Letter News Newsletter
 Surge, TypeCon 2011 logo

The two hot topics at TypeCon

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.  


Issue 28              July 2011

It was great finding my font Gigi used as a logo (and copy) at this lovely little boutique on Jackson Square in New Orleans while I was there for TypeCon last week.

Handwriting v. handwriting font
Is it real, or is it a font...and who cares?


I often talk about when it's good to use handwriting and when you can better use a handwriting font: they are far from being the same thing. Ilene Strizver has tackled the subject in a very knowledgable and straight forward way in What are the pros and cons of handlettering versus hand writing fonts?  Included in her article are some examples of my hand lettering.  Sweet! 


You can also download a free PDF of my related article Tips for all Types where I discuss my thoughts about when you should use aCornerstone Software ad hand letteredn existing font, a modified font, should commission a custom font or use hand lettering.  


If you use type, you are making decisions about letters that should at least be as informed and conscious as how important the documents you are creating are to you.


Cornerstone Software ad

Hand lettered by Jill Bell

Note from Jill
I had a great time at TypeCon in New Orleans this month. Love the city. The programs were great, the hotel beautiful (and right on Bourbon Street) and I enjoyed smoozing with all the type aficionados: from new designers going to their first type conference to Ed Benguiat and his wild, wise and witty words. It was a great experience in a great place and I'd highly recommend them both (just in case you are considering a type conference or a trip south in your future ;-)

Jill TypeCon written by Ed Benguiat

A souvenir: TypeCon written on a paper napkin  

(and signed) by Ed Benguiat


Jill Bell Brandlettering 
provides distinctive,one-of-a-kind lettering solutions
tailored to your individual needs.