Discover more from hrbrmstr's Daily Drop
Drop #340 (2023-09-26): Typography Tuesday
death of typography; Fontshare; iconify.design
I’ve been looking forward to Dropping this Typography Tuesday on y’all for over three weeks. I’m almost certain at least one resource will be useful to every reader.
This is an AI-generated summary of today's Drop.
Perplexity did something unusual today by directly referring to the post in the third person. I'm uncertain if this is an artefact of the stochastic parroting process, or if Perplexity tweaked the setup prompts. It did not mess up any links, so I just copied the markdown without modification.
The blog post introduces “death of typography,” a young design collective/foundry that practices, researches, and explores type through creative inquiry and collaboration. They offer some neat typefaces, all free for non-commercial use. Primary resource: death of typography
It also features Fontshare, a free fonts service launched by the Indian Type Foundry. Fontshare is a growing collection of professional-grade fonts that are 100% free for personal and commercial use. Primary resource: Fontshare
Lastly, the post highlights Iconify, a project that aims to give developers freedom to choose icons. Iconify offers a vast number of icon sets and individual icons, making it easy to switch between them or add your own. Primary resource: Iconify
death of typography
death of typography is a young design collective/foundry that practices, researches and explores type through creative inquiry and collaboration. Said collaboration encourages nascent typography designers to showcase their work with the foundry or join them for a while to learn from experiences senpai.
I'm mentioning them today (a) for the shock value of “death of typography” 🙃, (b) they have some slick libre fonts (that I'll get to in a moment), and (c) I keep using the word “foundry” in these Tuesday editions but have never really defined it. I'm pretty sure most readers grok why these typography studios are called foundries, but this is “no assumptions 2023”.
The word “foundry” is used to describe organizations that make fonts because it has its roots in the traditional process of creating typefaces. Before computer-centric typography, type foundries manufactured and IRL sold metal and wood typefaces for hand typesetting and matrices for line-casting machines like the Linotype and Monotype, for letterpress printers. The term “foundry” originally referred to factories where metals were cast, including for typesetting machines.
The process of manufacturing letters and printing components at early type foundries was called “typefounding” or “founding”. It involved pouring molten metal alloys into molds to create each character for the press. The word “font” (as in typography) comes from the Old French “fondre,” meaning “melt,” which is from the Latin “fundere” (which, too, means “melt”, but also “cast”, or “pour out”). This connection between the casting of metal type and the creation of typefaces led to the use of the term “foundry” for organizations that design and distribute fonts, and it has kinda stuck with us. I'm glad, since it helps keep the connection to the original discipline.
I am partial to Straits Sans, featured in the section header.
Fontshare is a free fonts service launched by the Indian Type Foundry (GH). It’s a growing collection of professional grade fonts that are 100% free for personal and commercial use. You've absolutely seen their work if you've ever browsed Google Fonts
For several years, this foundry has provided its commercial fonts for free to students, design institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. Between 2014 and 2016, they released numerous open-source fonts, such as the widely popular Poppins, Khand, Rajdhani, Hind, and Teko, which are used on millions of websites worldwide. Additionally, ITF has dedicated a significant portion of its resources to developing fonts for rare or endangered languages, even though such work is not commercially profitable.
Keeping with this ideology, they made Fontshare to further and help cash-strapped organizations and individuals have access to some pretty beautiful typography. They pledge that every fourth Latin font-family that ITF designs will be released through Fontshare and offered for free.
I'm especially fond of the extensive pairs section, a portion of which is featured in the section header. Each pairing is hand curated and displayed with what appears to be (I've read almost all of them) legit different and “real” text (I should further note that all the text is editable so you can see what your copy will look like).
The purpose of the Iconify project is to give developers freedom to choose icons.
You've heard me describe myself as a tech “gadfly”. That's a somewhat pejorative word, and my use of it is not exactly accurate. I tend to “play the field” tech-wise since I learned — fairly early on — the dangers of committing to one technology path for pretty much anything. To put that more plainly, I despise “vendor lock-in”.
Vjacheslav Trushkin does too, which is why Iconfiy was ultimately created.
If you pick an icon set (these sets tend to come in custom font forms, these days, hence the one reason for inclusion in the Drop), it is usually pretty difficult to switch to other icons or add your own icons. This problem is exacerbated when you decide you want to revamp your blog or other creations, and realize your new, cool ideas clash with your original choice.
Iconify solves that by having a bonkers number of icon sets and individual icons (over 150k icons!); plus, they make it super easy to add your own (check out their tooling on GH). An especially neat feature is the Iconify API service, which you can self-host.
(You should read more about their history.)
A tiny fraction of the available sets is featured in the section header.
I'd be curious to know what folks fav pairings are from ITF. ☮️
hrbrmstr's Daily Drop is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.