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The Illuminated Alphabet Competition - Ending Soon

If you’ve been following the 6th edition of the global lettering phenomenon, 36 Days of Type on Instagram you’ll know that today is letter Y.  (If you aren't’ aware of this project where have you been? Take a look…)

As the 36 Days project winds up you may be excited to hear that there’s another letter-a-day competition running from the House of Illustration. The HoI is the UK’s only public gallery dedicated solely to illustration and graphic art. 

The competition is happening along side the fantastic Cortina Kent: Power Up exhibition. Billed as “The UK’S biggest ever show of work by the pop artist, social activist and nun”. It features 70 screen printed works from Andy Warhol’s contemporary, some shown above.

Enter your lettering work here.

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Typism Book 5 – Call for Entries

The Typism movement originated as a series of annual conferences focussed on type, lettering and calligraphy. Held on Australia’s picturesque Gold Coast, I had the pleasure of speaking at one of them a few years ago, which was fantastic. To accompany each event was a book featuring some of the best type work from around the world was produced. The publication is now embarking on its 5th edition and you have the chance to showcase your work to the world.

Every year, we are inspired by our global community and bring together some of the world’s best hand lettering, calligraphy, and typography, in a beautiful black and white book.We have published four editions of the Typism book so far and showcased the work of over 800 international lettering artists since 2013.

Submit your work: https://typismbook.com/

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Elegant to Goofy – Choosing the right tone of voice for your design

An essential skill of successful designers is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your client, and their customers, and see the world from their perspective. This emotional empathy is fundamental to many aspects of design and it should be applied to choosing typefaces to impart a particular tone of voice to your audience.

Sarah Hyndman is particularly active in exploring the ‘psychology of type’, how and why typefaces provoke certain responses. Intuition plays a huge part in picking the right typeface but I’ve also found that a little technical know-how can help you pin down why a typeface feels a certain way.

Two fantastic examples crossed my desk last week. Both of these new script fonts emphasise the tone of voice they communicate above all their other features. Elicit script, is a joint design project between Laura Worthington and Monotype’s Jim Wasco, and Mikkel Script & Sans is by Nils Thomsen of TypeMates.

Both typefaces have an excellent pedigree, coming from renowned designers, but that’s where any similarity ends. In their promotional examples, Elicit Script flows gracefully across the artwork offering a range of styles from ‘Relaxed’ to ‘Elegant’, while Mikkel comes bouncing effusively onto the page with ‘Smooth’ and ‘Goofy’.

There are many other types of script styles such as aggressive blackletter or corse handwriting for example, but what makes these two typefaces elegant or goofy?

For brevity, let’s look at the writing tool each simulates and the way that these tools are applied in the typeface. 

Being scripts, both emulate a handwritten style. Elicit Script emulates a pen with a fixed nib. The width of the strokes varies as the nib is rotated and pressure is applied producing a precise, even quality to the way the ink flows. 

Mikkel mimics a brush which conforms to a different set of rules. There strokes are more curved and they start and finish with more roundness in their shapes. The sweep from the brush also gives the strokes more freedom of movement.

Both tools are being used with expertise in these typefaces. The pen of Elicit script has a measured, comfortable pace, as though someone is taking great care to create beautiful shapes but they are relaxed and confident doing so. Mikkel’s brush meanwhile is much faster and more energetic, suggesting the need for speed and exuberance over formality or solemnity. The writer here is really keen to tell you something, fast.

Examining the choice of tool and how’s it’s being used offers us valuable clues about the intentions of the writer. We can then ask ourselves whether these match our application of for the typeface. On your next project, enhance your instincts with some expertise to narrow down your typeface options and achieve the exact tone of voice required.

Thanks to Elicit script and Mikkel Script & Sans

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typeworship:

Shadow Lettering

Wire, light and shadow messages by Belgian artist Fred Eerdekens.

