming in autumn in Latin and Cyrillic.

Q Adam Twardoch: Lots of Reading MA graduates? 🙂

A: We accept some Reading, not by default – some arabics are not so good. Khajag is from T&M and Neacademia designer is from a Russian Physics university 😉

Q AT: Polish designers?

A: We have no problem with Polish designers. (DC LOL)

Q: How can you tell what is a good style in a language you can’t read?

A: I ask Titus who has studied intensively. I ask a few people to get a wider perspective. If they feel its good, and I feel good about the Latin, we accept it. Generally we want to see LGC before release.

8 Dave Crossland: Freeing Fonts For Fun And Profit

(Disclaimer: This article is entirely my personal opinion and does not represent the views of any other party, in any way.)

What are libre fonts?

4 Freedoms.

This is good for users.

Developers don’t like it much.

They want to earn money.

In economics, prices are set by supply and demand.

Today there are a lot more designers. More supply. This means more typeface design prices are coming down.

The technology for type design is improving. iKern, Glyphs, FontLab Proteus, autohinting. This means more typeface design prices are coming down.

Free markets in type design, where any type designer can improve a free type design, means more typeface design prices are coming down.

So thats supply. What about demand?

What happens when prices go down is that the work becomes more affordable. This means there can be more demand; and more customers means more money for more designers.

What other ways can designers cut their costs?

By starting with a libre font. However, libre license rules apply. The SIL Open Font License is a ‘copyleft’ license, which Creative Commons calls ‘Share and Share Alike.’ This means if you receive a copyleft work, and change it, when you redistribute it it but continue to be recieved as a copyleft work. There is a penalty for not doing so; you lose your license, including your right to USE the font.

Public domain sources can be used. In the USA all type is in the public domain (although a few rare ones are patented, which lasts 14 years) and in the EU there are design rights for new type designs that last for up to 25 years if registered.

Technology can also help; such as interpolation. Many designers don’t put this to use.

Vernon Adams is an example of a designer using these methods. He is has produced one font a week for a sustained period, and his blog is at http://code.newtypography.co.uk


Less well known is the http://code.google.com/p/googlefontdirectory/ site where you can download sources. If you want to modify a font, you need the preffered form of modification, not the TrueType outlines you actually use.

In May 2010 Google Web Fonts launched with 20 fonts, and now has 200. According to the Google IO video, it aims for 1,000 fonts. Some are donated, most are commissioned.

If you want to discuss libre font commissions, email me 🙂 dave@understandingfonts.com

Kamil Kurzajewski: My fonts


(Great fonts!)

10 Vít Zemčík: Type in Motion

[Lots of cool motion graphics that are all type as vector art]

(DC lots of clumping and dispersing letters, strings moving like trains in variatious directions, size scaling; very fast cuts, nice stuff!)

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