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Hello, Typo-Curious friends!
I was invited to write an article for the Australian Book Design Association, and I was keen to contribute as the ABDA is a terrific organisation of which I am proud to be a member.

The text (published this month) is an excerpt from a piece of ongoing research I have been working on about the role of typography in contemporary books. The outcome of my research will be a series of printed and bound books which I design (& hopefully print). However the outcome of this article was supplying raw text and some images to the helpful and supportive ABDA co-ordinators.

In the article, I discuss different approaches to typesetting and how shapping text has the potential to transmit meaning in the same ways writing text does. The author, designer, printer and reader all contribute to a texts meaning. The most successful typography is the union of function (as the author intended), form (as shaped by the designer), the material poetics (created by the printer), and meaning (as interpreted by the reader).

I felt nervous when I sent it off to the ABDA - I anticipated people might be upset at my interpretation of a very well regarded text (Warde's Crystal Goblet). Or perhaps some might be upset at me calling for a fresh investigation of established rules? (You know the cranky old guys that yell at kids to get off their lawn?!) I wondered if the guardians of our profession would find the whole thing naive.
Despite feeling vulnerable, I genuinely hoped the text would be a catalyst for discussion about the value of typography, collaboration and respect in the production of books.

My initial anxieties were misplaced... instead of having people criticise the content, my inbox (and social media feed) were filled with outrage at how the information was presented. Despite the website's typographic standards being wholly out of my control, people got hot under the collar about how the article looked, the typefaces, the hierarchy, the spacing and the line length. Which I think shows how visually literate contemporary readers are and exactly how vital typographic treatment is (be it in books or on the web).
Interestingly people have either overlooked the content (and any controversies) or perhaps they were put off reading and so never got that far? Either way, despite me putting in a lot of effort, thinking and heart the article has missed the mark, and I am sharing transparently here. Perhaps you might learn something from my mistake?!

Those of you interested in seeing and or reading the article as published by the ABDA you can check out the link here. Or sit tight and I will let you know when the research is complete and available in a form in which the medium supports the message.

I hope you enjoy the musings below.
Transparently yours,
Catherine Griffiths glorious Collidescape
Japanese typography
This charming font has been developed by a crew of rambunctious kids.

Overseen by type designers Göran Söderström and Daniela Juvall, for Stockholm City Museum’s exhibition Östberga, Östberga, which celebrated the eponymous Stockholm neighbourhood. Östberga is divided into two separate areas – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – both mentally and geographically, the City Museum wanted to stage an exhibition that brought people together, documented histories and inspired pride in the suburb.

The faces of Cyrus Highsmith

Victoria Rushton is one of my favourite writers, thinkers and designers. She is smart, tenacious, insightful and considerate. So it filled my heart to read her tribute to and gratitude for, her former teacher, mentor and co-worker Cyrus Highsmith as he was recognised with the Gerrit Noordzij Prize.

Loving Illustrator/calligrapher Kate Hursthouse latest project!

On #InternationalWomensDay Kate launched Our Wahine - an illustrated history of 125 extraordinary New Zealand women - #IWD2018

"Once Upon A Type" I love the striking photographic art of Sansserifit - who composes contortionist Human & Type curated forms, they are exhibiting in Rotterdam, at Raw Street Photo Gallery opening April 21st. 2018 at 16:00. More details via the insta feed

Designer Kelly Gilchrist discusses her diligent research on one of New Zealand's typographic greats Robert Harding Coupland, and shares insight into her current creative obsessions.

The Atlantic teams up with OCD Agency on a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr

Marking fifty years after his assassination in 1968, The Atlantic has released a special issue in memory of the visionary civil rights activist. The type-led magazine is a powerful piece of social activism that pays tribute to a man whose words played a key role in advancing equality nationwide.

Sydney Typographer Keith Morris has 57 years experience - unsurprisingly over that time he has built an outstanding portfolio of lettering, logos and typeface design (and an impressive client list). Keith also distributes retail fonts via MyFonts as Bean & Morris.  
Billie Muraben, profiles pre-eminent graphic designer Elizabeth Friedlander
Dwelling in Possibility
Gemma OBrien, Jessica Hische, Martina Flor, Craig Black & more have designed prints to raise money for arts education.
On Edge

An honest and insightful post from Myrna the letterpress printer, artist and poets behind Expedition Press about her relationship to time, her work and the focus of her upcoming shows... Comprised of Letterpress prints in multiples paired with paintings of partial letters and the negative space between them, these shows are set to be amazing (it is times like this I wish I was in the US!)

Theory of Type Design

Gerard Unger has written a new book, the Theory of Type Design. It is a comprehensive description of aspects of type design, from the influence of language to today’s digital developments, from how our eyes and brain process letterforms to their power of expression. I have pre-ordered my copy - get yours (& learn more)here!

“I love to manipulate books”
Jude Stewart writes on Visual literacy, Picture books and profiles beautiful examples from Isol
Furthering the theme of transparency this post is from the factory’s innards of the London Kerning book project
Future fonts available now!
Typographic “voice” alludes to a typeface’s personality and the ways in which we experience a text. The shapes of letters can influence how a reader perceives them and, by extension, the text they are part of. With New Atten, however, it’s the other way around. Miles Newlyn found inspiration for its design in, very literally, a voice—that of world-renowned broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.


FenoType's latest script is the font used in this months Musing Headings.

A fairy tale, is a folklore genre that takes the form of a short story. Story tale, is a new type family for wonderous, romantic, magical and playful narratives brought to you by Resitenza.


With sharp brush-like terminals, tall x-height & delicate serifs, Gatefold slowly took shape on paper (during Type@Cooper) and has been expanded upon for nearly two years since. TDF are offering this beautiful free print specimen to Gatefold's first 50 orders.

A typeface designed for punk bands and their gig posters.
Wines and goblets
Behind the scenes

Dominique Falla has been taking us behind the scenes of contributors process for book 4 of the Typism Series (available for pre-order now). In this recent post, Anna Schettin, an Italian calligrapher and graphic designer, currently based in Venice, walks us through creating her contribution for the typism book using walnut ink and a ruling pen and then worked it up as a colourful screen print.

Common Errors in Type Design
Kris Sowersby asserts a typeface is not a tool
Always Looking Further: Fontstand Profiles Typotheque
Join a line up of respected artists and designers featured in past Secret 7” series. This (sixth installment) has epic tracks to choose from. The format is simple 7 tracks will be pressed to 7” vinyl, 100 copies of each, every one is unique and will be auctioned for charity on the final day of the exhibition. Visit to listen and learn more.
I am travelling the next couple of months so I will be posting a little less frequently, You can expect the next instalment of TypoMusings in May.
Copyright © 2018 Nicole Arnett Phillips, All rights reserved.

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