|THE MYFONTS NEWSLETTER — AUTUMN 2006
In This Issue
1. Letter from the Editor
2. Frutiger, Geometer of Emotion
3. Our new foundries
4. More new fonts
Bestsellers, promotions, subscribing.
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“The most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.” — Adrian Frutiger
Letter from the Editor
Over the seven years we’ve been on the web, and as we highlighted in our previous issue of In Your Face, we at MyFonts have been delighted with the number of new, small and independent foundries – even individual type designers – that have blossomed over the past few years.
We’re proud to have helped them gain access to a wider audience.
But in August this year the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) presented its 2006 Typography Award to a different kind of designer, one who has seen more changes in the font world than most, one whose influences will endure surely for centuries.
This man, of course, is Adrian Frutiger.
Read the full article: The Geometer of Emotion
I must confess a personal interest in this month’s feature article. I was privileged to be part of the group that went over to Bern, Switzerland to meet Adrian and present the Award itself.
Enjoy the issue and happy font finding!
— Laurence Penney, In Your Face Editor
Launching even more new foundries
Three Islands Press
(3IP) is run by Brian Willson of Rockport, Maine.
Among his fonts you’ll find many historical handwriting fonts, notably a selection that are authentic reproductions from the 19th century and the Revolutionary era in American history.
American Scribe and Lamar Pen are our favorites, but graphology fans will find options galore for disguising inner demons!
Of the other
designs there are some cute, friendly handwriting fonts – our tips are Marydale and Pumpkinseed.
Over on the wacky side of 3IP we must mention Treefrog – super for the extrovert crazy look we all want to inject into our designs sometimes (okay, all but stick-in-the-muds). Also try out the “weird but it works” Bonsai.
Brian named it after a Handbook on Bonsai he found where the printing had screwed up, but in a cool way!
3IP fonts are 30% off for 4 weeks!
from Sherman Oaks, California, is an experienced lettering designer, typographer and Art Center College of Design teacher of matters typographic.
He has designed fonts and logos for many prominent corporations.
(You may know his work already from the logos of Mattel, Max Factor, and Vidal Sassoon.)
Probably his most famous typeface is the sensual “copperplate” script, Young Baroque, originally released as Letraset rub-on letters in 1984.
It’s ideal for wedding invitations, diplomas, and awards. Now he publishes two more designs.
The scriptalicious Home Run comes in two variations, one a “sans-serif” script.
As its name suggests, it will make lovely banners for your sports heroes!
Young Finesse is an airy design intended for announcements, paired with a delightful, slightly sloping italic.
While Doyald acknowledges the debt the face owes to Optima, his face eschews the sternness of that famous type.
Doyald’s fonts proudly contain the “interrobang” character, a humorous combo of question and exclamation.
is the foundry name of Joseph A. Bartolo of Malta.
His font is Hieroglyphs Nefertiti Akhenaten, a fun idea that gets hieroglyphs to represent our A thru Z.
Rather than being aimed at egyptologists, this font is intended for, well, let’s say the “Pharaohphile” kind of customer.
For single letters (such as drop caps) and short words, it makes adding an ancient Egyptian theme easy.
There are subtle touches, too.
A scarab sits in the hash symbol.
If you know your ancient history, you’ll recall that the names of kings, queens and other gods are written surrounded by a cartouche, or oval shape.
Joseph ingeniously employs brackets to form their beginnings and ends, while the uppercase letters have bars above and below for use within a cartouche. Priced at just $12.
is the label of a group of designers from Southampton, England.
Their collection consists of 10 original font families. Tuzonie is based on familiar industrial sans-serif letter shapes, but it’s redrawn in scratchy pencil to give a quite different effect.
The negative (white-on-black) version could work well for posters, cartoon graphics, or even the title of a film. Cabragio is a languid script: very legible, so informal it will work well for “slacker” themes!
Dorkihand is left-sloping, genuinely left-handed writing – not a very PC name, we have to say!
Most of the fonts in this collection, such as the perky Dascari and the semi-formal handwriting font Write are designed for fun effects.
Aah Yes fonts are 40% off for 4 weeks!
presented by Elsner+Flake of Hamburg in northern Germany, is a selection created by a real innovator in type design and typesetting.
The man’s name was Walter Brendel and there’s an interesting story about him.
