Please Read: Typophile (TEMP)

Jared Benson's picture

Change is hard.

But the Flash home page had to go. We all knew it was way past its prime.

This temporary Typophile theme you're seeing now puts us back at our roots, in a way. Since 2000, Typophile has been a vibrant community focused around these very forums. It's a community built around a love for the craft of typography and design, and these forums have been home to hundreds of thousands of conversations around type.

Don't worry, this is not the new permanent look for Typophile. It's merely a temporary state while we tighten up a new look for Typophile. Removing the Flash is the first big necessary step toward correcting a number of other bugs (file upload, anyone?) that have been plaguing us. Rather than take the site down while we get things squared away, we opted to keep it up so you can talk type while we're heads-down on the new Typophile.

Yes, we know the theme is not perfect. Go easy, make constructive suggestions and we'll make CSS tweaks as we go.

Most of all, get involved!

butterick's picture

A filter would be nice.

Filtering should be bidirectional: once user X is blocked, I'll never see posts by user X, and user X will never see mine.

Since 2000, Typophile has been a vibrant community focused around these very forums. It's a community built around a love for the craft of typography and design

Many smart, experienced, reasonable typographers have essentially withdrawn from Typophile because Typophile eventually punishes everyone who is smart, experienced, or reasonable about typography. That seems like a more pertinent issue than what the CSS looks like.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Well, if webfonts = fonts rendered as raster via javascript, then XP works fine. I'm still using XP myself.

Sye's picture

I agree, the filter would be great.

mosh's picture

I have posted here seldom. I love typography (reading about it, creating fonts now and then) and I thought I would find here interesting content since I registered around 5 years ago. My experience was that many responses "sounded" quite conceited, too amateur-excluding, snobbyish if not plain boring. I'm not implying that anybody did that on purpose but as a result Typophile was practically of no interest for me.
Add that to the fact that in Facebook era internet forums are quite limited (interaction-wise) and you could have more reasons for this user abandonment you guys are now resenting.
Just my two cents.

John Hudson's picture

This is a blockquote test. The last word of this sentence should be in italics. The last word of this sentence should be bold.

John Hudson's picture

Ah, that seems an improvement. My recollection is that I couldn't get nested styling to work in blockquote text previously.

riccard0's picture

Filtering should be bidirectional: once user X is blocked, I'll never see posts by user X, and user X will never see mine.

Then user X log out, and BOOM, they can read anything. Or are you advocating a closed forum?

hrant's picture

> Typophile eventually punishes everyone who is
> smart, experienced, or reasonable about typography.

You probably don't agree, but to me that sounds like a
condemnation of human nature itself. Maybe I'm not
enough of a cynic - I'm one of those people who thinks
that openness is the only way to make progress, and
forcing yourself to discuss things with people you don't
agree with* makes you -and your environment- better.
To be fair, many people are not willing or able to spend
the time to defend their views. But that's the nature of
any public presence. Nobody can have everything.

* On various levels, not just serif shapes!

Your definitions of smart, experienced and reasonable*
will not be identical to anybody else's. So, what to do?
I can only think of one way: tolerance. Filter life very
lest you end up in a deep, guilded trench.

* This last one especially is no way to approach culture.


William Berkson's picture

Yes, Hrant, there are many people who are both gifted and rude. There are also many not so gifted and rude, who are at least as numerous. My point is that if you allow rudeness on a forum, then you are going to keep people away. Even if the person is gifted, the rudeness is too damaging to a forum to permit, in my opinion.

Furthermore, I don't think the solution is a matter of excluding people, except in the rarest instance. If you set up a structure that encourages respect and deletes personal attacks you will get people who might be rude holding back. There is something about forums on the internet that seems to bring out 'flaming' from people unless. And those people might be much more courteous in person. So something needs to be done to encourage a culture of respect and courtesy.

This does not mean no criticism of work. People can be tough critics of work without getting personal. It is attacking the person, not the work, that should be banished.

One possibility is to have an 'abuse' button at the side of the page, with the ads etc., and with a statement of 'no personal attacks' policy. The idea would be that you could drag the button on top of a post to flag it, and that would alert the admins. I don't know how hard that would be to program, but it would mean that you clearly warn people, and have a mechanism. I don't think it would have to be used so much after a while. And people might be more courteous.

There may be better ways, and I'd be interested in hearing the experience of others on other forums, and how this is handled.

hrant's picture

Once in a blue moon, I agree with 100%
of a post of yours. This is such a case.

Concerning excluding somebody from a list, in all these
years I myself have only wanted that to happen to one
person, because it became sadly clear that his only reason
to be on that list was to defame me. All the other confron-
tations I feel have only helped me improve my tolerance,
knowledge and... mensch. :-)


Ray Larabie's picture

I like the new look but I think there's been a mistake because Hrant posts still show up. Is that a bug?

Rob O. Font's picture

"Change is hard."

