Oh my heavens, this blog has not been updated since February 27, 2012! That is terrible. Since then, I have moved twice, and also gotten married. I finally have a dog, too. Fortunately, though, I am still doing exactly the same sort of work that I was three years ago. Today, my Twittersphere shamed me enough that I finally decided to kickstart this site’s post-frequency. I hope you like what I’ll be up to here.

Darmstadt type design update

In addition to my ongoing design projects – and my work and research in Braunschweig – I’ll be in Darmstadt once a week October–February, too. For the fifth time, I’ve been invited to teach an intro to type design course at the Hochschule Darmstadt. This semester, it will be two classes; the same course repeated back-to-back, due to the extremely high-level of student interest in the topic.

Thomas Phinney wrote to me once that, “offering a course type design in Darmstadt is like going to Jerusalem to teach religion.” This may indeed be so; to walk down the path a little bit, my students and I will spend our semester looking into more of Darmstadt’s typographic tradition. We’ll be visiting the rare books department of the TU Darmstadt library, where the Kleukens Collection is housed. And of course, we will also pay another visit to Haus für Industriekultur, to look at Monotype matrices and freshly-cast metal type fonts from the old Stempel and Haas foundries.

Type in Berlin website

Mota Italic’s Rob Keller just informed me of the launch of a small new web project called Type in Berlin. The site states that, “Berlin is the current type capital of the world with more type designers and foundries than anywhere else. There is always something type-related going on or some new local announcement.” Keep tabs on the site for news about all Berlin type goings-on, or to see an up-to-date list of all the type designers and foundries currently in the German capital. I recommend following Type in Berlin on Twitter, too – @typeinberlin

More media: Just My Type

I’m almost afraid to admit it. Several months ago, I ordered a copy of the UK first edition of Simon Garfield’s Just My Type. I read it rather quickly, and even enjoyed some of it, although the amount of factual errors and oversights in the text was completely maddening. Paul Shaw has written up a review of the book’s failings better than anyone else probably could; if there were an option print out his article to sign like a petition, I would do so.

Nevertheless, I got an e-mail last week about a podcast from the Copyright Clearance Center. Despite the odd-sounding name, the message led me to an interesting 20-minute interview with Simon Garfield. You can listen to it here –

Nice moments in the interview include a story about how Helvetica (the film) inspired Just My Type. It is also swell to learn about just how much Garfield likes Helvetica (the typeface). Unfortunately, the not-true story about Cyrus Highsmith’s “day without Helvetica” is repeated. The same page that I link to above has a crazy, minute-long animation advertising the US edition of the book, put together by Penguin USA; the film is worth a look. Without spoiling too much, it shows the compound word “JustMyType” in a whole lot of different typefaces.

Hell’s 1990 rebranding

I love Chris Herron Design’s recent rebranding of Hell. You know, Hell-as-in-the-oppposite-of-Heaven. Without getting all nit-picky, I need to point out that Mr. Herron seems to have one or two of the facts on his research timeline wrong. As is surely no surprise to most TypeOff.-readers, Hell went through a rebranding in 1990, as the result of an acquisition. At that time, they changed their 1980s name and logo from this to this.

Short TYPO-Berlin 2011 review

While I’ll be writing more about this year’s TYPO-Berlin 2011 conference—both on this blog and elsewhere—I think that I can sum up my feelings about the event in very few words. In almost a decade of professional experience, I’ve never been to a design gathering that inspired me more. While the theme this year’s TYPO-Berlin was “Shift,” I think that the real subtext was this: design means making decisions. It seems as if every presenter told the audience not to be complacent; to build a dream, and follow it. Decide what kind of designer you want to be, then find a way to make that happen. This, too, is a kind of problem-solving. Now it is time for us to put the inspiration to use.

Lesetypografie: Now softer, and cheaper

The Verlag Hermann Schmidt in Mainz has just published the first softcover version of Hans Peter Willberg and Friedrich Forssman’s Lesetypografie. This is the fifth edition; the first edition was published in 1997. The book is in German only, but it is one of two standard typographic reference works that many graphic design students in this country buy, or ask for their parents to get for them at Christmas. The other standard work, of course, is Friedrich Forssmann and Ralf de Jong’s Detailtypografie. Neither books have English-language equivalents.

Each title used to retail for €98, but the softcover Lesetypografie may be had for just €39.80. My copy arrived in the mail today. I’m quite pleased with it, but not nearly as happy as Mijn Monale must be. She recently published a bona fide love letter to the book (in German). Do go and read her piece, even if you only want to see the excellent photos she took of the new Lesetypografie edition.

It remains to be seen if Verlag Hermann Schmidt will follow suit and release a soft cover edition of Detailtypografie. Please rush out and purchase copies of the softer, cheaper Lesetypografie, dear young German readers … that is probably the only thing that will bring out more editions of this kind. Lesetypografie may be ordered at the publisher’s website:

My dreams are haunted by Apple products

In the past week, I have had two very strange dreams. Here are their summaries:

In the first dream, I was in a job interview. I don’t know who the company was; I dreamt up everything about it. The city, the building, the company … even the interviewer were all composites. They were not based on any real entities; at least, none that I can remember. After a few basic questions, my dreamed-up interviewer asked me if I had any experience designing fonts with a certain new iPad app. This app was as dreamed-up as everything else, of course. But in the dream, I was certain that I had heard about the app, and maybe even seen it. In real life, I don’t have an iPad, and I didn’t have one in this dream, either. However, I lied to my imaginary interviewer: I told them that I’d been using the app for weeks. The rest of the interview must have gone well enough, because all that I can remember after that question was spending the rest of the dream running through my imaginary city, going from store to store and trying to find an iPad to purchase. I wanted to get my hands an iPad and on the app in order to clear my conscience. But all the iPads were sold out. I wish this dream had come to some sort of resolution … it would have been interesting to see what the iPad font design app could have actually done.

My second dream—also an interview—was much worse. I dreamt that I interviewed with [haha, this bit is redacted; I’m not going to publish the name of my dream type design studio. That would be like standing up in my old 6th grade class and announcing which girl I had a crush on. There are just certain things that are better kept secret]. When I drove up to their building, and went to the back of the car to get my stuff, I panicked! I had forgotten to bring either my resume or portfolio. I tried to bullshit my way through the interview by loading certain websites on my iPhone, and pointing out a few things to the interviewer [my favorite living type designer, of course] on the tiny retina display. He wasn’t buying it, and it was obvious that I was not going to get the job. I woke up this morning in a cold sweat, and in tears. The dream gave me quite a bad feeling, which I haven’t been able to shake off all day.