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Drop #369 (2023-11-07): Typography Tuesday [er…Wednesday?]
Fonts In Use; fnt; Featured Font: Overpass
“Dude in a careless hurry messes up Substack scheduler again.”
Apologies. I was barely online outside of work-related tasks, yesterday, and failed to notice the lack of a publish event.
As a result, the Wednesday edition will be coming out tomorrow, but I'll add a planned resource from the original Thursday one to beef it up a bit.
This is an AI-generated summary of today's Drop.
I know the GPTs are stochastic, but it's odd to have Perplexity go from giving me numbered bullets to plain ones…I may need to tweak the prompt a bit.
The first section of the blog post discusses the platform Fonts In Use, a public archive of typography that provides a comprehensive database of fonts used in real-world applications. The platform encourages user contributions and serves as a valuable resource for designers and typographers to understand how different fonts are used in various contexts.
The second section introduces fnt, a command-line font manager designed to simplify the process of managing fonts on macOS and Linux systems. It allows users to easily install, update, search, preview, and manage fonts on their system, making it a useful tool for designers, developers, or anyone who frequently works with fonts.
The third section features the open-source typefaces Overpass and Overpass Mono, used by Red Hat. These fonts, inspired by Highway Gothic, a typeface commonly seen on road signage, reflect Red Hat's commitment to open source. They are designed to be informative, concise, visually attractive, and high-quality, making them an excellent choice for technical audiences.
Fonts In Use
You're reading these “Typography Tuesday” drops, so you 100% grok that typography plays a pivotal role in conveying a message and creating an aesthetic appeal. One platform that has made a significant contribution to the world of typography is Fonts In Use (FIU, mostly, from now on), a public archive of typography indexed by typeface, format, industry, and period.
Though it may be sponsored by industry giants like Monotype, FUI has plenty of independent supporters. So, you're not just going to encounter resources featuring typefaces from monoliths. This means FIU is truly an independent archive of typography that has collected over 17,000 designs, each using at least one of over 12,000 typeface families from more than 3,500 type companies.
It is also a highly collaborative project, with contributions from visitors like you (sign up, it's free!). The platform provides a comprehensive database of fonts used in real-world applications, from wine labels and storefronts to book covers, record albums, and advertising.
FUI serves as a searchable archive of typographic design, indexed by typeface, format, and topic. It provides a platform for designers and typographers to explore and understand how different fonts are used in various contexts. Each font is contextualized with images depicting them in use, providing a practical perspective on typography.
The platform also encourages user contributions. Visitors can upload examples of fonts in use, contributing to the growing database and helping others discover new typefaces and their applications. I have just enough impostor syndrome left to have not done this yet.
Fonts In Use provides a valuable resource for understanding how different fonts can be used to convey specific messages or create certain aesthetics. For designers and typographers, Fonts In Use offers a wealth of inspiration and practical examples. It allows users to see how various fonts are used in different industries and formats, providing insights that can inform their own design choices.
For businesses and brands, understanding typography can help in creating a unique and recognizable identity. The choice of fonts can communicate your brand's personality and values, playing a dominant role in defining the brand.
I can't wait to see how the featured resources at FIU inspire your future work!
Managing fonts on your system can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when you need to deal with hundreds or even thousands of them. This is where fnt comes into play.
fnt is a command-line font manager designed to simplify the process of managing fonts on macOS and Linux systems.
fnt is often referred to as the “apt for fonts” due to its similarity to the Advanced Package Tool (apt) used in Debian-based Linux distributions. It is a command-line tool that allows you to easily install, update, search, preview, and manage fonts on your system. macOS folks can think of it as the Homebrew for fonts.
If you're a designer, developer, or anyone who frequently works with fonts,
fnt can be a game-changer. It provides a simple and efficient way to manage fonts, saving you from the hassle of manually installing and updating them.
For instance, if you're running a Debian-based system, you might not always get the latest fonts unless someone actively backports them.
fnt solves this problem by allowing you to easily get the latest and greatest fonts from Debian sid and Google Web Fonts.
Similarly, on macOS, neither fink, brew, nor macports come with a comprehensive list of available fonts to install.
Installing and using
fnt is straightforward. You can install it using your native package manager or by cloning the source from its GitHub repository. Once installed, you can use the following commands to manage your fonts:
fnt update: This command generates a package cache, which is necessary for
fntto function properly.
fnt search <font-name>: This command allows you to search for a specific font.
fnt preview <font-name>: This command lets you preview a specific font in the terminal.
fnt install <font-name>: This command installs a specific font.
fnt list: This command lists all installed fonts.
Let's say you want to install the two “Overpass” fonts in the third section. Here's how you can do it using
Update the package cache:
$ fnt update
Search for the 'overpass' fonts:
$ fnt search overpass
Preview a font:
$ fnt preview <fontname>(doesn't work for the two overpass ones, sadly)
Install the 'overpass' font(s):
$ fnt install google-overpass(or the mono version)
After running these commands, the 'overpass' font(s) will be installed on your system and ready to use.
Featured Font: Overpass
Overpass (GH) and Overpass Mono are open-source typefaces used by Red Hat, These fonts were designed by Delve Fonts and are inspired by Highway Gothic, a typeface commonly seen on road signage in many countries around the world. If you've traveled to countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Brazil, India, or China, you've likely seen this style of typography on road signs.
Overpass was created in 2016 and has expanded several times since then. It features 20 styles, including thin, light, light italic, regular, regular italic, semi-bold, bold, extra bold, and more. The font was designed to be informative, concise, visually attractive, and high-quality, reflecting the type of writing that Red Hat aims for.
Overpass Mono is a monospaced reimagining of the Overpass proportional design. I'd describe it as “strong” and, perhaps, “striking”, combining the best elements of both a monospaced font and a sans-serif font. The characters have a pleasing shape, which contrasts nicely with their striking appearance.
Overpass Mono was designed for branded representation of source code and system commands, making it an excellent choice for technical audiences. It is used when demonstrating code snippets in communications and specifications, or as a stylistic approach for a more technical audience, like Command Line Heroes (Overpass is a fallback font in the site’s config).
Both versions are free and open source.
Drop a note if you give Overpass (or any of the other resources shown, today) a test drive! ☮️
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