Friday, February 24, 2012

Time Wasters: Type Games

While there are a multitude of sites and games out there on the Internet these days, I find the best way to waste time is to multitask playing games and learning something. Being a type nerd, what better way to do this than through and educational and - at least to me - entertaining type games!

The first game is Kern Type. I find this game to be a very useful tool to exercise recognizing proper spacing between letters. Once you play it a couple of times, you begin to get pretty competitive with yourself. I find the nice thing about this game is that it grades you on how well you have done and shows you the proper kerning. Additionally, the keyboard commands used to play this game are very similar to the ones used in the Adobe suite.

This game is available on the Internet as well as the iPad.

The Font Game brought to you by ilovetypography is less of a game and more of a flash card app. Available on you iPhone and iPad for $1.99 as well as, apparently on the internet here, this game teaches you to identify fonts by their names. Much like learning the names of capitols or elements in the periodic table, I find the best way to learn is to see the font, guess what it is, and then check my answers. This game is exactly that. With 3 different levels of difficulty (level 1 is difficult enough!), I think that every type nerd should probably own this game.

In addition to font names, it also has a terminology game. This helps you match the names to the proper symbols and punctuation. This one includes a significant amount of foreign language symbols, making it rather difficult, but still worth the time.

Shape Type is made by the same people as Kern Type and uses the familiar motions of manipulating type in illustrator to create a game made especially for us type nerds. While I am new to this one, the couple of times I have played it have made me realize that
a) there are some extremely dedicated type nerds out there, and
b) html 5 is pretty awesome.

As I am new to this one, I don't have much to add about it. I guess you'll just have to find out yourself!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beyond the Type

While I'm sure all of us can appreciate well-done, beautifully set type, I find myself drawn recently to type that accomplishes something beyond communication, both visual and literal- type that is more conceptually based. I recently stumbled upon a project done by Caspar Lam and YuJune Park, of Synoptic Office, both of whom hold masters degrees in Graphic Design from Yale, but also Biology degree. This interest in science and design led to this fascinating project:

(Click for full versions)

Called Alphabet Typography, a typeface, this project visually maps the use of letters in our speech, showing more common letters with higher slopes and rarer letters with smaller ones. The W to E contrast is particularly sharp, and communicates very well.

Here are some more images from the project:

More information about this particular project can be found here.

The pair has also created another project, Swell, with fewer details, that may or may not be similar. The aesthetic has definite resemblance but the material is completely different:

This project was done completely with black, presumably electrical, tape at a much larger scale. More details:

For a video of the process, click here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Typographic Tattoos

I found this great site that features two of my favorite things--type and tattoos.  What’s great about this site is that all of the tattoos are expertly crafted and show beautiful typefaces.  The quality of the photography is excellent and really shows off the type.  I noticed that each person wrote a short statement about their tattoo, the typeface they chose, and why. Usually, most tattoos include more pictures than lettering.  I was struck by the simplicity with which each tattoo is illustrated.  Without any pictures, the type is unobstructed.  What I also like about this site is that it shows tattoos using typeface that is not traditionally used for tattoos, for example, Helvetica. I’m inspired by this site to continue to find beautiful type in unusual places.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hooray for 3D!

Coming is a design studio located in Belguim. I found them a while ago while looking for installation inspirations for my foundations computer class, and I've been visiting their website ever since!  I love the way they incorporate 3D work in their design. When I look through their portfolio and see something that looks purely digital and then find out that they had actually made it, I am very surprised and in awe.  I feel making something—to the extent that they do—establishes a connection between a designer and their work. They really spend time physically with their objects rather than staring at a screen which is why I feel their designs are so considered and very well done. I'm not saying that designers who do purely 2D design don't spend time with their work or make unconsidered designs, I just feel that there is a slight difference. Sort of like type setting before computers and typesetting now.  As Prof. Holohan mentioned, mistakes were simply not made when setting type by hand simply because of the amount of time it would take to correct it. By looking at their designs, I am reminded that a graphic designer does not have to purely rely on Illustrator or Photoshop to create.

Here are some of their works:

I absolutely love this BC design!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Walls that Talk

I was browsing pinterest the other day searching for design inspiration and came across this photo. Text on a bedroom ceiling!? WOW. So, I did some further investigation. This pinterest post was linked to an article on remodelista, a fantastic sourcebook for all things home, design, architecture, and travel. This bedroom is actually part of a unique hotel suite in Porto,Portugal. Casa do Conto, or the "House of Tales" is located in Portugal's second largest city and was ready to open their doors three years ago after a complete redesign of its original 19th-century condition. However, just three days before the re-opening was scheduled, a devastating fire destroyed much of the hotel.

The architect group in charge of the project Pedra Liquida was ready to reinvent Casa do Conto once again and decided to transform the building into a place where "every turn is a juxtaposition of yesterday and today...cementing its role as a place where art and stories are born and told." Pedra Liquida commissioned six writers and Graphic Design firm R2 to narrate the story of the hotel quite literally as the words are graved in low relief, covering the ceilings of six different rooms.

R2 used Styrofoam letters to set the tales into concrete ceilings. The graphic designers of R2 let the story dictate the choice of font - an approach which we can all learn from. Sometimes, the context of our work will guide our choice of type treatment.

This is a beautiful and innovative integration of architecture and typography. It was truly a collaborative effort, bringing together the talents and creativity of writers, architects, and graphic designers. Through the use of typography the story of Casa do Conto and the city of Porto comes alive and weaves its history from room to room for visitors to experience during their stay.

If I ever wind up in Portugal, I know where I'll be staying...

You can check out Casa do Conto's website here for more information and BEAUTIFUL photographs!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Plea on Plates

So, I'm going to start off by saying this: If you guys aren't on twitter, get one! (I mean, if you're into that sort of thing)

I signed up for one a few years ago, didn't actually start using it until this past semester. I started following a lot of designers and typographers and random design bloggers - it keeps you up to speed about what is going on the world (design or otherwise), what they're currently talking about (either trashing or praising), and what inspires them. I find a lot of accidental inspiration on twitter when I'm sort of sick of searching around the internet.

Recently, former Tyler student, Jess Hische, posted this and which peaked my curiosity:

So naturally, in a non-creepy way, I watched for a second post.

I clicked on the link to see what all this crying nonsense was all about.

I found this awesomeness:

The Society of Design in Pennsylvania is formerly inviting (and begging really really nicely) Jessica Hische to come "home to PA" to speak to a crowd of her biggest fans via LICENSE PLATE. These people literally changed their Pennsylvania Department of Transportation vehicle registrations for this invitation. I'm pretty sure an invitation to me on license plates and a website dedicated to it would grab my attention too, just saying. Photos on the website show a little bit of the photography process and them switching out their old license plate for their new one.

I think this whole deal is very inspiring and Jess must be insanely flattered.

Well. Actually, she is, and she accepted whole-heartedly.

You can view her blog posting about it here and Society of Design's site here :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gig Posters is a website dedicated to the design (illustrative or typographic) of gig posters and the artists that design them. You can search by the band, the artist, the specific venue, or the city. They have almost every band on this website, so the list is huge. Check it out!

I love this website because it has an interesting range of typographic solutions. Here are a few that I like:

click the + to view from









...Anyway, you get the point. I can list some more great type solutions all day from great bands and not-so-great bands. Let's just ignore the fact that I put a few awful bands on this blog (such as Alesana. His voice shrieks with such whiney intensity.)

So YES! Go to, search a few bands using the search bar (because you'll never find it through pages of searching) and get inspired! Yay for type!!