13 December, 2012
The Plastic Wood Type
One of the joys of designing typefaces is seeing the flavors that designers coax out of your work. A fair amount of exploration always goes into our own process: Gotham wouldn’t be Gotham were it not able to look simultaneously young and old, and one of Idlewild’s virtues is the range of wildly different qualities that emerge in company of friends. But type designers never have the final say on what’s possible: it’s always the graphic designers who use our work who deliver the greatest surprises.
Over on Dribbble, I’ve been collecting some of my favorite projects that designers have created using our Knockout type family. Some dial up the typeface’s wood type heritage, evoking either vintage warmth or the charm of anonymous commercial printing. Others update the genre more subtly, using Knockout to give a little traditional depth to an otherwise contemporary design. Some unexpected moments await you, in which this typeface with nineteenth century roots becomes futuristic, atmospheric, or in one moment, simultaneously festive and earnest. Check it out.—JH
19 November, 2012
One of the things we’re grateful for at H&FJ are the designers who treat our typefaces with such extraordinary care. These days, some of the most exciting work that we get to see is on Dribbble, where designers of the highest caliber share their works-in-progress with the world. This weekend, I gathered some of my favorite fragments that designers have created using our typefaces: here are three new Dribbble collections using The Proteus Project, Sentinel and Shades.
It’s fascinating to watch the creative processes unfold, and heartening to see our typefaces along for the ride. (It’s also a welcome surprise to discover that the polished work you’re admiring comes from the hand of a second-year student, an experience that’s more common than you might imagine.) So herein you’ll find some of our favorite picks: from Roger Dario’s guilloché treatment of Saracen, to Trent Walton’s use of Sentinel for charity:water (itself a rebound of an earlier version in Vitesse), to Andrew Power’s rendering of one of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes using our Cyclone typeface.
We’ll be updating these collections and creating new ones in the coming weeks, so if you’re posting to Dribbble, make sure to tag your own work with the names of any H&FJ fonts you use. Until then, thank you from all of us at H&FJ for making our work a part of yours. We’ll be thinking of you this Thanksgiving. —JH
24 January, 2011
H&FJ Typefaces Join the MoMA Permanent Collection
The Museum of Modern Art in New York has announced the acquisition of four H&FJ type families — HTF Didot, Gotham, Mercury and Retina — for the MoMA permanent collection.
In designing new typefaces, Hoefler & Frere-Jones has long been consumed with the interpretation of historical artifacts, the implications of cultural expectations and mechanical requirements, and the invention of new techniques. Four type families that embody H&FJ’s approach to type design are HTF Didot, Gotham, Mercury and Retina, and we are honored to have these designs selected by the Museum of Modern Art for inclusion in its permanent collection.
This acquisition marks an important expansion of MoMA’s design collection, which includes historically significant objects ranging from Frank Lloyd Wright’s model for Fallingwater to the original Macintosh 128K computer, into the category of typeface design. “Type design is an essential dimension of the history of modern art and design,” writes Senior Curator Paola Antonelli. “The best typefaces belong in MoMA’s collection.”
The typefaces chosen for the MoMA collection have been selected for their social relevance, the ways in which they reflect technological progress, and their importance to cultural history. “Each is a milestone in the history of typography,” writes Antonelli. Alongside H&FJ’s typefaces are major works by a number of our friends and colleagues, including Matthew Carter, Erik Spiekermann, Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum, and the many contributors to Emigre. H&FJ is proud to be in such distinguished company, and to be a part of MoMA’s recognition of our industry’s craft.
23 June, 2010
Lettering of the WPA
Our designer Brian Hennings stumbled across a great resource this morning: on the website of the Library of Congress, a collection of 926 posters from the Works Progress Administration. The LOC has done a nice job with this collection, providing for each poster not only the relevant archival information, but high-resolution TIFF files that are free to download.
I’ve yet to meet the designer who doesn’t have at least a little affection for optimistic lettering of the WPA. We’ve stopped short of ever developing a full-tilt Art Deco revival, but many of our sans serifs undeniably feel the pull of the Machine Age. Verlag’s stark geometries include a conscious nod to the bold logo of the National Recovery Administration, while Tungsten is a modular typeface that resists the retro vibe of WPA “gaspipe” lettering. The Library of Congress collection offers a rare opportunity to see rarer styles still, perhaps ones that might obliquely inform some future H&FJ design. —JH