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

An H&FJ Type Tasting

Typefaces: Sentinel and Gotham

We keep a running tally of the interesting media in which we’ve seen our fonts used, from corrugated cardboard to topiary. The designers who choose our fonts often share their more startling experiments on our Facebook page, including more than a few typographic tattoos. But with the holiday season upon us, things have taken a decidedly gustatory turn.

Designer Luke Elliott kicked things off over Halloween with his Gotham jack-o-lantern, to our knowledge the first example of in-gourd typography featuring an H&FJ design. An anonymous designer followed over Thanksgiving with a beautiful collection of Gotham cakes that revealed the challenge of inlining a sans serif, in fondant no less. The latest contribution to the genre came last night, with designer Zach Higgins tweeting his exploration of the Sentinel Light Italic lowercase z rendered in toast. We’re left to wonder if our graded faces, such as Mercury Text or Chronicle Text, might provide designers with micro-fine control to adjust the relationship between color and burn. Please help us with this important research and share your findings. —JH

Giving Thanks

Typefaces: The Proteus Project, Sentinel, and Shades

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 of our fonts that 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

Typography Shared

Typefaces: Ziggurat, Archer, Gotham

Designers who use our fonts have been sharing their work on our Facebook page, much to the delight of both the designers at H&FJ, and our followers online. Some recent lovelies, clockwise from top left: Christopher Simmons designed this cheerful festival poster using Ziggurat, Leviathan, and a little Hoefler Text; a corporate identity that uses Archer (and a clever emboss) by Mike Kasperski; Gotham in a terrific typographic abecedarium by Paul van Brunschot and his students; a lovely collection of journals by Jodi Storozenko, featuring Archer in a moment of quiet repose; and a bit of Gotham in Anna Farkas’ exhibition identity for The renaissance of letters. Feel free to share your own creations: more then 6,500 other designers are tuned in. —JH

Don’t Believe the Type!

We will, we will Rockwell. Rock the Caslon. I Meta Girl. ITC Clearly Now. Tempted by the Frutiger ’nother. Weiss Do Fools Fall in Love? Rockwell Amadeus. Dax The Way (uh huh, uh huh) I Like It. Please Mistral Postman. If I Could Turn Back Times. Gill Sans in a Coma. Get Down Onyx. Myriad a Little Lamb. Clarendon (I Know This World is Killing You.) On the Wingdings of Love. I Wanna Bold Your Sans. Some Like it Haettenschweiler. Janson Queen. I Do Not Want I Avant Garde. Scenes From an Italic Restaurant. Hang On to Your Eagle. Take a Janson Me. My Name is DIN (and I am Fonty.) Font Like an Egyptienne. Hotel Caledonia. Electra Avenue. Garamond (My Wayward Son.) My Tahoma. Fear of a Black Italic. I’m So X-Heighted. Nothin’ V.A.G. Thing.

Twitter is reaching a cultural apotheosis right now with the #fontsongs topic, still trending strong. (Ms. American Typewriter Pie, Burning Down the House Gothic, Love Me Two Times Roman, Ring My Bell Gothic...) Special thanks to everyone who included an H&FJ font in their title (We Are The Champion, Knockout on Heaven’s Door, Whitney Baby One More Time, Dirt Didots Done Dirt Cheap, Auld Verlag Syne, It’s a Hard Knox Life, Chronicle Man…)

Yesterday I asked — rhetorically, I thought — “who can work Arnold Böcklin into one of these?” Meeting the challenge triumphantly came @mattwiebe with It’s Arnold Böcklin Roll (But I Like It), @mlascarides with Keep Arnold Böcklin (In the Free World), @angvalenz with Block Böcklin Beats, and @e_limbach’s No Sleep Till Böcklin. (I would also have accepted They Say The Arnold Böcklin Roll Is Still Beating.) Anyway, next challenge: “Figgins’ Two Lines Pica Antique No. 2.”

The thread’s still running if you want to join in. And if you really love me, darling, bring me Exocet. —JH

Find us on Facebook

Yesterday, our 1,000th Facebook friend became a fan of H&FJ. Won’t you join us?

Fellow typographers have joined us on Facebook to start conversations, share links of interest, and post photographs of things made with H&FJ fonts. (Now showing: group member Rick Griffith’s typographic stencils made from Gotham, in which the scale isn’t immediately apparent; “it’s about eight feet long,” says Rick casually…) Bring your favorite work featuring H&FJ fonts and share it with the class. —JH

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