When fonts work well and their design effectively conveys a brand’s voice, they can be a fantastically powerful tool. They can carry emotion. They can be very specific in how they feel and specific, too, in how they behave, in how they work across media, formats, sizes, and usage scenarios. But making good type is hard and takes time and care, and evaluating and describing it is also hard, and we can’t afford to skip that part.
Vietnamese Typography welcomes two new additions to its “Type Recommendations” chapter: Mallory and Retina. These two typefaces, designed by Tobias Frere-Jones and his team, are big gains for the Vietnamese language.
I have admired Frere-Jones’s types and wanted to showcase them for a long time; therefore, I am very excited that he allowed me to do so. In return, I hope that my type specimen would bring more attention to people who are interested in Vietnamese typography. I also want to thank my friend Tim Brown for setting me up with Typekit.
Speaking of the specimens, I incorporated both the Standard and MicroPlus variations. If you want to see MicroPlus in action, look at the paragraph text on your mobile device or dragging in your browser.
I always get widows and orphans confused so I remind myself that orphans are left alone at the start; widows are left alone at the end.
Jan Middendorp, Shaping Text, (p.36):
Yes and no. Much works differently on the web, yet the basic principles of classic and modern (typo-)graphic design have not become worthless. Proven guidelines for good layout and typography are still relevant, but they must be applied intelligently and adapted to the new environment.
Jan Middendorp, Shaping Text, (p.12):
Not only is reading one of the most fascinating human skills, in our society it is also a vital one. People who have difficulty reading—a newspaper, a warning sign, a letter for the tax authorities—are socially vulnerable and more likely to get into trouble.
Sounds like the forty-fifth president.
Gerard Unger, While You Are Reading:
The printed letters dissolve in your mind like an effervescent pill in a glass of water. For a short moment, all those black signs disappear off the stage, change their outfits, and return as ideas, as representations, and sometimes even as real images and sounds.
Robin Rendle on the nature of the web:
[T]he web will always be a wild and finicky canvas for us to work with; we’ll have to be creative in the ways that we help older browsers that don’t support these features. So although I don’t believe that the web hates beautiful typography, there certainly is a tension between the web and the old typography, where control over every element on the page was relatively easy and absolute.
Rendle on accessibility:
What about accessibility and the preservation of the text? Making sure that everyone can simply read the text in every browser is more important than just about any typographic flourish that we can implement. And so with that in mind, whenever we stumble over a new feature for the web we have to question whether it will truly improve the reading experience.
There are infinite futures of typography, and the opportunities only expand when new browsers, new features, new devices become available to us. All that’s required is a little patience and a healthy dose of curiosity.
Simon Loxley, Type is Beautiful, (p.2):
Typefaces communicate moods and feelings: some are considered elegant or refined, while others seem bold, radical or whimsical. Typefaces can reflect the fashions or the zeitgeist of an era, often to a surprising degree. Some typefaces were created for a specific purpose. Some are easy to read and draw little attention to themselves; others are meant to grab your attention, but only for the purpose of a few words. Which font is chosen for any given communication matters a great deal, since it conveys a whole world of meaning, both blatant and subliminal, and much time, thought and money continue to be spent to try to get it right.
Simon Loxley, Type is Beautiful, (p.23):
Without the italic, typography would be visually the poorer, and in practical terms, in its primary aim of communication, severely compromised.
Ann Bessemans, Digital Fonts and Reading, (p.29):
A remarkable finding from the objective legibility research is that children with normal vision read with reliably fewer errors when the serif typeface DTL Documenta was used, rather than the sans serif Frutiger. This result is somewhat surprising because children (especially beginning readers) mainly read with a sans serif in primary school.