Bold Typography in Vintage Japanese Newspapers

As a designer, it’s easy to get stuck in the style trends of today… so here’s some typographic inspiration from vintage Japan. Coming from a large collection of 3000 ads from the years 1891 – 1945 (put together by the University of Tokyo), these vintage newspaper pages feature a bold style we don’t frequently see today. Huge glyphs boldly displayed in neat blocks. The emphasis here is often on the arrangement of elements, rather than a reliance on imagery… something to which the both vertically and horizontally orientable Japanese characters lend themselves well.

Elementar: Good Fonts Across Platforms

When the crew from type foundry and design studio Typotheque set out to create a new series of digitally readable fonts, they broke free from the establishment and created a whole new font-family based around the little used parametric system. Their new series “Elementar” strives to solve the issues of using our standard highly detailed fonts (those defined by curves) on low-resolution pixilated screens such as computer monitors. Rather than trying to adapt printable fonts to the screen, their new system uses a collection of bitmap based fonts designed specifically for viewing on digital displays. Although the fonts are non-scalable and size-specific, the font-family includes thousands of pre-scaled glyphs which allow flexibility. The advantage of this system? With their low-tech approach customers are assured solid, stable typeface reproduction across platforms and devices.

To facilitate exploration and understanding of their new system Typotheque features an in depth browser based Font Explorer on their website which allows customers to adjust weight, height, width and style to their liking. We’re excited to see where this new take on typography takes us!

Putting the Face Back in Typeface

Creating timeless and influential work over the last three decades, typographer and graphic designer Erik Spiekermann is a design legend. Some notable accomplishments include founding FontShop, the first ever digital distributer of fonts, while also designing more instantly classic fonts than any other.

In this excellent video interview by, he shares from his vast knowledge on the design process and looks to the future while discussing possibilities for new visual language. What’s next for Spiekermann? In February he will be receiving the German Design Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011. Keep up with all things typographic at his blog