I design 31 typefaces in 31 days:

fwistard's picture

Hello Typography Nerds,

Let me start out by saying that this undertaking probably insults every fundamental rule and convention about typography and quality with which you are all so familiar. I am but a humble graphic artist without the mind nor the memory for such feats of typographic rhetoric with which you all so deftly wax poetic. In fact, when I design I am often boozy and operating without much more than a fraction of a percentage point of my brain (...an exertion, to be honest).

That said, I am going to experiment with new 'typefaces' every day for the month of January. I have recycled my Book Covers Blog for the purpose. This is likely to result in broken links and tears. I won't spend very much time on them but I have all these sketches that I need to get out of my system while things are slow. You can download an EPS of each font which you must hand-set like they did in ye olden dayes. Sorry, but I'm too impatient and dumb to bother creating an OTF for each one - plus some of them probably won't work.

You are welcome to use these on personal or professional work - all I ask is that you don't hold me responsible for the client firing you, and that if god forbid it ever does make it to production, that you send me a copy of whatever you used my typefaces on.

I have only posted three so far, as today is January 3. If you have any comments and would like to post them here or on my blog, I would be grateful.

If you are ever in New york City I invite you to join me for a cigar which I hope will make up for my poor form.

Here it is: type.fwis.com

Graham McArthur's picture

"Let me start out by saying that this undertaking probably insults every fundamental rule and convention about typography and quality with which you are all so familiar."

You'll fit in well here then, because most contemporary type designers follow this path. I also suspect that you are applying too much time and thought in designing these sans faces. To be a real contemporary type nerd you have to spend even less time on quality and creativity.
Besides, your designs already show too much character to generate any excitement here :)

typerror's picture

"when I design I am often boozy and operating without much more than a fraction of a percentage point of my brain "

It shows : )

The fact that you are in Oregon and invite us to have a cigar in NY anytime proves that you belong to the "I can produce a font in a day crowd."

I always heard the drugs were better on the left Coast.

Michael

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

"We will try and post a new typeface every day for free for the month of January, 2008."

Chris, that was a year ago. ;-D

By the way, I'm a fan and follower of your Book Covers Blog. Good luck with this new endeavor.

James Arboghast's picture

Chris, go for it. Altho it is very hard to arrive at original type designs in this age, go for it anyway. See what you can come up with. It's better than being a wet blanket.

@Graham: . . . most contemporary type designers follow this path

Withering stuff.

j a m e s

fwistard's picture

Thanks for the comments so far, you scoundrels!

typerror's picture

"Withering stuff."

e. e. cummings right. Set in a dynamic and flavourful sans. Didn't read it : (
Michael

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

How about "Withering Heights"? ;-D

typerror's picture

Sarted that one too... no serifs. Fell asleep after a page and a half : )

Michael

Graham McArthur's picture

@Graham: . . . most contemporary type designers follow this path

@ James: Withering stuff.

Quite so, James, quite so. Yes, and also e e cummings can not be left out, eh, James?
I am guessing as a poorly educated cretin that "Withering stuff" is in context to the dreary 'experimentalist' theory of art, but I could well be wrong of course - your choice.

We do live in a disturbed, complex and chaotic world and given the traditional instruments of the typographer, how shall the young immature, contemporary type designer with no experience and little knowledge of the origins of his chosen craft, orient himself and what bearing will the bewildering condition of the cosmos have on his thought and on his form?
The young contemporaries answer lies in the experimentalist's 'withering' theory: "old forms must be sacrificed to meet the new order of things and novelty and surprise become the important elements of style". To meet the incongruous of modern life the young type designer must seek for incongruous combinations in his designs.

This can not be questioned, else typography becomes merely dried cheese contaminated by chirography imprisoned by the pen.
However, we still have to question whether the younglings performances are convincing, and that is another matter.

The shock of a badly drawn and proportioned 'glyph', is admittedly a refreshing sight on occasion. But, the mono line, serif-less 'innovations' and 'watershed land-marks', that may seem at first so startling, specially combined with the new tricks of the latest software, have become so extreme and commonplace that they have already become monotonous and harden into a convention more rigid and conforming than the hated "clichés" of traditional type design and typography.
The aesthetic effect of the 'new' and 'innovative' rapidly loses any satisfaction of novelty that it originally had this is the problem with 'the shock of the new'. Then there are the voices. Such voices and advocates, some with charms and trinkets to lure the unwary and the easily led ill informed new kids on the block.

One may even be impressed with the poetic rhetoric of the loud noises produced by the heavy artillery of the "whithering stuff", but as the bombardment continues, it becomes merely tedious, just like its products and other big noises.

