Desert Island Fonts - Round 3 | June 27, 2005

If you could only buy 6 fonts, what would they be?

Dan Cederholm

Triplex

I’d have to have this one, as it’s used in the SimpleBits logo. I really dig the “e”.

Mini7

Especially “Condensed”. Can’t live without this one for tiny interface bits.

Comic Sans

Gotcha.

VAG Rounded

I just purchased this for a project, and I’m loving it’s friendly roundness. So much better than Arial Rounded.

DIN

So common, but so euro-sans great.

Prensa

I need a serif. This one is quite nice.

Richard Rutter

Myriad Pro

A highly screen readable, modern sans-serif. And it’s our corporate typeface.

Lucida Bright

A serif accompaniment to Lucida Grande (and designed to be readable on screen and in print). The italic is also infinitely superior to Georgia.

Minion Pro

An elegant, highly readable Garamond derivative by Robert Slimbach (who also designed Myriad). My serif of choice for printed body copy. Works well on screen for headings and has a fabulous true italic.

Syntax

A tight, tidy sans-serif that works well with Minion. Would be good for clients keen on classic rather than modern typographical feel.

Univers

Because you should always have a grotesque in your armoury, and this is a classic designed by Adrian Frutiger. Comes in heaps of different weights.

Avenir

A fairly random sixth choice, chosen for its flexibility. Modern sans-serif for headings that works well in all sizes.

Jason Santa Maria

Franklin Gothic

Good big and small, for headlines and body copy. It’s a workhorse a sans serif.

Garamond

The grand daddy classic. It hurts to think of how many fonts were based off of Garamond (like the also gorgeous Sabon). It’s a beautiful achievement and a quintessential face.

Unibody

One of the only pixel fonts that really matters, and includes the best pixel italic around. It’s more readable and practical than Mini 7, and carries quite a bit more personality.

Caslon

Dependable and flexible as hell. Caslon drips with sophistication.

Gill Sans

Stylish and subdued in the same breath, and nothing more than it needs to be.

Freight Family

A new face on the block, but oh so grand. Perfectly readable at minute sizes, breathtaking in a headline and a pleasure to set. You could use this font 10 different ways and not get sick of it.

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Live 8 Funometer | June 22, 2005

live8 ticket

So I’m going to Live8 and I have to say that I’m really excited. The lineup is fantastic and I’m most looking forward to seeing Coldplay, The Killers, Snow Patrol and the partially reformed Pink Floyd. Looks set to be one hell of an event.

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Desert Island Fonts - Round 2 | June 20, 2005

If you could only buy 6 fonts, what would they be?

Andrei Herasimchuk

Helvetica Neue

You just can’t go wrong with Helvetica. It has a timeless feel to it, and is one of the most perfectly readable fonts at any point size. It goes in and out of season, but it is guaranteed to remain a solid choice no matter what’s in fashion.

Gill Sans

It’s almost become a cliché at this point, but Gill Sans still warms my heart. It’s got personality a thousand times over no matter how often you see it, and it remains distinct no matter how often it is over-used. Great on business cards at low point sizes to retain readability with character. Great on large format printing for the exact same reason. It makes for a perfect counterbalance to almost any serif font that you would use for body copy.

Bodoni

As one can tell from my logo mark, Bodoni is one of my favorites. A classic that projects confidence, sturdiness and a calm energy no matter how wild the design. Bodoni is history, and is a constant reminder of how our language and our art evolved over hundreds of years. I love to use it for body copy for book design.

Adobe Jenson

Reminiscent of the classic fonts of the Renaissance, Abode Jenson does a great job of capturing that hand-cut feel of the master typographers of old. It’s a great font for body type, but also work wells for headlines. Adobe’s Pro version has plenty of ligatures, small caps, swashes, European characters and old style variations on characters to keep the most demanding type connoisseur content.

Trade Gothic

Easily one of my favorite grotesque style fonts. This font is perfect for any headline or large format printing. It also does a damn good job with captions.

