what are peoples opinions on jonathan hoeﬂer fonts
Come on, Jonathan, you can use your real name here — you’re among friends. We all think you make very nice little typefaces.
"why are you anonymous?" - he/she isn't anonymous. but - [un]anonymous[ly]
Hrant, you are funny, every time this person posts something you have the same response. Keep up the good work. Dan who isn’t anonymous
It’s the context, baby. And it’s not a “person”, more of a club of sorts. hhp
Anonymous, aka Lazy. The least you could do, Anonymousperson, is make an anonymous avatar. And make the eﬀort to come up with a more focused thread-starter. Coz this anonymous vague question leads nowhere.
Can you be more speciﬁc? (Sorry — could not resist.)
I think the administrators should make Anonyous read only status. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Daniel, great idea!!!
Hey, I’ve been censored!
You are now registered. There is only one “Anonymous”, so the more you post the more we can pin down your essence, and use that context to qualify your participation. hhp
> There is only one “Anonymous” I’m not so sure about it. Anyone can still create new user accounts. We’ve seen “anonymous-registered” posts before (Anon.E.Mouse, Clint Eastwood, etc ;). And, this one here is probably just joking around, not being the original anonymous of the thread.
It doesn’t matter, he’s still one person. If for example if “Anonymous” (of which there can only be one) spends most of his posts attacking one of us, then any given instance containing an attack will be seen as insincere participation. Some people actually frequent lists mainly to defame. hhp
Tobias, is good material. Gerald Giampa
I think the Hoeﬂer foundry is one of the best in the world — their fonts are consistently highly capable and historically intelligent. But with the duo’s huge resources of insight and talent, don’t shoot me if I enjoy thinking that the best is yet to come. hhp
The underlying question is this: how did a couple of young squirts get so damned good so quickly? And whatever it is, will they bottle and sell it? (Hey, 101st post — I’m ﬁnally regular!) (Well, it was my 101st post before I got a “Form Referer Not Found.” error.)
Ok, I’ll be a trouble maker. Hoeﬄer’s faces are extremely well done, but there is something about his aesthetic that I personally don’t warm to. I do like Gotham, but that is from Tobias Frere-Jones, who was at Fontbureau (whose taste I generally like.) No, I have no connection to either house.
Hoeﬂer was at FontBureau too, no? That’s probably the reason they matured so quickly: a lot of hard work under a “top gun” of typography — Berlow the Quiet. hhp
Maybe FontBureau should take to adopting infants and incubating them until they’re old enough to hold a pencil — just imagine the genius type designers they could hatch!
I wish I could be more articulate on this, Tiﬀany, but I can’t really explain it clearly. To me there is a kind of 19th century feel to his typefaces, which is not to my taste. It isn’t exactly a Classic vs Romantic thing. For example, I love Christian Schwartz’s work (Orangeitalic.com), and his stuﬀ is very expressive, like his recent Amplitude. I’m sure Hoeﬂer’s work deserves its success, but I must admit it doesn’t grab me.
