Christian Robertson's blog

Christian Robertson's picture

Typophile Upgrade

We did some upgrading over the weekend. We are still ironing out some of the wrinkles, so thanks for your patience. This upgrade will make it possible to add new features and help speed things up a little as well.

One of the first Type Battles in 2006 was titled "Found Type" and started with the simple request to design seven characters based on a photograph of found lettering. I wandered around the block from the (then) Punchcut offices on Grant Avenue and found some letters inlaid in stone. Three years later I'm releasing the resulting font as Grant Avenue. While is still bears the mark of those first characters, the face is more broadly influenced by the stone engravings from many buildings in the area. Since much of the city was rebuilt very quickly after the 1906 earthquake and fire, much of the architectural lettering in SF has a very distinct style.

Christian Robertson's picture

Type designer handwriting

Cameron Adams of Sydney Australia collected handwriting samples of his favorite type designers and compared them to their types. Incidentally, his favorites overlap a lot of mine. Via Slashdot (of all places)

I don't know why I didn't notice this before. The Fontlab "Insert" command is one of the most useful things I have discovered in a while. It's basically a paste command that will paste the points in the clipboard in the place of the points selected in the glyph window. Here is the use case: you have have drawn out your whole font, and all of the sudden you decide that you want to add another subtle curve to each serif. You can:

A. tweak them all by hand (could take years)
B. Try the find/replace (also cool), but since there are likely to be a few points that got bumped here and there it won't work.

[ or ]

C. Copy the fixed serif, and Command+Shift+V insert paste the fixed version on top of each serif. Voila! All of your serifs are now updated.

Christian Robertson's picture

Aperture [working title] beta posted

I just posted a beta of a new geometric I have been playing with. For now I'm calling it Aperture, but I'm open to suggestions. Also, keep in mind that this is an early beta so it's still pretty rough; I only started the thing three days ago.

People ask about corner rounding scripts from time to time here at Typophile. I have heard about several people writing these scripts, but I couldn't find any that were publicly available, so I wrote one for some projects I was working on last year. I dusted it off recently, cleaned it up a little and thought I'd put it out there. It's pretty simple – only 90 lines of python - but it can be easily hacked to support a variety of projects. For example, I modified it to curve the same point across several masters.

It seems like corner rounding is a common enough operation in type design that it is a good candidate for a new tool in FontLab.

Christian Robertson's picture

New font beta

I just posted a beta of a serif face I've been working on lately at

I wouldn't recommend using them for big projects, as they are definitely beta quality at this point. However, the design ideas are there, and in the hands of a skilled typographer could produce some interesting results, as the family is pretty complete.

I'm mostly interested in hearing any feedback/feature requests anyone might have.

Note: These beta cuts probably won't be up for long, as I take them down before the official release.

Christian Robertson's picture

Squashing Bugs til the Early Morn

After another long night, I think we've got the load averages on the server back to normal.

Top 30 thread creators in the history of Typophile (includes wiki pages):

| 490 | paul d hunt
| 378 | Miss Tiffany
| 349 | Jared Benson
| 261 | dan_reynolds
| 259 | hrant
| 228 | Joe Pemberton
| 152 | Stephen Coles
| 149 | sii
| 144 | Bald Condensed
| 137 | evan
| 130 | dezcom
| 121 | misalion
| 109 | kris
| 108 | pablohoney77
| 106 | Hildebrant
| 106 | union
| 105 | adriano
| 102 | Dan Weaver
| 100 | Miguel Sousa
| 95 | bjharvey
| 88 | julia
| 86 | Eric_West
| 85 | designalchemy
| 82 | Eben Sorkin
| 80 | signs79
| 77 | John Hudson
| 76 | James Grieshaber

Christian Robertson's picture Updated

So I finally updated For the time being I'm using it as a project log. I find I'm more motivated to make fonts when I share my progress. Feel free to stop by and take a look at what I've been working on.

Christian Robertson's picture

Thread RSS

So I got tired of checking the type battles every five minutes, so I added rss to the individual threads. Look for the link at the bottom of the topic post.

For those of you who think that all web sites should be hosted on the www sub-domain, but have been unceremoniously logged out of Typophile while doing so: the problem has been fixed. All you need to do is clear your cookies from and The new session cookies will be from which will keep you logged in on any sub-domain of Typophile. In fact, you can look at Typophile on nearly any sub-domain you can think of, switching willy-nilly from one page to another.

If you think that browsers are good for reading blog entries, but lousy for writing, raise your hand. Just what I thought. We're all in agreement here. The good news is that there is a better way. There are a number of email-like clients for writing blogs out there, and it just so happens that they will work with the Uppercase blogs. You can also use them to submit news stories. I'm going to quickly walk through the set-up process on one of the better clients I've found.

The one I'm going to use for this tutorial is Ecto. It's cross platform, and it's the best I've found so far.

Christian Robertson's picture

Good Things

Some good things are going on here with the Typophile codebase, not the least of which is inline image uploads. Only a few more things/bugs to check off our list before we can take the beta stripe off. To use the new image upload features you will need the Flash 8 player. Once you have it installed you will see an "Insert image" link on the post form. It's got a progress bar, no pop-ups, and no page reloads! Trust me, that's cool. On the downside, I'm sure we'll have to hear some whining about flash. Oh well. For Uppercase members, you might try editing your blog with ecto or any number of other blogging clients. More on this later.

I've been thinking for a while about starting a project log (plog) charting my type sketches. No need now; I'll just post them here. Here's something I've been working on on the train. For now it's just the lower case.

Christian Robertson's picture

Typophiling like a maniac.

So I've been putting some serious hours into Typophile these days. Even on the days where I get some 'real' work done at the office, I come home and hack away to the wee hours of the morning. Sad, sad, sad—but oh so fun. It sounds like most people are liking what they see so far. Of course there are still some serious gaps. Image uploads for comments for example, are still missing, and inline display of image attachments needs to be addressed. Right now the primary concern is some server performance issues. Now that we've made it through the initial trampling at launch, we've been able to make a few tweeks and optimizations to speed things up a little, but we've got a ways to go before the site is snappy and crisp like we like it.

Syndicate content Syndicate content