In the 1970s he owned many studios offering lettering jobs to clients.
One problem was the frequency of custom jobs he had to take on: clients wanted this font “but a bit lighter” or that font “but wider”.
As any half-decent type guy knows, simple scaling up is far from ideal in these situations.
It was one day when Walter was taking a look around a boat show – Hamburg’s a maritime city of course – when he came across a company called Aristo producing boat hull designs.
You could order a small boat or a large boat, a narrow or a wide boat... or any size in between! The intermediate sizes were calculated by computer and plotted automatically on a big flatbed plotter.
Something clicked in Walter’s mind when he realized even the word ARISTO was cut in vinyl by the plotter – he knew he could apply the same principles of “interpolation” to fonts.
As with boats, certain features in a letter should scale at a different rate from others.
Engineer Dr. Peter Karow, who had developed the software to controll the Aristo plotters, adopted the idea and developed the IKARUS software for fonts.
What followed was the first serious design program to build a type library based on curved outlines – over a decade before PostScript.
Brendel was an accomplished designer himself: Lingwood, Montreal, Volkswagen, Derringer, and Casablanca are to his credit, and he contributed to many more.
Now, thanks to Elsner+Flake, many of the fonts are seeing the light of day again in OpenType format, thanks to licensing agreements being regularized.
TypeShop fonts are 50% off for 4 weeks!
a designer and illustrator from Berlin, offers us just one type family, Camingo, but it is not easily dismissed.
It’s a serious effort at producing a real workhorse that we can see providing years of service for magazine headlines and captions without your needing to stray to another family.
Camingo comes in all the weights you’re likely to need (ExtraLight, Light, Regular, SemiBold, Bold, ExtraBold and Black), each in italic too.
Type pros will appreciate the proportional and monospaced numerals, and of course the small caps.
We should add that Jan now works at the studio of renowned Berlin type designer Luc(as) de Groot, whose classes Jan had previously attended.
It’s a safe bet that the master has taught the apprentice a thing or two about creating a large sans family.
Jan Fromm fonts are 50% off for 4 weeks!
is the foundry of Shuji Kikuchi of Kanagawa, Japan.
The typeface he launches with is Palindrome.
A blocky, constructed design, it comes in square-edged and round-edged versions, and also in 3D, outlined and roughed-up versions.
We suspect that the name refers to the serifs protruding at unfamiliar angles, meaning that alternative readings of texts might be encouraged by setting it at 90-degree angles, or reflected.
(Pre-reflected versions included!)
Sugargliderz fonts are 40% off for 4 weeks!
Coffee Bin Fonts
is the name that artist Billy Jacobs (Navarre, Ohio) puts to his typeface designs.
The fonts are based on lettering found in 19th century antique advertising: tradecards, catalogs, periodicals, and other material from that era have all been researched by Billy.
We like his Letterhead and we love how he’s named its styles as Fancy and Common.
Drugstore is just right for lettering on an enamel tin: we can see it used for something like Dr. Culpeppers’s Patent Remedy. Six families in all.
Coffee Bin fonts are 50% off until Oct 26!
Frutiger, the Geometer of Emotion
Adrian (I’ll use his forename to avoid confusion with the typeface) began his professional career in 1952, when he joined the innovative Parisian foundry Deberny & Peignot. He’d sent them – and several other foundries – a set of exquisite woodcut prints he’d made as a diploma project that depicted the development of writing from earliest times.
Under Charles Peignot, with whom he built up an enduring relationship, Adrian produced Meridien and Univers when still in his twenties, among other faces. The former, a beautifully restrained serif design (1955), is reasonably well known but deserves wider use, as does its later cousin Apollo (1964).
But it was with Univers (1957) that Adrian made the great step forward not just for himself, but for everybody that uses type in serious projects.
It was conceived partly by superimposing a variety of typical typeface designs for each letter, to help him arrive at universal shapes.
No “personality” was to be allowed, yet great harmony was to emerge.
In the finished Univers family
each style is issued with a numeric code, running from 39 (narrow and light) via 55 (regular) to 83 (wide and heavy): the first digit represents the weight of the type, the second digit the width.
Adrian calls it “the first complete type family”.
Others sense something of a Platonic form about it.
Designers for the first time had an array of weights and widths to choose from, all related to each other harmoniously.