And, yes, I suspect that fwistard is, like me, laughing at you rather than with you.

fwistard's picture

A new one: Paratype

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Chris, I love the concept and the typeface, but you may have to change the name to avoid legal woes:

http://www.paratype.com/

[EDIT] Of course, I realize you're not going to turn these ideas into actual fonts, but you should still avoid potential conflicts. :-)

fwistard's picture

Wow thanks for the pointer, Ricardo. If they ask me to change it/take it down I will for sure.

oprion's picture

Omnistroke Sans is brilliant! If only there was a matching set of Cyrillic...
_____________________________________________
Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov
www.ivangdesign.com

James Arboghast's picture

Quite so, James, quite so. Yes, and also e e cummings can not be left out, eh, James?

Incorrect. You and Michael both guessed incorrectly. "Withering stuff" was not a reference to E. E. Cummings. I haven't even read E. E. Cummings because he is a wankshaft, and I don't waste my time reading the piddlings of wankshafts.

I am guessing as a poorly educated cretin that “Withering stuff” is in context to the dreary ’experimentalist’ theory of art, but I could well be wrong of course - your choice.

Nope. Nothing to do with any theories of art. You are, as you say, of course wrong.

My choice: Graham's views of the craft of contemporary type design are the withering stuff. Uninformed, conceited, contemptuous, overblown and tedious.

...the young immature, contemporary type designer with no experience and little knowledge of the origins of his chosen craft...

You assume way too much.

...what bearing will the bewildering condition of the cosmos have on his thought and on his form?

Are you in some kind of competition to write pretentious blather sprinkled with question marks?

The young contemporaries answer lies in the experimentalist’s ’withering’ theory: “old forms must be sacrificed to meet the new order of things and novelty and surprise become the important elements of style”. To meet the incongruous of modern life the young type designer must seek for incongruous combinations in his designs.

This can not be questioned, else typography becomes merely dried cheese contaminated by chirography imprisoned by the pen. However, we still have to question whether the younglings performances are convincing, and that is another matter.

The shock of a badly drawn and proportioned ’glyph’, is admittedly a refreshing sight on occasion. But, the mono line, serif-less ’innovations’ and ’watershed land-marks’, that may seem at first so startling, specially combined with the new tricks of the latest software, have become so extreme and commonplace that they have already become monotonous and harden into a convention more rigid and conforming than the hated “clichés” of traditional type design and typography.

The aesthetic effect of the ’new’ and ’innovative’ rapidly loses any satisfaction of novelty that it originally had this is the problem with ’the shock of the new’. Then there are the voices. Such voices and advocates, some with charms and trinkets to lure the unwary and the easily led ill informed new kids on the block.

One may even be impressed with the poetic rhetoric of the loud noises produced by the heavy artillery of the “whithering stuff”, but as the bombardment continues, it becomes merely tedious, just like its products and other big noises.

And, yes, I suspect that fwistard is, like me, laughing at you rather than with you.

You know, you could make more money as pastry chef, so don't you waste your time on me.

j a m e s

typerror's picture

Nope. pulled "cummings" out of the air because I did not feel like using the shift key!!!!

As to Graham's capabilities, I think he has forgotten more about the true nature of the letterform than you will ever learn. Pick up a pen and join the truly enlightened instead of rehashing the tired and the boring with a marginal changes here and there.!

Michael

fwistard's picture

The only thing that should be getting laughed at is the foolishness of my endeavor. Today's Les Nuit

BruceS63's picture

A nice start to the new year, Chris. Les Nuit reminds me of Matisse's work, and Eurochair makes me think of Elizabethan embroidery, of which my friend Marion Scoular is a master, and teaches worldwide. I look forward to seeing how you do in the last week of the month!

scottsullivan's picture

I really dig Eurochair!!

- Scott Sullivan

russellm's picture

Geeze. & I was going to design 31 glyphs in 31 days :o(

:o)

-=®=-

rcc's picture

Geeze. & I was going to design 31 glyphs in 31 days :o(

Thirty one days?! Sometimes it can take me at least that long to draw a proper sans cap I!

Hmmm... Maybe I should lay off the ouzo after all.   ;)

rcc's picture

@James: You know, you could make more money as pastry chef, so don’t you waste your time on me.

Zappa's "Cosmic Debris," right? Better to quote Frank than e e cummings ... but "wankshaft"? C'mon, now. Next time try "onanist" instead. After all this is a family site & you're posting during prime time. ;)

Edit: BTW, I remembered the line as "butcher," not "pastry chef," & a quick rehearing of the track from Apostrophe proved my memory isn't totally shot yet.

anthonyc's picture

"This one was inspired by an old ad I found for fancy chairs"

We'd love to see the source ad!

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Zappa’s “Cosmic Debris,” right?

I believe FZ spelled it Cosmik Debris (see also: Over-Nite Sensation). :-)

"And now the doggie wee wee, I mean the TrussType, has blinded me! And I can't see... temporarily." ;-)

rcc's picture

@Ricardo:   Nit-picked, point taken, right you are, and so I sit ... er, stand corrected.  Lesson learned: sober up and spel chek befour postin'.

