V is for Verdana


Verdana was designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft in 1996 and has subsequently been distributed with both Windows and Mac operating systems. Verdana is the sans serif partner to serif Georgia—a pairing of typefaces suited to screen use. Verdana has a large x-height so lower case characters look bigger—but not so big that you can’t tell them apart from upper case characters—and it is generously spaced so it can be read at small sizes. The bold weight is thicker than many other bolds—also making it good for on-screen legibility. Verdana even made news when Ikea, in an attempt to unify its branding, ditched Futura as its printed catalogue typeface. The Verdanagate controversy caused outrage, the New York Times going so far as to say that it ‘is so offensive to many because it seems like a slap at the principles of design by a company that has been hailed for its adherence to them’. Hmm. I guess that’s a whole other debate.

U is for University Roman


University Roman was designed in 1983 by Letraset Type Studio designers Mike Daines and Philip Kelly. Featuring narrow upper case letters with high crossbars, it is a decorative typeface based on Speedball hand lettering. Speedball refers to both the style of calligraphy and lettering and the pens, nibs and inks used in its execution, and the Speedball Textbook, originated by Ross F George in 1915, gives instructions for drawing various alphabet styles, as well as advice on selecting tools and materials.

T is for Trade Gothic


Trade Gothic is a sans serif typeface designed by Jackson Burke. It was a work in progress from 1948 to 1960, by which time Burke had come up with fourteen style and weight combinations, including the very stylish Trade Gothic Extended. Trade Gothic has narrower letterforms than many other sans serif typefaces, allowing more text to be set across a measure, and while it is generally considered to lack unity as a family, it retains popularity because it works so well in combination with roman text fonts. One unusual feature is that, in some digital versions, the default bold weight is more condensed that the regular weight, which is opposite to normal.

S is for Shelley


Shelley, designed by Matthew Carter in 1972, is named for George Shelley, the English writing master of the early eighteenth century. Shelley is a formal script typeface consisting of a single weight of lowercase letters and three variations of uppercase—Allegro, Andante and Volante. Its decorative curves and graceful flourishes make this typeface suitable for display and decoration rather than large amounts of text. George Shelley was the author and editor of The Penmans Magazine: Author of Natural Writing in all the Hands, with Variety of Ornament (1709) and Alphabets in All the Hands (1715)—titles almost as elaborate as his writing!

Road to where?


According to some of those top ten lists, Honolulu is the second worst US city for traffic, and I believe it. Getting around is not hard, but geez it can be slow, and not just at pau hana—Hawaii’s afternoon peak hour. One time, driving east along the HI, we were just a couple of miles from our exit when Morgan Freeman on Waze alerted us to a problem ahead and suggested it would be quicker to drive to the other side of the island and back down the Pali Highway—a detour so long we stayed on the H1 parking lot! One time we needed to change our rental car and ended up in Pearl City because, due to a typo in the driving instructions, we were looking for an exit that didn’t exist. We also found this rather interesting direction. Where does that mystery turnoff to the west go, I wonder?