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#74 • Sans Outdoor

Type friends! Somewhat recently, I've redesigned my personal website (after 4 attempts over the span
Coffee Table Typography
#74 • Sans Outdoor
By Coffee Table Typography • Issue #74 • View online
Type friends!
Somewhat recently, I’ve redesigned my personal website (after 4 attempts over the span of 3 years) and, of course, I struggled the most choosing which typefaces to use. I’ve went from “radical teenager” moods to “wine snob at a dinner party” as far as typefaces moods go, and nothing felt like… myself. At some point I just tried old classics for the fun of it, and there it was: Franklin Gothic URW, shining in all of its historical glory, standing on the shoulder of giants, seemed like a perfect fit.
I felt… vulgar. Franklin, it’s a great work horse, coming at you with a tool (weight) for all sorts of possible information hierarchy. But it’s Franklin. And despite that deep craving for something new and fresh, I’ve decided to postpone such cravings to other exciting future projects: my own home, I had decided, was classic, tried and true. Hi, Franklin, we’re gonna be old friends one day.
Microsoft announced that the new Word will flag double-spacing as an error, proving once and for all that one space is the only way to go. Not that we had doubts, but, it’s good to feel validated.
Jonathan Hoefler, from Hoefler&Co, shared with us a few recommendation reads on typography. Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries sounds absolutely delightful and I’m bound to get a copy soon. Speaking of being educated, Tim Brown has been busy creating a few interactive examples, with notes, on how to set typography on the web, and you should take a look.
TypeWolf shared their first instalment of the series Fonts In Popular Things Identified, which is exactly what it sounds like: details on which fonts are being used in movies, posters, etc. And while I have never watched Tiger King, I know know that the cover art uses MPI No. 507. Also from TypeWolf, here’s a delicious and awe-inspiring collection of designer portfolio sites with a heavy emphasis on typography, a list which I’m saving for a creativity boost during a rainy day. Jules Forrest’s website just makes that Value Serif shine like a shooting star.
Last but not least, how about a Garfield typographical comic to lighten your day? Seems like we all need it.
From a sunny balcony in a not-snowy Montreal,
—Ricardo

Combining Arial with Times: A Typeface
Here’s a quick one, but a fun one: Liebermann Kiepe Reddemann explores what it would look like to combine and update the classic Times typeface, with Arial, with a catchy experimental name of Times New Arial.
If you’re wondering how this is possible, given that one is a serif and the other a sans-serif, the answer will sound familiar with web developers and type designers: variable fonts. Actually, you can already play with it here (you may need a desktop browser).
Times New Arial is a new experiment utilising the latest technology of variable fonts.

