Poiret One

Sometimes people from unexpected places in the world create beautiful things.  I’m amazed at the font designers and where their work comes from.  Alegreya is from Argentina.  Caslon is an homage to British design.  Helvetica is from Switzerland.

When one thinks of the Art Deco movement one thinks of the buildings and design in the 1920s and 30s in the United States and Western Europe.  It’s amazing that while most of the movement’s artifacts are enshrined in those countries one of the greatest monuments to them in print was created by designer Denis Masharov–a native of Russia.

Sbs2-1Russia is known for some interesting architecture, but not Art Deco.  Here’s a link to a lovely post on their bus stops!

Poiret One was added to the Google Font library some time ago and is a rather popular font with served over 40 million times in the week this post was written.  It epitomizes the Art Deco movement.  And so, if you’re feeling a bit like a flapper this might just be your cup of tea.

You’re welcome to download Poiret One from the Google Font library here.

Adobe Caslon Pro

What better way to end the week than with a new font to add to your library?  Fonts are your friends, and on Fridays it’s important to spend time with your friends.

In my book, A Heritage to Follow: Lucius Clark, I had to choose a font, and it was a bit of a toss up.  At the end of the book I explain the decision:

One of the most logical choices of fonts for this book would have been Century Schoolbook since it was designed for educational purposes, released in 1919 (with bold and italic versions released by 1923) precisely during the years Lucius was teaching. But Century Schoolbook takes up more space than what I wanted to use, and I don’t believe it works well at larger sized (chapter titles) or with numbers (0123456789).

So, the font used in this book is Adobe Caslon Pro. It’s become so well known and versatile that in Stephen Coles, The Anatomy of Type he relates the popular mantra, “when in doubt, use Caslon.” While there isn’t much variation in this book, italics and bold faces are used at different points and I believe Caslon has a cleaner expressiveness and consistency through these variations than many other font choices.

Lucius was a man who prided himself on good penmanship, so I wanted him to have a font designed by a master penman, William Caslon. Caslon’s font was first released in 1725. Among my favorite features are the swooping tail of the capital Q and the fact that the capital J extends below text line. While these aren’t very common letters they add character to the text in this book when they do appear. I smile when I see them because I feel they’re playfully doing a magic trick with the rest of the letters watching.

I may not have caught all the typos, but I did select the best type!

Download Adobe Caslon Pro here.  I’ll let your conscience dictate how you pay for it.  If you’re currently paying for a Creative Cloud subscription, you already have.

Google’s Product Sans Font

What better way to end the week than with a new font to add to your library?  Fonts are your friends, and on Fridays it’s important to spend time with your friends.

In earlier posts we’ve covered Google’s Roboto and Apple’s San Francisco.  Both were released in 2015, and both seemed to be each company’s answer to the fact that our fonts weren’t designed for screens.  Apple has continued for the last several years with their San Francisco font, but Google has opted to continue development.

This year they’ve released a new font, Product Sans.  Released is a bit of a loose term.  Google is known for paying the licensing fees for many fonts and releasing the fonts on their websites free for use and download.  Loading fonts quickly helps websites load faster and improve response time.  So Google giving away their fonts allows you and I to read more pages and in turn help Google increase its advertising space.

Product Sans is not one of those fonts.  As of writing this the official response from the company is:

“Google offers many fonts under open source licenses. This is not one of them. Please see Google Fonts for options you can use.”

That doesn’t mean we can’t say it’s nice and that actually doesn’t stop you from downloading it.  It just stops you from officially downloading it.

So if you feel like doing something a bit unofficial, please use the link above and enjoy adding a new and beautiful font to your library.

San Francisco

Among the newer fonts in my inventory is Apple’s San Francisco which is the default font on iOS devices and the new MacBook keyboards.  This font replaced Helvetica Neue as Apple’s default font and for good reason.  @Kadavy breaks down the improved performance on screens as well as other aspects of the font in his post soon after the font was introduced.

