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Post-party processing

This issue comes to you from that strange mental place that exists after having completed a thing. Waves of euphoria and then the inevitable post-release comedown, the two states ebbing and flowing, back and forth, up and down. How do you feel? they ask. Pretty good? I reply, very much with the question mark. But the residual feeling is a positive one, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to properly celebrate the publication of Universal Principles of Typography with the official release party at bookhaus on Tuesday night.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Before answering some questions from the audience, expertly fielded by Laurence, I did a short speech to thank everyone who came and much of it focused on how, in our current times — digital-first, scroll-addicted, algorithm-dictated — putting anything ‘out there’ so often feels like shouting into the ether. It’s not simply that many people might not actually see the thing we make; it’s that we ourselves often don’t get to experience that sense of having completed something. Whether that’s jubilant celebration, a relieved sense of closure, or anything in between, it’s rare that a thing being out in the world ever feels like an event. So I was really happy to mark the occasion with this release party, hugely grateful to bookhaus and Quarto (my publisher) for making it happen, and overjoyed that anyone turned up. And they did! And they bought books! Real books, from a real shelf, in a real bookshop!

A lot of yesterday and today has been about processing all of that and, in a sense, moving on to the big ol’ “now what?” by composing this issue. I’m sure you’ll be grateful to finally get some respite from me talking about the book constantly. So let’s get on with that.

In all the excitement around the book’s release last week and its launch party this week, I nearly forgot that I’m teaching my Typography Masterclass for SmashingConf next week. So any word-spreading about this would be very much appreciated! If you, or a friend, or a colleague would like to gain a deep understanding of the universal principles of typography and learn how to apply them, from the simplest of documents to the most complex of cross-platform design systems, come and join me and we’ll hang out online for the next three weeks.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

I’ve got two things to tell you today about TypeParis Now24. The first is that my discount code “SPECIALNOW24” is still active, although only until 1st May, so get in there quick. The second is that although I’ve been planning to attend for a really long time, I’m actually now going to be speaking. Specifically, I’ll be joining Veronika Burian, Sébastien Morlighem, Ivan Castro, and Carolina Laudon on a panel discussion all about ‘typeducation’ at the very end of the day.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

A new typeface from Minjoo Ham caught my eye on Future Fonts the other day: Dragon. Specifically, its “Hige B” style. Those little frills kind of remind me of an Asian dragon’s beard, but I had no idea what Hige actually meant, so I asked Minjoo. She explained that it’s derived from “Higemoji” and pointed me towards a Wikipedia page on the subject: “Higemoji characters have little ‘whiskers’ (hige) on them. This style is used for kakigōri and ramune signs as well as being a common style for sake labels.” Aha! So I wasn’t wrong about the beard.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Ivo and his team at Fontwerk continue to push the boat out with the promotional material around their type releases, and Push, their latest, is no exception. Digging the 90s vibes in the graphics here.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

The enviably prolific DJR recently released a new font called Indoor Kid“a variable-first comic book superfamily […] designed specifically for a wide range of comics dialogue and caption styles.” Now I think about it, I think the first moment I realised fonts could do lettering-like things was back in my teens, when I was a (more) avid reader of comic books, and started noticing what Richard Starkings of Comicraft was up to. Interestingly, DJR links up Comicraft’s (also variable) Mighty Mouth typeface.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

While we’re on the subject of comic books, is anyone else getting driven crazy by the incorrect apostrophe in the new X-men ’97 series? No? In case you’re not as much of a loser as I am, most style guides stipulate the use of an apostrophe if you’re abbreviating a date — i.e. turning 1997 into ’97 — but the logo for the new show is using a single opening quotation mark instead (which points down instead of up). This is probably down to a combination of auto-correcting software and (a hell of a lot of) people simply not noticing. Other than that, though, it’s been nice to dive down deep into an X-Men nostalgia-fest.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

TypeTogether’s Gerard ’24 Unger Scholarship is open to submissions once again. If you’re a student currently enrolled on, or graduating from, a type design course, you can submit your type design project — even if it‘s unfinished. “Our aim is to enable exceptional projects started during a course of study to be finalised and published commercially as soon as possible after the end of their course.” It’s such a great idea. And this is how you do the correct apostrophe:

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

One of my very favourite parts in the book-writing process was taking myself off on what I jokingly started referring to as a ‘writing retreat’, — basically, I rented a shepherds hut for a night — and the other day, I finally got round to blogging about the experience.

