Font Aid V: Made For Japan

Grant Hutchinson's picture

The Society of Typographic Aficionados is organizing Font Aid V: Made For Japan, a project uniting the typographic and design communities with a goal of raising funds to expedite relief efforts after the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We hope to be able to complete something akin to the Font Aid IV: Coming Together typeface, which was created to benefit the victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Update! The project theme and submission guidelines have been posted.

Update! The typeface now has a name … “Made For Japan”

Thanks in advance for your help.

— Grant

matt_yow's picture

made my submissions. just in time. whew

matt_yow's picture

[double post]
is there an expected release date for the typeface? (I know its a bit early yet)

Jongseong's picture

I hope my submission is not too late.

I made two glyphs representing a paper crane, one a silhouette and the other an outline. The two are combined in the picture above.

cuttlefish's picture

Ugh, I type like a third-grader sometimes.

Vertex's picture

My contribution to this outstanding initiative: »The Chrysanthemum«

Grant Hutchinson's picture

@chris, @riccardo, et al.

I just wanted to let everyone know that your submissions have been received.

We didn’t send out automated responses this year, as I wanted to make sure that I touched base with all participants as the submissions came in. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), our inbox was hit with an overwhelming amount of mail — and I’m still catching up.

I should be finished reviewing all of the files and starting the process of compiling the final OpenType font sometime tomorrow.

We’ll also be sending out an email update to participants this coming week. And as always, the latest information will appear on the SOTA website and via our Twitter account.

Grant Hutchinson's picture

@matt Depending on how complicated the work will be to compile the hundreds of individual glyphs into a single file, I’m anticipating that the final font will be available through various distributors by the end of next week.

Fingers crossed.

Vladimir Tamari's picture

From Tokyo - Safe here but it has been quite an unsettling and tragic couple of weeks for the people and the country!
I illustrated a friend's poem on the events:
http://www.ufufuo.net/writinginministry/It-tai.pdf
I just saw this thread ...I assure you that the Japanese press and ordinary people are really heart warmed by all the support commiseration they are getting from abroad. I like Dezcome's designs of Hokusai's tsunami - perhaps the red sun somehow transformed into a red tear (as in the Typophile logo?) might be appropriate?
Yes John this accident will become a rallying cry against nuclear power..hope that the world really learns to conserve energy and turn to safe sources.

nina's picture

Thanks for another great initiative. I thought I'd have to skip this but idea struck literally at the last moment...

Based on the kanji for Beauty, 美.

hrant's picture

hhp

dezcom's picture

Nice one Hrant!

riccard0's picture

There’s a sneak peek of some glyphs over at http://www.typesociety.org/fontaid/ now.

Jamieson's picture

Hrants post actually struck me.... its always the simple ones that work

hrant's picture

Thank you. A problem though is that it needs
those colors (especially the blue) to work best.

hhp

dezcom's picture

The colors are not really needed, Hrant, it works just fine for me in black.

riccard0's picture

I would say, it works best in black and white.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ hrant

Very good. With regard to the colors I think, it works best, if either the blue or the red is replaced with white. And not in a square, but with the proportions of the flag. The combination of blue and red is clearer, but it is ugly and extremely aggressive. Much more aggressive than the total contrast of blue and orange in my opinion.

hrant's picture

The colors *are* pretty ugly... And I guess it's "aggressive" too. But ugly and aggressive *do* describe [the effects of] a tsunami! :-/ However making the background a flag shape (in this case 3:2) is a very good idea. Anyway, what I submitted is of course a colorless, borderless glyph, so people will do with it what they like. That said, here's something hopefully more refined:

BTW, isn't *Yellow* the opposite of Blue?

hhp

eliason's picture

BTW, isn't *Yellow* the opposite of Blue?

When dealing with pigments (subtractive), orange and blue are complementary. When dealing with screens (additive), yellow and blue are complementary.

Arno Enslin's picture

Isn't *Yellow* the opposite of Blue?

No. Only in Photoshop. (Before I had posted my previous message, I had replaced the colors in Photoshop and I wondered, why it had inverted blue to yellow.)

Red, blue and yellow are the main colors. Although the rgb model (red, green [but not yellow] and blue) works different on the screen, the complementary contrasts are these:

Red/Green
Blue/Orange
Yellow/Violet
Black/White

And yes, when I wrote, that the combination of blue and red is extremely aggressive, I also thought, that a Tsunami is extremely aggressive. But nevertheless it is also beautiful, if you have a look on it from a safe distance. It brings the death, but it is not ugly. In contradiction to that the combination of pure blue and pure red on screen is ugly in most cases, especially if the relation of the areas is so balanced. In case of your image I think, that the color harmony should have priority.

I also dislike the combination of pure blue and pure yellow on screen. Red/blue (neither complementary in the pigment-, nor in the rgb-model), red and its rgb-complementary color (turquoise?) and green/violet are likewise ugly in my opinion.

