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Hoefler & Frere-Jones

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The H&FJ Institute for Unapplied Mathematics

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   09/04/2009

Typefaces: Gotham Narrow Book, Archer Book, Indicia, Dividend, Gotham Extra Narrow Medium, BaysideWe've received our share of intriguing questions over the years, but this one takes the cake. On Monday, a correspondent called from National Public Radio to (+)


The Alphabet: A Dramatic Reading

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   03/04/2009

This clip of James Earl Jones reciting the alphabet is so disturbing that I can't believe it actually aired on the Sesame Street of my youth — not without dissuading me from my current career, anyway. All I can say today is that I wish he'd included an "a (+)


Breaking News!

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   01/04/2009

Typeface: Verlag Condensed BlackWe're resisting the temptation to go against last year's declaration that April Fools' Day website goofs are inherently unfunny, so it pleases me to instead have an genuine update regarding someone else's typographic sillin (+)


Laminitis, or English As She Is Drawn

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   30/03/2009

Some would argue for Bleak House, others Middlemarch. The Great Gatsby has its proponents as well, along with Lolita and Heart of Darkness. But for me, it is none of these: there is a clear winner in the category, a single book that is the finest work of (+)


Sham Rock

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   17/03/2009

I have for exactly one year been waiting to open up the monumental copy of Ornamented Types of L. J. Pouchée that we have in the office, to find the example of the delicately curlicued shamrock type that historian James Mosley attributed to an unknown pun (+)


The Gerrit Noordzij Prize, Part 2: Incoming

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   10/03/2009

Type designers are accustomed to approaching the line between homage and parody with great care. It's especially daunting when its subject is a living colleague, as was the case last Friday when Tobias presented an award of his own design to Wim Crouwel, (+)


The Gerrit Noordzij Prize, Part 1: Outgoing

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   05/03/2009

One charming aspect of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize is the design of the award itself. By tradition, it's something created by the current prize holder, and presented to the incoming awardee. Past winners have used the occasion to create something that not o (+)


Tobias Frere-Jones: An Exhibit at the Royal Academy of Art

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   03/03/2009

Tobias is the fourth and current holder of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize, which was presented to him in 2006. Every few years, the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague celebrates an individual for his "unique contributions to type design, typography, and type ed (+)


Things We Love

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   02/03/2009

Eduardo Recife for Upper Playground, 2008.I've always had a thing for collage. If I was more highfalutin, I'd claim some childhood fascination with Joseph Cornell or James Rosenquist — both of whom I love, but didn't discover until adulthood. The truth is (+)


Wearable Rococo

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   27/02/2009

Look up and you’ll see the floriated, ornamented, shaded letters of the H&FJ logo (l. gravura tuscana), as well as an italic cousin used for the News, Notes & Observations nameplate. I have a special fondness for these kinds of letters, which reflect a sy (+)


THE NEW GOTHAMS: 46 New Fonts from H&FJ.

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   20/01/2009

Fans of our Gotham typeface will be pleased to find that as of this morning, there are three times as many Gothams in the world as there were yesterday.Designers who work with Gotham have enthusiastically deployed the fonts in a range of environments. We' (+)


Typographic Gifts — for You.

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   24/12/2008

Our workshop, now elf-free due to labor regulations, has been hard at work on a couple of goodies that we’re looking forwarding to bringing you in January; watch this space. Until then, best wishes for the holidays and a happy new year — see you in 2009! (+)


Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 15

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   18/12/2008

If you’re an editorial designer, chances are that you’re familiar with the Society for News Design through its workshops, its excellent international conferences, and of course its annual. What you might not know is that SND operates the non-profit SND Fo (+)


Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 14

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   15/12/2008

Hot on the heels of my open question about artists and fives, I came across this marvelous photograph by Berenice Abbott featuring a pair of gorgeous fives in starring roles. Abbott is best remembered for Changing New York, her seminal collection of photo (+)


Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 13

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   12/12/2008

The disappearance of wood type has something to do with the slow fade of letterpress from the world of commercial printing; it also has something to do with that dude at the flea market who sells hot-glued wood type sculptures on the weekends. And the Dus (+)


Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 12

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   11/12/2008

I liked samplers as a kid. In the fictional account of my life, I could trace this affection to my dear great-grandmother Abigail, who spent hours embroidering by candlelight (when she wasn’t busy repairing uniforms for returning Union soldiers.) But havi (+)


