026 – Friday, 20th November 2020
Hello again! I’m Mark, and this is the Specimen Digest, a weekly typography newsletter.
I start this newsletter with a request. Where are all the non-latin digital specimens? Like the microsites I’ve featured on here for six months now. Apart from the odd one or two, non-latin digital specimens tend to accompany the larger families they may belong to, or as templated affairs part of a foundry’s catalogue.
Of course, there are some practical issues with non-latin specimens. Font size, example content, etc etc. All of these things I considered in Specimen Builder, which has support for non-latin fonts by providing options for changing reading direction as well as printing all glyphs in the font regardless of supported languages. So these problems are front-of-mind at the moment for me, but, critically, they are surmountable. I just wonder what are the barriers for producing digitally native specimens for non-latin?
If any spring to mind, please do let me know. You can just reply to this newsletter – I’ll get it. I’d like this newsletter, website, and research project to cover all languages – not just the one I speak.
Speak to you next week! Mark
Big Shoulders A bold and patriotic looking specimen for Big Shoulders, the typeface created by XO Type Co for the Chicago Design System. The nod to a traditional print specimen is handled well, although notable for omissions of digital specimens such as a type tester or list of glyphs.
Decibel Decibel is a nod to 19th century British slabs, designed while listening exclusively to American funk music from the 60s and 70s. The specimen displays the type in stacked panels of animated text. Great content, striking design. As this was part of TypeMedia 2019, you can’t actually buy it yet, though.
Swear I really like this specimen format from OH no Type Company. As we increasingly see in digital specimens, there are vertically stacked type testers each set in default weights with varying content lengths. A subtle combination of old and new.
Carta Nueva The really interesting part of this specimen is at the end of the page. Long-form descriptions of the font features and design details underpin a really useful format.
Lift Type A good looking specimen featured stacked SVG graphic panels with an intermingled type tester. On the face of it, serious stuff, until you notice the running Maradona figure…
Font Match is a pretty nifty little tool for assessing fallback fonts ensuring sizing is similar.
Kris Sowersby from Klim Type Foundry has a Kickstarter for a new book.