> I can’t really explain it clearly. On the contrary, I think you did just ﬁne! And I agree. Hoeﬂer’s work is deeply informed by history, probably because that turns him on. But that always entails a dependency too: it becomes harder to innovate. Mind you, he’s done some notable innovations in the display realm, but in the darker realm of text it’s much harder to escape the ghosts of the past. But if you manage, you’ll really make your cultural mark. hhp
Hrant, I have a feeling our reactions are for a diﬀerent reasons. I think text type is inherently more conservative than I suspect you think it is. And I don’t mind revivals — I like most periods, just not Victorian. I have a feeling that I just don’t resonate with the same historical stuﬀ that Hoeﬂer does. It’s a way of handling detail and ornament…
> I think text type is inherently more conservative than I suspect you think it is. It’s certainly more “conservative” (not sure if that’s the right term) than display fonts. But it’s a lot less conservative than most people who make text fonts think. In fact at some points in the past (like the ﬁrst quarter of the 20th century) people had a lot more balls than us. And of course the reader couldn’t even tell the diﬀerence (consciously). These days the fall in the level of craft versus pretentious artistry has annihilated the consideration of what the reader needs, especially in the subconscious realm. The other day I showed a setting of Eidetic to three laymen and asked some carefully tangenial questions about how they felt about it. None of them thought there was anything notable about it! Most “serious” type designers however think it’s way out there. Break loose from that cozy old ﬁreplace — there’s a rich world outside, it’s called the future! hhp
I guess one person’s cozy is another’s boring, and the latter’s interesting is the former’s uncomfortable. But who is more likely to mark cultural progress? hhp
What I ﬁnd is most people now have an attention span of a ﬂea. I was just in a checkout line at the supermarket and the two people in front of me were on their cell phones, trying to make a purchase and chat on the phone at the same time. The same is true with print communications, while they are looking at printed material they have the TV on in the background and a pda in hand. Typeface? What typeface? This may not be true worldwide but in my little corner of the USA it is. Dan
>who is more likely to mark cultural progress? Actually, I think history says you can’t tell. Bach was, I believe, pretty conservative and great. Beethoven was innovative and great. Who was it — Brunelesci? — invented perspective drawing, one of the greatest innovations in drawing, but I don’t think he was the greatest artist in two dimensions, though a great architect…
You won’t be remembered if you rehash the past. Time only moves forward, hence does not forgive lethargy. hhp
Hrant sometimes time moves sideways and a little up and down and even backwards. How can you explain George W. He’s his father all over again. (Aside) I hope you’re not anywhere near those horrible wildﬁres. The stat that made me cringe is the area burnt is the size of the state of Rhode Island.
Nah that stuﬀ is pretty far away, although there’s a lot of ﬁne ash in the air sometimes. If it makes it anywhere near me it would mean it’s razed like half of LA county, which means it’ll start feeling like back home. :-) hhp
Hrant there is an amusing article on Creative Pro today not so subtly dissing Arnold your governor. How did he get in? Is this politics hell times, Jeb down in Fla, George in Washington (although I think the vp is really running things) and Arnold in CA and we have multibillionaire Bloomburg here, yuck! Dan
»Anonymous, glad you’ve made it oﬃcial, and welcome Well thanks, but… No, I’m not the anon who started the thread Yes, I was just joking Yes, I am registered under my real name too No, I’m not here to insult anyone I think Nick is right when he says unregistered anonymity is lazy. And I think those that wanted no anonymous posts had good reasons for that, but I also think there is a place for anonymity. I’ve seen threads here where convincing arguments have been made by people who would not have been able to say those things under a real name. I think the way it is now, with only registered anonymity, is the way it should be. (I posted a much more thoughtful message about anonymity, but it got eaten by the web monsters and my brain can’t do thoughtful twice in one day, so sorry if this is a bit rushed)
Now Anonymous you need a better looking logo, too boring make something reﬂecting your talents that looks like a stock Illustration from a cheezy free site. Dan
Dan, If you read your post back, you’ll see it makes no sense. If you can be bothered, please post again, so I can understand your point. I don’t know why you have taken against this expression of registered anonymity. I, or anyone, could register under a ‘John Doe’ name, and you wouldn’t know their identity. (Its also true that when I post under my real name, you wouldn’t know who I am anyway, but that isn’t the case for everyone here, so anonymity has a role in promoting open discussion)
Christian still does some work through FB, I think. > my wife …. found tiring to read It’s the subconscious kicking in. Ask her if she had a problem with the font at the very beginning of the reading eﬀort. hhp
William, market forces play a role in the conservatism of HTF. The good commissions and sales for foundries are to large corporations and publications, with multi-user licensing. Those instiututions are very conservative. This is not to deny the innovative quality of HTF typefaces in many areas, but it is subtle. The designers at HTF have all done experimental, more uniquely contemporary work, but that’s barely reﬂected in HTF’s positioning. Compare the early Fetish and Gestalt with the bulk of the foundry’s catalog. Rarely do the clients that pay best want one’s most creative work. In fact, there’s probably an inverse relationship between remuneration and creativity. The retail font market is diﬀerent, you can do crazy work, but it’s a crap-shoot.
