Our Favorite Typefaces of 2013

favorite fonts of 2013This year marks another step in the typographic diversi­fi­cation we observed in our previous annual. The global spread of independent font makers and the variety of new ideas in type design continues unabated.

As evidence of that diversity, the 54 typefaces selected from 2013 were created by designers from at least 21 countries, including:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Lebanon
  • Mexico
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

This new phase of globalization and democratization of the font market began in earnest about a decade ago, propelled by newly accessible digital tools, online commerce, and post-graduate education in type design. It is a sea change. For centuries, places like Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Lebanon, and New Zealand were vastly under­repre­sent­ed in a type design community that was dominated by western Europe and North America. (And this only goes for Latin-based type. The burg­eon­ing production of fonts in other scripts tells another fascinating story.) We will have much more detail about these changes in an upcoming report by Ruxandra Duru on the current state of typefounding around the world.

The diversity of the contributors to our annual is also invig­orating. This year’s writers are almost as international as the typefaces they cover. More importantly, they represent a variety of perspectives from both sides of font making and using. Type designers, print and web designers, educators, writers, historians — we can all learn from the manifold ways that people from such divergent backgrounds perceive a typeface.

In Review

Now in its eighth edition, “Our Favorite Typefaces” continues to present a good overview of the most interesting new fonts on the market. It is, however, by no means comprehensive. The list of other notable releases hints at how many other typefaces deserve attention, and custom type commissioned by clients for proprie­tary use is often overlooked. (This growing segment of the trade deserves its own feature.) As a reminder, this annual is not a compe­tition in which submitted entries are awarded by an official jury. (That format has its own drawbacks, but I think it’s still a valid one.) Instead, I invite people whose opinion I respect to write about a release from the past year that excited them. This means that the reviews are not necessarily rigorous critiques — although many contributors do offer a fairly in-depth analysis. Their opinions are mainly positive because that’s the point of the call.

This caveat acknowledges the fact that, while the “Favorites” feature will always have its own kind of value, there is also a very real need for true type reviews — in the proper sense of the term, in which type (both good and bad) is tested and appraised. With the help of some able cohorts, I intend to address that deficit soon via a new venture. Subscribe, follow, stay tuned.

“Our Favorite Typefaces of 2013” was produced with generous assistance from Chris Hamamoto, Caren Litherland, Tamye Riggs, Laura Serra, and Tânia Raposo. Huge thanks also go to the contributing writers, and to the type designers and foundries who provided samples and imagery.

This feature coincides with a Typographica font palette refresh, including Sutro Deluxe by Jim Parkinson for the nameplate, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek for headlines and pullquotes, and Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross of Font Bureau for text. We continue to use the durable JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens for all the small stuff. The “Type of 2013” graphic features FF Quixo (and a color I can only describe as “Sherman Peachorange”, nabbed from a little site called Fonts In Use).

“Steve Jobs once wanted to hire me” – Richard Sapper

Interview: German industrial designer Richard Sapper has launched a new website chronicling his work dating back to the 1950s. In an interview looking back on his career he tells Dezeen how he turned down the chance to work at Apple, how design has been “degraded” by commercialism and how 3D printing could help solve unemployment (+ slideshow).

Richard Sapper

Speaking from his home in Milan, Sapper, 81, recounts how Steve Jobs once tried to lure him to work for Apple, “but the circumstances weren’t right because I didn’t want to move to California and I had very interesting work here that I didn’t want to abandon.”

dezeen_Richard Sapper_Tizio desk lamp
Tizio desk lamp, Artemide, 1972: photograph by Serge Libiszewski

When asked if he regretted turning Jobs down he said: “Sure I regret it – the man who then did it [Jonathan Ive] makes $30 million a year!”

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TS 502 radio, Brionvega, 1963: photograph by Serge Libiszewski

In a career spanning almost 60 years, Sapper has designed iconic products including the Tizio lamp, the ThinkPad range of laptops for IBM and the 9091 whistling kettle for Alessi.

dezeen_Richard Sapper_Grillo telephone
Grillo Telephone, Siemens Italtel, 1965: photograph by Roberto Zabban

Sapper says that he admires the work of Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs at Apple, citing the company as an exception in an industry he feels has been “degraded” by an overriding focus on profit. “If a company asks me to design something, the first thing I hear is how much money they’re making, how much money they want to make, and I’m expected to produce the difference.”

dezeen_Richard Sapper_9090 espresso coffee maker
9090 espresso coffee maker, Alessi, 1978: photograph by Aldo Ballo

Richard Sapper was born in 1932 and was first employed as a stylist with Daimler Benz in Stuttgart. He founded his own studio in Milan in 1959 and worked as a consultant for many of Italy’s leading companies, including BrionvegaFiat and Pirelli.