These are my “safe” choices. They are the ones I find I turn to over and over when stuck in a design problem, or when needing to ground my work in a solid, confident, timeless type face. So, for the last choice, I’ll pick something I’ve been experimenting with as of late that I find interesting and out of the ordinary.

Voluta Script Pro

I love the hand drawn characters in this font. Call me a fuddy duddy, I don’t care, but lost is a time when people’s penmanship was so interesting and full of character.

Russ Weakly

Helvetica Neue

A wide range of sans serif weights and styles within one font package

Universe

See above

Eurostile

I use this to death - probably should be banned from using it

Trajan

Great for movie posters and older atmospheric Museum-style sites (though the lack of lower case is a pain)

Utopia

Nice serif font

Rotis

Range of serifs and semi-serifs

Mark Boulton

Helvetica

Number one has to be Helvetica. Why? Well, for me, it communicates European culture. Also I think it has the perfect lower case ‘e’.

Mrs Eaves / Baskerville

Mrs eaves is probably the best interpretation of Baskerville, particularly it’s ligature set. Distinctive typeface, with a contemporary balance.

Garamond

Can’t beat a bit of Garamond. Wonderfully legible and sophisticated without trying too hard.

Meta

The Helvetica of the 90’s. Used to death during that decade but it’s still a timeless classic.

Gill Sans

If you ever need a typeface to say ‘British’, this is it. Although the lower case ‘a’ at heavier weights is pretty grim.

Verdana (but only at a small size)

No list would be complete without Verdana. A relative baby in the world of typeface design but it has helped define a medium. Superbly legible at small size.

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Accessibility and the Law | June 19, 2005

Social responsibility is a lofty ideal. I would love to live in a world where each individual felt personally responsible for the world around them, and acted accordingly. Unfortunately the reality is much different. We live in an increasingly selfish society where the needs of the individual outweigh the needs the larger community. It’s sad, but that’s human nature.

So how does this relate to web accessibility. Well I would love to think that through education, social and commercial pressure, people would just get accessibility, and to a certain extent they are. Groups like the RNIB have done a wonderful job of publicising the need for more accessible sites, while the web standards movement has helped show web developers the importance of bringing accessibility into their workflow.

Unfortunately this isn’t enough. While it would be nice to believe we live in a self correcting and regulating society, the reality is very different. Some people suggest that in-accessible sites are commercial suicide and that companies will be forced to make their site accessible just to survive. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Discrimination targets a minority, and by their very nature minorities don’t usually have the social, political or economic power to stop the discrimination. Even if they could there will always be some individuals motivated by greed or ignorance that are willing to cut corners and ignore the social norms.

As such, legislation is a very important part of the process. We should be educating people about disability discrimination and encouraging companies to take a socially responsible attitude. However if that doesn’t work we need to have a legal framework to fall back on. If somebody feels that are being discriminated there needs to be a mechanism in place to help them redress the balance.

In the UK we have the disability discrimination act. This isn’t accessibility legislation, it’s discrimination legislation. As such the DDA doesn’t try to define what accessibility is and isn’t. What the disability discrimination act does is make it unlawful for any service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing any service which it provides to a member of public. Further to this, from the 1st Oct 1999 the service provider has to take reasonable steps to change a practice that makes it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use that service.

This legislation doesn’t demand conformance to certain accessibility guidelines through fear of prosecution. However it does give people a legal route if social pressure has failed. Rather than immediately being taken to court, the DDA encourages discussion and mediation. Only after all the parties have sat down and still cannot come to a reasonable solutions will civil action be started. Several companies have already gone through this process and all have made suitable concessions to avoid legal action.

I would love to live an a world where everybody acted in a socially responsible way. However the reality is we need to have legislation to help enforce equality in the cases where social, commercial or political pressure alone aren’t enough.

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Desert Island Fonts - Round 1 | June 15, 2005

If you could only buy 6 fonts, what would they be?

John Hicks

Helvetica

It has to be doesn’t it? THE timeless classic - not the most beautiful typeface (more utilitarian), but certainly the most adaptable, and the full family is essential. Helvetica Neue Light has been overused on anything to do with health/lifestyle, but its still good.

