What are peoples opinions on jonathan hoefler fonts

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What are peoples opinions on jonathan hoefler fonts
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what are peoples opinions on jonathan hoefler fonts

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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Why are you anonymous?

hhp

Daniel Weaver's picture
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I think the administrators should make Anonyous read only status. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Jared Benson's picture
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voila.

Anonymous's picture
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Hey, I’ve been censored!

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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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

Eduardo Omine's picture
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> 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.

:-)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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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

Jared Benson's picture
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Requiring registration is a far cry from censorship. I for one welcome participation in any form, whether someone cares to post under their real name or a pseudonym.

To get back to the original topic, I really appreciate fonts that come from The Hoefler Type Foundry. Now while some may consider my opinion biased due to the fact that I have worked with Jonathan for the last few years, I have genuinely found the HTF library incredibly useful for my needs as a graphic designer. The fonts range from classic text faces to contemporary display and are very well built and battle-tested at length before being released.

Now that Tobias Frere-Jones has joined Jonathan at HTF, I can think we can only expect great things to come.

Gerald Giampa's picture
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Tobias, is good material.

Gerald Giampa

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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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

Anonymous's picture
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Hoefler Type Foundry faces are AMAZING

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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The Hoefler typefaces are among the best licenses I’ve ever purchased.

I think the original question posted for this thread should have articulated as to why they are asking this question.

Meredith's picture
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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.)

Tamye Riggs's picture
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The Hoefler/Frere-Jones combo is a knockout (pun intended). It’s wonderful when these teams work out so well. And let’s not forget one of HTF’s secret weapons, Josh Darden. He’s another (really) young squirt with amazing talent and technical gifts. The boy almost flunked his high school exams because he was busy making faces.

William Berkson's picture
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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.

Joe Pemberton's picture
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Anonymous, glad you’ve made it official, and welcome. We’ll just be careful not to mistake you for A. Nonymous and Anon E. Mouse. =)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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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

Meredith's picture
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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!

:-)

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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William. I don’t think you are a troublemaker. But, I would like you to explain what it is you don’t like about them. You say “something about the aesthetic”, could you explain this further?

William Berkson's picture
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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.



Hrant H Papazian's picture
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> 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

Meredith's picture
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Come on, Jonathan, you can use your real name here — you’re among friends. We all think you make very nice little typefaces.

:-)

William Berkson's picture
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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…

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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> 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

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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So there will be no “cozy fireplaces” in the future?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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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

Daniel Weaver's picture
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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

William Berkson's picture
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>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…

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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You won’t be remembered if you rehash the past.
Time only moves forward, hence does not forgive lethargy.

hhp

Daniel Weaver's picture
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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.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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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

Daniel Weaver's picture
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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

d's picture
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"why are you anonymous?" - he/she isn't anonymous. but - [un]anonymous[ly]

Anonymous's picture
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»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)

Daniel Weaver's picture
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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

Anonymous's picture
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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)

Stephen Coles's picture
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From Kent Lew who is having posting issues on his console:

Hrant, AFAIK Hoefler never worked at The Font Bureau. He started under Roger Black before breaking out on his own to do type design full time.

Meredith, FB doesn’t start with infants, but they do have a good track record with interns. Christian Schwartz did a stint with FB, I believe. There have been other names who got their start at FB, whom I can’t recall off hand. Dyana Weissman is currently “apprenticing” there. Coincidentally (or maybe not) most of their interns get drafted out of RISD and Yale.

RE: Eidetic. The other day, my wife — who generously tolerates my type obsessions — mentioned that she was reading a book which, although she was very interested in the content, she found tiring to read and she thought it had something to do with the typeface (yes, she actually said that!). So naturally I had to take a look. It was set in Eidetic Neo.

— K.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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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

Nick Shinn's picture
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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.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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All very true.
Which means of course that Capitalism opposes cultural progress.

hhp

Joe Pemberton's picture
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What?

If by ‘conservative,’ Nick really means ‘not trendy’ then
Hrant’s axiom should be ‘Conservative organizations
oppose trendiness’ and nothing more.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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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

Hugo Cristo's picture
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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

Daniel Weaver's picture
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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

William Berkson's picture
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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.

John Hudson's picture
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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.

John Hudson's picture
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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.’

Hugo Cristo's picture
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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

John Hudson's picture
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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.

Refusenik's picture
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» 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 :-)

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