But it's looking good. I do understand why there are three columns at the top of the site, but once one scrolls down, 1/2 the page is blank columns, and then another 1/6th is blank beneath the avatar in each post... ending up on my iPad at around 50 characters per line at 6.25 point in either orientation.

So, I wouldn't mind either longer lines, or a note-making feature in the blanks beside each post, (so one could note "{to read later}" e.g. to ones self or gather notes beside posts over time for a later response), or both.

I'm also renewing my lobby to get a bigger tighter wiki, and put it more "out front", so that newbies, novices and amnesiacs with common recurring questions can get answers, or find threads where the options are described for their issue.

This is what's hardest, I think, 'cause as you can all see, keeping a thread on track is nearly impossible. People, i think, actually seek to delight in doing otherwise.

Sample Private Note for left column: (Speaking of which, I though "Typeboard" was going to be like Flipboard and aggregate all my type sites, forums, feeds, font tools, basecamp and "social" media.;)

joeclark's picture

Well, there’s even less of an excuse, then.

blank's picture

I'm also renewing my lobby to get a bigger tighter wiki, and put it more "out front", so that newbies, novices and amnesiacs with common recurring questions can get answers, or find threads where the options are described for their issue.

On a related note, the moderators could solve a lot of the redundant question problems with FAQs or stickies of common questions. Almost every other forum on the internet does this. That might derail a lot of pointless conversations asking “is type design art” or “how do I make a random font?”

Renaissance Man's picture

Previous upgrades and improvements have resulted in breaking something else that previously worked. I don't expect things to be different this time, but hope does spring eternal.

As far as rudeness, duplication, inane comments, nondescript thread titles, yada, yada, yada, that comes with the territory. Even some of notable type designers have been way over the top. We're pretty much self-policing here, and it seems to work. It does seem that moderators have been less intrusive/aggressive; is that because we're better behaved than we used to be? If inappropriate material is really a concern, maybe there should be a link to report offensive posts.

Chris Dean's picture

@Jared Benson: How did you make your type bigger than everyone else’s?

daverowland's picture

Can't say I've ever noticed Hrant being overly abrasive; only ever been helpful to me. Anyway, about the new design:
How do you insert images into posts?
Images in old posts aren't showing
It's annoying having to scroll to the bottom of a long thread to get to the next/last page
Would be nice to be able to put pdfs into posts other than the first one in the thread - and indeed, into other peoples' threads.


apankrat's picture

Hrant issues aside, the new design makes my eyes bleed.

Here's how I'd fix it - clicky-click - a 5 minute effort of tweaking original CSS directly in the browser. More contrast, proper vertical alignment between the comment text and the info box, narrower comment area with wider right margin, "new" is replaced with a simple indicator, and few other tweaks.

McBain_v1's picture

Can I second the comment from riccrd0 about webfonts as the netbook that I use to browse also runs XP (although I have to confess that I am mystified as to why webfonts and XP don't get along - I will google this later).

John Lyttle's picture

Adding a dot and following the discussion, since the marks feature does not seem to be active now.

Nick Shinn's picture

I’d like to get behind the makeover.
But I wish it would lead with pictures, not text or layout.
Please rebuild the site around the functionality of images of type.


Speaking of layout, once a layout achieves a certain amount of hierarchical complexity, it needs to move to a sans+serif system.
This is particularly so for serif type in pixel display.
Beefy bold sans subheads for contrast with regular serif text, pretty basic.
If text is not running (e.g. small and scan mode), it is better in sans.
Presently, I’m conscious of a kind of serific Georgian miasma, a disturbing optical effect, especially in all grey.

hrant's picture

A picture says a thousand words. But it's
the same 5 words over and over again. :-)
To me, text is king - pictures are the regalia.


Nick Shinn's picture

Yes, it’s a discussion forum, but we’re discussing something which is primarily visual, so let’s see it!
I am particularly interested in expressing/communicating as a graphic designer/writer, creating a dialog involving the image/text dialectic. You know, pictures with captions, fig.1, fig 2, fig iii, &c.—not least because this provides the opportunity for layout and typography, in situ.

Sye's picture

I like what David said about his thoughts of Typeboard - a place to collect all the type feeds I follow. Interesting.

hrant's picture

Sort of like the Dot-MP domain?* Now that's a good idea.

* E.G.


Chris Dean's picture

Grey type? Anyone?

Chris Dean's picture

Oh, and allowing users to choose the font their name appears in when you view their profile would be a sweet (but probably very difficult to pull off) touch. And for compatibility reasons, I’m certainly against web fonts (at this point).

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You can enable Cleartype on XP. This will help "lightly" y-direction hinted fonts, which is what most hand hinted web fonts are today. Optionally you can use a font that is hinted in both x and y. XP is not the issue.

Still awaiting an answer on the real questions.

Jared Benson's picture

@Christopher: The original post is larger type. Personally, I'd like to see more of the site in this larger size. Historically, this has been a hotly contested subject.

@Nick Shinn: We couldn't agree more. We absolutely want to see images emphasized more.