Avenir

I’ve only recently cottoned on to this one, but works as good as a display font as it does for body text. What’s good enough for Veer…

Monark

A bit of Identikal goodness, this is the face I’ve adopted for my logotype, so that’s an must.

Apex Sans

The other sans-serif that I use. Thirstype’s contemporary sans-serif, but not one that will date too quickly. Hopefully this will be an Open Type font soon, and save the current nightmare of my font menus.

Mrs Eaves

I guess I had to include a serif in this list, so this gorgeous face from Emigre with it’s sumptuous ligatures gets my vote. What’s good enough for Radiohead…

Carta

A very useful dingbats font. Mainly map symbols, but many make a good starting point for little icons.

Josh Williams

Futura

If I were stuck with one sans serif font for the rest of my life, this would be it. No one ever got fired for using Futura in a logo. Maybe its not too creative, but you can’t argue with its elegance.

Ocean Sans

More people ask about my use of Ocean than any other font. You don’t see it used much at all, but it’s truly beautiful. Note the subtle diamonds on the “i” and “j”. We use the font at firewheeldesign.com for our headline text.

Elysium

Another Firewheel favorite… works great at large and small sizes. Great ligatures.

Mini 7

The quintessential pixel font. Gotta have this if you’re into digital design.

Odyssey

Quite possibly the best looking pixel font there is. If I have a little more space to work with, I’ll use Odyssey over Mini 7.

Dearest

Because sometime you’re going to need a script-ish font, and this is my current favorite.

Greg Storey

Myriad Pro

Take Helvetica and throw it in the trash. Myriad has long been my sans-serif pick up truck and no overuse by Apple websites is going to change that. With Myriad around there is simply no need to be using Helvetica or that awful Microsoft knockoff Arial.

Frutiger

If anything Frutiger makes the list because this was the primary typeface for Studio Archetype, which is my all time favorite web design shop. Frutiger is a nice change of pace from using Meta FF throughout the years.

Minion

It’s the only serif family that I care to use anymore. Unlike other Times New Roman forgeries, Minion has it’s own look and feel that gives off a nice hot metal type look from the days of academia. The small caps alternate makes titles a joy.

Bickham Script

There’s always a need for a good script font and after running through the gambit, Bickham continues to please the eye with it’s clean curves and plethora of alternate beginning and endings.

TV Nord

I love condensed type and EF Nord stands tall among other, more popular faces but this one has a killer ‘g’ and that makes it worth having alone.

FGC-DKD

I have tried several times to buy this font without success. Designed by an independent font designer who lives in Japan and doesn’t read/write English. I even enlisted the help of Steven from Typographi.ca and his global network but never got through.

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Shark Wrangler | June 14, 2005

The @media compare asked each of the speakers for an interesting fact about themselves that wasn’t in their biography. My interesting fact was that I briefly worked as a shark wrangler on a dive boat on the Greta Barrier Reef, keeping the sharks away from the clients during feeds. The evening after my talk I heard that one of the delegates had been drawing caricatures of the speakers and mine involved me wrestling a shark called tables. I wasn’t sure I believed it, but yesterday Kev Mears emaild me this.

Cartoon of me wrestling a shark called tables

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My Thoughts About @media2005 | June 13, 2005

[UPDATE] - View my @media 2005 presentation online.

So @media 2005 was a resounding success. The venue was fantastic. By far the nicest venue I’ve spoken at. The screen was huge, the sound was good and the tiered seating meant you could see everybody and everybody could see you. Patrick had done a wonderful job of dressing the theatre, with huge @media banners and lighting effects. Every delegate got a handy laptop bag a slick looking program outlining the events to come.

The presentations were all well executed and It was a joy to see international heavyweights such as Jeffrey, Molly and Doug speaking in the UK, some for the first time.