Thanks & best regards,
Richard

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Nice initials, rcc. :-) Sorry to be such a nit-picker!

James Arboghast's picture

Heh! This is disappointing. I was hoping for much more fallout than resulted from my ad hominem personal attack on Graham.

I walked away hoping a big mess would result but I guess I didn't push hard enuff. Tsk, tsk. What amazes me is that nobody flagged Graham's ad hominem personal attack on me, which he made in retaliation for my criticism of his postings, not criticism of him. If I attack a person, that's ad hominem. If I attack a person's ideas or their artwork, that's criticism, plain and simple.

The amazing thing is that ad hominem takes place all over the internet all day and all nite continuously, and most internet users do nothing about it.

So you all failed the "spot the ad hominem attack" test. Somebody should have moderated Graham for his ad hominem personal attack on me, and should also have flagged my ad hominem argument against him made in retaliation.

But you did pass the "I dare you to retaliate endlessly and get all uncivil" test. The thread did not degenerate into an uncivil mess.

This is good! Typo discussions should be about type, not about the peeple discussing the type.

By the way --- standards for literary plagiarism differ greatly from those for graphic and typeface design. In the commercial writing business we call borrowing of another's words "lingua franca" or currency. Other commercial writers I work with freely borrow original lingua franca from me and I borrow freely from them, and we all borrow freely from folks like Frank Zappa, Hampton Francher, Poe, Joseph Conrad, F.D. Roosevelt, etcetera, etcetera. The practice isn't thought of nor is it called "plagiarism" because borrowing only one line is a fair cop, whereas --- by definition --- plagiarism is the borrowing a whole novel or a whole typeface design and passing it off as your own work. At least nobody in the commercial writing business bothers claiming the lingua franca they borrow is original or even theirs.

Yet here in the type world, we have plagiarists who knock off entire typeface designs and claim it as their own work, and original too. Ha ha, bloody ha. That's the type business for you.

@rcc: Normally I do credit my sources when I use lines written by another artist. This time around I replaced "butcher" with pastry chef to avoid accusations of using violent word imagery. "Butcher" involves the use of knives to cut up the carcasses of animals.

I can remember most lines from most Zappa songs accurately, when I choose to. I chose to modify it this time to avoid breaching the civility guidelines. It helps to be careful with your choice of worms.

Better to quote Frank than e e cummings ... but “wankshaft”? C’mon, now. Next time try “onanist” instead. After all this is a family site & you’re posting during prime time. ;)

Heh! I like your sense of humor. It's flexible and I like flexible peeple.

On the subject of how worthwhile this 31 fonts in 31 days project is: I endorse things like this because experimentation is good for type design. Never say never. We just don't know what he may come up with. It may appear pointless on the surface, but really we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. It aint over 'til the fat laydee sings.

j a m e s

fwistard's picture

You guys are weird.

Today we have my Most uselessest OCDest hero-worshipest typeface yet. I think I probably just sorta zen out on stuff like this while listening to music and rocking back and forth. Nyurrrrhhh....

scottsullivan's picture

Hey homie! Koolhand is pretty fun! I really like the 'B' and the 'W'

- Scott Sullivan

AtoZ's picture

"By the way —- standards for literary plagiarism differ greatly from those for graphic and typeface design."

Apparently each field has it own standards regarding borrowing/stealing other's work. Those of you old enough will remember Tom Lehrer's observations about the field of mathematics:

I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.
In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics:
Plagiarize!

Plagiarize,
Let no one else's work evade your eyes,
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
So don't shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
Only be sure always to call it please 'research'.

"And ever since I meet this man
My life is not the same,
And Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name.

. . .

I am never forget the day my first book is published.
Every chapter I stole from somewhere else.
Index I copy from old Vladivostok telephone directory.
This book was sensational!
Pravda - well, Pravda - Pravda said: "Zhil-bil korol kogda-to, pree nyom blokha zhila" It stinks.
But Izvestia! Izvestia said: "Ya idoo kuda sam czar idyot peshkom!"
It stinks.
Metro-Goldwyn-Moskva buys movie rights for six million rubles,
Changing title to 'The Eternal Triangle',
With Ingrid Bergman playing part of hypotenuse.

And who deserves the credit?
And who deserves the blame?
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name.
Hi!

Lobachevsky would not have been well-liked if he had been a type-designer. (But he may nevertheless have been successful--sigh).
 
         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
         When going from A to Z,
         I often end up At Oz.

kosal's picture

Hmm..I thought I posted a comment on your site but it didn't get through. Anyways, about Koolhand. I couldn't even tell they were letters from the pics on the front page, but the whole alphabet in the eps makes a great poster!

scottsullivan's picture

late congratulations on gettin' on I love Typography!!

- Scott Sullivan

Sye's picture

hey eurochair is awesome!

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