Category Archives: Typography

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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[YouTube]

Google’s new Sketch plug-in helps you pair harmonious colors & fonts

Old Man Nack would’ve killed for this back in his designer days:

As Design Taxi writes,

“Material Theming” effectively fixes a core gripe of the original “Material Design”: that virtually every Android app looks the “same,” or made by Google, which isn’t ideal for brands.

The tool is currently available on Sketch, and you can use it by downloading the “Material” plugin on the app. Google aims to expand the system regularly, and will roll out new options such as animations, depth controls, and textures, next.

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[YouTube]

SNL savages Papyrus font

Oh, I see you nervously shifting a little, photographers. 🙂 This take-down is as hilarious as you’ve heard:

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Bonus: CBS news caught up with the font’s creator to get his reaction:

“I designed the font when I was 23 years old. I was right out of college. I was kind of just struggling with some different life issues, I was studying the Bible, looking for God and this font came to mind, this idea of, thinking about the biblical times and Egypt and the Middle East. I just started scribbling this alphabet while I was at work and it kind of looked pretty cool,” Costello said.

He added, “I had no idea it would be on every computer in the world and used for probably every conceivable design idea. This is a big surprise to me as well.”

[YouTube]