When I worked at OVEN, we proudly talked about having been the company that launched the Museum of Modern Art on the Web.
I just learned that, with the museums’ moving and shaking lately, they’ve hired Matthew Carter (who designed the Web typefaces Verdana and Georgia) to redesign and redigitize the classic Franklin Gothic No.2 typeface. Carter is going to literally rescan the original Morris Fuller Benton type and recraft it in Fontographer. MoMA has used this typeface since 1964 and it’s very cool that it has chosen to continue using this face under the sign and blessing of the original.
The new Suitcase application allows you to attach specific keywords to any and every font on your system. Because I have over 1400 typefaces on my Mac, it would be incredibly useful to index these with keywords that made sense.
But how do you coherently define a typeface that will make sense not tomorrow, but 23 days from now when there is exactly 8 minute left to find the right font family? Well, here’s a starter list of keywords:
Here’s what Fonts.com uses for some of its indexing:
The key on “western” makes particular sense to me as I’ve noticed a lot of interest lately in reproducing the westernized feel of design and design elements (e.g. Starbucks Xmas coffee campaign).
I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently the New York Times has adopted new typefaces and have streamlined its page design. I’m fascinated and can’t wait to run out tomorrow morning to buy a copy. New Typefaces are being substituted for the old ones, but in a bit of irony and subterfuge, the original Imperial font, used for the main text of the newspaper, will be kept as was.
Currently, web designers and anyone who uses the web is pretty much restricted to the use of three fine, but very limited, fonts: Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and some variant of Times. What is incredible about this fact is that the web is incredibly rich with typography even though its typographic capacity has been stretched skin-thin. Almost every English-language website uses one or more of these four system fonts, which on the face (pun intended) is pathetic, but if it wasn’t for Microsoft developing Verdana and Georgia, we’d have, well, two! Sure, there is the rarely-used Geneva, and Courier, and Trebuchet and now Lucida Grande from Apple, but it’s still a design tragedy, given: a.) the incredible talent of type designers out there, b.) the phenomenal money poured into online interface design by every major company in the world, and c.) the fact that the web is the most flexible communication medium since movable type.
The paucity of typographic options has led the W3 body to issue one year ago the document called CSS3 module: Web Fonts, which is quite an interesting read, if you like this kind of thing. In a nutshell, and if I understand it correctly, it will allow fonts to be matched with those on local system or downloaded with web pages to accomodate specific designs. Style sheets will take care of it all in the background. My hope is that, whenever CSS3 is implemented (it’s not yet) by browser makers, they make this work beautifully.