Posts Tagged ‘type’

The end of movable type in China (idsyn)

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

lead-type__full1

[Editor’s note: Ever wonder what the Movable Type blog platform is named after? “While Western letterpress printing has made a recent revival, what was once considered one of the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China is no longer a sustainable practice in its country of origin.” Thanks Design Observer!]

Republished from idsyn.

Wai Che Printing Company, preserved by its 81-year-old owner Lee Chak Yu, has operated on Wing Lee Street with its bilingual lead type collection and original Heidelberg Cylinder machine for over 50 years. Curious to learn more, I visited Wai Che—one of the last remaining letterpress shops in Hong Kong—to understand how Chinese movable type differed and why this trade has become obsolete.

Movable type, made influential by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, was one of the greatest technological advances defining typography as we know it today. Invented in China by Bi Sheng 400 years earlier during the Song Dynasty, movable type was created as a system to print lengthy Buddhist scripture. As Chinese characters were mostly square, characters of uniform size and shape were easily interchangeable for printing. Kerning was not an issue; the letterforms had a balanced visual appearance by nature.

When entering the Chinese letterpress shop, an instant observation was the vast amount of characters in each set of type. Characters of the Latin alphabet were often organized either by uppercase and lowercase (so named because of the separate cases to differentiate between majuscule and minuscule letterforms) or more recently in a California Job Case. Instead of using a type drawer, Chinese characters were typically stored in cube shelving with the type stacked into a square or column, facing outward for easy identification. Using a pair of tweezers, printers carefully picked characters out of a wall of tiled type and placed them onto a composing stick before setting up the chase.

Continue reading at idsyn . . .

POTUS Tracker: Analyzing Obama’s Schedule (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, August 24th, 2009

[Editor’s note: I’m proud to present POTUS Tracker: Analyzing Obama’s schedule, a new tool from The Washington Post that keeps tabs on President Obama, whom he’s meeting with (over 3,000 people so far), and what they’re discussing (with 17 issue categories and 13 event type codes). It is the second in our Obama Accountability series. The first, Head Count: Tracking Obama’s Appointments, has enjoyed a million visits since launch in April 2009. Data for this project available in RSS and JSON data dump.

I did the Flash interactive (using the Flare visualization package for the opening treemap isue view) and coordinated the project with Karen Yourish. Madonna Lebling and Ryan O’Neil are the genius behind the schedule information and online data presentation. POTUS Tracker was featured on CNN’s State of the Nation (YouTube video) on Sunday, 23 August. With the project out of the way, I can turn my attention back to Natural Earth Vector.]

(Screenshot below) Interact with POTUS Tracker at The Washington Post . . .

potus_tracker_screenshot

CREDIT: Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Madonna Lebling, Karen Yourish, Ryan O’Neil, Wilson Andrews, Jacqueline Kazil, Todd Lindeman, Lucy Shackelford, Paul Volpe

Breathtaking Typographic Posters (Smashing Magazine)

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

can’t design without type

Reprinted from Smashing Magazine. Original post on February 25th, 2008. Thanks Sebastian! 

You can’t design without type. However, yon can use only type (or mostly only type) to create breath-taking designs. In fact, many graphic designers and artists take exactly this route to communicate their ideas through their works. The results are sometimes crazy, sometimes artsy, sometimes beautiful, but often just different from things we’re used to. Thus designers explore new horizons and we explore new viewing perspectives which is what inspiration is all about.

This post showcases over 50 breathtaking typographic posters designed by artists across the globe. We feature Oriental, Iranian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese and Russian typographic posters as well as a number of further references. This isn’t a “best of”, there is no ranking and the collection isn’t supposed to be complete; it’s rather subjective and quite random. All screenshots are clickable; however, links not always lead directly to the corresponding image (e.g. it’s impossible in Flash-based sites) — sometimes you’ll need to search for it.

You may also want to take a look at the article Typography In Motion we’ve published few months ago.

So what can be achieved out of simple letters and symbols? Please be patient, some screenshots are huge. 

Continue reading to see posters . . .