TypeCon 2010: A New Birth Of Type

Aug 20, 2010

As good as digital gets there is still no replacement for face-to-face. Never will be. The only thing that a human really understands is other humans. Facial expression, tone of voice, body language – the real people deal – there’s just no way to get that from afar. Technology allows us to adopt a persona in our communications, and the only way past that is to be there.
Ya gotta get out of the office.

The Past Has Passed

It’s amazing how much has changed since last year. Here at TypeCon, there is a new mood: a growing acceptance that the future of fonts is onscreen. A feeling of relief is in the air. Decisions have been made. Last night, in a keynote kick-off, Roger Black of the Font Bureau focused on screen fonts and, with optimism, stated the obvious – that the font industry has to rethink the business of type because there is no going back. Roger was understandably a little light on details but the last slide in his accompanying Powerpoint demo was a price: “99 Cents”

News And Links


Webtype, a partnership between Font Bureau and Ascender Corp, has finally launched. Without even looking, I know the fonts look good. Webtype has a blog, too. See: New Web Font Service Launched by Partnership of Experts
FinkTip: Stop with the “we are the experts” stuff. Nobody cares. Self-congratulatory mumbo doesn’t convince anybody of anything. (Unless you’re trying to convince yourself, which is really what sales copy like that is about.) Pronouncements from on high about your own expertise doesn’t work onscreen. It only undermines the effort.
And if I see from anybody, “use fonts legally” as marketing pitch, I’m going to scream. I’m screaming right now. You might as well hang a sign that says, “Hack me, please!” And how many potential customers, pray tell, are even going to understand what you’re talking about? This is just the reality. Why not be explicit and tell customers that if they don’t do business with you, they could potentially get sued? That would be charming, eh? Either get into it, in detail, or cut the FUD. It just detracts.


Some guys from Fontshop have put together a web font preview site called FontFonter which lets you see their fonts as applied to external sites. Conspicuously missing is support for Internet Explorer. I don’t think it’s a technical issue but I could be wrong. I have noticed an ideological bias – unstated, but certainly there – against Internet Explorer at Fontshop. I don’t know if it’s a beef with Microsoft in general, or what.
I’ll be trying to get to the bottom of it and will report. [Update: see report that follows]

FinkRetract: (Concerning the deleted above) I met up with Stephen Coles and Ivo Gabrowitsch of Fontshop today and was assured that there is no bias against IE and that Fontfonter’s lack of support for IE is purely technical. They just can’t make the font swap-out work in IE. And they are quite glad that Microsoft held the line and helped bring about WOFF so no biases there, either. Love is in the air. My bad for reading into things.

Typecon Pics On Facebook

I’ve been trying to get a handle on my new Canon Rebel X4 camera – and dammit I’m going to do it no matter how long it takes – and have been posting pics on Readable Web’s Facebook Page. Check it out. You might be tagged!

Good Web Fonts

Educator Laura Franz – who I met last night – has put together a side-by-side comparison site for body fonts called Good Web Fonts. Great idea. Check it out.

The Web Font Awards – A Contest

Monotype Imaging will be sponsoring a web fonts contest. The site is called Web Font Awards. Brand new. No details as yet. Kudos to Monotype for this idea. The world holds one surprise after another. Now how do we get more web designers to attend a conference like this? Two hour Web Font “panels” are fine but in the world Roger Black is describing, fonts on the web are the main event with two hour panels on print fonts.

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