I’m not observant enough to see all the subtle design differences, but I am observant enough to know it looks good and to know where to download it.  Apple has released both variants to this font and their respective weights for free on GitHub.  I’d highly recommend adding it to your library today.

Alegreya

Everyone who reads this blog regularly will know how much I love a good font.  When I find a good font it generally makes me happy.  When I find two good fonts early in the morning as I start my day, it tends to lead to a pretty good day.  Today I found three.  Two are related and the subject of this post.

Which ones you ask?  Alegreya and Alegreya Sans.

First Alegreya:f133129b-a7ce-4ddf-b47c-6e1662b675ac

Look at this wonderful gem!  It’s got beautiful sweepy lines with hints of calligraphic artistry.  It even looks good on a screen.  One of the apps I tend to use on my phone is rendered in Palantino–a lovely font–but not exactly good for screens.

In addition to the serif version there is also a non-serif version in regular and thin weights.  I love the elegance of the thin weighted fonts.  The image below is the standard weight, but even here you can see the hints of calligraphic artistry on a sans font!  Wonderful!

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The site hosting these fonts is Google’s font project and describes the background of Alegreya thusly:

Alegreya was chosen as one of 53 “Fonts of the Decade” at the ATypI Letter2 competition in September 2011, and one of the top 14 text type systems. It was also selected in the 2nd Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño, competition held in Madrid in 2010.

Alegreya is a typeface originally intended for literature. Among its crowning characteristics, it conveys a dynamic and varied rhythm which facilitates the reading of long texts. Also, it provides freshness to the page while referring to the calligraphic letter, not as a literal interpretation, but rather in a contemporary typographic language.

The italic has just as much care and attention to detail in the design as the roman. The bold weights are strong, and the Black weights are really experimental for the genre. There is also a Small Capssister family.

Not only does Alegreya provide great performance, but also achieves a strong and harmonious text by means of elements designed in an atmosphere of diversity.

The Alegreya type system is a “super family”, originally intended for literature, and includes serif and sans serif sister families.

Designed by Juan Pablo del Peral for Huerta Tipográfica.

For Alegreya Sans

Alegreya Sans is a humanist sans serif family with a calligraphic feeling that conveys a dynamic and varied rhythm. This gives a pleasant feeling to readers of long texts. There is also a Small Capscompanion family.

The Alegreya type system is a “super family”, originally intended for literature, and includes sans and serif sister families. The family follows humanist proportions and principles, and achieves a ludic and harmonious paragraph through elements carefully designed in an atmosphere of diversity. The italics bring a strong emphasis to the roman styles.

Designed by Juan Pablo del Peral for Huerta Tipográfica.

I think if I were to pick a favorite typeface artist right now it would be Juan Pablo del Peral!  Century Gothic, move over.  I’ve got another Sans to play with and wont be bothered by your dated ?.  Adobe Caslon, it’s been great, but your scalability will no longer leave me lacking.

Fun With Fonts (France Edition)

We often marvel at the technology we have today and talk about it incessantly.  A quick google search reveals more than 2.8 million sites showing rumors of the iPhone 7.  While I’m a huge fan of modern technology, I’m also a huge fan of old technology.  Some of the oldest technology we use today is our lettering and numbering systems.  If you think about these things as a technology that has and still has incremental growth and improvements over time they’re really quite impressive.  We didn’t just go from no letters to letters.  We evolved to the letters we have and it’s been a tremendous evolution.

Recently I got to take a trip back to Western France and visit sites virtually untouched by the war.  This meant instead of seeing the beautifully rebuilt buildings of Germany I was able to see the original structures of a very old city.  Looking at the lettering in the town was a testament to our modern sensibilities and older expressions.  There are samples in the gallery of sevens that look like backwards fives.  Other numbers appear to almost be placed in a cuneiform manner as they were chipped in.  All in all the collection I gathered was a remarkable romp of a snapshot of letters.

It’s nice to know with all of this talk about our modern technology that we’re still using it to explore the older ones as well.  Google Trends for Alphabet and Font do pretty well up against the iPhone7.

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