Made with Cloud.typography

Football as Football

How six designers in Minneapolis crashed the American sports vernacular with the grandest graphic traditions of European football.

As the World Cup winds down, many Americans will turn from the excitement and agony of football to another beloved pastime: football. American football, to be precise. This year, six Minneapolis co-workers have combined these obsessions with their love of design into a single experience called Football as Football, which reimagines the logos of American football teams in the heraldic language of the great European football clubs. Watch as the mascots and monograms of the NFL take on German, English, Spanish and Italian accents: the design is both hilarious and spot-on.

While the crests are the star of the show, their designers lavished just as much care and attention on the site that presents them. “We wanted a brand for the project to wrap around the experience,” said Garrick Willhite, one member of the team. “We started with an icon, that lead to a logo, that guided the overall look and feel.” To support its vivid and varied imagery — and typography that includes fonts as far afield as Gotham and Hoefler Text — the team chose our Knockout family to use for the site’s webfonts. Originally inspired by sports ephemera, Knockout’s strong and athletic character makes it an apt choice for the project, and applied in a studied and subdued way, it supports the art instead of competing with it — just as a good team player should. —NW

The Plastic Wood Type

Typeface: Knockout

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

Things We Love

Typeface: Knockout

When we designed the Knockout type family, which celebrates the exuberance of nineteenth century wood type, we wondered: what designer would knowingly use the fonts to recall a world of quack medical cures and traveling vaudevillians? The answer, as it so often turns out to be, is “smart aleck Canadian advertising agencies.” Behold the truly excellent Grip Limited, who have created a typographic tour-de-force in Knockout (and a little Archer) that really repays scrolling in all directions. I especially like the end of the second column. —JH

Things We Love

Typeface: Knockout

This morning’s post by the always-fertile Grain Edit reminds me that I’ve wanted to write something in appreciation of Mark Weaver. As with so many things I like, Weaver’s work is difficult to classify: design? illustration? art? The term “collage” might do as a formal description, but it’s a shabby word to describe Weaver’s mysterious inventions, which so successfully bypass both the senses and the intellect and go straight to the mid-brain. His tableaux that simultaneously evoke grange exhibits, Japanese consumer goods, early David Bowie, and recent Wes Anderson — without ever quoting any of them literally — are worth experiencing up close; spend some time with his Make Something Cool Every Day series, and I think you’ll leave intriguied, delighted, and inspired. —JH

A Treasury of Wood Type Online

The Hamilton Manufacturing Co. traces its roots back to the very first wood types made in the United States. Darius Wells produced the first American wood type in 1828; his business was reorganized into Wells & Webb, then acquired by William Page, later passing back to the Wells family, and finally sold to Hamilton sometime before 1880. The product of this consolidation was a type specimen book issued in 1900, Hamilton’s Catalogue No. 14, which offers a good survey of American display typography of the nineteenth century.

Open to the public is the Hamilton Wood Type Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, a collection of 1.5 million pieces of wood type maintained by volunteers of the Two Rivers Historical Society. For at-home viewing, the calendar printer Unicorn Graphics has just launched their Web Museum of Wood Types and Ornaments, which offers a sundry collection of scans and photographs of American wood types — including every page of the great Catalogue No. 14.

Continues…

Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 13

Typeface: Knockout

The disappearance of wood type has something to do with the slow fade of letterpress from the world of commercial printing; it also has something to do with that dude at the flea market who sells hot-glued wood type sculptures on the weekends. And the Dust Bowl didn’t help: seventy years ago, Americans throughout the Great Plains discovered that blocks of hardwood impregnated with linseed oil could be very useful in a whole new way, so into the furnace they went.

Uppercase Gallery in Calgary has collected some wood type that’s been removed from circulation, and is offering it as the cheerfully packaged Authentic Vintage Woodtype Lettermix. We’re delighted that they chose our Knockout font family for the packaging, a typeface founded in the very sans serifs that their package contains. —JH

Politics Without Gotham

Typeface: Knockout No. 48

Not all political typography has to be set in Gotham (though it seems that way) — here for example are some calls to action by Shepherd Fairey that don’t use any Gotham at all. They use Knockout No. 48.

Designers in Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, and Maine have primaries this weekend; Virginia, Maryland and DC, you’re up Tuesday. This means you. —JH

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