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ThinkPad 701, IBM, 1996: photograph by Aldo Ballo

He is renowned for his work with technology brands, including IBM, for whom he has been chief industrial design consultant since 1980.

dezeen_Richard Sapper_Algol portable TV set
Algol portable TV set 3rd edition (first designed with Marco Zanuso), Brionvega, 1985: photograph by Aldo Ballo

When asked about 3D printing and its impact on the design industry, Sapper describes it as “a huge revolution,” and adds, “it is revolution that allows anyone who has such a machine the possibility to produce something that they have invented themselves. This can help to reduce the problem of unemployment because people are able to produce something without having to be employed.”

dezeen_Richard Sapper_9091 kettle
9091 kettle, Alessi, 1983: photograph by Aldo Ballo

Sapper’s 9091 whistling kettle for Alessi is one of several iconic kettles described by Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic in a film made by Dezeen for the Design Museum Collection App for iPad.

dezeen_Richard Sapper_Sapperchair_Knoll
Sapperchair executive office chairs and seating system, Knoll, 1979: photograph by Aldo Ballo

Other clients include Alessi, ArtemideKartellKnollLenovo and Magis.

dezeen_Richard Sapper_Zoombike
Zoombike folding bicycle, Elettromontaggi, 2000

Despite his prodigious career, Sapper says he launched a new website, designed by London studio Julia, because “I’ve been working in design for over 50 years and most people still don’t know my work.”

dezeen_Richard Sapper_Sapper XYZ
Sapper XYZ monitor arm system, Knoll, 2012: photograph by Jens Mortensen for Knoll

Here’s a transcript of Richard Sapper talking with Alyn Griffiths from Dezeen:

Alyn Griffiths: Your website documents a career going back all the way to the 1950s. How has design changed in that time?

Richard Sapper: There have been enormous changes. When I was young and starting out, industrial designers all worked for somebody who owned a company. Some of those company owners wanted to make good-looking things because there is pleasure associated with good forms. In many ways these people were idealists. They didn’t make more money because they made a beautiful design. Today, it seems to me that money is the only reason to make design.

If a company asks me to design something, the first thing I hear is how much money they’re making, how much money they want to make, and I’m expected to produce the difference. It is a completely different relationship and it isn’t as much fun to work in such a relationship. From that point of view, my profession has degraded.

Alyn Griffiths: So do you think there are too many products and too many designers today?

Richard Sapper: There are certainly too many products and too many designers, and the idea behind design has changed. Today it’s all [about] money. Back then it was just an interest in producing something beautiful. And this is very similar to the interest a designer has in making a design. They want to do something beautiful. If you find a manufacturer who has the same interests then it is easy to work together. Today, most of my clients are so big that there is no one person who is responsible for the appearance of the product.

Apple has been a real exception because it was a company that, up until last year, still worked as my old clients used to work. They would come and see what I do, they would tell me their opinions and it was just [Steve] Jobs who did that. He absolutely wanted to make beautiful products.

Alyn Griffiths: You never worked for Apple did you?

Richard Sapper: Jobs once wanted to hire me to do the design of Apple [computers] but the circumstances weren’t right because I didn’t want to move to California and I had very interesting work here that I didn’t want to abandon. Also, at that time Apple was not a great company, it was just a small computer company. They were doing interesting things so I was very interested, of course, but I had an exclusivity contract with IBM.

Alyn Griffiths: Do you regret it at all?

Richard Sapper: Sure I regret it – the man who then did it makes $30 million a year! [Laughs] so how can you not regret it?

Alyn Griffiths: How have technologies like 3D printing changed the processes of designing and manufacturing?

Richard Sapper: 3D printing is changing not only the way design is made – that has already happened – but it is also changing the way things are produced. In a few years, many things that are now produced in big factories will just be done at home.

Alyn Griffiths: Do you think that’s a good thing?

Richard Sapper: Yes, I think so. It’s a huge revolution, and it is revolution that allows anyone who has such a machine the possibility to produce something that they have invented themselves. This can help to reduce the problem of unemployment because people are able to produce something without having to be employed.

Alyn Griffiths: Do you not worry that the quality of design will deteriorate?