Yes, that is right, Times New Arial. A new font experimentation drawing on the excellence of two ubiquitous typographic powerhouses. A new variable font concept created by Liebermann Kiepe Reddemann and produced by Elias Hanzer, the experiment pushes the multiple possibilities of variable fonts even further. “The possibility to use custom fonts on the World Wide Web has been possible since the introduction of CSS2 in 1998,”
This means you can use any permutation of the in-between values ranging from Arial to Times. If you want your body text to be 65% Times and 35% Arial, you can. Here’s a 4MB GIF of it in action.
Perhaps the most interesting of these ideas is the creation of an axis which animates special icons in the character set, a burger button for example, can be changed according to css variation-settings. It’s a profoundly progressive project that is sure to excite anyone interested in type, from the amateur to figure head. Though the font is up and running in a number of Liebermann Kiepe Reddemann’s projects (not to mention some educational ones too) the studio are adamant that there is a lot more to explore in the future. “We believe that we are still at the beginning of the research and are positive that there is a lot more still to come,” the designer ends on this wonderfully adventurous project.
There’s a few more interactive demos in this page, for you to get a sense of what’s possible to do with variable fonts. Check out the original article for more information on this super exciting variable font.
Femme Type — Women of Typography
How Femme Type found the hidden women of typography within a year
Molly Long writes for Design Week about Amber Weaver’s reflections on a year of celebrating women in typography. And there’s a lot of reasons to celebrate, mind you, as Molly opens up the article to remind us that:
From Edward Johnston to Stanley Morison, the history of typography is filled with memorable male designers. Go looking online for women’s contribution to the profession, however, and the results come up disappointingly short.
But that isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of women working in type — rather it points to an industry that has long under-appreciated its female members. University of the Arts graduate Amber Weaver was well aware of this issue, and in April 2019 she started addressing it.
Femme Type was founded in April 2019, and it’s a platform to celebrate type designers who identify as a woman. During an entire year so far, Amber has created events, invited guests, and publicised a lot of the amazing work being done in the typography world by women. And so, in just under a year, a book was made.
Deciding to take the job on herself, Weaver started with one of the very platforms that was part of the problem: books. Reflecting on this, kicking off the whole mission with a book was a “strange way” to start things off, she says, given that at the time Femme Type had no other platform.
Femme Type - London Book Release on Vimeo
Femme Type - London Book Release on Vimeo
By day 3 on Kickstarter, the book had raised it’s 100% funding goal, and a collaboration with the LOVE magazine was underway.
And this is largely where Weaver hopes the legacy of this first year of Femme Type lies: “[Hopefully], people are more aware of all the other talented type designers and type-focused creatives out there and are more inspired and educated on where to find them and how to reach them.” (On whether the wider industry has been changed quite enough yet, she adds: “Ask me again in a year’s time.”)
Keep reading the original article on Design Week, or head over to their website to find out more.
From Farting to Fornication: Early print censorship
You’ll want to read through this one, from I Love Typography, on how censorship in books worked during the 16th century.
In 1475, the university of Cologne was granted permission from the Pope to censor liturgical or religious texts. Later, other measures were introduced to censor books sold at the Frankfurt book fair, but all attempts at censorship were limited in scope and geographical influence
During the first half-century of printing in Europe (c. 1450–1500), there were few restrictions on the printing trade, either on who could start a print-shop or on what they chose to print. As new printers rushed to establish themselves and cash-in on this new technology, they sometimes sought protection in the form of privileges. The first documented protection or ‘privilege’ was issued in 1469 by the Venetian Senate to Johannes de Spira, the first printer in Venice.
And so the index of Prohibited Books was formed.
The Reformation tore the Church in two, polarized Western Europe, and prompted the most heinous acts, including the burning of books, their readers, their authors, and even those who printed them. By the 1540s, the Church had gotten itself organized, issuing blanket censorial measures via lists of prohibited books, banning heterodox writings and heretical authors.
Things get spicier, as censorship didn’t just stick with religious books. As early as 1527, the world saw a bit of spice with Marcantonio Raimondi’s book of erotic poetry, a series of engravings and drawings known as “The Positions”. Later accompanied by the so called “Lustful Sonnets”, needless to say it was the source of a few scandals.
On top of that, these profane human figures, in various states of sexual intercourse are joined not by refined classical Latin or even the graceful vernacular of Petrarch; but by far coarser language. This line from the eleventh sonnet is typical of the poems’ bawdy tone: ‘Open your thighs so that I can clearly see your beautiful ass’. That ain’t Ovid.
There's no way I'm captioning this.
There's no way I'm captioning this.
The censorship
So how did printers get around the censors? One popular method was the use of fictitious imprints. Sometimes it was enough to simply change the place of printing, or even to use a fictitious one. Some Dutch printers in the early seventeenth century took to printing their books in Thomas More’s fictitious ‘Utopia’.
Continue reading the original article for more astonishing information on early censorship.
A Typeface for The Welsh Language
From Design Week, here’s exciting news about a new typeface which was created specifically to cater the Welsh language. I know very little about Welsh, but I love, love, love this language. During my time in the UK, I’ve made sure I could pronounce this train station’s name every week. You never knew when it would come in handy.
Three fonts have been created by design studio Smörgåsbord, in collaboration with the Colophon Foundry, which aim to promote the use of the Welsh language.
The three fonts that make up the Cymru Wales typeface are Cymru Wales Sans (originally created in 2017), Cymru Wales Serif and Cymru Sans Transport, which is used for Transport for Wales (TfW).
Welsh is one of the oldest living languages in Europe, but only 29.8% of the country’s population are able to speak it. This is the first time that the Welsh alphabet has been translated into a digital typeface. It is part of a wider ambition for the Welsh Government’s plans to have 1m Welsh speakers by 2050.
Of course, Welsh being so particular, it had a lot of language considerations in its making and it shows:
The studio also looked to other languages such as Icelandic and Arabic for inspiration, owing to their “exuberant and cursive character forms”. Smörgåsbord also looked to the tradition of stone letter carving in Wales. However, the studio was careful not to “wander into the territory of pastiche or parody”.
The digraphs
The digraphs
It’s wonderful how much of a distinct graphic language they were able to create with these types. Cymru Wales still manages to achieve a huge degree of legibility, and most definitely deserves a more thorough read than the introduction I’ve given you here.
How to Prepare and Use Variable Fonts on Web
Looks like variable fonts are hot again; possibly by the recent additions of variable typefaces to Google Fonts. There’s no shortage of articles on variable fonts out there, but what’s missing is a 2020 guide on how to prepare variable fonts for a web project: both with CSS, good fallbacks, and optimise performance.
Trevor Harmon wrote a very comprehensive guide to optimising variable fonts and using them in a real project, in fact, one that I plan on using myself for my new blog. Trevor uses Inter, an amazing typeface that comes in normal font files and also variable ones, and goes through the process of:
  1. Eliminating unwanted glyphs and features
  2. Convert to the right compressed format
  3. Importing the font in CSS
  4. Using @supports to provide a good fallback
Because it’s a highly technical article, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I’ll leave the link here and extend the invite to all of you web developers.
Typefaces Du Jour ✍️
Tucano • Felipe Luize
Tucano is a free font designed by Felipe Luize, during his class within the Letterform Archive Introduction to Modern Type, lectured by Graham Bradley. Using as inspiration some geometric forms for the serifs and with a high-contrast, this display font should work well for posters and logos, download it for free and don’t forget to give feedback for Felipe on what did you think about the type.
There’s a lot of character in this typeface, and we hope to see a lot more from Felipe soon.
On the Coffee Scene ☕️
How Is COVID-19 Impacting Coffee Producers?
Did you enjoy this issue?
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