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Drop #271 (2023-05-30): [Opinionated] Typography Tuesday
0xProto; Butterick’s Practical Typography; Mike Mai's Typography Manual
Methinks we shall continue the typographic Tuesday theme for as long as I have useful links (and, I have alot of links).
If you are at all a “font nerd”, then you also likely have opinions when it comes to both fonts and typography in general. So, today, we'll toss some other opines your way. Def drop a note in the comments if any of said posits caused you to rethink your defaults.
Because coders tend to value screen real estate, this monospaced font has also been designed to ensure that the interior of each glpyh is wide enough even at small point sizes. Further attention to detail comes in the form of visual balance in terms of dark/light space in each glyph shape.
While (as we'll see in the next section), opinions vary when it comes to the efficacy of programming-oriented ligatures, 0xProto takes a firm middle-ground and ensures the glyphs remain distinct whilst still providing some ligature visual affordance (which is seen pretty clearly in the “arows” and avoiding all “mangling” of defined programming character-based syntax).
I'm hard-pressed to be convinced to switch from Comic Code Ligatures (mentioned nearly a year ago!), I will be giving 0xProto a go in the terminal once we get back from our Acadia holiday next week.
Butterick’s Practical Typography
Matthew Butterick is 100% a modern renaissance human.
He's a writer, typographer, programmer, and — of all things — lawyer; and, puts all of those talents to use in “Practical Typography”, which is a comprehensive guide that covers a wide range of topics related to, well, typography. The second edition of the online-only book is organized into several sections, including:
Typography in ten minutes: A quick-start guide to typography, where Matthew claims that by learning and following five core typography rules, you'll be a better typographer than nearly every writer and even most graphic designers.
Why typography matters: Discusses the importance of typography, who it's for, what good typography is, and where the rules of typography come from.
Type composition: Covers elements like straight and curly quotes, paragraph and section marks, apostrophes, word spaces, and more.
Text formatting: Discusses different aspects of text formatting such as underlining, point size, kerning, color, and more.
Font recommendations: Provides suggestions for fonts to use, including both system fonts and professional ones.
Page layout: Discusses elements like centered text, justified text, line spacing, page margins, and more.
Appendix: Covers additional topics like typewriter habits, how to make a PDF, how to work with a designer, and more.
Commentary: Discusses topics like why there's no e-book or PDF of the book, thoughts on variable fonts, ligatures in programming fonts, and more.
A word of caution: Matthew is super opinionated. He will likely cause some offense (like, with his super daft posit that ligatures in programming fonts are bad). This is a good thing! Our belief systems and “defaults” need to be challenged regularly, and I will admit to coming around on de-clutching a few pearls after reading/re-reading/re-re-reading Matthew's book and commentary.
If you have a few Benjamin’s available, you might also poke around on Matthew’s foundry while you’re at his site. Some of the fonts he’s made are truly stunning.
Mike Mai's Typography Manual
This short typography manual contains eleven brief “rules” that may be more to your liking than the ones Matthew holds dear (ref: mid-section). The list is short enough to memorize, and adherence will 100% make your creations look better.
Of note: I keep meaning to heed rule #4 (and, failing).
Perhaps now that I've said it out loud to the internets, I'll be forced to do so (though it is somewhat dependent on the publishing platform).
I hope the world got a good rest from the U.S., yesterday, as everyone here was focused on mattresses and food consumption! ☮