10 Nov 2011

Meet the Stack

The stack

It took me five years to develop Elena. During that time, my constant companion was what we have taken to calling ‘the stack.’ Standing roughly a foot tall, the stack is a chronological collection of laser prints used to test Elena.

Sadly, after a couple of studio moves, the current stack only dates back to 2009. Luckily, 2006, ’07 and ’08 are somewhere. Test documents never get thrown away, only stored absentmindedly awaiting future serendipitous discovery.

The stack - abc's

Long hours were consumed poring over each and every test document to continually refine the typeface. Some tests are set in stone like the archetypal ‘a b c’ run through. Others are created on the fly to test a particular character, language or typographic convention. Sometimes, they’re just gibberish.

The stack - punctuation

The stack - gibberish

Whatever happens to the stack in the end (shoved into a box and stored in the basement?), it’s a tangible testament to the effort and thought process of a typeface.
ND

1 Nov 2011

New Release: Elena

Elena specimen

We’re pleased to announce the long-awaited release of Elena from type designer and Process Type Foundry partner Nicole Dotin. Designed specifically for text and extended reading, Elena is a contemporary text face well suited for magazines, books and editorial design. Pairing the inspiration of the broad-nibbed pen with a desire for a modern page color, Elena is a face of economical proportions, moderate x-height and spare details.

Available in Regular and Bold with accompanying Italics, each style of Elena is replete with the necessary features one would expect for proper text work like small caps, case sensitive forms and a diverse range of numeral styles including those specifically for small caps. Basic versions start at $39 and full versions at $75.

The first Minnesota State Fair was in 1859, and since then (with just five exceptions due to wars and polio outbreaks), it has been held every year at the summer’s close. Facing this bittersweet farewell, Minnesotans choose to go out with a bang, bringing together a sensory-bombarding celebration of food, fun, agriculture, industry, art, music, history and overall indulgence.

We three at Process Type Foundry packed up and hit the fairgrounds with cameras in hand to capture the explosion of type and lettering (both terrific and terrible) to be found.

From practical tags and signs showcasing Minnesota’s best crops, to the showy stands of the food vendors, the hand-lettered ephemera in the Fair’s historic Heritage Square and the glittering gaudiness of the Midway, we certainly weren’t disappointed.

MNStateFair_1.jpg

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As type designers we naturally have many type specimens stashed away in our collection, though very few of them manage to elevate type beyond the typical waterfall showings and text settings. There are exceptions of course, but the latest addition goes the extra mile.

With its gorgeous layouts and ersatz ads, we can’t help but appreciate this specimen from Berthold Type Foundry, numbered “525B”. Find many more mid-century (no specific year is given) specimen layouts after the jump.

Berthod Type Foundry Specimen 525B

Berthod Type Foundry Specimen 525B

Berthod Type Foundry Specimen 525B

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Seattle Met, a magazine covering the local scene in Seattle, WA, has been using Anchor and Bryant Compressed since May, when designer André Mora came on board. But it was for the summery July issue, with its focus on farms, foraging and other foodie adventures that Mora paired Anchor with the agile Capucine, named after the French word for the Nasturtium flower.

As the newest addition to our family of typefaces, it’s great to see Capucine being put to use here in a way that showcases its flexibility, from display headlines to captions.

Seattle Met July 2011

7 Jul 2011

Summer Reading

Detail of WAD to RR: a letter about designing type

When we saw today’s release of the summer reading list for the University of Reading typeface design students, one title stood out. Gerry Leonidas, director of the program, has put together a great index of references that includes an influential monograph by William Addison Dwiggins.

Dwiggins, an American illustrator and book designer, came to type design later in life. He wrote WAD to RR: a letter about designing type to colleague Rudolph Ruzicka in 1940, offering rare insight into the typeface design process. We pulled out our copy of the Dwiggins text from our collection.

Cover of WAD to RR: a letter about designing type

Dwiggins, who is credited with coining the term “graphic designer”, is a particularly compelling character for the lively variety of his work. In addition to his work in advertising, book design, calligraphy and type design, he also operated a marionette theater. Though he studied lettering with Frederic Goudy as a young man, he didn’t take up type design until his late forties, when he was invited by the Mergenthaler Linotype Company to create a contemporary sans-serif typeface that then turned into the idiosyncratic sans Metro.

Detail of WAD to RR: a letter about designing type

View more photos of our copy on Flickr, or read the entire letter here.