Regarding font feeds, has been on the site for about 7 years.

daverowland's picture

so in the meantime, how are people posting images? I've seen a few up since the change.

William Berkson's picture

I knew about the aggregator, which was under 'news', but somehow it wasn't so inviting. The current version, with bigger text, and clean, is more inviting. A link for it should be prominent on the new site you are building, with a very simple format.

dezcom's picture

Images will post but they have to be small. I can't figure out the breakpoint because it does not appear to be the same each time. In the old days 550 pixels wide was fine. Now, there appears to be something else added to the mix. Sometimes, if I reopen the image and save it down in quality, it will work. No where near as well as it used to, though.
I would like to see larger type in the Comment box while I am typing--then again, I am an old fart.

riccard0's picture

XP is not the issue.

No, default settings are, and the fact that most visitors will not know how/bother to change them.

I'd like to see more of the site in this larger size. Historically, this has been a hotly contested subject

Me too. Keep in mind that screens are getting bigger and/or denser, and the trend on the web (and, consequently, what people are used to) is towards bigger text.

how are people posting images?

Hotlinking, using a < img > tag.

Té Rowan's picture

For this interim skin, I'd like to see darker text. There are times I'm tempted to grab a loupe.

hrant's picture

How easy would it be to set up "following"*?
So you could choose people whose posts you
want to see without having to go in and click
on threads or their profiles.

* Which hopefully won't become "stalking". :-)


Michel Boyer's picture

Is it not possible to just put it larger in the browser?

William Berkson's picture

Darker is better. Contrast helps readability; I think that is one of the few things not disputed about readability.

dezcom's picture

Black is beautiful--one more vote for black type.

hrant's picture

I actually do think there's a limit. Max black on max white on a
really bright monitor can indeed be too much. What about making
it customizable? In a user's profile there could be a "Which looks
best to you?" series one could choose from.


William Berkson's picture

People can always adjust brightness/contrast on their computer screens. High contrast should be default for type.

hrant's picture

I would opine that text and photos/video have different
needs in terms of contrast and brightness, and since you
certainly don't want users to have to keep adjusting their
monitors I think it would be nice for the site to allow users
to "dial down" the text contrast if they happen to have a
very bright display and/or are in a dark environment.


brianskywalker's picture

I like Apankrat's edit of the design.

I do have some ideas for improvements:

  1. Some sort of "thread summary" bit, that allows any Typophile to write up a summary of the thread, including notable posts (and allow anyone to edit). This would make some of those, for example. 10 page threads much more approachable.
  2. Email notice for replied comments. I don't log into Typophile first thing every day, or even log in every day. But usually I do with my email. So that would be cool.
  3. Also, using Markdown for comments would be a major plus, as it would make things much more simple, in my opinion.

The lack of good discussion lately, I think can be pointed to lack of participation from almost all parties, including myself. It's not that there aren't interesting things to talk about, just not enough interest.

kentlew's picture

I have been overriding elements of this CSS for a while now (via Stylish add-on for Firefox), continually tweaking and customizing my personal view. In fact, a few of Alex’s (apankrat’s) customizations mirror my own.

As far as the body type color, I have to say, I find complete black too harsh (I’ve tried it) — and I even have my monitor tuned down to D50 white point for book work, which is pretty low contrast. So, be careful what you ask for.

I have it set in my CSS right now to #333333, which I find dark enough, not harsh, but not markedly grey.

brianskywalker's picture

I'm thinking I'll be using something like Stylish for my own use, too. That will help for now.

Could you guys please add img { overflow: scroll; } to Typophile's stylesheets? :)

Chris Dean's picture

*nods in agreement*
(and is using the new “reply” feature for the first time to see what happens)

William Berkson's picture

On the contrast issue, I think past tests are on print, so the glare of the screen might be an issue. But I would think that slightly greying the background, rather than reducing the black would be a thing to try.

dezcom's picture

>>But I would think that slightly greying the background, rather than reducing the black would be a thing to try.

I think the same. The glare comes from the bright white, not because of the black type.

JamesT's picture

Could we also get a copy of the navigation (within the threads) at the top of the page? For threads that are several pages long, it's a bit annoying to scroll to the bottom to get to the next page.

jabez's picture

I'm a moderator on another forum, so while I do appreciate Typophile's resistance to the cookie-cutter vBulletin, I can't help feel like this community could really benefit from a more robust set of tools, like yesterday.

vBulletin has most of the necessary tools that make it easier to run a discussion board and manage a large community, while offering users customizable options that hopefully improve their experience and encourage participation. From blocking posts from specific users to thread notification/subscription, it's already 'baked-in'. Time could be invested in customizing templates/styles. Punchcut's approach may have served Typophile well to date (I don't really know, I wasn't there :p), but perhaps the growth of the community in recent years demands a look at more specialized tools?

Dan Gayle's picture

Hot dang! I love it. I don't care if it's a bog-standard forum theme. It's always the content that matters. Now all you have to do is add a few more moderators and/or web developers willing to help out. (Count me in, if you need it.)


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