It only lasted one day and was less than an hour away from my home, but in hindsight it was something I’d recommend to anyone in need of some dedicated hyper-focus time. As my deadline loomed, so did the feeling that I really had to remove all day-to-day distractions and just be somewhere else where I could do nothing but write. And write and write and write.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Has anyone tried out the new typography variables in Figma? I actually haven’t had a chance yet, but they look very useful and something I’ve been hoping for ever since they announced variables in the first place. There’s also a helpful deep-dive video that’s got me pretty excited about putting this feature through its paces.

(Somewhat related: the other day, I got a really lovely email from Figma’s Marcin Wichary about the book, which really made my day. If he — one of my design heroes — gives it the thumbs up, then hopefully that means it’s half-decent.)

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

While we’re on the webby side of things, Safari now supports hanging punctuation in CSS, and Jeremy Keith has a nice little write-up on how and why to implement it. “There’s no reason not to use it. One line of CSS to tidy things up for the browsers that support it and leave things exactly as they are for the browsers that don’t.” I’ll add it to my ever-expanding to-do list.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

The folks at Future Fonts are hosting their HyperTalks 2.0 livestream on 3rd May. I’m looking forward to this: Anna Khorash, Caterina Santullo, Céline Hurka, Nick Sherman, Ro Hernández, Erik Marinovich, and Zipeng Zhu are speaking.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

My good friend Francis Chouquet is running his ‘Learn Lettering the fun way!’ workshop online on 1st June — a whole day of drawing letters and shapes in a playful style “without the fear of perfection”.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Francis is just one of many European friends I plan on hanging out with when I head to Berlin in July — with my mates Jamie and Emma — for Berlin Letters. Pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this event before, but now that we’ve got travel booked, I felt like it deserved another mention. Are you going, too? Let me know! And if three Bristol(ish)-based type nerds wasn’t enough, you’ll be pleased to know that our mutual friend and fellow Letter Luvver Claire Coullon is a speaker at Berlin Letters and is running her ‘Lettering to Logo’ workshop.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Speaking of our Letter Luvvers crew, Emily Joy Rich has written an article on logotype trends for 23/24 that I think is spot-on. I’ve also been thinking about the popularity of the so-called squiggle recently. It’s not a bad thing — I bought Set Sail’s Mangrove font duo the other day, and I’ve also got my eye on Fontfabric’s Transforma, which explores the same sort of idea. ($75 for the three-style variable version is a steal! I should probably just pull the trigger on that one.)

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Let’s carry on with some more trends: this time, Fontspring’s 2024 Font Trends, which takes the form of a nice little microsite (or a very detailed article, depending on how you look at it). They break their showcase into five themes: variable fonts, enhanced revivals (“classics redesigned to feel better, bolder, and more flexible”), global glyphs (“more emphasis on globalization and cross-cultural readability”), fontgeneering (“stretching type in the best way possible”), and font fusions (“eclectic families featuring unlikely font style blends”). Fontspring is a font retailer so of course they could just be wanting to push these categories, but I think it correlates with some trends I’m seeing, including ones mentioned in the aforementioned article by Emily.

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Back to events! My very good friend Marc Thiele runs beyond tellerrand, and although I can’t make the next Düsseldorf event, I really wish I could. In particular, the awesome Oliver Schöndorfer, of Pimp My Type, is running a workshop on 12th May, right before the conference, called “Accessible Typography for Web and UI Design”. It sounds great!

Typographic & Sporadic by Elliot Jay Stocks

Last but not least, the eagle-eyed among you might notice some tweaks to the design of this newsletter. The email version (if viewed in a client that supports web fonts) is now set in Degular, to match my site / “view in browser” archive, and Emma very kindly tweaked my logo to make an Elliot-only version to use as a signature (see below). Slowly but surely, this little newsletter is getting to where I’d like it to be and I increasingly feel like it’s a welcome respite from having to feed the algorithm.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. Tomorrow I’m having lunch with my buddy Mark Caneso of p.s.type, who’s currently visiting sunny Somerset. Oh, and huge, extra special, cherry-on-top thanks to those of you who bought — or decide to buy — the book! Please do keep posting those photos.

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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