Richard Sapper: I think it has already deteriorated! [Laughs] I’m always asked, ‘Was there more good design when you were young, or is there more good design design now?’ My answer is that there is more good design now, but really good design was rare when I started and is still rare now.

Alyn Griffiths: Are there any designers working today who you admire?

Richard Sapper: Of course, I admire Jonathan Ive’s work very much. But you mustn’t forget the contribution of Steve Jobs because they worked so closely together.

Alyn Griffiths: What makes a good design for you?

Richard Sapper: It has to transmit a message to whomever is looking at it, or who has it in their hand. What message is another question, but it has to tell them something.

Alyn Griffiths: What you are currently working on?

I’m currently working on several things; one is an LED ceiling lamp to illuminate a whole room, I’m working on a system to support computer monitors for Knoll, which is a big project that I have been working on for five years. I’m also working on computers for Lenovo and I’m a consultant for IBM, so I have stuff to do!

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Lesser Known Architecture at the Design Museum

Photographs depicting examples of unsung architecture from around London chosen by architecture critics are on show at the Design Museum in London (+ slideshow).

Curated by independent writer, editor and curator Elias Redstone, the series of original images by photographer Theo Simpson documents overlooked buildings and infrastructure, including an oil refinery jetty, a bus garage and a cemetery.

The ten colour offset prints are on display in the Design Museum‘s Café and Tank space until 22 July and have been compiled in a journal published by Theo Simpson and graphic designer Ben Mclaughlin’s publishing company, Mass Observation.

We recently published a set of photographs by Alastair Philip Wiper of the world’s largest solar furnace and wave-reflecting chambers and Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers documented a series of World War Two monuments in Yugoslavia.

See more photography projects on Dezeen »
See all stories about the Design Museum »

Here is a selection of photographs from the exhibition, with the explanatory texts from the critics:

Welbeck Street Car Park

Sam Jacob of FAT, a regular contributor to Dezeen’s opinion column, nominated Welbeck Street Car Park in Marlyebone.

Its neighbour is buried beneath Cavendish Square; modern necessity camouflaged beneath apparent historicism. But Welbeck Street is qualmless, a multistory car park celebrating itself as though it were the crowning glory of civilisation. Designed for Debenhams in 1971, it sits like a block-sized sculpture, its elongated diamond-shaped prefabricated concrete panels locked together into mesmeric and scaleless pattern that genuflects to the oddities of its historical boundary.

It is part of a small gang, a batch of buildings produced in a small window when car parks were treated as civic monuments, significant structures that expressed the modernity of the moment. This moment saw a coincidence of the tail end of brutalism and the megastructure along with enthusiasms for grand infrastructural highway planning.

Of course all of those things – cars, architecture, planning, concrete – soon found themselves if not blamed for the collapse of society at least tarnished with doubt, falling on the wrong side of every contemporary ideological debate.

Blampied’s architecture explores and expresses the possibilities of the multistory car park. Its frame remains open to the elements, a giant grill that ventilates fumes from the buildings interior while also, perhaps, referring to a cars radiator grill. It is simultaneously practical and symbolic. Its rawness casts it as part of the infrastructural landscape: highway engineered into vertical stack. But here infrastructure is handled with such delicacy that all its rawness is elevated to sublime beauty.

Welbeck Street Car Park should be regarded along with other great structures occurring at the intersection of transport and architecture, alongside Gilbert Scott’s St Pancras, Brunel’s train sheds and Grand Central Station. It also stands as a template for a problem that is not going to disappear any time soon. The building acts as an interface between cars and the city. It resolves this often troubling relationship beautifully, a structure for cars articulated as a fully urban phenomenon.

Bevin Court

Tom Dyckhoff of the BBC Culture Show selected Berthold Lubetkin’s Bevin Court flats.

It felt a little like the white rabbit falling down the hole in Alice in Wonderland; only we fell up. It was the mid-1990s. We were at university, on an architecture field trip, trudging past Islington’s Farrow & Ball-ed brick townhouses and cappuccino-selling cafes (flat whites hadn’t been invented yet). Yuppies. We still called them yuppies, then.

Our tutor was a Marxist; he was having none of this. He marched his comrades, who, by now, were looking a little green with envy, down Percy Street (more posh townhouses), turned right, ta-dah! Oh… Is that it? A block of flats. And…? Designed by Berthold Lubetkin in the 1950s, we obediently scribbled in our notebooks. Yes, we get the message: we bothered to build homes for the proletariat back then.