All very true. Which means of course that Capitalism opposes cultural progress. hhp
Nick said the big money isn’t in creativity, and he’s right. Cultural progress doesn’t make money, massaging the status quo does. The only way you can really innovate in type for example is by not expecting much money from it. hhp
Nick: I would say market forces also play roles everywhere else. All we have to do is take a look at Linotype’s or MyFonts bestsellers. There’s no coincidence on Linotype’s recent eﬀorts on redesigning Univers, Optima, Avenir, Sabon et al. Even knowing there are lots of improvements on those fonts, I can’t stop wondering what would happen if the same money could be invested on new typeface designs. I agree with Hrant: cultural progress doesn’t make money, at least not while it’s still understood as ‘innovation’. Maybe that happens because conservative people need to separate trendy and volatile stuﬀ from things that came to stay. In typeface design it could take a few decades. A common example of that conservative behaviour found here in Brazil is the use of Oﬃcina. The font is almost 15 years old, but just now it became trendy, replacing most of Univers or Helvetica uses everywhere. Nobody judges if the replacement works, just follow the tide. – Talking about the original subject, I have great respect for the HTF fonts. I wish I could know more of their custom work, such as Retina. hC
Pioneering is always a very tough road, but probably less so in capitalist countries than others, because of general wealth and the diversity of the market. I have no problem with contemporary use of good typefaces from the 17th or 20th centuries. I don’t care if it’s conservative or innovative, as long as it’s good. Of course, in typography suitability to the project is almost everything. To me that means there are contexts where something new is better, and contexts where something historical is better.
The observation that the big money in type is typically associated with fairly conservative design can be interpreted in a number of ways, some of them clearly dubious. Proceeding from this observation to the conclusion that capitalism inhibits innovation requires making a number of assumptions. One of these assumptions is that innovation is measurable by the amount of money paid for a single product rather than on the number of products in the market. Obviously, in a capitalist economy, the number of products in the market is very much larger than in pre-capitalist or non-capitalist societies, and this is the usual measure of relative innovation, not how much money X producer obtained for Y product. Indeed, the greater the number of competing products in a market, the lower the average price will be. Since no capitalist economy is ever a purely capitalist economy — not least because some notions of value are inherited from pre-capitalist societies, especially in ‘craft’ businesses such as type design — we should not automatically conﬂate conservatism in type design with a speciﬁcally capitalist status quo. Despite what the most ardent capitalists proclaim, there remain more ways of measuring value than the price the market will bear. The commissions that type designers like Jonathan and Tobias receive from magazines and newspapers reﬂect interesting and contradictory client desires: to have something new and fresh and distinctive, and to have something with an enduring value that is not merely fashionable. The fact that Jonathan and Tobias so regularly deliver and satisfy these contradictory desires is testament to their considerable skills.
In that last post, I meant to write: ‘One of these assumptions is that encouragement of innovation is measurable by the amount of money paid for a single product rather than on the number of products in the market.’
