Tag Archives: typography

Apple releases San Francisco typeface

San Francisco / Apple, 2014

San Francisco / Apple, 2014

With the announcement of the Apple Watch a few months ago, the type nerds among us noticed a serious new direction from Apple in terms of design & UI — a brand new typeface. It wasn’t Myriad (their corporate face since around 2000) or Helvetica (used throughout iOS since the iPhone launched in ’07). It looked a lot like the German classic DIN, but softer and friendlier. I quite liked it.

A few days ago they released WatchKit so that developers can start to prepare apps for when the watch is released early next year. Part of that kit contains a font called San Francisco, which comes in two versions, Display and Text, and plenty of weights per version. There are 23 variations in total. You can download them all here.

I have to credit Apple for finally doing what so many designers have called for in recent years – spending the time and effort to create a decent typeface, and one they can call their own. It’s obvious they’ve put a lot of effort into this one, adjusting the spacing as the font decreases in size, to maximise legibility on that tiny watch screen. It always bugged me that the iPhone and iOS never got the same treatment. I mean, Helvetica is fine, but it was designed in the 50s, It was never meant to be seen at just a few pixels tall.

I’m interested to see where they go from here. My main concern is that they just switched the system font in OS X to Helvetica, after 10+ years of Lucida Grande. I get that it brings the Mac more in-line with iOS, but it really doesn’t work that well at the tiny sizes a desktop OS demands, especially on a non-retina screen. With the release of San Francisco, they might find themselves in a bit of a muddle. 3 typefaces is definitely too many (and that’s without counting VAG which they still use on Mac keyboards…)

If it were up to me, I’d make sure San Francisco was absolutely perfect, then roll it out as the system font for all products – Watch, iOS, and Mac. (It’s worth noting that somebody’s already worked out how to replace Helvetica with SF on Yosemite). Then for branding and corporate communications, I’d definitely bin Myriad, it’s looking more tired than ever. Maybe SF could be the corporate face as well, although something with a slightly different flavour might complement it. Re-branding Apple, now there’s a fun project for my spare time.

As a side note, many have already pointed out that Apple released a typeface called San Francisco some 30 years ago. It was pretty cool.

San_Francisco_84

 

 

Bito

We Are Bito / Bito, 2014

We Are Bito / Bito, 2014

Also loving this motion graphics piece by Bito.

Exploring http://www.vimeo.com/channels/nicetype is a great way to spend an afternoon if you’re into your animated typography & sweet motion tings.

BBC iWonder

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BBC iWonder / Studio Output, 2014

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BBC iWonder / Studio Output, 2014

Great branding for the BBC by Studio Output. I love that logomark, and the resulting custom typeface, “Curious Sans”.

The capital Q has caused quite a bit of controversy amongst people I work with. Personally I love it. What do you reckon?

*UPDATE*

I recently discovered that “Curious Sans” is actually a slightly tweaked version of Sharp Sans, by Lucas Sharp. Available here and here.

Beer Mat Tat

Beer Mat Tat / Becky Turner, 2014 tumblr_n4oybc18431s3795do1_500 tumblr_n4569hoTE71s3795do1_r2_500Beer Mat Tat / Becky Turner, 2014

Check out Beer Mat Tat – a really nice Tumblr by Becky Turner, showcasing her mum’s collection of vintage beer mats.

And I thought my haul from Paris was good. This puts my efforts to shame!

Font Men

Font Men / Dress Code, 2014

Font Men / Dress Code, 2014

Font Men / Dress Code, 2014

Nice documentary about Hoefler Frere-Jones by Dress Code, giving an insight into the world of type design. There’s some great animation work in there too.

Watch

New photography – TfL Acton Depot

Acton Depot / Tim George, 2013

Acton Depot / Tim George, 2013

Acton Depot / Tim George, 2013

Acton Depot / 2013

Some new shots are now up on my Flickr – taken during a tour of the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton, West London.

If you’re in any way interested in graphic design, typography, and/or trains, I would suggest you get down there as soon as you can. It’s an absolute treasure trove of beautiful items from the network’s rich 150-year history.

Unfortunately, being a depot, there’s very little natural light, so please excuse the grainy, artificial tone of the shots. I’m sure you’ll agree, the content more than makes up for it.

Johnston turns 100

Johnston

Johnston, 1913-16

Nice article on Wired celebrating 100 years of Johnston’s timeless classic for the London Underground. In my opinion, the best typeface ever designed.