Typographic Gifts for Designers, Part 11

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   10/12/2008

Picking up where we left off last year, we thought we’d round out 2008 with some holiday ideas for the recovering typophiliac in your life.I’m intrigued by Jen Bekman’s 20x200, which every week produces small runs of small works on paper, at prices to mat (+)


Blog Tags

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   08/12/2008

Regular readers of H&FJ’s News, Notes & Observations will notice a few changes to the blog today, chief among them the addition of tags.Some items are identified by visual labels (Blackletter, Punctuation, Calligraphy, Lettering), others are organized con (+)


His Name Was Almost Legion

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   03/12/2008

James Mosley shared with me this striking photograph of some of the world’s oldest type-making material. These brass matrices, made by a Dutch punchcutter in 1508, are now in the collection of the Enschedé Museum in Haarlem. It’s remarkable that they’ve s (+)


Change We Somehow Can’t Quite Believe In, Though We Just Can’t Put Our Finger On It

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   26/11/2008

Every four years, the month of November tenders an exciting opportunity for financial speculation, this year offering an almost practical alternative to your lending institution of choice (still solvent as of presstime) or your flameproof mattress. Behold (+)


On the Death and 441-Year Life of the Pixel

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   20/11/2008

The struggle to adequately render letterforms on a pixel grid is a familiar one, and an ancient one as well: this bitmap alphabet is from La Vera Perfettione del Disegno di varie sorte di ricami, an embroidery guide by Giovanni Ostaus published in 1567.Re (+)



Voting Irregularities Already!

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   04/11/2008

The donkey is universally recognized as the symbol of Democratic Party of the United States. Except inside voting booths in New York State, where affiliation with the Democratic party is marked by a five-pointed star. Midwestern voters indicate the Democr (+)


Find us on Facebook!

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   28/10/2008

Yesterday, our 1,000th Facebook friend became a fan of H&FJ. Won’t you join us?Fellow typographers have joined us on Facebook to start conversations, share links of interest, and post photographs of things made with H&FJ fonts. (Now showing: group member (+)


Atoms Aldus

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   21/10/2008

Right: Ioannis Aurelius Augurellus, published by Aldus Manutius. Venice, 1505.Last week I mentioned the atomic pen, which scientists used to construct some awfully tiny letters one atom at a time. These are small letters indeed: measuring two nanometers i (+)


The Neon Boneyard

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   20/10/2008

Our own Andy Clymer has returned from a trip out west with some fine photos of Las Vegas’s infamous neon boneyard. A project of the Neon Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of one of the nation’s great lettering tradit (+)


A Typographic Challenge at 7.08661417 × 10-6 points

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   17/10/2008

With what is delightfully being called “The Atomic Pen,” a team of researchers has created what are likely the world’s smallest letters. At left is an array of silicon atoms measuring two nanometers in height, or .000007086614175 points to you.Their techn (+)


For America.

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   15/10/2008

This summer, the Obama campaign commissioned me to design a typographic poster for the Artists for Obama series. It’s now available from the Obama for America website, in a numbered edition of 5,000. —JHPOSSIBLE. A limited edition poster by Jonathan Hoefl (+)


Collection of the Day

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   13/10/2008

I am not wistful for the days of carbon paper and Ko-Rec-Type, and the era of the typewriter ended before I ever figured out what to do with those wheely-eraser-brush-things that populated my parents’ offices. But a truly grand leftover from the vanished (+)


The World’s Most Perfect Script

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   09/10/2008

Typographically, the Republic of Korea has much to celebrate. The world’s first typefaces cast in metal were made in Korea: a fourteenth century book in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris establishes Korean printing from movable type at (+)


Finds from the NYPL

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   08/10/2008

Some lovelies from the New York Public Library. Larger images after the jump. —JH Continues... (+)


Six Hundred Thousand Images

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   07/10/2008

Discovered: the New York Public Library’s gallery of prints, drawings and photographs is now available online. I recommend some keyword searches with typographic terms: ‘lettering’ yielded this little number, a scrapbook of late 19th century advertising c (+)


Ten Foot Gotham Topiary!

