08 January 2011

Clearing house

There's a whole series of little links I’ve been meaning to point to, but none have quite been enough to inspire full length blog posts. So: compilation post!

Keeping track of typefaces is a chore, particularly if you have multiple computers. Wordmark previews all the fonts on your computer in a reasonably compact, “at a glance” format. Great if you’re looking for a the right look for one or two words.

A nice profile of the man who designed the Verdana and Georgia typefaces installed on so many computers, Matthew Carter. It also links to a nice feature on the design of a typeface for phone books (remember those?). I like it because it discusses the problems of making something legible when you have ink spreading over cheap paper.

Thinking With Type is a companion website to the second edition of Ellen Lupton’s book of the same name, and it’s been overhauled recently.

Here are two technical reports: one on City Statistics and another on Italian public transport. They look beautiful at first. A lot of effort has gone into them. But as look at them, ask, “What is the take home message?” The charts are so non-standard that they are almost impenetrable.

Speaking of examples of what not to do, there is probably good data hidden in this chart on health care costs in different countries. But it stands as a warning that glyphs and icons are best used in small numbers. (Hat tip to Junk Charts.)

One bad chart might be regarded as a misfortune. Multiple pages of text like this goes beyond even carelessness. When everything is emphasized, nothing is. (Hat tip to Chris Atherton.)

Finally, a roundup of links on the typeface everyone has an opinion about. Some think you should avoid it (except for a few special circumstances). Some say it’s criminal. But regardless, it’s always good to keep in mind that there are alternatives not only to the Font-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but to many other common fonts.

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