With the darker blue it works much better.

hrant's picture

I wouldn't say "only in Photoshop" - in fact to me the Subtractive system is far less
"natural" than the Additive. So I'm going with Yellow being the opposite of Blue.

hhp

Arno Enslin's picture

I think, we both are wrong. But I have not yet made out, where my error in reasoning is.

According to http://colorschemedesigner.com/ the complementary color of #0000ff is #ffbf00. How would you call #ffbf00? On my screen it looks like a very decent orange. If I had mixed orange, it had looked more red. (Photoshop inverts #0000ff to #ffff00.)

hrant's picture

> Photoshop inverts #0000ff to #ffff00.

In the RGB/Additive system; and those are pure Blue and Yellow. But converting to CMYK all kinds of things can happen, depending. BTW whenever you speak of 3×2 hex color codes you're necessarily talking about RGB (although those numbers could have come from a CMYK conversion).

hhp

Arno Enslin's picture

I am not sure. If I am in the RGB modus of Photoshop and invert the blue, it shouldn’t be yellow. But maybe this is dependent from my preferences. Somehow I cannot imagine, that Photoshop makes these basic things wrong. I mean, the complementary color of the pure blue is not yellow. If I compare #ffff00 and #fffb00 directly, I recognize a big difference, at least if am not staring to long on blue.

hrant's picture

But in actual emitted light, it's true!
Red + Green + Blue = White; Red + Green = Yellow; White - Blue = Yellow; etc.

hhp

Arno Enslin's picture

But in actual emitted light, it's true!

Sure, but I think, that human beings have evolved in an environment, in which they primary have seen light, that was reflected from pigments. But wait, I think, this is no valid argument, because indirect light likewise adds up. Light with different frequency always adds up and the reflection properties of different pigments always subtract. And the color of (the light reflected from) pigments is partly dependent from the color of the light, that irradiates them. “In the night all cats are black.” This doesn’t mean only, that they look black, but that they are black in the night. So the color of a pigment is a loose property, while their physical properties are very own. That’s a very interesting theme. But we are off topic. We should discuss that in another thread.

Arno Enslin's picture

When I typed in #0000ff at http://colorschemedesigner.com/ last night, I did not recognize, that this adjusts the color scheme. It is a great tool, but it was twisted after my input. If you load one of the presets, namely the default preset, you really can find color pairs, that are percepted as complementary. But Hrant, I think color is an extremely complicated theme. In the end it is more a question of perception than one of mathematics.

hrant's picture

> I think color is an extremely complicated theme.

Indeed - thank god for fonts! (Hey, wait, fonts are extremely complicated too... :-)

hhp

dezcom's picture

If a Rose smells as sweet as a Rose by any other name, does not a color look as it does even other some other name, number or classification system? Color is one of those creatures that, as Albers so well described, relies on its environment (light and the other colors around it) to "be" what it is. ;-) You can add the perceptive proclivities of the viewer to that as well.

Hrant's form works quite well in the absence of color and does not change its meaning too radically when color is added. With all the many possible settings of monitors and human perceptions, I have no idea what Hrant, Arno, or anyone else is actually seeing.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Chris

I think, that I see, what was intended by Hrant:

1. The symbolized rising sun (from the Japanese flag).
2. The sea, which has flooded Japan. There is the shape of Japan coast in the disc. (Well, Hrant, you also could have cutted the disc with the shape of the North coast, since the Tsunami came from the South [or East].)

The Japanese flag is very memorable. If I would see a rectangle with a black disc in it, I would not directly associate Japan, but simply a black disc in a white rectangle. So I can comprehend, why Hrant insists in the red. Why should the flag be suddenly black? Because the Japanese are in teariness? I even don’t know, whether black is the color of distress in Japan. But case it is, there seems to be much more hope than distress in Japan.

So with regard to the reduction to the basics, Hrant’s idea is perfect.

hrant's picture

Thanks for the continued compliments.

> you also could have cutted the disc with the shape of the North coast

The original idea (which I had waking up one morning - sleep is an amazing thing) was to use the Western coast. But besides making less sense it simply wasn't taking a big enough piece out of the disk/sun. Plus it seemed less like Japan - which brings me to this point: I think using anything less than the full length of the country would have made it almost impossible to see that it's an actual coastal shape; even the way it is, I'm having to tell [most] people. And as I've said before/elsewhere, I'm not a fan of the overly-subtle arrow in the FedEx logo! :-)

Speaking of black/white: in India white is the color of a funeral.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Arno, that is exactly what I saw as well. By presenting the glyph as Hrant has, with no further forms, he has allowed much more flexibility in use for the glyph. The rising sun was on many thousands of early Japanese artworks even before it became a flag. Japan is one of the few countries that has used a minimalist approach to things to such a degree that you can even say it has become a national trait. Think of the Haiku and the tatami mat and the elegant uses of minimal spaces in architecture seen there. It seems that the Japanese ask more of their readers than we westerners do. Where many westerners would see an empty space as something that must be filled, the Japanese see it as something to cherish and behold. Perhaps being an Island Nation with no room for outward expansion, they revere unadorned space as something great and difficult to attain.

