A comprehensive overlook of the Nordic languages in their old world language families

Old world language family tree

Mental Floss: Minna Sundberg, creator of the webcomic Stand Still. Stay Silent, a story set in a lushly imagined post-apocalyptic Nordic world, has drawn the antidote to the boring linguistic tree diagram.

(via Open Culture)

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A linguistic family tree

‘Sundberg takes this tree metaphor to a delightfully lavish extreme, tracing, say, how Indo-European linguistic roots sprouted a variety of modern-day living languages including Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Italian — and, of course, our Language of the Future.’ — Open Culture

Beam me up Scotty
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Churchillian drift: Great quotations find their way to famous names

Aaron Hutchins, Great quote! But who really said it?: William Shatner’s character in Star Trek never said, “Beam me up, Scotty.” The closest he came was: “Beam us up, Mr. Scott.” Quotes often get condensed in people’s memories. “Memory may be a terrible librarian, but it’s a great editor,” writes Ralph Keyes in his book The Quote Verifier.

Great quotations seem to find their way to famous names.
(not) Mark Twain

Nigel Rees, Policing Word Abuse: Long ago, I coined the term “Churchillian Drift” to describe the process whereby the actual originator of a quotation is often elbowed to one side and replaced by someone more famous. So to Churchill or Napoleon would be ascribed what, actually, a lesser-known political figure had said. The process occurs in all fields.

Why are people so culpable when it comes to using quotations? In the run-up to the war in Iraq, Barbra Streisand, the well-known Shakespearean scholar, quoted this and said it came from Julius Caesar: “Beware the leader who bangs the drum for war.” Sheer invention. Why did she do it? Ignorance, laziness or what? It’s impossible to know for sure, but she wanted–as we all do–to use the supposed words of someone better than ourselves to lend weight to her argument.

See also


WGBH News: For the next 26 days, one letter will leap out on the front page of Fitchburg’s daily newspaper. Today, it’s a minimalist red A that fills the space above the fold like a house. Tomorrow, B could be big or small, legible or hardly so. Only those putting together the Sentinel & Enterprise’s public art project, “The Alphabet,” know, and they’re out to surprise their readers—”make them wonder, what the hell is going on with the paper?” said visual artist Anna Schuleit Haber, who’s steering it all the way to Z.

WGBH News will be updating the article with every new design in the series.

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Typographic A to Z for Massachusetts’ Sentinel & Enterprise

‘Schuleit Haber, who was born in Germany and who usually works by herself in her New Orleans studio, recruited 26 typographers from around the world and a team of students and volunteers. Then she embedded herself in the Sentinel & Enterprise newsroom to oversee the endeavor, with the blessing of editor Charles St. Amand.’ — WGBH News

Untranslatable Words by Marija Tiurina

Selected from a series of illustrations by artist Marija Tiurina of “Untranslatable Words” containing fourteen detailed illustrations that convey moments and ideas which no single English word can describe.

See also: Artist Interview: Catching Up with Marija Tiurina

“There are certain viral “lists” that are fun to illustrate, they create a base for a nice and fun set of images. I just wanted to take a fun theme that people always have interest in when browsing the web, and illustrate my own vision of these untranslatable concepts.”

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Untranslatable words

“One million, twenty five thousand, one hundred and nine, a number so huge, it is one of a kind! It’s the number of words in the language of English, one for every person, place, animal, and trinket. But there are certain words, which here don’t exist…”


Winston Churchill on free speech

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Winston Churchill on free speech

“Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.” — Winston Churchill

David Ogilvy
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David Ogilvy: “How to Write”

A memo sent out by David Ogilvy to everyone at Ogilvy & Mather on September 7th, 1982:

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.

Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
  5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it.
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
  10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

(via Boing Boing / Open Culture)

More like this: Posts tagged writing.

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The BuzzFeed editorial style guide

Editorial style guides fascinate me, and the BuzzFeed style guide makes for an interesting browse. The word list in particular provides a brilliant snapshot of Internet popular culture as it stands in 2015.

Don’t hyphenate blow job, but do hyphenate butt-dial. Uppercase TARDIS but a subreddit is a lowercase place. T. rex, but T. Swift. Make sure to capitalise Apple Store (and most brands) but you can leave the exclamation mark off of Yahoo.

