Calligraphic inspiration and upside down Ns

Two calligraphy blogs to inspire your hand lettering and the strange phenomenon of the upside down N…

1. Calligraphica

If you’re into hand lettering and particularly calligraphy, there’s a new Tumblr you might like. It’s called calligraphi.ca. Go and take a look, in most cases the materials used are documented below the picture which makes it quite useful.

Calligraphi.ca

Calligraphi.ca

Calligraphi.ca

Calligraphi.ca

Calligraphi.ca

Calligraphi.ca

2. Calligraffiti

In the same vein, another blog of interest is Calligraffiti.nl documenting the work of Amsterdam based Niels Shoe Meulman.

Calligraffiti by Niels Shoe Meulman

Calligraffiti by Niels Shoe Meulman

Calligraffiti by Niels Shoe Meulman

Calligraffiti by Niels Shoe Meulman

Calligraffiti by Niels Shoe Meulman

Calligraffiti by Niels Shoe Meulman

3. Upside down N

And lastly something quirky: Meulman (mentioned above) has been documenting the incorrect use of serif Ns in signage around the world. In his own words:

From an early age on, I’ve noticed signs where an N with serif is placed upside down. This awareness is the first thing that triggered me to become a graphic artist.

To spot upside down N’s you must travel. Upside down serif N’s are everywhere. And nowhere.

For more examples of this phenomenon, check out upsidedownn.com, you are even invited to submit your own finds.

Upside down N

Upside down N

Upside down N

Upside down N

Upside down N

Upside down N

Friday find: Nice Type videos

Look, a channel on Vimeo dedicated to typographic videos! And did you know there are such things as pre-animated typefaces? I learn something new every day…

Big news in the world of online video this week is that Vimeo is launching a major overhaul of their site. While checking out their announcement page, I noticed this screenshot saying Nice Type in big blue and red letters:

Nice Type on Vimeo

It turns out Nice Type is a channel moderated by Matthew Buchanan where he collects all the best typographic videos from around Vimeo. Now isn’t that nice?

Here’s a little something to whet your appetite:

If you can’t see the video here, watch it on Vimeo.

What you see above is a demo for an animated typeface called Binary 2.0 created by Dutch studio Calango in collaboration with Maria Jose Torrero Heredia of Mexico:

Binary 2.0 animated typeface

Binary 2.0 animated typeface

What the bleep is an animated typeface you ask? I have to be honest, this is the first time I hear of the concept too. Apparently it comes with pre-animated characters of which you can edit the colors, duration, easing and line thickness in Adobe After Effects. This definitely calls for some further investigation…

The quest for an average font

The fascinating explorations in finding an average of all existing fonts has lead different people down different roads, here are some examples…

In September 2011 Viennese designer Moritz Resl published a typographic experiment called Average Font on his website. The project received widespread attention on the internet, drawing both criticism and praise. The idea is to show what a font would look like if it were made up of all the Typefaces on his system at the time. Resl achieved this by layering over 900 different fonts each with a low opacity, one on top of the other. The result is a blurry, yet recognisable rendition of each character:

Average Font by Moritz Resl

As Stephen Coles of Typographica points out, the quest to find an average font is not unexplored territory. In 2006 visualisation expert W. Bradford Paley from New York put together an exploration of Face Variations, layering the outlines of 166 fonts in different combinations. Paley notes that this stems from his fascination with finding the “perceptual boundaries” around objects such as letters:

Face Variations by W. Bradford Paley

Another approach comes in the form of The neutral typeface – the result of a 2005 graduation project by Dutch designer Kai Bernau entitled Neutrality. The measurements for the design of the typeface are derived from averages reached by comparing popular existing sans serif typefaces:

The neutral typeface by Kai Bernau

The latest arrival at the average font party is Avería, a font released in October 2011 by Dan Sayers combining 725 existing fonts. Sayers explored different methods, eventually opting for a programmatic approach to the task by splitting each letter perimeter into hundreds of equally-spaced points, then finding the average between the corresponding positions of each:

Avería by Dan Sayers

Avería by Dan Sayers

Also take a look at Font Path Viewer, a web app Sayers built in order to view the outlines and control points of fonts during his process.

Fonts come in an endless array of personalities and proportions, weights and styles. Maybe it is the sheer overwhelming variety, or maybe our inborn desire to simplify and reorganise, but whatever the reason may be, people seem to be captivated by the idea of finding a neutral average. The search continues.

Dutch design legend Wim Crouwel

He started out as a painter, but got hooked on typography instead. Let’s take a look at the fantastic grid-based typographic works of living design icon Wim Crouwel.

Willem Hendrik Crouwel is an influential Dutch graphic designer born in 1928. After studying fine art in his home town of Groningen, he set out to be an expressionist painter. In the early 1950s Crouwel designed his first poster and he was instantly hooked on the idea of aesthetically arranging visual information.

Crouwel’s design career took shape in designing posters and catalogues for the Van Abbe Museum during the latter part of the ’50s. In 1963 he co-founded a design studio called Total Design and from 1964, Crouwel was responsible for the design of the posters, catalogues and other visual material for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Heavily influenced by grid-based International Typographic Style, Crouwel is a purist at heart, yet his work displays a playful view on design and typography. He expressed the idea that design should simply communicate information to the viewer with as few ornaments and as little styling as possible.

Crouwel is still an active member of the Dutch graphic design scene as an advisor in Total Identity (previously called Total Design). The company has over 150 designers working in 6 cities.

Here’s a short (3:56) video profile on Wim Crouwel followed by 30 fine examples of his oft-imitated work. Enjoy!

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

The work of Wim Crouwel

Sources:

Dyslexie: A font for people with dyslexia

Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer has designed a font to help those who suffer from dyslexia to minimise reading errors. Drawing on his own experience of dyslexia he made custom tweaks to all the letterforms and punctuation of the western alphabet.

Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer has designed a font to help those who suffer from dyslexia to minimise reading errors. Drawing on his own experience of dyslexia he made custom tweaks to all the letterforms and punctuation of the western alphabet.

Dyslexie example 01

Dyslexie example 02

Dyslexie example 02

“Dyslexie” may not be a conventionally beautiful font, but an independent study by the University of Twente in the Netherlands has concluded that it is effective in minimising dyslexic errors. Who can argue with results?

Via Fast Co. Design and Studio Studio.