Taking a year off to study typeface design in another country, under a few of the world’s premier type designers sounds great, right? Well it is! But it’s not all fun and games.

This is my experience, told from my own personal vantage point, because that is the only material on which I have the authority to speak.

Every blue moon I get an email from an aquaintence that is curious about this unusual program. Hopefully, this article can satisfy at least a bit of their curiosity. The number one question I get is, “Should I apply?” The answer is simple: Of course. There are hundreds of applicants each year, but many are not seriously interested in type design, or are otherwise unqualified. This narrows the list down to a group from which…

It was Sunday, October 8th, 2015. My roommate and I were making the drive from a dingy Hotel in Rohnert Park, to our apartment in the fog drenched hillside of San Francisco’s Outer Sunset District. Bleary eyed and dizzy from the night before, I lazily opened up my Discover Weekly to put on Wait for the Moment, a soulfully nuanced groove from some band with a weird name.

We both knew there was something special there, so into the artist page we dove. This is a path I’ve followed many times before, but often, the remainder of a band’s…

An Adventure in Display Type and Ornamentation

During my year in TypeMedia program, my classmate Mark DeWinne was exploring display styles for his soon-to-be-released Morris family. I was enamored with the callipygous stencil, and thought some ornamented forms would be a valuable drawing excercise.

Our instructor, Erik van Blokland, was unimpressed, and mentioned the distinction between decorative display faces that were simply old designs filled with pattern, and designs where the shape and construction of the letter were informed by the ornamentation. Indeed, the latter are almost always more challenging, compelling, and beautiful.

Later, when the opportunity came to take a second crack at an ornamented version…

Oh no, another script typeface *sigh*. Does the world need more? If you have five minutes, I have an answer. But first, here’s the story on how this one came about.

Three years ago I came to terms with the fact that a daily lunch diet of hamburgers was no bueno. Motivated to turn a bad habit into a good one, I began walking to work. My mile and a half trek takes me through the Mission district of San Francisco, which is home to a lot of crazy people, good burritos and hand painted signs.

Selection of painted business signs found on Mission Street (between Cesar Chavez and 22nd Street) in the Mission District of San Francisco.

The signs became the…

A few years ago, Facebook alerted me to a family member’s birthday. My go-to on such occasions is to illustrate a talking penis saying “Happy Birthday”, and post it to their Facebook wall. Which typeface might best suit a penis? The answer, was obviously Hobo.

This illustration was inspired by the work of Ricky Odbert. Trained as a chef, Odbert’s dicks are among the best.

This was at a time where Hobo didn’t mean much to me. I had no idea it had art nouveau roots, or that it was originally drawn by Morris Fuller Benton and others at American Type Founders in 1910. …

OH no Type Co

Fonts are chill. @jamestedmondson serving as janitor.

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