As for personal differences, I would immediately think of Japan with a black disk in a white rectangle. I also see the Fedex arrow as so blatant and heavy handed as to seem like a cheap parlor trick. Such is the difference of both human perception and the effect of our own culture and direct experience. None of us is wrong in what we see yet each of us is most exactly accurate in what we see for ourselves. If not mistaken, I think that Tibet thinks of Red as a funeral color. By leaving the glyph unadorned as Hrant has, the person who uses it to speak to an intended audience he is familiar with, has the opportunity to direct properly to that audience even if it confounds the rest of us. If you think of the absolute sense of the metric system compared to the English system of measure, you can not argue with the logic. Good luck getting US Citizens to adopt it tough ;-)

dezcom's picture

Also, I see no need to specify the exact coast where the damage was most felt. It is a symbolic gesture not a literal one. Here we say "It is raining cats and dogs" although this has never happened. We still get the message even though it can never be close to literal.

Rob O. Font's picture

>We still get the message even though it can never be close to literal.

...which I think is irrelevant? In fact, I would go so far as to say, the farther one goes from a simple literal message, especially over time, cross-culture, and under such tragic circumstances, the less likely one is to have the faintest idea what impact complex symbolic messages might have on the intended audience.

dezcom's picture

"...the less likely one is to have the faintest idea what impact complex symbolic messages might have on the intended audience."

That is what visual communication professionals throughout the World are for. The glyph Hrant created was like any other glyph in any off-the-shelf font. The user of the font decides on what to use and how to use it. The @ sign was never originally intended to stand for today's most common use of it. Any of the ascii emoticon combinations popular today online are valid fabrications of users yet bear no resemblance to what their individual parts were designed for. Type designers are the makers of visual tools which can be used or combined with others for use in any way the user sees fit. I would bet that every single normal alphabetical glyph from A to Z started as something far different in meaning than we use today. "A" no-longer means bulls head. This is just the ingenuity of humankind putting tools to work. That is not to say that users will always choose well and that every use will be perfectly understood by everyone. If someone is too lazy to go down to their basement to get a tack hammer and uses their conveniently located cell phone to pound in a tack, the phone maker is not at fault if the fragile device breaks. The user may well be satisfied with his choice of tool and the fact that the tack is indeed driven as desired no-matter what the rest of the world may think. Sure there can be consequences when unintended damage is done in the process but that does not mean a tool should never have an unintended use. If there were a mother who happened to be wearing a very expensive silk blouse and uses it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of her injured child, would she not be willing to ignore the damage to her blouse in favor of the health of her child?

Yes, the type designer surely has not the faintest idea of what impact individual uses of the glyph might have, but that does not mean a cell phone, silk blouse, tack hammer or automobile should not be created. Even if the proper tool was selected for brain surgery, it would be a horrible mistake to see it used by someone not highly skilled and capable.

After reading this, I see I have written the classic example of an over-reaction to a harmless comment.--Sorry, David! :-)

riccard0's picture

Any update?

matt_yow's picture

I second the question.

Gunarta's picture

i made something in fontstruct..
It's for japan! Ganbatte Kudasai!

:)

it's named "Pray for Japan"

Pray For Japan

(someone help me? i donno how to post some pics)

riccard0's picture

i donno how to post some pics

Gunarta's picture

omg, thanks riccad0. Nice to met u here and in fs :)

eliason's picture

Will this project see release?

riccard0's picture

An update from SOTA:

It’s been quite a while since you heard from us about the Font Aid V: Made For Japan typeface. We’re sorry about that.

Rest assured, we haven’t forgotten about you. Things have been progressing — slower than we had hoped — but we definitely wanted to let you know what was going on.

The process of integrating the hundreds of glyphs that were submitted has been a massive task. We underestimated both the number of people interested in participating, as well as the sheer amount of work required to get the “Made For Japan” font assembled. There are currently three people working feverishly to put the finishing touches on the typeface, which we hope to have available in early June through several font distributors.

We apologize that there hasn’t been more regular communication about the status of the Font Aid V project. We promise that will change very soon.

Thanks again to everyone who participated and helped us spread the word.

brockfrench's picture


Just because~ I hope others will 'just because' here too...
as incentive and/or encouragement. Be well.

dezcom's picture

Anything new on a release date, yet?

riccard0's picture

SOTA says “very soon”:
http://twitter.com/#!/typesociety/status/108044395982495744

A sneak peek at the glyphs:
http://twitter.com/#!/positype/status/84710589913509888

dezcom's picture

Thanks for the update, Riccardo!

hrant's picture

So, wassup?

hhp

riccard0's picture

News from SOTA:

We are pleased to announce that the Made For Japan typeface is finally ready! The font will be available through MyFonts, Fonts.com, Ascender Fonts, Linotype, and Veer within the next several days.

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