John said: >The fact that Jonathan and Tobias so regularly deliver and satisfy these contradictory desires is testament to their considerable skills. True, and I have the same opinion about many fonts from the FB library (wich are related to Frere-Jones’ excellent typedesign approach in some way). John: You’ve mentioned Hoeﬂer designed many comissioned type projects for magazines and newspapers. Besides Retina, which I’ve known through HTF’s site, are there any other interesting projects worth seeing? hC
The Proteus set (Ziggurat, Leviathan, Saracen and Acropolis) was designed for Rolling Stone magazine Champion Gothic was designed for Sports Illustrated. This design was later greatly extended in weights and widths to form the Knockout series. HTF Didot was designed for Harper’s Bazaar. I believe Requiem was also designed for a magazine, but I can’t recall which one. Jonathan designed Mercury Display for Esquire magazine in 1997, and in 1999 Tobias extended the design to create the newspaper type family Mercury. Mercury is not shown on the HTF wesbite yet, because it is still under exclusive license to New Times newscorp I believe, but you can see it in the ATypI/Graphis publication Language Culture Type.
» Which means of course that Capitalism opposes cultural progress. Interesting. I think capitalism is actually highly dependent on cultural progress, because it is partly based on the idea of selling people stuﬀ they either already have in some form (a stylistic or functional upgrade, if you will), that they don’t really need (pure luxury) or that satisﬁes the basic human desires (among them: greed). This wouldn’t be possible, if the good ol’ wheel were not reinvented and remarketed as a ‘brand-new must-have circular motion device’ on a regular basis and if the stylistic deﬁnition of ‘mainstream’ didn’t undergo a subtle but seismic shift every now and then. So, capitalism needs to at least look as if it’s moving forward all of the time, even if it doesn’t. It achieves this by using cultural splinter groups as ‘idea incubators’ on the fringes of the mainstream, testing what might work on a mass scale. If they have something, the mainstream moves to gobble it up, the fringes move elsewhere. The devious achievement of capitalism is in permitting and not repressing this process, a system which feeds oﬀ those that oppose it to reinvent itself and thereby stiﬂe this opposition. If it weren’t just human nature, I’d call it a damn cunning plan
Good points, Refusenik. Of course, we’re all assuming that cultural progress = making new and innovative things, which on reﬂection I don’t accept. Hrant made a jump from his claim that capitalism stiﬂes innovation to capitalism stiﬂing cultural progress. Now, those of us pointing out the various ways in which capitalism encourages innovation (albeit without necessarily paying for it) are in danger of making the same jump: that encouraging innovation = encouraging cultural progress. There are various ways of reckoning cultural progress, and innovation in the marketplace is not a universal criterion. How you measure cultural progress depends largely on your own cultural values.
Requiem started as a request from Rolling Stone, but I think it got dropped and then later ﬁnished for Travel & Leisure. At their AIGA gig, the wonderboys talked about the development of the lovely Surveyor face for Martha Stewart. Yummy. (The typeface, not Martha.)
The ﬁrst step to betterment is admission. Capitalism and culture are mostly opposite. Elaborate apologistics does not change this. hhp
John — to your list I would add that Hoeﬂer Titling (released last year) was originally completed on commission for House & Garden, circa 1997. Tiﬀany — It was GQ that originally used Gotham Condensed. I’m pretty sure T F-J completed that on commission prior to ﬁnishing the entire Gotham family for retail release late last year. Meredith — I wish I could have attended the Hoeﬂer/Frere-Jones presentation. Are you referring to the light slab-serif currently used for primary text in MSL? For some reason I thought that was called Archer, not Surveyor. Am I completely oﬀ-base, or did they change the name in the end? Or is Surveyor that revised Walbaum Italic? BTW, Tiﬀ, I think MSL still uses Benton Gothic, which was designed by Tobias, but under the auspices of FB not HTF — so not every MSL face is a HTF font; but you’re right, it wouldn’t be a bad bet to start with. — K.
Unsupported one-line assertions do not an argument make.
Kent, Archer is the slab-serif. Surveyor was based on the lettering on old maps (a bit precious, I guess, but this is Martha Stewart, after all). Really quite nice. Is it a revision of Waldbaum Italic? I dunno — that didn’t occur to me when they showed example slides of it, but it’s possible. I haven’t seen it in use yet. I thought Gotham was developed for the Lever House restoration — or am I conﬂating two diﬀerent projects?