Kristian Walker interviewed me last Friday for his blog. You can read it here.
A week ago, my family and I paid a visit to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. We spent about an hour or so there with Norb Brylski as our guide. Norb was one of the last people to be employed making wood type at Hamilton. He’s retired now, but volunteers at the museum and still makes new wood type for commissions brought to the museum, such as the recent wood typeface designed by Matthew Carter.
Hamilton was one of the largest wood type foundries in the U.S. and had a virtual monopoly by about 1900. It stopped making wood type in the 1980s. The museum opened in 1999 and houses the largest collection of wood type in the world, with 1.5 million pieces. They also have all the equipment to make the stuff (it all still works) and a small print shop which visiting artists (for example) can use.
Anyway, it was pretty cool, especially if you like type. I put together a little slide show (above). If you don’t see anything, you probably don’t have the Flash 7 player. (Get it here.) The slide show will play by itself, but you can click on the pause button to stop it and browse at your own pace. If you move your mouse over the photos, a caption will appear describing the photo.
(The slide show was made using SlideShowPro.)
Update, February 2013: Well, something about my new site has broken this Flash slide show thing. Flash is kind of obsolete now anyway, so I will figure out a nicer way to share these photos.
As a long time fan of the books, radio show, tv series, computer game, etc., I am looking forward to April 29 when The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy finally makes it to the medium of motion pictures. It looks to be very different visually from the tv series (not necessarily a bad thing) but true to the spirit of the stories in all their incarnations.
I’m still sad about author Douglas Adams’ death in 2001, but, according to everything I’ve read, the movie is based entirely on his the screenplay he was working on when he died. Whatever is different from the earlier works will be either thanks to or the fault of Adams. (Not that there was ever a definitive version of any of the the Hitchhiker stories.)
Website here. Towels here. [Update: The links that used to be here are dead.]
In other quirky British franchise news, Aardman Studios is working on a Wallace and Gromit movie to be released next Fall. (Yippee!)
Eagle-eyed type nerds watching a recent broadcast of the Jeopardy game show will have fallen off their chairs at this font faux pas.
The correct response to this clue was “What is a font?” but note that the font used for the word ARIAL is in fact Helvetica. Oops. And it was such a clever idea to set the clues in the named fonts.
Yes, I know. I haven’t been posting a lot on Notebook lately. There’s a good reason for this: Proxima Nova. That’s what I’m tentatively calling the new improved version of my ten-year-old Proxima Sans, one of the most ambitious font projects I’ve ever undertaken. Here’s how it looks so far:
Ever since I released it in 1994, I’ve had in the back of my mind larger plans for Proxima Sans. Small caps. More weights. Condensed styles. After some potential customers asked about such possibilities early last year, I decided it was time.
The new version will have more than new weights and features. I went over every character, refining and retooling the design, adjusting, perfecting, cleaning up. In short, this is completely new set of fonts.
3 weights, 2 styles
6 fonts total
PostScript Type 1, TrueType
Basic Western Latin
To be released: Soon
7 weights, 2 styles, 3 widths
42 fonts total
Extended Latin (including CE)
699 characters? You read that right. Take a look:
All the characters from Proxima Sans are still there (even the dingbats). But there’s loads of new stuff, and every weight has all this in it, all in one font. No separate “expert” fonts needed.
In order to keep these hundreds of characters under control, Proxima Nova will be released in OpenType format. Using popular graphics software like Adobe’s Creative Suite and (real soon now) QuarkXPress, you will be able to tap into sophisticated typographic effects such as:
- True small caps
- Lining and old style numbers
- Proportional and tabular numbers
- Automatic “f” ligatures
- Alternate character designs for some characters
- Automatic fraction creation
- True superscript and subscript characters
- Automatic ordinal formatting (e.g., 1st, 2nd, etc.)
- Case-sensitive alternate forms for parentheses, brackets, etc.
- Alternate forms of certain characters to match small caps and old style numbers
- Cross-platform compatibility
As to how soon Proxima Nova will be available, it’s difficult to say. The roman styles shown here are in the final stages of completion. It mostly depends on how long it takes for me to finish the italics. Sure, I could just hit the “slant” button and be done with it. But, it’s not so simple to do it right. Best guess: Spring 2005.
6/24/05 Update: If all goes as planned, Proxima Nova will be released by the end of June 2005. I’ve updated the graphic above showing the various weights and styles to include the italics. Also, the weight and style names are slightly different than what I originally announced here in March.
6/30/05 Update: It’s available now.
I’d like to thank the Academy for using my font Mostra on last night’s broadcast of the 77th Academy Awards. There were so many other great fonts under consideration to be displayed on the stage floor of this year’s ceremony, and… I’d also like to thank TiVO, Apple Computer, Adobe, FontLab… and all the little people… (music starts to play)… Thank you, everyone!
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