Ephemeral remains of Stephen Coles.
Writer, editor, typographer.
Oakland and Berlin.

Background image: BonBon Kakku
Title typeface: Times New Roman

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Posts tagged FontShop

FontBook for iPad

As a contributor to the previous edition of FontBook, I’m very proud to be a small part of this new version. (Thank you, Jürgen Siebert!) It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to print, but the iPad incarnation offers many thousands more entries and samples that are interactive and updatable. That means the typefaces shown, the classifications Indra Kupferschmid applied, and the “see also” cross references that Yves Peters and I created are not set in stone. Rather than printing supplements and errata, we simply edit a database. Rather than being stuck with a book that is out of date the moment it’s off the press, FontBook app users have a guide that is perpetually more current and useful.

While most of this data is on the web at FontShop.com, the iPad experience is unique. This format solves problems with navigation, hierarchy, and interaction that aren’t as easily addressed in a desktop web browser. A website has its own advantages, but this is a more natural evolution of the book. It is truly the best typeface reference in the best format possible.

Farewell, FontShop 

September 3 was my last day as Type Director at FontShop. Looking ahead, I see a lot of beautifully blank pages, waiting to be filled. But I can’t move on to the next chapter until I pay homage to this last one.

Fondling FontBook

The following was originally posted at my old personal blog exactly four years ago: September 7, 2006. Reposting it here because I’m closing that Typepad account.

FontBookWhat you would see on my face — if the camera angle were different, and my emotions not so stifled — is smug satisfaction.

In college, I “borrowed” a big yellow book from the Daily Utah Chronicle, where I worked as a typesetter. It was substantial — tall, thick, and heavy (nearly six pounds), and fun to hold. Hours which should have been spent studying, working, or partying were spent with my head buried in this book filled with thousands of samples of digital typefaces. I was fascinated by both the contents and the sheer curiosity of the concept: an exhaustive catalog of an esoteric craft. I decided I loved type.

“FontBook” was the best thing of its kind, but it wasn’t perfect. I began to find flaws. Penciled notes filled the margins, most dealing with the “see also” cross references, which were very handy, but scarce. Over the next few years I would write to the publisher about the errors. They were both fan letters and letters of complaint: I love it. But do this. Do that. This year is wrong. That designer credit is missing.

Jump ahead to 2004. After more criticism (this time in blog form), FontShop finally grew tired of my whining and hired me. Lucky punk.

FontBook Title PageThis means I was around to help make all those picky edits myself. Weighing in at 7 pounds and 1,760 pages, the fourth edition of FontBook — completed a long eight years after the last — is still the work of editors Truong, Siebert, and Spiekermann, but includes something like 6,000 additional bits of information from me and my partner-in-font-geekery, Yves Peters.

The first copies of the new FontBook arrived from the German press on Wednesday. Pardon my gloating, but I am damn proud.

New Scripts from Flat-It

FontShop is now on Tumblr! Easy way for Tumblr folk to follow what’s new.

ampersandampersand:

Farnham, Display Bold Italic

One of my favorite serifs with swashes.

Combining Type With Helvetica

Helvetica is often described as the tasteless white rice among typefaces: satisfies easily, cheap and fast. But the good thing is, you can take the design into different directions with the sauce and side dishes.

FontShop’s guest expert Indra Kupferschmid recommends typefaces that work well with Helvetica.

Combining Type With Helvetica

Helvetica is often described as the tasteless white rice among typefaces: satisfies easily, cheap and fast. But the good thing is, you can take the design into different directions with the sauce and side dishes.

FontShop’s guest expert Indra Kupferschmid recommends typefaces that work well with Helvetica.

If you’re admiring a new hand-painted sign in San Francisco, there’s a good chance it was created by Damon Styer and his crew at New Bohemia. Thanks to FontShop, Chris and I got to do an episode of FontCast on Damon.

Thanks to Folkert Gorter for letting us take a peek at his typographic palette. All samples and photography by Folkert. See the full feature at FontShop.

What the iPad is Missing (No, it’s not a Camera)

I’m not an iPad naysayer. I forked over $700 on the first day of pre-ordering and my iPad hasn’t left my side, day or night, since it arrived on Monday. I’m with those who see the device and its new approach to computing as an exciting step forward, especially for media delivery. The possibilities for reviving the magazine and newspaper industries are exciting and real. Yet it’s exactly that part of media consumption, reading, that reveals what’s missing on the iPad: good typography.

Chris and I had the honor of spending the day with Damon Styer, proprietor of New Bohemia Signs, last week. The documentation of that visit will appear in a FontCast soon. Meanwhile, Styer and his band of sign painters packed the tiny but sincere Backroom Gallery at Adobe Books with beautiful work. It’s up until April 3. Go see it.

For nearly 15 years, the web was limited to a short list of “web safe” fonts.
We just made that list a lot more interesting.
Introducing Web FontFonts.

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