As the first day went by, it became obvious that the level of knowledge in the room far exceeded our expectations. At Web Essentials 04 the organizers expected the conference to be made up of CSS experts and web professionals. However the actual attendees were largely from publicly funded organizations looking to make the switch to web standards. As such I kind of expected @media would be the same. How wrong I was.

The penny dropped for me when, at the start of my talk I asked how many people were using tables for layout, how many were using hybrids layouts and how many were using using pure CSS. I’d expected a fairly even mix. As it turned out only one person said they were still using table based layouts and a handful were using hybrids. Everybody else already knew how to layout a page using CSS, rendering my “Making the Break to Tableless Design” talk fairly redundant. Still I soldered on and while most people said they didn’t learn anything new from my talk, several had the heart to say it at least helped then validate their methods.

Rather than being a conference to spread the word of web standards, it seemed the word was already out there and doing just fine. With a better understanding of the audience I’m sure things will be taken up a notch next year. I for one already have some good ideas for my next presentation.

Like most conferences, the social aspect played a very huge part. It was great to meet up again with all the speakers again as well as distant friends. However it was equally great meeting up with new people and talking about everything from hard core web design to working as a chef in a Chinese restaurant (not me btw). I’d love to name check everybody I met but wouldn’t be enough room on the page. However it was great meeting up with you all. It’s you guys that make these events so much fun.

I soft launched a new project at the conference (more on that later), so spent a good deal of time swapping and comparing business cards.

Another project I’m excited about are the @media Master Class events we’ll be running next month. A number of the @media speakers including myself, will be running a series of small training sessions for those of you who’ve been enthused by the event and want to learn more.

If you’re still wondering what the WordPl@y posts were about, we weren’t doing anything clever with Google or trying too drive traffic to our sites. The night before the conference we each wrote down a word and then everybody had to pick one from a hat. We then had to work that word into our talk. We posted the words to our blogs in the hope that some of the audience would pick up on this and share the joke, which several did. I’ve done this before at pitches as it ensures all your team are paying attention and not daydreaming. It’s also a pretty good way of alleviating some of the stress of public speaking and making it a little more fun for all involved.

Lots of people have been blogging about @media and there are pictures aplenty on flickr. However if you don’t have a blog and would like too share your impressions here, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Word Pl@y | June 8, 2005

  1. Bujumbura
  2. Prestidigitation
  3. Raconteur
  4. Superannuation
  5. Perinaeum
  6. Beefcake
  7. Phalangist
  8. Masturbatory
  9. Anthropomorphize
  10. Didactic

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London Geek Dinner | June 7, 2005

I’ve just got back from the London Geek Dinner at The Texas Embassy and had a thoroughly good time. I got to London pretty early so was one of the first people to arrive. Grabbing a margarita from the bar I introduced myself to Hugh MacLeod and we chatted for a while about blogging, RSS feed anxiety and suits. I have to admit that I hadn’t really come across Hugh before but he seemed like a thoroughly interesting chap.

The room slowly started to fill up as more and more people arrived. Simon turned up followed by Jeremy and Richard. I briefly said hi to Robert Scoble although I wasn’t sure if he remembered meeting at SXSW or if he was just being polite.

I was sat opposite a couple of guys from the BBC, and overheard one of them say “Andy Budd is supposed to be here tonight”. It turned out to be none other than superstar blogger Tom Coates. I’ve been wanting to meet Tom for ages but have never managed to pin him down. As such, it was great to finally put a face to a blog.

I spent quite a while chatting to Paul Hammond from the BBC and Francois Jordaan from wheel, both of whom convinced me that I need to get to more events in London. There seem to be a lot of design, IA and techie events going on in the capitol, however not being part of the London web design scene I usually only find out about them the day after they’ve finished.

I was having a great time chatting to people and would have loved to have stayed longer, however me, Jeremy and Richard had to leave early to get the last fast train back to Brighton. Still it was an excellent night and a good start to a very hectic week. Next stop @media 2005. Hope to see a few of you there.

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Coming Soon | June 1, 2005

There are quite a few interesting books about to hit the shelves. Here are a few of my top picks.

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