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#46: The Caffeinated Fox

Type friends! One of my favourite reads this week was The Pastry Box's random musing on having names
Coffee Table Typography
#46: The Caffeinated Fox
By Coffee Table Typography • Issue #46 • View online
Type friends!
One of my favourite reads this week was The Pastry Boxs random musing on having names with special characters, on the Internet.St矇phanie, (orSt穢phanie) writes about a pain Im too familiar with in the digital world as someone with the last name of Magalh瓊es; how in 2018 we still dont pay enough attention to glyphs and encoding standards. The article itself does a good job at explaining whats going on and what to pay attention to, but it also lead me to this fantastic resource explaining how people are named across different cultures. But I digress.
Ive been trying to get acquainted with the fantastic work of Hans Eduard Meier lately, as timeless as it was in the 60s when he first wrote The Development of Script and Type. I say trying, as it requires a deep, solid understanding of the fundamentals of type and language as a discipline that I keepcoming back to, out of fear of missing out on his work.And Ive been rewatching and taking notes on the previously featured History of the Eszett (still my favourite character, courtesy of my years in Germany) for a potential talk Im preparing.
In more exciting news, the screenings for the Letterpress Film: Pressing On are continuing throughout 2018 and you should definitely check if its coming to your city this year the trailer is utterly delicious.
For web designers out there, take a look at the insane looking library Blotter.js, which uses WebGL to render some amazing visual text effects in the browser. Its very rendering heavy, but boy is it impressive.
Enjoy this weeks selection 儭

Why There Isnt A Font Behind Every Letter You See
What a fantastic journey into the inside thought process of redesigning Meret, by Nils Thomsen, and the considerations required to make a well-fitting and economical newspaper typeface. Do make a note that Ill just be condensing some of the highlights and that the original article contains a lot of beautiful type imagery, so do make the full jump onto it if youre curious about the sketching process of Meret.
In Merets coming to life project, a rough sketch of what it was meant to look it was the initial shape forming motivator:
安hich describes the idea of a mixture of two writing models: broad nib, and pointed pen. As you can see, Meret does not look like this first idea: nine months and lots of exercises between the first sketch and final result means that some (or, to be honest, nearly every) details changed.
Designing and finding the ideal shape and overall design feel for a typeface, in its early stages, is all about experimenting visuallya lot. Nilsstarted with a project with three similar but different calligraphic exercises. A classical pointed pen, broad nib pen and a version between. This last transition version was inspired by combining those two nibs and was pushed to get the basis for Meret.
Heres the 3 versions below:
And the difference between the same style, but sketched with a broad nib (left) and a pointed pen (right), compared to the digital, vectorised version of both:
It's remarkable the difference in style a nib can make on the serifs
It's remarkable the difference in style a nib can make on the serifs
Next in line was the research of what it takes to design for a newspaper. What are the characteristics of a traditional newspaper typeface? After studying The Guardian,Frankfurter Allgemeine, Die Welt, Die Zeit, S羹ddeutsche Zeitung, sme Kultura, De Pers Nederlands Dagblad, De Volkskrant, svd Kultur and Stockholm City Helg, Nils carefully studied details such as the paper size, their column sizes, line spacing, and overall use of different weights.Something always worth paying attention to, is the language a typeface is going to be used in; after all, overall word length changes drastically from language to language. Heres Nils approach:
Since I wanted to make a typeface that would work really well in German, I had a special look at German newspapers. They have a rather large format of 400 to 570 mm. On this format I made some tests with different typefaces. I analyzed the use of the columns, point size and line spacing plus compared English to German and a lot of typefaces on the same grid to see how many characters fit on one page. I did this with the same point size and another test where I adjusted all x-heights to the same level.
And my word, its astonishing to see the level of detail and analysis that went on to ensure Meret was also efficient at a newspaper typeface. Nils carefully continued to test his, and several others, typefaces to assess their performance at different stages. When optically set to match Miller at 8.5:
And what about numbers? For a newspaper, its very essential to have access to a wide range of numeral styles (old-style, lining, and so on). Weve discussed in the past the necessity of having different styles for numerals in order for them not to stand out too much when not needed; and this was of course a consideration when designing Meret, which has no less than 5 styles for numerals:
In newspaper settings, figures need some extra power and I wanted to design them strong for text and clear for tables. Therefore I drew the standard figures a bit bigger, a height between the uppercase and normal oldstyle figures. To stay simple in tables I decided to cut off most of the serifs and terminals of the figures.
By now, you probably have realised that I would enjoy making a full newsletter issue based on this article, such is the amount of detail, visual typographical beauty, and type teaching which can be found here. Make sure to read the article in its entirety, and save it for a rainy day.
How to Use Variable Fonts in The Real World
The First Printed Page Numbers
Typeface Du Jour 儭
Faune, Alice Savoie / Cnap
On the Coffee Scene 儭
Until next time ,
Ricardo Magalh瓊es
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Coffee Table Typography

A love for words, letters, languageand coffee.
A digest of curated resources, articles and knowledge sharing about the beauty of typography; in design, on the web, or books.
You will read these over your morning cup of coffee, while the aromas of freshly ground beans are still in the air, quickly realising that words are beautiful and that you might need that second cup after all.

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With from Montreal, Canada