It was originally to be called Lenin Court, containing a statue of the Soviet leader, until geopolitics shifted. Very interesting. But, basically, so what? Still not as nice as those Georgian houses. He continued: “Council cut the budget, usual story, so Lubetkin scaled back the ambition. Apart from…”

Our tutor opened the block’s little entrance door. That one single act will stay with me till I die. It was as if our tutor had slipped us all a tab of acid. We walked in and entered… what? Another universe. Another dimension. Whoosh. That staircase! Now, most staircases in postwar blocks of flats are nothing to write home about. This one, though, was plucked from an Escher print. We scampered up, dizzy, eyes wide open. Imagine coming home from work to this. Imagine popping out for a pint of milk. Going to school. Those Georgian houses didn’t have a staircase like this. Our tutor smiled. This was what architecture was all about. We got the message.

Cabmen’s Shelter

The Cabmen’s Shelter that provided refreshments to Victorian horse-drawn cab drivers was chosen by Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian.

Looking like a cross between a quaint country cricket pavilion and a large garden shed, the Cabmen’s Shelter is an enigmatic part of the London streetscape. With its green-painted timber panelled walls, pitched tiled rooftop and decorative air vent poking out of the top, it squats at the side of the road like an emerald Tardis, waiting to transport you back to Victorian London.

There are only 13 of these mysterious structures left, scattered from Chelsea Embankment to Russell Square, all of which are now Grade II listed, but at their height there were over 60 across the city, built at a cost of £200 each. They were the product of the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund, established in 1875 by the philanthropic Earl of Shaftesbury to provide “good and wholesome refreshments at moderate prices” for London’s army of horse-drawn cab drivers – of which there were 4,600 by 1869.

Law stated that cabbies could not leave their horse and cab at the stand unattended, so they had to pay someone to keep watch if they wanted to go for a break. Providing a place to rest at the head of the taxi rank, the shelters solved this problem. Occupying a place on the public highway, their dimensions could be no larger than the size of a hansom cab and its steed – that is “seven bays long by three bays wide”.

Built partly to tempt cabbies away from the pub, the shelters had a moralistic bent: each displays a sign declaring that gambling, swearing and political discussion is strictly forbidden, and alcohol cannot be served. Inside, there is space for 12 people, sitting on benches that run along both walls around a u-shaped Formica-topped table, hinged at the end to allow you to squeeze in. In the corner, an impossibly small kitchen serves up strong tea – and some of the best bacon sarnies in London.

Canvey Island

Owen Hatherley of The Guardian nominated an oil refinery jetty in Canvey Island on the Thames estuary.

Canvey Island was ‘oil city’, a seaside town with a massive sideline in the petrochemical industry. The exceptionally long, spindly, worn jetty that was once part of the Occidental Petroleum site is both a remnant of and currently provides a view of one of the least commented-on but most astonishing ‘unknown architectures’ around – the buildings of the petrochemical industry, here more specifically, the Coryton refinery in Essex.

Anonymous and hardly even strictly definable as ‘architecture’, refineries are among the most dreamlike and complex things in the built environment, usually placed at a safe distance from actual cities, the sort of zones where the real workings of the economy, and the structures that house them, can be seen. Refineries themselves are the unacknowledged architectural inspiration for the Lloyds building and much else, bafflingly intricate steel structures made up of dozens of little towers, protrusions and connections, which have a spectacular sense of sheer spatial exuberance and a total lack of the cowardice of so much actual architecture.

Pick a refinery, it doesn’t matter which – Wilton, Fawley, or Canvey, where the beach and the jetty provide a view of a site that was mostly established by Mobil in the 1950s; the village of Coryton was razed for the purpose. By day, refineries are stunning enough, but  lit up at night, each one is a pocket metropolis, a constructivist’s dream of steel, flares and flashing lights, from a distance much more impressive a skyline than many actual cities. Therein, these all-but-illegible, bafflingly complex structures are processing our increasingly irrational oil economy in an appropriately mind-boggling way.

Here’s some more information about the exhibition:

Lesser Known Architecture: A Celebration of Underappreciated London Buildings

Lesser Known Architecture is a free exhibition celebrating extraordinary London architecture. Nominated by leading architecture critics, these ten buildings, structures and subways contribute to the mix and diversity of the city but are all too often overlooked and forgotten. Curated by Elias Redstone, Lesser Known Architecture presents an alternative architectural map of the city. Each site has been photographed by Theo Simpson and will be displayed as a series of single colour offset prints in the Design Museum Café and Tank. The installation is designed by Ben Mclaughlin.

