Category Archives: Typography

Sic Transit Linotype

While camping at the funky Sierra Circles sculpture garden/pottery studio/winery, this past weekend, we came across an old Linotype machine hanging out in a field—one of 40+ presses that once existed there, before most were sold to China for scrap. Here’s a tiny gallery I captured:

This reminded my wife to share with me a cool two-minute portrait of America’s last newspaper still printed on the old gear:

New typographical brushes from Adobe turn paint into editable characters

I’ve long, long been a fan of using brush strokes on paths to create interesting glyphs & lettering. I used to contort all kinds of vectors into Illustrator brushes, and as it happens, 11 years ago today I was sharing an interesting tutorial on creating smokey text:

Now Adobe engineers are looking to raise the game—a lot.

Combining users drawn stroke inputs, the choice of brush, and the typographic properties of the text object, Project Typographic Brushes brings paint style brushes and new-type families to life in seconds.

Check out some solid witchcraft in action:

Typography: The super-fraught history of Blackletter/Fraktur

Man, who knew just how much cultural identity could be wrapped up in a style of printing?

This excellent 99% Invisible episode covers the origins of blackletter printing (faster & more reliable for medieval scribes), the culture wars (from Luther to Napoleon) in which it battled Roman faces, its association with (and revilement by!) Nazis, and more.

Bonus: stick around for a discussion of revanchist, Trumpian mandates around government architecture, featuring that delightful term of art, CHUD. *chef’s kiss*

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Sononym: Finding sound by similarity

This audio browser app has a clever idea, though I wonder if it’d benefit from the kind of rendering that a Google project uses to let researchers visualize thousands of bird sounds via AI:

The primary innovation in Sononym is something called “similarity search”, which enable users to find similar-sounding samples in their sample collection based on any source sound. Essentially, a bit like how Google’s reverse image search works, but with audio.

The initial release focuses strictly on the core functionality of the software. That is, to offer similarity search that work with large collections of samples. Technically, our approach is a combination of feature extraction, machine learning and modern web technologies.

Not entirely dissimilar: Font Map helps you see relationships across more than 750 web fonts.

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