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#52 — Cold Type for Cold Brews

Type pals! Even though I've left Berlin 7 months ago already, I still find it to be one of the most e
Coffee Table Typography
#52 — Cold Type for Cold Brews
By Coffee Table Typography • Issue #52 • View online
Type pals!
Even though I’ve left Berlin 7 months ago already, I still find it to be one of the most exciting places in the world to be — for both food, art, and typography. It’s been recently making a few headlines: this edition of the Berliner Morgen Post features a whole section dedicated to its street signage, which is alone for a whole book on its own. The cover doesn’t lie, either. If you can, grab yourself a copy (or two), and keep it stashed forever. It’s heartwarming to see a traditional newspaper to pay attention to typography explicitly, since, well, it is made of it.
Marcin Wichary has a reputation to turn everything he does into gold, and this beautiful interactive experiment Segmented Type is yet another proof. Start typing along and watch it shift through beautiful, organic segmented types. The maths behind these shapes baffles me completely. Also, Scott Kellum released a demo and source code for the most impressive responsive/fluid typography system I’ve seen, using variable fonts. Play with Typetura.js’s demo, and pay close attention to the text features as you resize.
Also, if you’re in Seattle during until late May, please reach out and say hi. I could certainly use some help figuring out the hidden gems as far coffee goes in this wonderful city!  
Brewing you good vibes,
— Ricardo

The Next Big Thing In Type
These are not just the results of the semestral research of variable fonts, by Typography studio at the UMPRUM Academy in Prague.
Take your sweet time to browse through the collection of the visually striking and imaginative Variable Fonts designed here, with which of course you can interact with.
My personal favourite is the tree-inspired In the Pines, a typeface whose axis control the growth, branches and length of its tree branches, creating a fully grown or sapling-like font shape:
You have control over how "branchy" these are, on the typeface
You have control over how "branchy" these are, on the typeface
There as 12 magnificent options to play around with, which opens up every single creativity tap for web typography that I can think of. Try playing around with the endless axis for Kultivar, another fine example of creativity by the UMPRUM Academy. 
Much has been said and shared about the uncanny relationship between Berlin and typography, partly due to its troubled past. Its transportation system has been thoroughly redesigned and with it, many variations of design and type choices have been made — some, seemingly random.
To be honest, this article works only with its pictures, so I’ll do my best not to spam them here. I do, however, want to express my deepest desire for you to take your time browsing it. In fact, not just this article, but everything else that Berlin Typography has delivered so far. Berlin is delicious as far as typography goes (did you know that the street signs are aesthetically different in East and West?)
Spot the cheeky umlaut! Ö.
Spot the cheeky umlaut! Ö.
One of my favourites — both station and location
One of my favourites — both station and location
Berlin is an apologetic mix of styles—some have been fixed for consistency over the years, others not so much. And yes, we’re still only talking about transportation type!
From there we pass through Jungfernheide, Beusselstraße and Westhafen – the latter of which has some intriguing typography in its U-Bahn station, but little of note above ground – arriving eventually at Wedding. This was one of the last sections of line to be completed in the post-reunification refurbishments, yet the two illuminated signs at the two entrances seem unnaturally aged and worn.
The tower on the not-that-very-well-known Hohenzollerndamm S-Bahn station
The tower on the not-that-very-well-known Hohenzollerndamm S-Bahn station
One Space Between Each Sentence
Seven Rules for Perfect Japanese Type
Eiko Nagase writes a beautiful, comprehensive introduction on how to do the basics of Japanese Typography correctly, from a type design perspective. And it is true that everyone should really account for inclusiveness as far as Japan goes on the Internet: if your product, for example, does gain traction in Japan, here are some interesting statistics:
With 115 million internet users and a sophisticated consumer culture, anything is possible here. Twitter, for example, who invested early in Japan-specific research, content, product and marketing, grew from 7 to 35 million users over the last five years in Japan.
Let’s start with the very basics. Written Japanese consists of four different character sets: Hiragana, katakana, kanji and the Latin alphabet most of us are familiar with. Each one has their own visual weight, texture, contrast, and rules: and they can often live in the same sentence altogether.
Visually complex kanji combine with each other to represent most objects, ideas and actions. Flowing hiragana connects and conjugates kanji among other uses, while angular katakana represents non-Japanese proper nouns and concepts.
In the image above, underlined in purple are the kanji (and about 2000 of them are used in everyday Japanese). In blue you find Hiragana and in red, Katakana, of which there are only 48 of each. 
I love the following example, in which Eiko tells us about the limitations of working with Japanese fonts in full Katakana or with a combination of Latin, for speed. Here’s how you can write “Web Font”:
The rules that she mentions are very practical from a design perspective, so make sure you don’t miss them. Perhaps the most common and useful are the ones regarding font size and overall line length:
Reduce font sizes by 10, 15% — The full-cap height and square profile of Japanese characters make them appear larger than the Latin alphabet. Compensate by reducing your body text by around a bit, and your headlines by a bit more.
While with the Latin alphabet we’re told to keep line length at about 65 per line, this is far too long for Japanese:
The high-density, square profile characters of Japanese need more breathing room. Japanese characters are more readable within at certain line lengths. At this size 50 characters is too long, 10 is too short but 30 is just right.
Keep line length between 15 and 30 characters.
Keep reading the rest of the article for more interesting tips on Japanese, and also to read more about the book they seem to be preparing on the topic.
Typeface Du Jour ✍️
Schnyder has an interesting backstory—it was designed by Berton Hasebe and Christian Schwartz for the 2013 top-to-bottom redesign of T, the New York Times Style Magazine. It touches the borders of high fashion typefaces, but still does so in an elegant, quiet and quirky way. 
Bump up its size and you’ll begin to see the intrinsic, fine details that shape it so beautifully, just like the lowercase f, for example
That f. That Q.
That f. That Q.
It certainly fits a certain mood and a certain mood only. But it does it absolutely fully. For ideas on how to use it, browse through its showcase PDF.
On the Coffee Scene ☕️
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Coffee Table Typography

A love for words, letters, language—and 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