I'm not talking about the heat and humidity which were plentiful at Surge, TypeCon 2011 held in New Orleans this month, but rather the hottest type topics on the minds of the leaders in the field. They continue to focus on type's adjustment to new technologies and the digital world we live in.
Web fonts. Great strides have been made to supply custom typography to the web over the past five or so years. Designing a site with a broad range of instantly downloadable fonts is now not only possible but probable. Typekit and other developers provide font support for all major browsers and devices.
And the way web fonts are licensed makes so much more sense than licensing a font for print for your computer where you will pay the same cost for it whether you are using it for a one word or an entire newspaper. Web font's pricing is based on traffic to your site. So less use, less cost, which is good news for the small guy.
The issues surrounding static v. dynamic design continue to occupy the type world. It's basically the issue that stumped a lot of print designers transitioning to the web: nothing digital is static or displays the same from one platform to another and the viewer can change their fonts and sizes too. So what can you do to make type behave?
The huge increase in digital text that will never be printed but only read on electronic displays affects a wide range of typographic issues such as how fonts substitute alternative glyphs or characters in a font automatically, how text and pages reflow on different devices, and how digital books and media will need to be designed to create a readable, aesthetically pleasing "book" that will translate from one device to another and handle things like fluid hyphenation, or pagination. So far the options aren't very impressive when designing for the Kindle or other electronic devices, but that is part of the excitement of being in a transitional state as we are figuring it out (like the web fonts issue) and creating new paradigms as we go.