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Not quite a Christmas special

Hello from shivery Somerset. It is cold here right now. Oh boy. But at least things look and feel a bit like our “traditional” idea of the festive season for once. And the other wonderful thing about being perpetually cold during the end-of-year wind-down is that it’s 100% socially acceptable to sit in front of the fire with a glass of port every night. Well, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway. And this edition of the newsletter is a particularly long one — I don’t want to say “Christmas special”, but it’s kind of heading that way — so I can thoroughly recommend you digest this at night, maybe in front of a fire, perhaps with a little tipple, but most definitely with a jumper or two on. Or at least metaphorically, if you’re in warmer climes.

Oh, and before we get going with the links, I wanted to let you know that I think I might finally have a name for this thing: Typographic & Sporadic. What do you think? Does what it says on the tin, right? For what it’s worth, I actually prefer The Sporadic Typographic, but I don’t want to tread on Micah and Olivia’s toes. Anyway, let me know if you love it or hate it in the replies. User testing, people!

My first link’s pretty timely. UX designer Mattias Ott is currently running an Independent Type Foundry Advent Calendar; that is, he’s posting about a different foundry every day in December right up until Christmas. And what a wonderful way to discover some new type-makers! Today’s is Interval Type, who are new to me. (If you like this, you might also enjoy Mark Johnson and Thomas Drach’s Type Foundry Index.)

Speaking of indie foundries, NaN have just updated their typeface NaN Jaune, and regardless of how you feel about the ubiquity of ink traps at this present time, Jaune is one striking sans serif. I love the Mini / Midi / Maxi naming for the optical sizes — although not as much as I love the Sunrise / Noon / Subset naming for the different flavours of NaN Hyena.

I’m not as into the website gallery / awards scene as I once was, but apparently good ol’ Awwwards have been making some ‘collections’, which it turns out are nice little bits of inspiration. Their Best Fonts collection — if you can ignore the digital-only recommendation in the subhead — might help you unearth some interesting new type.

Hey, you like videos, right? Well, type designer Ulrike Rausch — who co-wrote one of my favourite books in recent history — spoke at the Fronteers conference about her type design work, and the video of her talk, “Unlock the fun!”, is now online.

Speaking of videos, my friend and former Typekit colleague Tim Brown has just released a 6-part video series on typography basics. Although I realise I might be preaching to the converted here, I personally always enjoy revisiting the basics through someone else’s lens, and honestly, I could listen to Tim talk about type all day.

Another video link. Last one, I promise. This isn’t even typography-related, but I wanted to share another conference talk that really resonated with me recently, and which I’m sure a bunch of you will enjoy, too: Sophie Koonin’s “This Talk is Under Construction” at ffconf. It’s not just the early web design nostalgia trip I enjoyed, it’s the rallying cry to own our own content and make our own websites — for fun.

Alright, back to type and oh do I love a good typeface backstory. So it was fun to read Nick Cooke’s story about ‘losing’ G-Type’s Exentrica typeface and re-assembling it from social media posts.

My mate Mark Caneso — whose then-beta version of Quatro Slab I used in the original Brooklyn Beta branding many moons ago — has just released a new typeface through his PSType foundry: Neighbor. I love how the alternates allow you to really dial up the quirkiness. I also love its description as a “neo-geo”.

Last but certainly not least — but positioned down here at the bottom of the list because I’m wary of pushing my own stuff too much — I wanted to let you know that we recently released the final Google Fonts Knowledge content drop of 2022. I won’t go into the details here, but will point you to the overview post on my blog. It’s been a busy year.

Thanks for reading and please do email me if you’d like to geek out about any of the above — I always respond.


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