I was not happy with the idea that a digital font, especially a Lintotype font, could disappear: given the ever-expanding nature of the digital universe it seemed counter-intuitive. So, spurred along by an email from my friend, I discovered that, instead of disappearing, Giacometti has expanded. GiacomettiLL has become Giacometti Pi and is now accompanied by Giacometti Letter, with an impressive 425-strong character set that includes fractions and symbols. The fonts were designed by German illustrator Sine Bergmann, who also designed Linotype Festtagsfont (more stick figures, this time with a festive theme, as the name suggests), and Jump (with Leonore Poth), an informal handwritten script.
Something unusual happened today. I googled the font GiacomettiLL in order to learn something about its provenance and came up with zilch. I found one reference to it but the link took me to a different font, albeit one with almost the same name—to plain old Giacometti, without the LL, which is a font with the usual character set. GiacomettiLL is a dingbat font with stick-like figures drawn in the style of Alberto Giacometti’s spindly sculptures. Alberto Giacometti, born in 1901, was a Swiss sculptor and printmaker who is best known for his tall, stick-figure, bronze sculptures, so the font is well-named.
Pedestrian crossings are not usually red. This one wasn’t on a particularly dangerous corner and visibility was good in both directions, but it was certainly eye-catching — not only because it is brightly coloured (luminous even in the greyness of a cloudy day) but because it is weathered and patchy in that most fabulous abstract expressionist way. My experience of photographing it was interesting: in the city, no one would have taken the slightest bit of notice of me (let alone given way to me, a pedestrian), but in the small town where this crossing is located, every driver stopped to let me cross, and I had to keep waving them on.
I’m pretty certain the letters POL are missing from the left hand side of this window work of art, but the vacant and run-down building gave no other tangible clues to indicate whether it was once the police station in reality or just in my imagination. I like the gaffer tape covering a crack in the glass, the cobwebs and the imperfections and reflections, and I particularly like the drawn embellishments around the letters — the white sort-of-outline and the blue sort-of-shadow — and that the pane of glass really does look like it has been frozen.
Here’s a work of art and it comes ready framed! A rich story could be constructed from the elements presented here: a garden club, a raffle, a butcher’s shop, what did Trish and Carol win, and why are the chairs being returned to Taylor’s? The chalk-drawn handwriting displays the running writing style that was taught in Australian schools in a certain era, and the background patina of many-times-rubbed-out chalk holds the social history of a community.
PMN Caecilia is a humanist slab serif typeface designed by Peter Matthias Noordzu and released by Linotype in 1990. The typeface has low-contrast stroke weights and an even texture, large x-height, open counters and unbracketed serifs, all features that make it easy to read. The family contains a large range of weights — light, roman, bold, heavy, oldstyle — and an extensive character set. The friendliness and readability of PMN Caecilia make it an excellent font for use in childrens’ and educational publishing, and it is the font of choice for the Kindle.
There was nothing special about the shoe shop, but the illustration on the awning brought a touch of lightness to an overcast sultry afternoon. This row of feet is so expressive! Here they are, lined up and ready to step out to the local dance hall to shake a leg, tango and two-step, jitterbug and charleston, jive and mambo. What I like most is how a small touch like this speaks volumes: the illustration itself imparts personality, but more importantly, someone has paid attention to detail, and as a result the everyday is enhanced.
Miller is a transitional serif typeface, designed by Matthew Carter, based on typefaces cut by Richard Austin in the Scottish type foundries of Alexander Wilson and William Miller in the early 19th century. Miller was released by the Font Bureau in 1997, and what started as a family of seven fonts has grown to more than 37. The general purpose weights, Miller Text and Miller Display, have been joined by a range of variants developed by Carter with the assistance of Tobias Frere-Jones and Cyrus Highsmith. They include Miller Daily, Miller News, Bibliographical Miller, Miller Headline and Miller Banner. A relatively large x-height makes Miller an excellent typeface for use in newspapers, and can be seen in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News, to name a few.
The letter C
In English, the letter C is the third letter and second consonant of the alphabet. It has many sounds: city, camera, choir, champagne, ocean, chihuahua, delicacy, delicious, acquit, indict. In music, C is the first note of the fixed do solfège scale. In the scientific world it is carbon and also velocity (from the Latin celeritas). A C with a comma underneath is a cedilla, and a c inside a circle is the copyright symbol. In typography the letter C comes in many shapes and weights. The curve of the letter generally extends slightly above x-height and slightly below the baseline to achieve optical alignment.
Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills were first made in 1854 in Buffalo, New York, and were distributed in Australia by the Comstock Company until the 1990s. The pills contained herbal ingredients that were claimed to cleanse the blood, and as blood impurity was believed to be the cause of all disease, it is no surprise that it was one of the most successful patent medicines ever made. I had never heard of Dr Morse’s root pills, but driving along the road to Morpeth, NSW, this barn was hard to miss. It’s a dramatic sight—a big old ramshackle barn surrounded by fields, painted on two sides, vibrant in the harsh summer sun—but I particularly liked the close up view of the rust and patchwork corrugated iron and its contrast with the much more recent paintwork. The letters are hand drawn, but they are Copperplate Gothic in style.