See also: The BuzzFeed Editorial Standards And Ethics Guide

The BuzzFeed style guide word list →

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Tip: Avoid using filter words in your writing

Suzannah Windsor Freeman:

Filter words are those that unnecessarily filter the reader’s experience through a character’s point of view.

For example:

Sarah felt a sinking feeling as she realized she’d forgotten her purse back at the cafe across the street. She saw cars filing past, their bumpers end-to-end. She heard the impatient honk of horns and wondered how she could quickly cross the busy road before someone took off with her bag. But the traffic seemed impenetrable, and she decided to run to the intersection at the end of the block.

Eliminating the bolded words removes the filters that distances us, the readers, from this character’s experience:

Sarah’s stomach sank. Her purse—she’d forgotten it back at the cafe across the street. Cars filed past, their bumpers end-to-end. Horns honked impatiently. Could she make it across the road before someone took off with her bag? She ran past the impenetrable stream of traffic, toward the intersection at the end of the block.

Are These Filter Words Weakening Your Fiction?


Not bloody Helvetica

Neue Haas Unica is Monotype’s revival of a typeface that has attained almost mythical status in the type community. Unica was an attempt to create the ultimate sans-serif – a hybrid of Helvetica, Univers and Akzidenz Grotesk.

“People knew about Unica. But since it wasn’t widely available, a lot of people did not have a chance to work with it and see if it was as good as the legend that had grown up around it. It really was this sort of lost treasure.”
Dan Rhatigan, Monotype type director

Scans of the Team’77 Haas Unica brochure:

This is the promotional publication by Team’77, outlining the strategy and realization of Haas Unica. In 1980, Team’77 (consisting of André Gürtler, Erich Gschwind and Christian Mengelt) set out to ‘correct’ common issues found in the grotesk typefaces at the time, including Helvetica.

I’m fascinated by these alternate takes on Helvetica, like Neue Haas Grotesk and Aktiv Grotesk.


See also: The History of Helvetica, Attempting a completely ‘Neutral’ typeface & other posts tagged typography.

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Neue Haas Unica

Originally released in 1980 by the Haas Type Foundry for phototypesetting technology of the day, the design was never successfully updated for today’s digital environments – until now. Toshi Omagari of the Monotype Studio has given this classic a fresh, digital facelift with more weights, more languages and more letters to meet today’s digital and print needs. — myfonts.com

Bigfoot in Russia?
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Rumours, misinformation and the debunking problem

Over the last several months, Craig Silverman, author of Poynter’s Regret the Error blog, has been tracking the way rumors and unverified claims spiral through the news. He founded the website Emergent not only to trace the rumors, but to track how the press deals with debunking them. Well, patterns are already emerging…and they will make you sad.

Some notes from an On The Media segment that I found fascinating…

‘Headline-body dissonance’ is when the reporting of the news in the body of an article doesn’t pair up with the headline summary, typically by making a seeming factual statement in the headline and then walking that back in the article using language like ‘allegedly’ and ‘reportedly’.

An ‘innuendo headline’ is one that makes claim or an accusation, but with a question mark on the end of it. Eg: ‘Bigfoot sighted in Russia?’ (See also: Betteridge’s law of headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)

These innuendo headlines are problematic as first readers have to understand the claim seemingly being made, so they naturally process it as true. Even after reaching the question mark in most cases readers lean towards the headline being true.

For news organisations the simple act of addressing rumours can give them an air of credibility, even when the intention is to correct the record.

“Theres a connection between repetition and belief.”

The very process of debunking a rumour can have the effect of cementing the misinformation in the minds of those that prefer the false narrative.

Silverman: “This is called the ‘backfire effect’. When deeply held views are challenged our instinct is not to say ‘oh, let me understand your point of view on this’ it’s to double down on those beliefs and to reject what’s being told to us, and this is one of the reasons why debunking is so difficult.”

“Another reason is that when you’re the debunker you’re almost like a spoilsport. You’re kind of ruining the joke, especially when it comes to an entertaining story.”

On The Media: Uncorrected Rumors

See also

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Fantasy worlds that break history’s back

Katherine Cross writing for Boing Boing’s new gaming blog Offword about Microscope, “a fractal role-playing game of epic histories” created by Ben Robbins.

