April 16, 2014

The Legend of Type Designer and Typographer Mike Parker –

Filed under: Typeface and Type Design,Typography — Janelle Sullivan @ 12:05 am

By Janelle Sullivan
On February 24, 2014, Mike Parker, the man, the legend, passed away. I am sure that many of you have never even heard of this man, but to me, Mike Parker fit the bill to be called a legend in his own time. If you are a type designer or typographer, you are well aware of this man’s work, even if you don’t realize it. I would like to take a few moments to pay tribute to this man.

Who was Mike Parker?

Born in London in 1929, Mike Parker was the son of a geologist. He hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he was colorblind, and this stood in the way of fulfilling his dream. He went to Yale and graduated with an architecture degree as well as a master’s degree in design. Fresh out of college, he became assistant and heir to the director of Mergenthaler Linotype Company. Parker’s job here was to establish a library of typefaces that customers could choose from. He did so much more: He developed in excess of 1,000 types to add to the library, and his success followed him. He discovered a type that had been designed but was unavailable for linotype. It was called Helvetica. In 1981, digital media was changing the face of printing, so Mike Parker moved with the times and co-founded Bitstream. This company was the first of its kind, offering digital typefaces that were licensed for use by everyone. (more…)

April 14, 2014

Teen Discovers Changing Typefaces Would Save $400 Million in Printer Toner and Ink –

Filed under: Printing News,Typeface and Type Design,Typography — Janelle Sullivan @ 7:38 pm

By Janelle Sullivan


I love to save money — don’t you? With the economy being what it is, I find myself using more coupons and paying more attention to what is on sale. I think many people find themselves in that same situation. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to save money with little effort involved? And if those savings could translate to money saved by businesses everywhere and even the government? Well, a middle-school student by the name of Suvir Mirchandani has found a way for that to happen.

Who Is He?

Suvir Mirchandani is a middle-school student at Dorseyville Middle School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 14-year-old sixth-grader is interested in applying computer science to promote environmental sustainability. While this might seem like a lofty idea for such a young student, Suvir was up to the challenge. The increased number of handouts he was receiving in class prompted this incredible science fair project. Suvir was aware, as most of us are, of the importance of recycling. Most schools and government agencies do use paper made of recycled products, so he turned his attention to printer ink and toner cartridges.

March 31, 2014

Fonts and Typefaces — What’s the Difference? –

Filed under: Typeface and Type Design,Typography — Janelle Sullivan @ 4:41 pm

By Janelle Sullivan

typeface-fontHave you ever noticed what a strange creature the English language is? There are so many words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Or maybe they are spelled the same but mean entirely different things. There are times when people are so confused by the language that they are unsure what word they should be using. Sometimes, the confusion is in the definition of the word. For many people, “font” and “typeface” are two words that are frequently mixed up, but they do not mean the same thing. Maybe we can figure out why we can’t seem to figure out the difference between these commonly used typography words.

What is a typeface?

Typographers, or print designers, create a style of letter forms that fit certain criteria. Each letter carries the same characteristics, including the weight of the stroke, shape of finials, and length of the ascenders and descenders. These styles are referred to as a typeface. Some of the common typeface styles that you have probably heard of are Times New Roman, Comic Sans, and Arial. The term “typeface” comes from the old movable type of days gone by. Each individual letter, or block, held a relief image on its face. So in essence, typeface is how something looks.

What is a font?

Just as the word “typeface” has a history, so does the word “font.” This word is derived from a Middle French word, fonte, which means something that has been melted. When moveable type was first introduced, each individual character was created by melting metal and pouring it into a hand mold. So a font is any variation of a typeface. The variation can be in size, bold print, italics, or anything else that changes the look but not the style of the typeface. (more…)

March 14, 2014

The History of Type and Type Design –

Filed under: Typography — Janelle Sullivan @ 3:45 pm

By Janelle Sullivan

typeType, in its most basic form, has been around since the early days of humanity. Written communication began with symbols that were used to represent an event or an item. For many of us, hieroglyphics come to mind when we think of the original written text, but cave paintings were in existence far earlier. Cave drawings gave way to pictograms and led to typeface as we know it now. The history is far-reaching and pretty interesting. I thought you might like to explore a little of it with me.

The Alphabet

The original alphabet can be traced back to the Phoenicians, who developed a set of symbols to represent spoken sounds. The Greeks adapted this alphabet and then developed the fine art of handwriting. Many years later, the Romans used the Greek alphabet as the basis for the uppercase alphabet that we use today. Several styles of handwriting came about, and they were used for different purposes. Some styles were more refined than others, and these were used for important works, while the more informal styles were used for more mundane purposes. Books were born at this time, and they were only available to the wealthy. I am so glad that history has changed that fact! (more…)

March 5, 2014

Read This Before Your First Typography Project –

Filed under: Art,Design Tips,Typography — Janelle Sullivan @ 6:41 pm

By Janelle Sullivan

typographyBefore you start saying, “Oh no, the crazy lady is talking about typography again,” let me remind you how important this subject can be. I can agree that not everyone gets as excited as I do about typography, but in some cases, it can make or break your project. With that in mind, let’s talk about a few things to keep in mind before you start your first typography project.

What is Typography?

Very simply, typography is the act of setting type in your project and the techniques you use to do so. It is not only the words that are used that are important to any project. It’s also the way those words look in the finished work. Are they readable? Are they well-placed? Is the point of the work clear to everyone who looks at it? Well-done typography will allow you to answer “yes” to all of these questions. (more…)

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