12 JUNE 2015

Typographics Conference

Cooper Union
Great Hall
7 East 7th Street
New York, NY

Conference entry $400 for preofessionals, $350 for educators, $250 for students. Some events free.

Typographics is a 10-day design festival devoted to contemporary typography, with talks, workshops, and tours focusing on where typography is today and where its future may lie. It will be held at Cooper Union in New York City as a combined effort of Type@Cooper and the Herb Lubalin Study Center, with a big helping hand from Roger Black. Christian Schwartz will be speaking on newspaper type on Saturday morning, alongside such luminaries as Alex Trochut, Barbara Glauber, Juan Carlos Pagan, and Erik van Blokland. Commercial Type is proud to be a sponsor of what is sure to be a great event. See the conference site for more information and to register.

06 MAY 2015

Paul speaking at the National Print Museum in Dublin

National Print Museum
Garrison Chapel
Beggars Bush Barracks
Haddington Road
Dublin 4

6 May 2015

Open to the public. Advance booking strongly recommended.

Organized by the National Print Museum in conjunction with Typography Ireland. Tickets are limited, please contact to reserve a place. Time will be announced closer to the date.

29 APRIL 2015

Paul speaking at Northumbria University

School of Design
Northumbria University, Newcastle

Wednesday 29 April

Not open to the public

Paul will be speaking at the School of Design at Northumbria University, together with the brilliant book cover designer David Pearson.

09 APRIL 2015

Christian Schwartz at the SND conference in Washington, DC

9–11 April 2015
Conference registration required to attend the special session

Christian Schwartz will be speaking on designing type for newspapers at a special session on type and typography at the Society for News Design conference in Washington, DC. This session has been organized by Roger Black, and the other speakers include David Berlow of Font Bureau and Dan Rhatigan of Monotype. For more information, see the main conference site or this page with info in the special session.

15 JANUARY 2015

Paul Barnes at Judges’s Night for the TDC

Paul Barnes will be one of the judges for this year's TDC Typeface Design Competition, and will also speak alongside Garson Yu at the Judges' Night. More information on the competition is available on the TDC site.

19 DECEMBER 2014

Brush lettering workshop with Miguel Reyes in Oaxaca

Centro de Investigaciones Culturales y Expresiones Artísticas de Zaachila (CICEAZ)​ Zaachila, Oaxaca

19-20 December

Open to the public, but limited to 15 participants. Advance registration is required.

Miguel will be giving a 2-day workshop on brush lettering as part of the Proyecta series of events being held between December and February to promote design and innovation in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. Miguel's workshop will be free of charge but is limited to 15 participants. For more information or to sign up, see the Proyecta website or the page for the workshop. Commercial Type is happy to have sponsored this series of events with a license for the Duplicate collection, which has been used to great effect in their branding.


22 MAY 2015 | RELEASES

Fontstand has launched

Fontstand, a new Mac OS app that facilitates testing fonts and renting font licenses, has launched today with over 20 independent type foundries participating, including Commercial Type. Conceived by type designers Andrej Krátky, Peter Biľak, and Ondrej Jób, this service gives new flexibility to desktop font licensing and makes it very easy to test typefaces in your layouts before committing to a license. We've joined Fonstand because we want to learn who the traditional font licensing model has been leaving out. We feel that the type market is ripe for innovation as far as platforms and ways of selling font licences are concerned, and it's not in the best interest of type designers or users to cede all of the innovation to corporate bean-counters who see type as a commodity and users as nothing more than a revenue stream. Some of our most popular families, like Stag, and our least popular families, like Gabriello, can be accessed through the service. Find out more at, or find our fonts directly on our foundry page there.

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New typefaces for the daily newspapers published by The McClatchy Company

The McClatchy Company publishes 29 daily newspapers across the US, from Washington, to California, to Kansas, Florida, and the Carolinas, in both large and small markets. Working with Garcia Media, they have spent the last year developing a unified design language that will bring together the print papers, mobile apps, and web editions with a more consistent overall look. However, it was important that the newspapers retain a measure of individuality, rather than all looking exactly the same. Directed by Garcia Media's Reed Reibstein and Mario García, we designed a set of typefaces that will help to bridge the gap between design consistency and individual character. For more information on the redesigns and the underlying strategy and philosophy, please see this excellent post on the Garcia Media blog.

The first set of newspapers to follow this new design paradigm are The Sacramento Bee, The Modesto Bee, and The Merced Sun-Star, with The Fresno Bee to follow in the next week. The remaining 25 dailies will roll out their redesigns in the coming year or so.

The quiet, hardworking core of this new set of typefaces is the text face, which will be common to all 29 dailies: a modified version of Kai Bernau's Lyon Text, with shortened ascenders and descenders to fit better with the tight leading of newspaper text typography. The italics are slightly less angled and a bit wider, keeping the counterforms and arches from clogging up on newsprint. Three grades have been produced for this family, slightly different weights to compensate for different inking on different presses across the country. Though the schedule was highly accelerated, we were able to receive press tests from all 29 newspapers, which helped to determine how heavy the different grades should be, as well as the right range of weights for the headline faces.

The more visible part of this project is a set of three headline families, all drawn on the same character widths and sharing kerning so that they can be subsitituted seamlessly for one another without changing copyfit. We have aimed for a friendly, sophisticated, and distinctly American look for the three families. McClatchy Sans was drawn by Christian Schwartz, McClatchy Serif was drawn by Miguel Reyes, and McClatchy Slab was drawn by Greg Gazdowicz. These headline families build on the ideas explored in Berton Hasebe's Duplex family, which matched a serif and a sans on the same widths, but the addition of a third family added exponentially to the complexity. The designers at Garcia Media and a handful of the McClatchy papers tested Duplex but felt it looked too European. With this in mind, we looked for sources that would feel unambiguously American, landing on a set of typefaces from the Ludlow Typefoundry. Ludlow's typesetting machines were very popular for setting headline type at newspapers throughout the US in the first half of the 20th century, before the rise of phototype.

