Noted without comment:
The HandpaintedType project is a collaborative, on-going effort to preserve, well, the hand painted type of Indian street painters. A 10-minute documentary video introduces the project’s website visitors to a few of these forgotten masters as well as the computer-aided scoundrels who’ve made their skills “obsolete.” In the fast-moving haste of bustling Delhi, business owners prefer cheap and speedy Arial-based signs over the comparatively arduous, though stunningly artistic hand-painted banners of yore.
“The Lost Type Co-Op is a Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of its kind.” So reads the first line on their About Us page. I had to read their About Us page because I wanted to find out what the catch was. Here are several typefaces—many vintage-inspired—that I’d like to own and each has a pay-what-you-will price model that ruffled the skeptical feathers on this bird. But there’s no catch. The Lost Type Co-Op really does sell high quality fonts designed for print and sometimes web use (@font-face) for whatever price—including zero dollars—you are willing to pay. Upon entering the amount and clicking the DOWNLOAD button on a particular font’s page, your download starts immediately and you are then redirected to PayPal to complete your order. Yes, your product is delivered before you finished paying for it.
Finally, the fruits of my labor are made apparent in the new and ever-relevant dingbat font designed by Jeff Levine called Eckhardt Signwork. An archivist of forgotten letterforms, Mr. Levine was inspired by many a sign photo found in the collections on this website as well as on Forgotten-NY.com, a terrific site I once blogged about years ago. As with many of his previous fonts Eckhardt Signwork reveals a caretaker’s handling of the tattered lettering that lay within these scratched and rusty relics. And while I’ve certainly received emails from all sorts of folks thanking me for the inspirations, I’ve only seen a few examples manifest like this. I can’t wait to see “YES” appear in print one day soon!
I’m looking forward to seeing Typeface, a film by Justine Nagan, which recently premiered at TypeCon2009 in Atlanta. The film’s tag line say that it’s “charting the intersection of rural America and contemporary graphic design.” Well, that’s right up our alley here at NoRelevance.com! The preview images and synopsis look and sound great and all of its early press seems to indicate that it’s a wonderful film. Hopefully more interesting than that other film about type that came out not too long ago. Speaking of the synopsis: “Typeface focuses on a rural Midwestern museum and print shop where international artists meet retired craftsmen and together navigate the convergence of modern design and traditional technique.” You had me at “typeface.”
Surely by now you’ve come across Metroscript–a relatively new OpenType script typeface that’s being hailed as “one of the most complex digital script systems on the market” and rightfully so. Designed by Michael Doret of the Alphabet Soup type foundry, Metroscript takes full advantage of the OpenType format, which makes possible and incredible number ligature combinations and, thus, lends a more hand-made look to headlines and copy. My particular interests in it are from the standpoint of the computer-generated, cut-vinyl signage industry and its new tool for getting that hand-made look. Will it displace some old-fashioned hand-painters? It’s possible. Metroscript essentially presents the designer with a Rubik’s Cube of ligature options–most of which look good enough to print. So, I imagine many designers might end up wanting to use their comps as the finished product.
It took me long enough to write about this most “handy” tool. The Type Selector, created by Michael Wörgötter, is the Pantone swatchbook equivalent to typography. The 226 specimens, which are grouped as Serif, Slab Serif, Sans Serif, Script, Black Letter and Display, fan out allowing you to compare multiple faces at once. It’s quite solid, in fact, and will stand up on its own allowing you to keep your selections sticking up for easy reference. I’d call this the most useful design tool of 2006. Good on ya, Michael!