Typography: Inspirations & Aspirations

October 07, 2015

I felt a little inspired to do a post about inspiring yourself in the world of design, specifically in typography. There are a bunch of great foundries in this digital age – don’t worry you still have some of the greats from yesteryear. Of course you do have the over-saturation of typefaces now that it is so easy to create them. This does lead to plenty of terrible looking ‘fonts’ with unbalanced letters and crude spacing issues; HOWEVER, let’s not get into that. That is a discussion to be had over a few beers with type-phenes until 3 in the morning. Here are a few websites that I find intriguing. Type-wise, I constantly visit them and try to stay up-to-date with my research with these sites/blogs.

Typefight


Typefight is a very interactive and very creative site that explains the idea in their tagline, “Letter vs. Letter.” It allows designers to go face-to-face and have fun creating a letterform in any way possible. Whatever it takes to win the fight! Login (via Twitter), and you can vote for which letter you think smashed the other. Sometimes, it’s not so easy. There are some really talented designers in the fighting ring.

Every year, Drew Roper, Bryan Butler, and the rest of the crew host Typefight Live at Creative South. Each fighter is given an opponent, and you only have 1 hour to design a random letter. It’s pretty intense and empower at the same time! In 2014, I competed with my best friend. We were given the letter ‘Q’. Fortunately, I had my laptop in my backpack; however, Ethan only had a few pens in his pocket. We both ended up having really awesome end projects, and the scores reflected that. You can check out my ‘Q’ in the portfolio section of my website.

I Love Typography

ILT was created by John Boardley in 2007. Now living in Vietnam (he was living in Japan at the time of ILT’s birth), he has gained the support of Hoefler & Co. He posts great articles reviewing typefaces and giving history of really cool designs. It is updated just about ever other week, so be sure to stop by and read some awesome topics by I Love Typography.

John and a group of type maniacs also run a sister blog called We Love Typography that you all should check out as well!

Friends of Type


Friends of Type is another useful and fun blog to sift through! In 2009, FoT started out as a spur-of-the-moment (literally launching in around 8 hours) blog where Aaron Carámbula and Erik Marinovich needed somewhere to post all this amazing design and lettering that they kept coming across. You read about its beginnings on their site (and you should); but since their start-up, they have gained two more members, Jason Wong and Dennis Payongayong. Head on over the Friends of Type and get inspired!

Fonts in Use

Fonts In Use is a public archive all of us designers have wanted and needed for a while. This website start in 2010 dedicated to showing typefaces and pairings used in the real world – on anything from a small sticker to globally recognized brands. In 2012, they added a very user friendly addition to the blog – Collections. Now you can search for a typeface, what format it is being used in, or what industry is using it. This is a pretty interest and handy tool, so get to browsing!

Typewolf

This is another great designer tool among the interwebs thanks to Jeremiah Shoaf, who started the site in 2013. The point of the website is to show excellent type pairings. You can then click through and purchase the fonts on MyFonts. Head over their and study some pairings because nothing is more upsetting than poorly paired fonts – well, maybe there are more upsetting things, but not many!

Typostrate

Founded along side of goldesign, Christian Goldemann started Typostrate in 2011 to display “the passion and power of typography in the world.” This blog has great tips and tools for the letterer and designer!

Type Hunting

This jaw dropping archive of vintage designs created by Jonathan Lawrence will give you googly-eyes for the rest of the day, guaranteed. This is the stuff I crave (along with Aaron Draplin‘s collection of vintage “knick-knacks”). Since 2012, Jonathan has been hand-picking these bad boys out for inspiration of himself and others. This is the number one way to find inspiration. There is nothing like rummaging through people’s trash or spending an afternoon at a flea market finding forgotten designs. Along with spending the rest of today’s productivity looking through Type Hunting, give Jonathan’s personal site a gander. It will also put you in awe.

Inspiring Designers & Letterers

Jessica Hische

Photo by Helena Price.
Photo by Helena Price for San Francisco Magazine.

This has been a design icon of mine for several years now (ever since she started her Daily Drop Cap). Jessica has such a versatile array of work – everything from posters, ads and identity to editorial designs, books and websites. If you’re some design scum that doesn’t think that’s a bunch of work, visit her site, and you might reconsider your judgmental mindset, sir/mam. She is so invested in her craft, I honestly don’t know when she has time to eat. Alright, I’ll calm down with the fan-girling now. Just go see and read her stuff.

Allan Peters

Photo by Allan Peters.
Photo by Allan Peters.

Although Allan Peters is currently a Creative Director and Designer at Target, and that is a great feat in itself; he is also the master mind behind #BadgeHunting. This is similar to Type Hunting, but it is focused on the type and the design elements completing a format together. This creates some really cool forms! In the Badge Hunting, Allan features vintage badges and badges from today. While you’re scavenging his work, check out his 3 baby announcements. Typographically-speaking (and design-wise for that matter), those are brilliant.

Winston Scully

This left-handed fellow is (A of all) the nicest dude on the planet currently and (secondly) a super talented hand-letterer. We met at a LSU portfolio review in 2014 and again at Creative South later that year. Since then, he has been a pal and a very insightful designer (especially for left-handers like myself). His website has great materials like tons of lettering inspiration, a info-filled blog, a learn (like a how-to) section, an explanation of his process (which is super vital to typographers and letterers) and soon there will be a shop! Please, guys, abuse his help in every way you can!

Ethan Manning

This dude (who is also in the second photo in this post) is the great Ethan Manning. He is sort of a best bud… Alright, he is the bestest of buds. He is one of the reasons I have become as obsessed with typography (and design) as I am today. He has pushed me to new heights and broken down boundaries. </sappiness> Ethan is an amazing letterer that does a daily script everyday. He has developed a wicked style of his own that you can see in his heritage and surroundings. Check out his #lettering365 posts on Instagram.

Finally, we’ve getting to the end of this extended list of type-spired post. This is just a few of the places I visit while searching for inspiration when I feel like I’m hitting a designers block. Along with these blogs and websites, of course I visit and search on Dribbble, Designspiration and Behance. I even visit some agency and foundaries like Mattson Creative, Sagmeister & Walsh, House Industries and Hoefler & Co. for really cool projects. If you have gotten this far, thank you very much for reading this. You are the reason I’m going to continue doing this.