Because these families are designed for differentiation, they needed to look different, while complementing one another when they are used together. McClatchy Sans takes a number of design cues from Tempo, R. Hunter Middleton's Americanized take on the geometric sans, which seems to borrow as much from sign painter's Gothics as it does from Futura. Since many of the papers had been using Font Bureau's Benton Sans, derived from Franklin Gothic and News Gothic, we felt we had to rule out the American Gothic genre. Angled terminals make the face look warm and approachable, while also adding flexibility in tweaking the character widths to match the other families. McClatchy Sans is the largest of the headline families, with 7 weights, duplexed italics (drawn by Greg Gazdowicz), and a full range of Condensed styles that are used for labels and larger headlines. McClatchy Sans also serves as a workhorse beyond headlines, with a looser Text version in use for captions, weather maps, and other secondary applications.

McClatchy Serif is based on Ludlow Garamond, Middleton's quirky take on French Renaissance types. We felt that an oldstyle would be a more distinctive and interesting choice than a Modern, which seemed like a more overtly historical choice. Miguel Reyes also looked at Sabon, which has more contemporary proportions and a crisper italic. McClatchy Serif has 4 weights, with true cursive italics for all. It is the most visually sophisticated of the three families, with higher contrast and a smaller x-height than the other two, making it feel less compact.

McClatchy Slab started out as a loose interpretation of Ludlow Bookman, the primary headline face in The New York Times throughout most of the 20th century, until the 2005 refresh that replaced it with Matthew Carter's extensive Cheltenham family. However, the character widths of the other two families forced the serifs to become shorter and shorter until McClatchy Slab ended up looking more like a slab serif interpretation of Cheltenham. This family is a bit friendlier than the other two, but the crisp detailing on the serifs keep it newsy and energetic.

A small number of alternates, such as a single-story g (which looked far too silly to include in the Serif), allow for further flexibility and differentiation.

The design process for these three families was far from straightforward. Schwartz drafted the Sans first, so Reyes and Gazdowicz would have widths to work with, but it was important not to think of any one of the three families as the "primary" typeface. As work on the three families progressed, the designers would periodically sit down together to discuss which characters they were having the hardest time fitting onto the widths and where the compromises were most visible, then negotiate changes.

Reibstein and Garcia describe their approach to using these three families as follows:
In practice, each newspaper will select a type palette emphasizing certain of the headline faces across platforms. In print, there are four options for the primary and secondary headlines: #1, Serif and Sans; #2, Slab and Sans; #3, Sans and Serif; and #4, Sans and Slab. At launch on the web, papers using the Serif will have the Serif as their primary headline face, while those using the Slab will have that as their primary face... Palette #1, emphasizing the Serif, is be the most elegant and conservative. #2 is more approachable but still serious. #3 and #4 are the boldest and most newsy.

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Canela by Miguel Reyes in Document Journal

Our friends and studiomates at Document Journal have published their sixth issue. Creative director Nick Vogelson selected the Headline and Deck sizes of Miguel Reyes's typeface in progress Canela for all display type in the issue. Among Miguel's influences are the familiar warmth of Caslon and the eccentric elegance of Albertus, and the final result is neither a serif nor definitively a sans. Canela's air of warmth, quiet and grace is very well suited to the long decks and pullquotes in the issue, and its texture works well for the surrealist use of repurposed news headlines as titles for the fashion pictorials.

Canela follows in the footsteps of Portrait and Chiswick Sans, which each had a turn as the primary display typeface in the magazine long before their release.

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New release: Druk Text by Berton Hasebe

Berton Hasebe has added two new families to the Druk collection: Druk Text and Druk Text Wide. These families are designed to be useful for the small elements of display typography that give structure and texture to a page without requiring dramatic changes in scale. Each is comprised of 4 weights with italics.

Druk Text is a display face designed for use at small sizes, useful for adding structureand personality to a page without requiring any variation in point size. The family is ideal for section titles, running heads and running feet, labeling on maps, and thanks to its tabular figures, it can even be used for tables, charts, and infographics. It also works for short blocks of text, maintaining excellent legibility all the way down to 6pt.

While Druk Text was designed to fulfill a general functional need, Druk Text Wide has its roots in a specific era of graphic design. While studying catalogs designed by Willem Sandberg for the Stedelijk Museum, Berton Hasebe noticed frequent use of small sizes of Annonce Grotesk, a very wide and bold sans serif, for running feet, headers within text, and other small navigational elements. Unable to think of a contemporary typeface able to handle this job with the same ease and panache, he was inspired to adapt Druk Wide for small sizes. Druk Text Wide can also be used sparingly for short blocks of text, but it is primarily intended for display use at small sizes. Like Druk Text, it maintains its legibility all the way down to 6pt and below.

Though Druk Text has a decidedly condensed proportion, and feels extremely narrow at small sizes, the family is much wider and sets much looser than Druk. In addition to the change in proportion and tracking, terminals on characters like a, e, and s have been opened up to maintain legibility at small sizes, and small details and punctuation have been exaggerated for clarity. Druk Text Wide, on the other hand, appears quite wide and heavy in comparison to a typical text typeface, but the family is considerably narrower and lighter than Druk Wide, and also has shorter terminals for more open apertures. The Super weight of Druk Text Wide first appeared in the Etc section of Bloomberg Businessweek, bringing complexity and the same distinctive personality to small type that Druk Wide brings to the large headlines.

Druk Text and Druk Text Wide are available for use on the desktop, for self-hosted web use, and for embedding in mobile apps.

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