The three concentric circles that form Microscope’s logo are perhaps the simplest description of the game. You begin by bookending the history you wish to explore, defining the limits between, say, cavepeople and interstellar colonisation, or something more focused like the founding of a religion and its ultimate schism. Once set, players take turns being “lenses” who set the focus for a given round of play, say a specific era in that history or a specific point in time, person, or event. During this round, every other player takes turns adding something to the setting and its history. The main rule is that they cannot contradict anything already established.

The game emphasizes the crisp spontaneity that emerges when time has no meaning for you. You can, at your leisure, wander through history filling in the blanks as you go. You can nuke a city and then travel back 5000 years to paint in all its little details for the rest of the evening, or travel forward in time to when the city is rebuilt. Only when the lens zooms in on a specific moment in time where character interaction is involved does everyone come together to roleplay a given scene. Here the microscope lens is at maximum magnification: You take a historical moment, say the assassination of an empress, and act it out in detail, explaining what happened and why.

The game forces you to answer that crucial question, why, again and again, and this is where it chisels away at tropes.
Fantasy worlds that break history’s back

Doves ffl ligature
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Recovering The Doves Type from the bottom of the Thames

Creative Review: In 1916, the Doves Type was seemingly lost forever after it was thrown into the River Thames. Almost 100 years later, and after spending three years making a digital version, designer Robert Green has recovered 150 pieces from their watery grave…

Doves letters

The Doves Type was commissioned by Thomas Cobden-Sanderson as a bespoke typeface for the Doves Press, the London printing company he co-founded with Emery Walker in 1900. A modern take on a Venetian serif, it took two years to create and was used in all of the Press’s publications, including books of verse by Shakespeare and Milton and the Doves Bible, which featured drop caps by Edward Johnstone.

After falling out with Walker, however – their partnership was legally dissolved in 1909, after the business encountered financial troubles – Cobden-Sanderson spent nine months tipping 2,600lb of it into the Thames in secret, ensuring that if he couldn’t use it, nor could anyone else. Disguised by darkness, he made around 170 trips to the Hammersmith Bridge to tip small parcels into the water at night, the splashes concealed by passing traffic, before announcing that it had been “bequeathed’ to the Thames.

Doves Bible

Read more about The Doves Type revival.



The history of Helvetica, by Anna Zubkova

1957: The Neue Haas Grotesk face is introduced with it’s debut at design trade show Graphic 57. The most distinctive features of the new typeface were consistently horizontal stroke terminals, large x-height, and extremely tight spacing. These features together resulted in the typeface’s characteristically dense and vigorous texture. The type was well received and adopted as the face of graphic design in Switzerland.

1963: The typeface changes its name from Neue Haas Grotesk to Helvetica. The name “Neue Haas Grotesk” was deemed less than ideal for an international Linotype market though. Heinz Eul, sales manager at Stempel, suggested “Helvetia”, which is Latin for “Switzerland”, but Hoffmann was not convinced, especially since a sewing machine manufacturer and insurance company already carried the name. He instead suggested “Helvetica” – “the Swiss”.

This page on Helvetica is just one of thirty-six, each looking at different Latin alphabet typefaces. The pages were made by the second-year graphic design students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in autumn 2013.

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History of Helvetica

A fascinating history of the creation and adoption of this ubiquitous Swiss font.

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☞ The manicule ☜

The symbol ☞ is a punctuation mark, called an index, manicule (from the Latin root manus for ‘hand’ and manicula for ‘little hand’) or fist. Other names for the symbol include printer’s fist, bishop’s fist, digit, mutton-fist, hand, hand director, pointer, and pointing hand.

This welter of competing aliases may stem from the intensely personal nature of the mark. Though the manicule was part of the furniture of the written page for centuries, it was not a mark of punctuation provided by the writer for the edification of the reader but a part of the apparatus of reading itself, a visual breadcrumb inked into the margin by and for one particular reader. A manicule placed to the right of a line may be of vital significance to me, for instance, but utterly unimportant to you; one reader’s manicule is another’s nuisance to be ignored, avoided, or removed. Indeed, some book collectors prefer to “restore” the cluttered margins of annotated books to their original, pristine cleanliness—or barren emptiness, according to your interpretation—and it may simply be that the manicule never warranted an agreed name.