(It’s oddly difficult to think of a word other than ‘harmonious’, since the relationships are not easily expressed mathematically; they are, however, just right.)
It lived up to its name commercially too, being offered for all the major printing technologies of the time: phototype, Monotype and Linotype.
With many more of his type designs released through the 1960s and 1970s, Adrian became a major figure in the new era of phototypesetting.
His type designs are diverse, and he applied himself to the strange task of getting computers to read printed text: OCR-B became the international standard that we see on barcodes every day.
At the height of his career the eponymous Frutiger was eventually released in 1976 as a typeface – it had been used for the signs at Paris airport from 1968.
Frutiger the typeface demonstrates how clearly Frutiger the man saw the problems of legibility.
It also showed yet again his mastery of the balance of black and white space.
Compared with Univers the letters are much more open, greatly reducing the chance of misreading signs and small texts at a glance.
(Just recently I saw an electronic display where the 6 and the 8 were indistinguishable beyond 3 feet away. Post Frutiger, that’s inexcusable.)
Those 1990s corporate fonts Meta, TheSans and Bliss, the signage font Parisine, the screen fonts Lucida Sans and Verdana, these and many others are all deeply in Frutiger’s debt.
Avenir and Vectora
As printing technology moved on once again, this time (and probably for all time) to digital, his typefaces made the transition and continued both to be very widely used, and to be influential benchmarks for new designs.
He became well acquainted with the possibilities of the new technology.
Avenir (1988), Adrian showed how Futura “should have” been drawn – this is a geometry for humans, not mathematicians – and an enduring type family brimming with confidence and precision, neither intimidating nor gawky, is the result.
In Vectora (1991) Adrian pushes the x-height up and brings the cap-height down.
The remarkable improvement in small-size legibility produces excellent results in timetables and directories: easy to read, economical with space.
It’s important to realize his designs were never exactly “fashionable”.
A sense of style is not what Adrian is after.
At the same time he by no means renounces his right to cause us to have feelings!
He seeks something deeper than style, something profound, something within all of us.
With the idiosyncrasies and arbitrary decisions in some modern type, some young designers seem to express frustration that Adrian has made discoveries, rather than inventions, in his drawing of typefaces.
Even the design rebels don’t dispute that we’ll be using Adrian’s fonts hundreds of years from now.
In recent years Adrian has worked with Linotype (who purchased Deberny & Peignot), notably developing and extending his classic designs in collaboration with type director Akira Kobayashi.
In his more philosophical moments, he explains in his recent publications how he is experimenting with a “geometry of emotion”, where he investigates what it is about certain angles, shapes and proportions that spark off feelings in the mind.
I wouldn’t have such a mighty task entrusted to anybody else.
Signs & symbols
One aspect of his life that Adrian himself would surely like to emphasize is his lifelong study of signs and symbols
from cultures around the world.
Putting his analyses of symbols and symbol systems – from the symbols of superstitious ancient man to the symbols of the modern transport system – alongside his body of work as a type designer, this “man of black and white” (as a film about him is entitled) has, I think most would agree, an unparalleled understanding of form and counterform.
Getting to know Frutiger
How can one best become acquainted with Adrian Frutiger’s huge body of work?
In terms of typefaces, the typefaces are all available digitally.
True fans should consider the Frutiger’s Life collection issued by Linotype.
This is a collection of 173 original fonts, quite simply all his typefaces.
Also included are Frutiger Stones and, most interestingly,
These two typefaces will introduce you to Adrian’s fascination with symbolic forms.
(With the Symbols font, don’t use them as tiny bullets. Use them big, as big as a page, and don’t hurry your appreciation!)
Adrian’s circular shapes are never circles; and in his symbols, his straight lines are rarely straight – a geometry of life.
Here are direct links that take you to the three packs that make up Frutiger’s Life.
Adrian has also written many books, several of which have been translated into English. We can recommend these three books and
a DVD movie:
More Fonts from our Current Foundries
Plenty of treats this month! In particular DSType, Profonts, Joebob and Lanston have lots of great new releases.
Check our What’s New and Special Offers pages
for live updates of all the new fonts that go on sale, and the great promotions we run!
We always like to hear of good and bad experiences you have at MyFonts. Just e-mail us at <[email protected]> and
we’ll get back to you!
The font used for our In Your Face masthead is Walburn Tooled from ShinnType.
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