As the clocks change, transitioning to darker winter months in the Northern hemisphere, I thought it an appropriate time to show off these wonderful shadow lettered pieces.

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typeworship:

Spooktacular Alphabet

Here’s a Halloween treat to get things going. A spooky, illustrated alphabet created by Ohio based Illustrator and Animator, Adam Osgood.

There’s this grotesquely great video too.

More creepy type with the ‘oral alphabet’ here and ‘hairy type’ here.

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Following our Typographers’ Typefaces post, listing the top 25 font choices from our industry...
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The Handy Book of Artistic Printing

It’s almost 10 years old but I was only recently put onto this book by Nick Misani. The Handy Book of Artistic Printing: Collection of Letterpress Examples with Specimens of Type, Ornament, Corner Fills, Borders, Twisters, Wrinklers, and other Freaks of Fancy – to give it its full title – has become a reliable reference for capturing the feel of late nineteenth century graphic design. 

While the work is undeniably overly ornate there is a consistent underlying structure to most of the designs. Lots of intricate rectangular borders, corner patterns, diagonal text,  and a colour palette that exudes a feeling of luxury printing.

Authored by Doug Clouse and Angela Voulangas, it’s a good addition to any letterpress or decorative reference library.

“During the late nineteenth century, letterpress printers, engravers, and lithographers boldly challenged the rational sobriety of traditional design by introducing intricate borders, corner embellishments, quirky typefaces, and exotic imagery. The style was known as “artistic” and was quickly taken up by letterpress printers as the design idiom of choice for advertisements, packaging, and all of the other ephemera occasioned by the rapid expansion of America’s economy. For a while, this commercial style represented the best in popular taste.” More here.

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Recent Rustics

Developments in type technology, like that in most industries, moves forward in increments. Each new development is shaped by its modern-day requirements but also by its roots in the past. For example, the blackletter typeface used in Johannes Gutenberg’s bible mimicked the calligraphic style practiced by scribes. This ensured readers were offered a style they were familiar with.

Reflecting this today, graphic design often reaches into the past for visual styles to counter the feeling of cold digital precision. Textured type that emulates a hand-crafted style can give a sense of warmth and nostalgia to soften a design.

Over the last couple of months I’ve spotted two excellent typeface releases that do just that. First, Monotype’s DIN Next Rust, updates the famously, crisp, clean and precise DIN typeface but adding a rusted metal or rubber stamp feel. And just this week, Kontiki by Floodfonts, which digitally simulates a handmade wood print by digitising manually printed plates.

“This kind of treatment is more about creating a feeling or a mood that goes beyond the communication of the words themselves,” explains Monotype Studio director Tom Rickner. “I think it expands the repertoire of what DIN Next can express.”

There will always be a need to achieve a warmer more naturally produced feel in graphic design. As technology and ingenuity progress the distinction between handmade and digital imagery gets smaller.

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The Cleanest Font In The World

During World Cleanup Day in September, rubbish was cleaned from the Slovenian countryside by Futura DDB and Ecologist without borders together with hundreds of volunteers. 

As a message on the environmental impact of litter and waste in natural environments they created The Cleanest Font In The World from the rubbish collected. The font can now be used by anyone as a positive reminder that every piece of trash can be recycled and reused – even as art. 

You can see the video here, and try the font for yourself here.

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Shovel Knight Drop Caps

I was approached by the epic new gaming magazine, A Profound Waste of Time to design a set of twelve drop caps and a variety of decorative motifs for to as part of their limited edition first edition.

The drop caps were inspired by medieval woodblock prints and depict characters and key items from the cult classic game Shovel Knight by Yacht Club Games.

The brief was to visually translate the reduced bitmap style of the game’s elements into their rich woodblock equivalents while remaining faithful to the original characteristics. The illustrations were drawn around a set of letters I designed in the style of 16th century initials.

The designs were also shortlisted to feature in Typism Book 4.

See more lettering and Typography at Jamie Clarke Type

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