Language is not an invention. As best we can tell it is an evolved feature of the human brain. There have been almost countless languages humans have spoken. But they all follow certain rules that grow out of the wiring of the human brain and human cognition. Critically, it is something that is hardwired into us. Writing is an altogether different and artificial thing.
After musing on newsletters, Craig shares how he’s feeling about Instagram and its ilk:
Instagram will only get more complex, less knowable, more algorithmic, more engagement-hungry in 2019.
I’ve found this cycle has fomented another emotion beyond distrust, one I’ve felt most acutely in 2018: Disdain? (Feels too loaded.) Disappointment? (Too moralistic.) Wariness? (Yes!) Yes — wariness over the way social networks and the publishing platforms they provide shift and shimmy beneath our feet, how the algorithms now show posts of X quality first, or then Y quality first, or how, for example, Instagram seems to randomly show you the first image of a multi-image sequence or, no wait, the second.8
I try to be deliberate, and social networks seem more and more to say: You don’t know what you want, but we do. Which, to someone who, you know, gives a shit, is pretty dang insulting.
Wariness is insidious because it breeds weariness. A person can get tired just opening an app these days. Unpredictable is the last thing a publishing platform should be but is exactly what these social networks become. Which can make them great marketing tools, but perhaps less-than-ideal for publishing.
Mandy’s experiments with text effects in CSS are kinda mindblowing—I can’t wait to see her at Ampersand at the end of the month!
Marcin built this lovely little in-browser tool to demonstrate how segmented type displays work at different sizes.
Tal Leming’s thoroughly delightful (and obsessive) account of designing the 90 Minutes typeface for U.S. Soccer.
FIFA has strict regulations that govern the size and stroke weight of numbers and letters used on official match uniforms. This made me unbelievably paranoid. I had a nightmare that one of the national teams would be set for kickoff of an important match and the referee would suddenly blow the whistle and say, “Hey, hey, hey! The bottom stroke of that 2 is 1 mm too light. The United States must forfeit this match!”
A blog dedicated to documenting the letterforms on display in Berlin.
This is simply wondrous! A microcosm of Borges’s story made real on the world wide web.
We do not simply generate and store books as they are requested — in fact, the storage demands would make that impossible. Every possible permutation of letters is accessible at this very moment in one of the library’s books, only awaiting its discovery.
By far the creepiest type experiment I have ever seen.
The alphabet illustrated with CSS.
Most of these are pretty over the top but they’re good proofs of concept.
Take all the fonts on your operating system, superimpose them, and whaddya get? This.
A celebration of horrendous kerning all over the internet.
Visualising the Republic of Letters.
A wonderful history of our alphabet. Set aside some time to read this.
A fantastic blog of letterheads. Some of the typographic choices are perfect.
An interesting experiment in making Katakana self-describing.
An editorially managed collection of type-related goodies: "Think of it as FFFFound for all things type, typography, lettering, & signage."
Cameron asked some type creators for samples of their handwriting. They obliged. Compare the handwriting to the fonts.