The Ten London Buildings Featured and their Nominators:

» Bevin Court nominated by Tom Dyckhoff (BBC Culture Show)
» Brownfield Estate nominated by Owen Hatherley (The Guardian)
» Cabmen’s Shelters nominated by Oliver Wainwright (The Guardian)
» Crystal Palace Subway nominated by Rory Olcayto (The Architects’ Journal)
» London Underground Arcades nominated by Edwin Heathcote (Financial Times)
» Mail Rail nominated by Ellie Stathaki (Wallpaper*)
» Nunhead Cemetery nominated by Hugo MacDonald (Monocle)
» Occidental Oil Refinery Jetty nominated by Owen Hatherley (The Guardian)
» Stockwell Bus Garage nominated by Tom Dyckhoff (BBC Culture Show)
» Welbeck Street Car Park nominated by Sam Jacob (Dezeen / Art Review)

Each nominator has written an overview of their buildings historical and design credentials that will be published in the accompanying journal, Lesser Known Architecture, Vol. 1: London.

The Lesser Known Architecture photographs will also be produced as limited edition prints available to purchase from the Design Museum Shop.
Lesser Known Architecture is part of the London Festival of Architecture 2013.

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“The world today is becoming a little bit boring”

Interview: we caught up with Miguel Fluxá, head of shoe brand Camper, at the opening of the brand’s Nendo-designed boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York last month (below). In this short interview, he explains why the company uses different designers for each of its global stores for cultural, rather than business, reasons (+ slideshow).

"The world today is becoming a little bit boring"

Designers as diverse as Jaime Hayón and Shigeru Ban have designed stores for Camper. “The world today is becoming a little bit boring, everything is becoming the same,” says Fluxá. “So we thought it was interesting for the brand, and for the cities, to do different designs from one place to the other.”

Camper store in London by Tokujin Yoshioka
Camper store in London by Tokujin Yoshioka

As a family-owned company, Camper is able to experiment with different design approaches without worrying too much about the commercial impact, he says: “Some concepts work better than others but we don’t measure it really.”

Camper store in Milan by Jaime Hayon
Camper store in Milan by Jaime Hayon

See all our stories about Camper. Below is a transcript of the interview:

Marcus Fairs: Tell us about yourself.

Miguel Fluxá: My name is Miguel Fluxá. I work at Camper and I’m a member of the fourth generation of the company. My great grandfather founded the business 136 years ago and I’m from Mallorca, where Camper is from and where my family comes from. This week we’re in New York, at the store opening on Fifth Avenue that we just did with Nendo.

Marcus Fairs: How did Camper start?

Miguel Fluxá: The story started in 1877 when my great grandfather founded the first shoe factory in Spain, 136 years ago. He had the idea to make good-quality shoes. He was a farmer and he probably didn’t speak any English and he probably didn’t have any money, but he went abroad, to France and England, and he came back after a couple of years with the machinery to set up a shoe factory.

Then after many years, in 1975 my father joined the family business and created Camper as a brand and he incorporated this heritage of knowing how to make quality shoes with design and comfort. He tried to make well-designed shoes that you can wear every day. This is the basis of the product today.

To that we added some cultural values. We come from Mallorca, from the Mediterranean, there’s a slow way of life there. Camper means farmer in Mallorquin, which is the language we speak in Mallorca, and when you mix all these ingredients together, you get Camper. I think the success has probably been trying to make something different, something original with quality.

Camper Osaka by Nendo
Camper Osaka by Nendo

Marcus Fairs: Camper uses different designers to create different store interiors around the world. Why did you start doing this?

Miguel Fluxá: When we started to open stores outside Spain we thought it was interesting not to repeat them. The world today is becoming a little bit boring, everything is becoming the same. So we thought it was interesting for the brand, and for the cities, to do different designs from one place to the other.  We started to do this many years ago and it’s something that has given us a lot of identity and has worked quite well over the years.

We’ve worked with many people, from Martí Guixé, a Spanish designer, who has a sense of humour and irony, to Mariscal, who’s also Spanish, to the Bouroullec Brothers, the Campana Brothers, Alfredo Haberli, some Japanese designers – Nendo and Tokujin Yoshioka, Shigeru Ban who’s an architect, because we also work with architects, Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic, a lot of people actually.

Marcus Fairs: Do you do this for cultural or commercial reasons?

