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Is fine typography  finally coming to the web?
Type and web designers are abuzz. The new type format WOFF (Web Open Font Format) may finally make a multitude of fonts available for use when designing websites. WOFF will probably become the new defacto web standard for type as more font designers, vendors and software companies continue to add their support to this format.

Many font vendors who previously would not let their TrueType or OpenType fonts be licensed for the web due to the ease of piracy and unlicensed use are supporting the more secure WOFF format fonts. Proprietary and free-software browser vendors also like WOFF and Mozilla/Foxfire just announced their support this past week.

WOFF also has a lossless compresson which means fonts will render accurately and quickly.

The @font-face tag within Cascading Style Sheets  allows fonts to be used on web pages. WOFF files include license-related XML data that can help type sellers enforce the legal use of their typefaces and enable them to readily identify if their fonts are used in a way that violates the license terms.

Want to know more about what's involved in using fonts on websites? Read Hofler and Frere-Jones illuminating FAQ's.

Equestrian Travel Association
There's  more of my lettering work to be seen.

Letter News Newsletter
is a free, informative monthly e-newletter which contains information about any and all aspects of lettering and typography: commercial and artistic applications, tips and suggestions, lettering resources, lettering in the news and current lettering work.

Issue 13             
October 2009
Hotel Monte Mulani logotype
After I handwrote copy for the brochures of two new hotels in Croatia in both English and Croatian, one of them adopted their written name as their logotype. Sweet! It's an incredibly beautiful hotel and location as well.
Image above linked to Hotel Monte Mulini.
Lettering: Jill Bell

Seong the Great Hangul: one of the few writing systems in use with an
actual inventor

Most writing systems evolve over hundreds, if not thousands of years (see Lost Letters below). But around 1443, Sejong the Great, the Third King of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea (right) proposed that a new writing system be developed for Korea. His premise was that the complex Chinese characters (known as hanja or kanji) which they had been using were so difficult that only privileged aristocrats (usually male) had the time and means to learn to read and write fluently. Hangul was designed to be so simple that even a commoner could learn to read and write.

Hangul faced opposition by the literate elite such as the Confucian scholars who believed kanji to be the only legitimate writing system. However, hangul became very popular, spread throughout Korea and was as widely used as Sejong had hoped. It is the official script of North and South Korea.

Unlike the pictogram based kanji, hangul has phonemic (sound) based glyphs, which are organized into syllabic blocks. Each block consists of at least two of the 24 Hangul glyphs (jamo), with at least one each of the 14 consonants and 10 vowels. These syllabic blocks can be written horizontally from left to right as well as vertically from top to bottom in columns from right to left.

Many Korean linguists, typographers and calligraphers have said that while the redesign was very revolutionary, they it didn't quite go far enough toward simplification, ie: letting each glyph (jamo) stand on it's own instead of grouping them in syllables, and breaking writing by words instead of syllables. Still, it was a significant improvement hangulover kanji and achieved it's goal of vastly increasing literacy in Korea.

The Koreans celebrate their writing system
on Hangul Day, October 9th, every year.

The word "hangul" written in hangul (from Wikipedia).
Type History
Lost LettersLetters Lost
Sumner Stone speculates about the forms that fell from favor

The renown and respected Sumner Stone's recent presentation LETTERS LOST: A didactic elegy is now available for all to see and read on his website. Stone briefly conjectures about the beginnings of writing, with a look at the letter forms that didn't pass the test of time. Lovely historical examples are accompanied by Stone's own clearly drawn versions (many of which are contained in his font Numa) and little humorous, insightful verses as well.
Note from Jill
Back from the international arts festival in Korea
I had a wonderful time as a maestro at the III Delphic Games in Korea in September: judging the calligraphy contest, giving a presentation, and exhibiting my lettering work. The Delphic Games are an international arts festival, a revival of the ancient Greek creative competitions (like the Olympics are to sports). From poetry and drawing, to music and dancing, there were 18 categories, over 50 countries, and over 1,500 participants. I was one of three calligraphy judges; the other two were from Korean and Oman (in the middle east)--a diverse trio indeed, although we had no problem agreeing on the winning pieces.

I've featured Korean script in this Letter News Newsletter and Korean printing in a previous one (ie: Korea being the first country to use movable type in an extant book). Besides learning amazing new things about Korean printing and writing, I also learned a lot about Korean cuisine and culture.

I've finally culled down over 2,000 photographs to a few hundred with two separate slide shows (one that is just graphics for my lettering and design colleagues) from the arts festival in Jeju and my trip to Seoul. The photos are now online (even some pictures of the food). Check them out.

Jill Bell Brandlettering
913 649.4505


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