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   03/10/2008

Not really much to add to that. It’s here, one block east of the H&FJ offices. —JH (+)


Now Hiring

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   25/09/2008

There are those designers in the world whose idea of design begins and ends with typography. I'm obviously one of them: before founding H&FJ, my graphic design portfolio included book covers with carefully worked lettering atop "illustration TK," and edit (+)


Never Looked Better

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   19/08/2008

In the year and change since we released the Gotham Rounded family, I’ve noticed an unusual paradox at play. Some designers choose the fonts because of their high-tech associations, and can coax out of them an “engineered” quality that evokes the engraved (+)


Obnoxious Character Recognition

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   14/08/2008

At the heart of the game of cat-and-mouse played by bloggers and spammers is Captcha, purveyor of those staticky demands to enter the code exactly as shown above. Captcha is premised on the idea that brains are still better than machines at reading text, (+)


A Secret Universe in Your Desk Drawer

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   07/08/2008

My weapon of choice is a Pilot Precise rollerball, but I keep a General’s Sketching Pencil below my monitor. I don’t write with it: it’s not sharpened; it’s there because I admire its typography, which in less than four inches goes from italic small capit (+)


In Situ

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   06/08/2008

A beautiful installation by Janno Hahn.—JH (+)


Data Visualization of the Day

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   01/08/2008

Jason Kottke turned me on to this fantastic data visualization by Zach Beane, showing this year’s box office gross for American movies. Like this related graphic at The New York Times, it uses the x-axis for time and the height of each node to indicate re (+)


Type Night at Delta House!

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   31/07/2008

In a description of how type is made using the sand casting method, author Rob Roy Kelly quotes the eighteenth century printer Christian Friedrich Gessner as follows:“The ingredients of casting sand are fine sand, to which is added calcinated baking-oven (+)


Objectified: A New Film by Gary Hustwit

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   30/07/2008

Ever since director Gary Hustwit invited us to appear in his film Helvetica, life has changed for me and Tobias in two ways. First, we get recognized on the street from time to time (always with the implied aren’t you those type dorks) — but second, and m (+)


Heavy Metal

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   29/07/2008

Photos: Left: Johan de Zoete, Stichting Museum Enschedé; Right: James Mosley Four hundred years after his death, “metal type” was still being made the way Gutenberg made it. Using files and gravers, a steel rod was cajoled into the shape of a backwards le (+)


A Word For That

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   16/07/2008

Is that the sound of a designer waiting for Adobe Updater to complete? No, just a brief response to a question on Docs Populi, via Coudal Partners:“What does one call the use of random non-alphabet characters to indicate cursing? It’s a universally unders (+)


Four Shortage Strikes Nation

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   15/07/2008

The New York Times reports on crippling shortfalls in the nation’s strategic four reserve:‘With regular gas in New York City at a near-record $4.40 a gallon, station managers are rummaging through their storage closets in search of extra 4s to display on (+)


Spotting the Long-Necked Kern

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   14/07/2008

This publicity photo, from the Berthold foundry’s Specimen No. 525B (late 1950s?) shows the foundry type for Arabic Shaded No. 50. In addition to demonstrating the maker’s facility with both non-Latin scripts and elaborate ornamentation (this is an outlin (+)


The Oxford English Dictionary in Limerick Form

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   10/07/2008

Nineteen years of designing typefaces has amply proven H&FJ’s Third Law, which states that for every act of exhaustive research, there is an equal and opposite act of total silliness. This principle extends from typography into other disciplines as well: (+)


Learn Typeface Design with Sara Soskolne, H

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   07/07/2008

a href="http://www.typography.com/ask/showBlog.php?blogID=118"img src="http://www.typography.com/images/blogImages/typeschool-2.jpg" border="0" align="left" vspace="0" hspace="10" //apHands-on classes in typeface design are notoriously hard to come by. Th (+)


Type in Three Dimensions

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   04/07/2008

Taking a break from my top secret Independence Day project that combines typography and patriotism (more about this later), I came across something marvelous that I had to share.The August 2008 issue of Print has this arresting image on the cover. I recog (+)


The Smallest Letter in the World

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   26/06/2008

A nice surprise: inside a folder of oversize type proofs, I found a stowaway: A Specimen of Printing Types by Joseph Fry and Sons, Letter-Founders, 1785. Like many contemporary type specimens, it separates dinner from dessert: on the front are romans and (+)


The Living Glagolitic

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (+)   16/06/2008

Last month’s post about Cyrillic and Glagolitic Alphabet Day prompted some great responses from our Croatian colleagues, where the Glagolitic alphabet, a national treasure, lives on. Vjeran Andrašić wrote from the island of Krk, home to some of Croatia’s (+)



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