The term “manicule” itself, taken from the Latin maniculum, or “little hand,” is only used of necessity; having granted the symbol a common name, paleographers can finally get on with investigating the many hands pointing the way through the margins of Renaissance life.The Mysterious Manicule, Keith Houston

Photographs via the Flickr group Manicule by Nick Sherman (1, 2, 3) Fraser Elliot and Chris.

(via I Love Typography)

Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism
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The thought terminating cliché

Jorgen Modin has archived on his site Wikipedia’s now deleted page on Thought terminating cliché:

A thought-terminating cliché is a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to propagate cognitive dissonance (discomfort experienced when one simultaneously holds two or more conflicting cognitions, e.g. ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions). Though the phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating.

There are a wealth of examples that you will be familiar with, including “Everything happens for a reason”, “Don’t judge”, “Ah well, swings and roundabouts”, “To each his own”, “Life is unfair”, “You only live once” (YOLO), “We will have to agree to disagree”, “You just don’t do that”, “Rules are rules”, “I’m just sayin’” (which I actually use a lot — sarcastically!) and one that always makes me angry: “Because that is our policy.”

The ex-Wikipedia article also cites some religious examples, like “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away” (Job 1:21), “The Lord works in mysterious ways” and “God has a plan.”

The article observed that The statement “that is a thought-terminating cliché” can itself function as a thought-terminating cliché. Once the stator has identified a first statement as a thought-terminating cliché, they may feel absolved of needing to determine whether that first statement is indeed a thought-terminating cliché, or provides useful insight, in the context under discussion.

In fact, it appears that rather than delete the page Wikipedians decided instead to merge it into the page on Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, the non-fiction book by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton that popularised the term.


Neutral typeface family

Aware that there is no such thing as total neutrality, this typeface explores how the absence of stylistic associations can help the reader to engage with the content of a text.

Neutrality can be regarded as an auxiliary construction that lets us describe things and events that appear free of connotations to a specific social and cultural group at a specific point in time. Because everybody’s backgrounds and expectations differ, however, the more closely we attempt to answer the question ‘What is a neutral typeface?’, the fewer people agree on various details, and the more the proposal of a neutral typeface becomes a paradox.

Measurement table

You could easily think that designing Neutral was much like a process of just blending different typefaces with each other. But apart from a list of design principles, all the measurements resulted only in a very loose scaffolding within which I had to draw the typeface.

Sen no Rikyū

Another source of inspiration were the ideas of 16th-century tea ceremony master Sen no Rikyū, who greatly influenced the wabi-cha style of chanoyu tea ceremony. This style tries to attain perfection in the essential aspects of the ceremony by the removal of anything which could divert the focus from the essential elements: the tea and the interaction of host and guests.

While the goal of the methodology designed to create this typeface was to abstract the design process away from me, in the end I was still the one who designed this process, who both formulated the questions and answered them. This would have been true regardless of whether ten or a hundred or a thousand comparisons and measurements had been made.

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Attempting a completely ‘Neutral’ typeface

Neutral began as Kai Bernau’s graduation project at KABK (the Royal Academy of Art), taking inspiration from typefaces that seem ageless, remaining fresh and relevant even decades after they were designed. It was constructed based on a set of parameters derived by measuring and averaging a number of popular 20th-century Sans Serif fonts. — typotheque.com


Reportagen Magazine

GT Sectra is a serif typeface combining the calligraphic influence of the broad nib pen with the sharpness of the scalpel. This sharpness defines its contemporary look.

The GT Sectra subfamily was originally designed for the long-form magazine Reportagen, a publication with interesting stories from all around the world. The Zürich-based studio Moiré designed the magazine and since it was text heavy, the typography was central.

The design idea was to begin with truly calligraphic letters, but then transform those into simpler, more straightforward shapes. The cuts in the curves add tension and emphasize the feeling of sharpness of the typeface.

More information at ilovetypography.com, grillitype.com and moire.ch.

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Making of a typeface: GT Sectra

GT Sectra was originally designed for the long-form journalism magazine “Reportagen”, a publication containing interesting stories from all around the world. The Zürich-based design studio Moiré accompanied the whole production process, designing not just the magazine but also the typeface. — Grilli Type

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The six forms of conflict common in movies

Scriptnotes is a podcast by John August and Craig Mazin about ‘screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters’.