Miguel Fluxá: It’s more a cultural thing. We’re lucky to be a privately-owned company, a family-owned company, so we look at the long term and we try to do things that we like to do. Of course we think it’s of benefit to the brand. It’s given a lot of identity to the brand, and customers recognise it.

Camper store in Lyon by Studio Makkink & Bey
Camper store in Lyon by Studio Makkink & Bey

Marcus Fairs: Do you measure the commercial impact of the interiors?

Miguel Fluxá: Some concepts work better than others but we don’t measure it really.

Marcus Fairs: Footwear, especially sports footwear, is getting really technological with high-tech materials and embedded technology. Is this a path Camper may follow?

Miguel Fluxá: We are interested. For sure we are interested. The DNA of the brand is more in natural leathers, European leathers, and this is our heritage. We are shoemakers, we’re not a sports brand. But it’s true there are more and more techniques, more and more materials. For example in the outsoles there is a lot of development in the lightness of the materials, and also in the uppers.

Camper store in Malmö by TAF
Camper store in Malmö by TAF

Marcus Fairs: What’s your opinion of New York?

Miguel Fluxá: Personally I love New York. I spent six months here when I was young. For me it’s probably the capital of the world. A lot of things happen here. A lot of good culture, architecture, museums, food, everything. It’s good to come here from time to time especially if you come from an island, which is completely the opposite.

Marcus Fairs: Do Americans appreciate design in the same way Europeans do?

Miguel Fluxá: In America they do have a good tradition of architecture and design. It’s true that it was probably more in the forties, fifties and sixties than today. But I think there are people who appreciate design, European design. Our design is more European, more refined and more casual, but there are a lot of people here who appreciate it.

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a little bit boring”
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Our Favorite Typefaces of 2012

fonts-of-the-year-2012I’ll be honest. When December rolls around and I ask a group of smart, articulate font users and makers to each select their favorite release of the year, not everyone rushes back with their pick. And when they do, they don’t always have much to say about it. Some years are stronger than others. 2012 was a strong year. The rich diversity in new type design has never been so evident.

I got so many responses this time around, many with texts that were longer and more in-depth than ever before, that I admittedly fell behind in the editing and production of the list. I hope you’ll find it to be worth the wait.

If you need an entry point, might I suggest:

Matthew Butterick’s review of Eskapade, in which he explains the difference between originality and surprise;

Sébastien Morlighem on the unusual stencil family that is Bery;

Indra Kupferschmid on Stan, with history on the unusual designs that inspired it;

Eben Sorkin on Turnip, Typographica’s new text face;

Catherine Griffiths, our newest contributor, on FF ThreeSix;

Florian Hardwig, who offers not only praise, but a bit of critique for Axia;

Shoko Mugikura and Tim Ahrens on the complex beauty of Quintet;

or Patric King’s “cocaine-and-vodka” take on Xtreem, dripping with references to ’80s pop culture.

Brief Thoughts on the State of Type

For the font market, 2012 was a year in which burgeoning trends matured into permanent shifts.

The most obvious example of lasting change is in type for the web. Professional webfonts were available in 2011 — primarily via services hosting previously released font families — but buyers can now expect most new fonts to be issued in both desktop and web formats. And some typefaces, like Turnip RE and JAF Bernini Sans, were designed from the start with screen performance in mind. (Unfortunately, mobile publishing is still left behind, as phone and tablet developers struggle to find clear licensing options for embedding fonts in apps. While there are some exceptions, most buyers still need to contact foundries for this kind of license. Look for this to evolve in 2013.)

The independent foundry has also cemented its place as the new foundation of the industry. Most of this year’s selections are from very small shops, several of which are entirely new to the market. It’s also significant that, in addition to offering their fonts through retailers like FontShop, MyFonts, and the newly revived Fonts.com, most of these indie foundries now sell directly to customers through their own sites. In some cases they have eschewed outside distribution altogether. The “majors” have not simply laid down, however. Monotype, Linotype, Font Bureau, FontFont, and H&FJ are all represented in this year’s list, each with releases that are remarkably characteristic of their respective brands.

Stylistically, no single classification or genre dominated the selections this year. This is a good thing. It indicates that me-too-ism is limited and that designers are open to a variety of styles. If you cast your net wide across all areas of graphic design, that trend for diversity is confirmed by today’s practical typography, too. Speaking of Fonts In Use, we are now adding links to that site from Typographica reviews, so you can see how the typefaces perform in the real world.

