Using SVG as Type

I just published a new chapter on Professional Web Typography called “Using SVG as Type.” Enjoy reading and have a great Memorial weekend.

Marc Maron Interviews Terry Gross

Fresh Air has become my daily listen for years. Because Terry Gross covers such a wide range of topics and she always asks the appropriate questions to get her guests to talk, I have always learn something new from the program. Her voice is fantastic too. Despite listening to her everyday, I hardly get to know her personal life; therefore, I am so glad that Marc Maron gets to interview her. He is such a great host himself. Take a listen.

Joey Alexander – My Favorite Things

Unlike most young jazz prodigies who have impressive acrobatic technicality, 11-year-old, Bali-born Joey Alexander is gifted with not only natural talent, but also sophisticated musical knowledge. With his debut, My Favorite Things, Joey shows that he is serious about his craft. His solo rendition of Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight” is refined and thoughtful. He played the tune with clarity and delicacy beyond his age. Together with the drummer Sammy Miller and the bassist Russell Hall, Joey swings like it don’t mean a thing on “It Might As Well Be Spring.” His ostinato is sensational when he comps for Miller to do his solo. He also displays his harmonic complexities on John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and “My Favorite Things.” This is just the beginning of a young kid with a remarkable talent.

Reread Adrian Frutiger Typefaces

I read the first edition of Adrian Frutiger Typefaces borrowed from the library and wanted my own copy, but the cost of $153.95 is too much for my budget. Fortunately, the second edition came out last year with a much more affordable price tag. I preordered and copped my copy for about $65 bucks. The cover doesn’t have the bounded cloth like the first edition, but it is definitely worth the bargain if you’re a type nerd.

For the reread, I focused mostly on his words. I find his honesty and modesty are as fascinating as his thinking process and design decision. For example, here is what he has to say about one of his “unsuccessful” typefaces:

Serifa is one of my worst attempts at a typeface, I think it’s fair to say. Not because of the characters that were unusual for me, but because my idea of a constructivist slab serif face was wrong for the eye. I always wanted to make readable typefaces. And Serifa just isn’t comfortable to read, it doesn’t flow well enough because of its wide fit. One could use it for posters. Serifa is pretty meaningless and yet it endures. That’s the tragic thing about typefaces, they stick around and always will. Once you design one you have to be able to stand by it.

Thanks to Heidrun Osterer and0 Philipp Stamm for putting together such a priceless treasure for the type community.

Mastering the True Craft of Web Typography

Professional Typography is featured in the Smashing Newsletter, Cat Clark writes:

The time when web design was limited to just a handful of default system fonts seems like a distant memory. But with the coming of web font services, and all the choices they offer, the process of selecting and implementing the perfect typeface can sometimes feel like more of a chore and less of the pleasure that it should be.

Donny Truong is here to help change that. With his new free eBook “Pro Web Type“, described by Jeremy Keith as “practical and refreshingly succinct”, Donny leads his readers step by step through the craft of making beautiful, successful typographic choices. From the various ways of delivering web fonts, through to selecting body text, setting type in the browser and picking type for UI, chapter by chapter, the website offers plenty of practical, applicable advice that is sure to put you back in confident control of your typography.

Thanks for the love.

Redesigning Đẹp Designs

I am working with Đẹp Designs to redesign its website. Located in Takoma Park, Maryland, Đẹp is an architecture, interior design, and master planning studio founded by Chuong Cao and Giang Dinh. Dep is committed to creating modern and elegant design solutions that contribute to the environment and the experiences of the occupants. I am also excited to be implementing Kirby for its content management system. Stay tuned for the relaunch announcement.

Smashing Friday

Woke up early this morning and discovered that my Twitter notification was on fire. Smashing Magazine tweeted about Professional Web Typography to its 900K followers. I couldn’t be happier to see a respected publication in the web community supporting a little guy like me. Big props to Vitaly Friedman. I also want to thank the readers who supported the book.

Fed Up

Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary, Fed Up, provides an informative and frightening perspective on obesity, sugar, and the food industry in America. You probably already know what causes most Americans to be overweight, but it is still worth watching. It is available on Netflix.

Speaking of fed up, I am in my third week of intermittent fasting and cutting off sugar as much as I can. In the morning, I replaced my hot coffee with hot green tea. I don’t eat anything until 1pm. Yesterday, I was so into working that I didn’t eat until 2:30pm and I felt fine. My daily lunch had been Spring Mix with four pieces of Thanh Sơn’s fried tofu and lots of Sriracha sauce. If I get tired of that, I would go to Così for a bit more fancy salad. I also walked a mile or so after lunch. Then I had another hot green tea. Dinner I just have a regular meal with my family. Skipping breakfast is not a big deal for me. I did that when I was younger. I usually had breakfast all by myself so I don’t miss it at all.

I am feeling better with the new routine even though I haven’t made that much change in my diet. Let’s see if I get better result in a few months.

Frutiger on Legibility

Adrian Frutiger, Adrian Frutiger Typefaces: The Complete Work, (p.65):

I must stress, however, that most harmonious line is not automatically the most legible one. Only the diversity of individual letters with ascenders and descenders, with straight or diagonal strokes or curves guarantees the best legibility.

A Critique of Book Design on the Web

Antoine Fauchié wrote a detailed analysis of the design of the website for Professional Web Typography. The article, “Un design de livre web,” is written in French, but I could understand it thanks to Google Translate. Although I haven’t talked about my design decision, Antoine pointed out a critical intention:

L’une des grandes originalités de ce livre web, c’est justement cette table des matières en pied de page, et non dans un menu dédié comme c’est souvent le cas. Les menus habituels sont encore majoritairement placés dans le header – dans la partie supérieure du site, avant le contenu – avec une adaptation en menu hamburger – les fameuses trois barres horizontales – pour des écrans plus petits. L’accès aux différents chapitres et sous-chapitres se fait très facilement, et quoi qu’il arrive l’arborescence est toujours visible.

En terme de design et d’ergonomie, ce choix de la simplicité est à mon avis le bon. Limiter les subterfuges dynamiques – menu sandwich, éléments de navigation qui n’apparaissent qu’au survol, introduction d’interactions issues du tactile – permet une grande accessibilité de l’outil, proche de celle d’un livre physique, papier.

To offer an accessible design, I moved away from the popular trend of hiding everything under the hamburger menu. The menu or the table of contents is always available on every page and readers don’t have to click on the hamburger to access it. In term of technical implementation, I was able to get away with the dependency of JavaScript.

Many thanks to Antoine for spending the time to write this article.