Scriptnotes #179: The Conflict Episode: Craig and John discuss conflict — why it’s bad in real life but essential in screenwriting. We define six forms of conflict common in movies, then look at ways to sustain conflict within a scene and throughout a story.

These are my brief notes from the episode, but I strongly recommend listening to the full podcast for more insights and discussion on this topic.

  1. Argument. A physical fight or verbal argument. “We have one word for both punching each other in the face and yelling at each other: They’re fighting.” These kinds of conflicts however are not often the most effective or impactful kind of conflict.
  2. Struggle against circumstance. “This can be as simple as ‘I’ve locked my keys in the car’ or ‘I’m freezing and I need to get warm.'” Man vs. nature, man vs. object, man getting laid-off by corporation. Eg. Castaway.
  3. Unfulfilled desire. An internal conflict: “I want something that I cannot have; how can I get it?” Eg. Rocky (and a lot of sports movies).
  4. Avoiding a negative outcome. “I have to break up with this person, I just don’t want to hurt his feelings.” Often used in comedies.
  5. Confusion. A lack of information puts your character in conflict with the world around you, eg. The Matrix or The Bourne Identity.
  6. Dilemma. You have to make a choice, but all the choices are bad. Eg. Sophie’s Choice. It can be a crisis point, but it’s hard to sustain over the course of a movie.
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F*** right off

“Take away the right to say ‘fuck’, and you take away the right to say ‘fuck the government’.”
Lenny Bruce

From a post by David Marsh on The Guardian: The risks of using asterisks in place of swearwords

First, people are being denied a full and accurate report of what the entire [John Terry] case hinged on: the swearing was central, not peripheral. Second, the shocking force of the language used is surely diminished by reducing it to asterisks. Third, readers are being treated as children, unable to cope with the reality – however unpleasant – of what, we now learn, highly paid professional footballers say to each other on the pitch.

Sweden Has Its Own Font by Sven Carlsson on Medium.

What if you need a font to represent a whole country?

That’s the aim of Sweden Sans, a typeface commissioned by the Swedish government. It’s designed to give a consistent voice to the country’s international promotions, from Sweden’s official compilation of pop music to a slick new national website.

Sans is meant to encapsulate fuzzy Scandinavian concepts — progressivism, authenticity, lagom (Swedish for “just the right amount”).

Sweden logotype

According to its creators, Stockholm design agency Söderhavet and font designer Stefan Hattenbach, Sweden Sans is a “modern” but edgy typeface with some local tweaks — a filled umlaut for the letter “å,” for instance, and a line that cuts through the zero. It’s unusual because it’s mono-spaced — every character is the same width — but takes its inspiration from old street signs.

See also: Sweden Sans, the “Lagom” typeface – soderhavet.com

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Sweden Sans: a national typeface

‘Sweden Sans has some nationalist underpinnings. In 2004, an expert appointed by the government argued it was “important” to take more pride in national traditions. A decade later, Swedish nationalism is mainstream, the anti-immigration party is the country’s third largest political group.’

Letter Fountain - Adobe Trajan

The Adobe Trajan shown above, which was designed by Carol Twombly and is based on the inscriptions on Trajan’s Column, shows the geometrical construction method used to draw on the stone before the cutting began.

As you may be able to tell from recent posts on this blog, I’ve been interested in typography recently. Of all the books I’ve bought recently on the subject, I possibly only needed to have bought this one: Letter Fountain from Taschen.

(My Amazon affiliate link if you want to help me out: Letter Fountain: The Anatomy of Type)

The Atlantic: Finally in English: The World’s Best Type Reference Guide

Letter Fountain (or Letterfontein, as the non-English versions are called) was initially self-published in 1994 in French, German, and Dutch. 15,000 copies were sold by 2000, over half of them in the Netherlands, at which time the book went out of print. Apparently, Pohlen says, teachers in the Netherlands were so dependent on the book for their type classes they told students to buy second-hand copies. With that impetus, [Joep] Pohlen decided to revise and enlarge the book from 15,000 to 150,000 words. In 2009, after seven weeks of brisk sales, the first printing sold out. In 2010 the next edition was published internationally by Taschen Books and is currently available.