There are plenty of open questions about how fonts are marketed these days, but I am very optimistic about the proficiency and creativity of type design as a whole. The Golden Age of Type lives on, and it’s growing up.

Thanks to Chris Hamamoto for his continual design and dev prowess. Tânia Raposo also joined the team this year, designing many of the specimen images that represent the selections (now double-density for Retina-level displays). I’m also very grateful to Tamye Riggs for copyediting help, to Laura Serra for production assistance, and all the contributors for their insightful reviews.

The “Type of 2012” title graphic features Stan, Signalist, Trio Grotesk, and Bery Tuscan.

Design Museum Collection App: electrical products

Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic was filmed by Dezeen for the Design Museum Collection App and in this compilation he talks about electronic products including the Jim Nature TV with a chipboard case by Philippe Starck. You can download the iPad app free from the app store here.

Sudjic also discusses how the AEG hairdryer and Dyson vacuum cleaner, which he reveals started off as a novelty item, and how a student from the Royal College of Art may be revolutionising the standard British plug design.

See all the movies filmed for the Design Museum Collection App »
Download the Design Museum Collection App »

Here are some excerpts from the app:

Design Museum App Electrics

AEG Hairdryer (above)

Peter Behrens’ work for German electrical engineering company AEG redefined the role of the industrial designer in the twentieth century. Through his work for AEG, Behrens was the first person to create an unified and consistent corporate identity and his approach permeated the entire AEG corporate culture. He aimed to design household products in such a way so that they would not only work well, but also be both aesthetically pleasing and recognisable as an AEG product. In this hairdryer, designed around 1915, the ventilation holes in the chrome-plated metal casing not only have a technical function, but are also decorative and have an added benefit of drawing attention to the embossed logo.

Design Museum App Electrics

Dyson DC02 (above)

Frustrated that his top-of-the-line Hoover was failing to live up to expectations, British-born inventor, and industrial designer, James Dyson resolved to invent
a vacuum cleaner that neither clogged nor relied on cleaner bags. After some 15 years of research, over 5000 prototypes and overcoming insurmountable odds – including near financial ruin and numerous patent lawsuits against companies trying to copy his technology – Dyson launched the DC01 in 1993. It was the first vacuum cleaner to work on the principle of cyclone technology without the need for vacuum bags and cleaners and set new standards in the industry.

The Dyson cyclone technology works by employing cyclonic separation, which spins air at high speed. Dirt and dust are thrown out of the airflow and collected in a bin, not on filters or in bags. With the launch of the DC02 in 1994, Dyson had improved the dexterity of his original iconic yellow and grey design through the canister form, allowing it to work on stairs and around corners and objects. A meeting of practicality, innovation and alluring design has kept Dyson’s products at the forefront of the market sector.

Design Museum App Electrics

Jim Nature (above)

Having designed everything from yachts to toothpicks, Philippe Starck is regarded as one of the world’s most famous designers. While his output since the 1980s has been prolific, and the Starck brand is now a global empire, his real success has been in revolutionising the design market, forcing manufacturers to make household designs affordable and, as with the Jim Nature television, encouraging consumers to re-evaluate the products with which they choose to surround themselves. The four case sections of Philippe Starck’s Jim Nature portable television of 1994 are made from moulded resin-impregnated sawdust and wood powder, fixed together with simple screws. The design proves that a humble, even banal material, traditionally hidden under veneer, can have a potent, appealing aesthetic impact.

Design Museum App Electrics

Mu (above)

Min-Kyu Choi’s folding plug called Mu revisits the design of the standard UK electrical plug, which has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1947. Infuriated by having to carry around bulky UK plugs thicker than his laptop, Choi developed a prototype system that folded down to a width of just 10 millimetres. After a period of product development, Mu launched in 2012. Choi has also expanded the concept to include a three appliance multi-plug and USB charger, allowing the use of multiple devices while still only taking up the space of a single traditional plug.

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electrical products
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Competition: five pairs of VIP tickets to Decorex International to be won

Interior by Grange SA

Competition: Dezeen are offering readers the chance to win one of five pairs of VIP tickets to Decorex International trade show from 23 to 26 September in London.

Chair by Katie Walker

The event takes place at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, London SW3, with a lobby designed by Vivienne Westwood, featured stands by Rabih Hage and Christopher Guy and a curated showcase of over 270 exhibitors. Read more about the event in our previous story here.

Bathroom by William Holland

The exhibition is only open to the general public on the afternoon of Tuesday 25 September, but winners of VIP tickets will be able to attend the whole four-day event.

