• Well, that was quite a break from blogging. I’ll tell you why:
  • The perfect storm of home schooling, intense typography project, global pandemic, and lockdown. Turns out I really didn’t have the head-space to write a single thing with all that going on. But anyway. Back to it.
  • I live an an old house with an old stone back garden wall. It’s in a right state. Ivy growing in it, stone falling off it, held together by 200 year old lime mortar. Our new neighbours have decided to strip it back and repoint, so I think I’m going to do the same this summer. It’s a bit of a job and I’ve been familiarising myself with hydrated lime, mortar mixes, and what tools I may need. Turns out I only need a little axe, some patience, and approximately 16 days watching YouTube videos.
  • I’ve been continuing my type specimens project since last year. I’m up to 44 weekly newsletters now. I might start writing a design one. It’s a nice cadence, makes me think about writing in a similar structure every week. It’s also a schedule that holds me accountable. I have to publish this newsletter every week. Sure, I’ve missed a couple over public holidays or whatever, but mostly I’ve been on-time for nearly a year. Might explain why I’ve also not written one of these for a while!
  • I wrote about experimental typefaces in today’s newsletter. One, in particular, grabbed my attention called Mercure. It’s a typeface designed to accurately document stone carvings. I use my words carefully there.

Mercure, designed by Charles Mazé, is the result of an inquiry into Latin epigraphy and the typographic forms associated with that discipline. Epigraphy is the study of écritures exposées (exposed writings), typically ancient or classical inscriptions engraved in stone or metal. The developments in mid-nineteenth century Latin epigraphy required new methods to transcribe classical inscriptions into print, which in turn required and inspired new typefaces.

  • Epigraphy is concerned with documenting not interpreting. So, you may have a wall covered in carved writings. The job is to document it as you see it, including the damage, the weathering, the indecipherable, the obscure. As such, the typeface needs to include glyphs to document this damage. So cool.
  • I’ve been enjoying a couple of Mac apps this week: Nova (finally!), and Typeface.
  • The other day I was frustrated with the font organisation apps available. Mostly, they focussed on organisation and not providing a specimen of the details of the font. They also didn’t support woff2. I have a load of web fonts I’ve bought from independent foundries over the years and no way of seeing the features of them without going to the foundry’s digital specimen. And, here’s the thing, quite often those specimens don’t provide the details I’m after. In steps Typeface. It’s great - supports all I need and even offers editable specimen views.
  • It’s my birthday on Sunday. 48. Forty. Eight. Getting on a bit.