Wink Books: Letter Fountain – A stunningly well-crafted bible of typography

The front of the book is the best orientation to the logic of fonts that I’ve seen. There may be better books about using the art of typography on a page, but this is the master on the subtleties and dynamics of different fonts. Watch how adding or subtracting serifs changes the emotion of the page. Why are some letters thinner or longer? This book’s knowledge goes deep without getting academic; almost every page can be appreciated by an enthusiastic novice.

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Letter Fountain

This title offers everything you could ever want to know about printing letters and numbers, looking back as far as man’s first efforts to communicate with visual signs and drawings. “Letterfountain” is a completely unique typeface handbook: in addition to examining the form and anatomy of every letter in the alphabet (as well as punctuation marks and special characters), the book cross-references type designs with important works of art and art movements from Gutenberg’s times until today.

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The process of type-founding

A fascinating short series of videos detailing the process of type-founding:

1. Punchcutting

This is the first in a short series of videos detailing the process of type-founding. Stan Nelson, historian of printing history, hosts these segments. First developed in the 15th century, this process was critical to the world’s ability to communicate until the rise of modern offset printing technologies in the 1950s.

Parts 2, 3 & 4 →

John McIntrye by David Hobby
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Everyone their own editor

John E. McIntyre writing for The Baltimore Sun about staff cuts to his organisation:

One goal appears to be the elimination of Gannett’s remaining copy editors, in the interest of more immediacy between writer and reader, with fewer “layers” or “tiers,” or “silos,” or whatever the current corporate speak is for settling for quick, cheap, sloppy work because readers are assumed to be ignorant or indifferent.

He leaves reporters with the following advice, which I wanted to copy here in full for future reference:

Item: You are your own fact-checker. It’s up to you to get the names and dates right.

Item: Get a grip on grammar. Mignon Fogarty has assembled the excellent “Grammar Girl’s Editing Checklist.” I suggest that you give it a place on your desk or desktop and consult it until you have internalized its categories.

(The one advantage you have in working without a copy editor is that your prose will not be distorted by some mossback Associated Press Stylebook literalist, such as objecting to the singular they in the headline for this post.)

Item: Pay attention to structure and organization. Get to the point fast, without throat-clearing. Make sure that your article is clearly about one main thing, with associated subtopics linked by transitions. I’ve published my own macro-editing checklist, if you want to have a look.

Item: Try to sound like a human being. Don’t mimic your sources. Shun copspeak, educationese, and bureaucratic jargon. Your writing should sound as if you are speaking directly to the reader across your desk. Try reading your stuff aloud; if it doesn’t sound right in your ears, it probably should be rewritten.

Item: Using the spell-check function is not beneath you. It should be the last thing you do before hitting “publish.” It won’t protect you from homonyms, but it will identify your typos and flag inconsistent spellings of proper names.

Item: Be prepared to write corrections. We are all mortal and prone to error. You cannot escape it, so fess up promptly, thoroughly, and clearly.

Item: Good luck. It is still possible to do good, responsible journalism. It’s just that the obstacles before you have gotten bigger.

Also for later reference, I wanted to note down… The Old Editor’s macro-editing checklist →

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Kern Your Enthusiasm

Kern Your Enthusiasm is a series of posts on HiLobrow about notable typefaces:

We’ve invited 25 of our favorite writers and thinkers to take a close look at their favorite (or least favorite) typefaces.

Typefaces like:

Data 70

Data 70

The font’s embellishments proceeded directly from the flourishes of 1960s psychedelic lettering, that progression a contract with the idea of an unbroken succession of period-defining aesthetics, Data 70 being a graffiti-tag of the utopian outer-spaciness that complemented drug-culture’s arcadian inward psychological journeys.

Gill Sans

Gill Sans

It is possible that Gill Sans is not the most beautiful typeface to sprout from the fertile mind of Eric Gill (1882–1940), towering genius of letterform, also unrepentant adulterer and devotee of both incest and bestiality.



Most of us couldn’t quite put our finger on what made these letters so different. But the secret was in the spaces between the letters. Chicago was one of the first proportional fonts, which meant that instead of each character straining to fill up pixels in a specified rectangle, the letters were allowed to take up as much or little space as they needed. It was more like a book than a screen.



