Letters and their Shapes
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Font is an important part of the way that we think about what we're reading — the way we consume the message. Think about all the considerations that designers have when they think about fonts, the wild variety of opinions that people have about Comic Sans, and all the recent talk about what makes a good or bad resume font. There's even a whole documentary about Helvetica. The shapes of letters affect the way we process information.
Typography and font have an iconic history on Kickstarter, too (ha ha, pun intended). Scroll down for an overview of the ways in which people are thinking about design, typeface, and the relationship between the two across the site — some of these projects are live, and some are from Kickstarter's history.
"As a typographer I am interested in the disappearing of handwriting or its suppression by the typewriter," writes Harald Geisler. The Typographic Postcard project features messages like "Email Me" and "Sent from my Phone," spelled out with keyboard keys, photographed in their actual size. It's all about the weird relationship between the variety of human expression and the uniformity of conveying our feelings in type.
The goal of Aerial Bold was to literally "read" the surfaces of the world to create a database of letterforms made by buildings and other map elements. Typography of topography, indeed.
Which city has its own font thanks to Kickstarter? Why, Chattanooga, of course. The Chatype was created by Jeremy Dooley and Robbie De Villiers to give the Tennessee city a sense of identity that paid tribute to both its natural setting and its burgeoning design community. The story of the typeface is a fascinating one (watch a video of its original presentation and concept here) — and it's now in use across the city.
Chattanooga isn't the only typeface inspired by a place on Kickstarter. In 2012, Julieta Ulanovsky created the Montserrat typeface as a tribute to the old Buenos Aires neighborhood where she lived and worked. You can follow the progress of Montserrat in the project's updates.
Perhaps the perfect typeface for drafting a letter to your shrink, the Sigmund Freud font is sourced straight from Freud's handwriting — the analysis was done with digital images of Freud's letters and documents. (Pssst: this was Harald Geisler and R. Keller's first collaborative font project, but they have a live project, too — the Albert Einstein handwriting font).
The Virginia Arts of the Book Center is creating a specimen book (that is, a typeface sample book) to display Virginia's largest public collection of lead type. This huge collection of moveable type has been available for use to artists, but there hasn't been an easy way to see all of it. This is the project to change that.
Letterpress printers Matt Braun and Matt Griffin made it their aim to "scour the globe for ten of the most prized fonts of wood type," focusing specifically on wood fonts with characteristics that were lacking in the digital world — and then digitize them and make them available for use. You can find those fonts online in their store now.
Finally, a children's book for typography nerds. Are You My Typeface? is a book about a little lost A looking for its family. Awww.