Category archives for "type"

On licensing fonts for your startup

John Gruber is shutting down his app. He wrote a long piece about it, but here is the interesting part:

We’ve been asked “Why now?” Why not just let Vesper and Vesper Sync keep going as they are? The biggest factor is that we have recurring costs: the sync server and the licensing fees for Ideal Sans, Vesper’s typeface. We’re losing money every month.

I’m a designer and I care about type, but what I care about more is if my startup can actually get off the ground. I’m not saying that not licensing Ideal Sans would’ve turned the story around, but what I’m saying is licensing type is much further down the road.

I may not have been the only one observing this, because I’m realizing the day after (since this post was sitting in the drafts), that said paragraph was rewritten after publication, so now it reads:

We’ve been asked “Why now?” Why not just let Vesper and Vesper Sync keep going as they are? The biggest factor is that we have recurring costs: primarily, the sync server. We’re losing money every month.

An interesting choice of words, because the following information could have been just added to the paragraph above:

ITC Serif Gothic is back

Yves Peters at FontShop:

More than just a new installment in the insanely popular franchise, the new film by J.J. Abrams seems to be bringing back many elements from the beloved original trilogy, one example being the dirtier, shabby version of machinery and technology. And then there is the return of some familiar faces we never dared hope to see again, like Princess Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca. However there is one familiar face whose return went largely unnoticed to anyone but us type geeks – the ITC Serif Gothic® typeface.

This is the only post you need to read about the new Star Wars movie.



FE-Schrift has been the only typeface used on new vehicle registration plates of Germany since November 2000, except for plates issued to military-registered vehicles, which still use the former DIN 1451 typeface. (…)

The motivation for the creation of the typeface was spun in the late 1970s in the light of Red Army Faction terrorism when it was discovered that with the then-standard font for vehicle registration plates—the DIN 1451 font—it was particularly easy to modify letters by applying a small amount of black paint or tape.

I recommend reading the whole article.

Do you love SF? Here is what you need to know.

Apple marketing:

Designed from the ground up for use on all Apple devices, San Francisco has been fine-tuned for optimal readability on a Mac, and looks particularly crisp and refined on a Retina display.

One could argue whether Apple really designed the SF family from the ground up given the almost identical appearance to “Akkurat“, a font designed by the Swiss Laurenz Brunner. Here is a comparison on ExpiredMag:

Back in 2012 on the genesis of Akkurat by Laurenz:

My typeface was an anti-thesis to [graphic design in London in 2002] – a utilitarian typographic notion that, looking back, I was only able to embrace by living a healthy distance from Switzerland, my home country, famed for its modernist heritage.

For a long time I never considered releasing the font – I thought of it as my own personal writing tool. (…) It actually took several weeks for the first license to leave the shop, and it wasn’t until two or three years later that designers started becoming more interested in an ‘objective’ typographic style, reanimating a lot of classic (Swiss) design values. Akkurat became something of a mascot for this movement.

On the other hand Akkurat is very similar to grotesque typeface FF DIN. Apple is know to experiment with humanist typefaces: prior to iOS 9, FF DIN was used in the camera app as the UI font, and another humanist font, Avenir, designed by Swiss Adrian Frutiger, was notoriously used as the font in Apple Maps.

Needless to say, I’m A-okay with the use of SF, and I love the modifications to the original (just check the colon between the time markings), but I’m not so A-okay with the design attribution. Clearly, Antonio Cavedoni, at Apple Type Group, could’ve pushed attributing SF as a font that was based on Akkurat and have been modified as a typeface for Apple’s UI font. Apple in the end has chosen not to.

update: I made some comparison, the difference is more striking here. I think Apple did a good job with the fork, though.