Shatter came neither from the hand nor from transcendental sensuality but from cold, machine-induced paranoia. It attacked the Establishment’s preferred information typography style with a sharp edge and recomposed it in a jarring manner that still makes your eyes skitter and your brain tick trying to recompose it. Shatter literally sliced up Swiss modernist authority, and created an anti-Establishment statement from the shards.


Jeremiah Shoaf:

I first encountered TEFF Lexicon when type designer Kris Sowersby chose it as one of his top three favorites typefaces. Having never heard of Lexicon or TEFF (the foundry that released Lexicon), I decided to do a bit of Googling around. I discovered a very beautiful typeface, but was a bit taken aback by the price — $391 for a single cut or $4,996 for the complete family.

In the days of Ten Dollar Fonts (apparently designed by “typographers” rather than type designers), selling a typeface for $4,996 seems a little crazy…

Continue reading

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TEFF Lexicon: How much should a typeface cost?

Lexicon is a serif typeface designed by Dutch type designer Bram de Does between the years 1989 and 1992. The typeface was specially designed for use at very small point sizes in Van Dale’s Dictionary of the Dutch Language. — Wikipedia

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Bibliotheca: The Bible, in four modern volumes

All four Bibliotheca volumes

The Biblical Literature designed & crafted for reading, separated into four elegant volumes, and free of all numbers, notes, etc.

A Kickstarter project by book designer Adam Lewis Greene.

Today, our contemporary bibles are ubiquitously dense, numerical and encyclopedic in format; very different from how we experience other classic & foundational literature, and completely foreign to how the original authors conceived of their work.

Original typeface, designed and “set apart” exclusively for Bibliotheca.

Page proportion and text block based on the dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant

Page proportion and text block based on the dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant as specified in Exodus.

By separating the text into several volumes, and by applying classic & elegant typography, Bibliotheca is meant to provide a fresh alternative to the reader who wants to enjoy the biblical library anew, as great literary art.


The Symbol of John the Evangelist


(via nevver)

Use your words

James Victore’s Top Type Rules

‘James Victore’s boisterous hand-drawn type made him a sought-after graphic designer and artist. In this series, the self-taught designer shares his own rules of typography in his signature graphic style. Though they are not meant to be too profound, Victore’s rules do ring true – and considering where they got him they’re probably worth following.’

Joss Whedon
Use your words

Joss Whedon’s top 10 writing tips

1. Finish it

I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.

2. Structure

I’m a structure nut. I actually make charts. Where are the jokes? The thrills? The romance? Who knows what, and when?

You need these things to happen at the right times, and that’s what you build your structure around: the way you want your audience to feel. Charts, graphs, coloured pens, anything that means you don’t go in blind is useful.

3. Have something to say

This really should be number one. Even if you’re writing a Die Hard rip-off, have something to say about Die Hard rip-offs.

4. Everybody has a reason to live

Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene, including the thug flanking your bad guy, has a reason. If anyone speaks in such a way that they’re just setting up the next person’s lines, then you don’t get dialogue: you get soundbites.

5. Cut what you love

If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favourite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable. That thing may find its way back in, but cutting it is usually an enormously freeing exercise.

6. Listen

When I’ve been hired as a script doctor, it’s usually because someone else can’t get it through to the next level. Often someone’s just got locked, they’ve ossified, they’re so stuck in their heads that they can’t see the people around them.

7. Track the audience mood

You have one goal: to connect with your audience. Therefore, you must track what your audience is feeling at all times.

8. Write like a movie

Write the movie as much as you can. If something is lush and extensive, you can describe it glowingly; if something isn’t that important, just get past it tersely.

9. Don’t listen

Having given the advice about listening, I have to give the opposite advice, because ultimately the best work comes when somebody’s fucked the system; done the unexpected and let their own personal voice into the machine that is moviemaking. Choose your battles. You wouldn’t get Paul Thomas Anderson, or Wes Anderson, or any of these guys if all moviemaking was completely cookie-cutter.

10. Don’t sell out

The first penny I ever earned, I saved. Then I made sure that I never had to take a job just because I needed to. I still needed jobs of course, but I was able to take ones that I loved. When I say that includes Waterworld, people scratch their heads, but it’s a wonderful idea for a movie. Anything can be good. Even Last Action Hero could’ve been good.

Joss Whedon’s Top 10 Writing Tips