Sofa by Stuart Scott Associates

To enter this competition email your name, age, gender, occupation, and delivery address and telephone number to competitions@dezeen.com with “Decorex VIP” in the subject line. We won’t pass your information on to anyone else; we just want to know a little about our readers.

Read our privacy policy here.

Competition closes 28 August 2012. Five winners will be selected at random and notified by email. Winners’ names will be published in a future edition of our Dezeenmail newsletter and at the top of this page. Dezeen competitions are international and entries are accepted from readers in any country.

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to Decorex International to be won
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Five prints of Film Map by Dorothy to be won

Five prints of Film Map by Dorothy to be won

Competition: Dezeen has teamed up with UK designers Dorothy to give readers the chance to win one of five prints of a fictional map that features locations named after film titles.

Five prints of Film Map by Dorothy to be won

Reservoir Dogs, Jurassic Park and Nightmare on Elm Street are among the 900 titles used to create the map, which has districts dedicated to Hitchcock and cult British horror movies.

Five prints of Film Map by Dorothy to be won

Loosely based on the style of a vintage Los Angeles street map, it includes an A-Z key at the base that lists all the films featured with their release dates and names of the directors.

Five prints of Film Map by Dorothy to be won

The map is 80 centimetres wide by 60 centimetres high and can be purchased on the Dorothy website.

To enter this competition email your name, age, gender, occupation, and delivery address and telephone number to competitions@dezeen.com with “Film Map” in the subject line. We won’t pass your information on to anyone else; we just want to know a little about our readers.

Read our privacy policy here.

Competition closes 21 August 2012. Five winners will be selected at random and notified by email. Winners’ names will be published in a future edition of our Dezeenmail newsletter and at the bottom of this page. Dezeen competitions are international and entries are accepted from readers in any country.

Subscribe to our newsletterget our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter for details of future competitions.

More competitions »

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Dorothy to be won
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Slideshow feature: London 2012 architecture

Slideshow feature: this week marks the completion of the gigantic red ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture at the London 2012 Olympic park. The tower is the last of the permanent structures to be completed for this summer’s games, so here’s a roundup of them all including sports venues by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Populous.

See more stories about London 2012 »

Competition: five copies of Brick’12 to be won

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

Competition: we’ve teamed up with Wienerberger to offer readers the chance to win one of five copies of Brick’12, the accompanying book for the Wienerbeger Brick Awards 2012 that took place last week.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

Brick’12 presents award-winning international architecture using clay products, featuring the nominated and winning designs from the fifth of the biennial awards.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

The bilingual book (German and English) published by Callwey Publishers, is written by experts including architectural journalists, writers, critics, lecturers and curators.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

Over 400 colour photographs and building plans illustrate the collection of innovative brick architecture.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

The second part of the book includes a new magazine, called Brick+, which features current news regarding modern brick architecture.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

See more on the Wienerberger Brick Awards 2012 here.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

To enter this competition email your name, age, gender, occupation, and delivery address and telephone number to competitions@dezeen.com with “Brick’12” in the subject line. We won’t pass your information on to anyone else; we just want to know a little about our readers.

Read our privacy policy here.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

Competition closes 29 May 2012. Five winners will be selected at random and notified by email. Winners’ names will be published in a future edition of our Dezeenmail newsletter and at the top of this page. Dezeen competitions are international and entries are accepted from readers in any country.

Subscribe to our newsletter, get our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter for details of future competitions.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

Here’s some more information from Wienerbeger:

Wienerberger Brick Award 2012: 240 pages of award-winning architecture

Vienna, 8 May 2012 – On 3 May 2012, Wienerberger presented its international Brick Award by awarding five outstanding brick architecture projects. The accompanying book “Brick’12” features the award-winning buildings as well as the 45 nominated projects from 28 countries and five continents, presented by renowned architecture writers from around the world. The bilingual 240-page book with over 400 colour photographs and building plans is being published by Callwey Publishers and is available in selected bookshops from 15 May 2012.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

Proven material, visionary architecture

“Brick’12 is the fifth edition of our book series launched in 2004 to coincide with the Wienerberger Brick Award. The publication highlights the innovative use of brick in architecture today,” says Wienerberger CEO Heimo Scheuch.

The articles were written by some 50 of the acknowledged authors and experts in the world of architecture, from architecture journalist Rory Olcayto to book author Falk Jaeger to lecturer and curator of architecture events Rùta Leitanaite. Some authors have contributed to the book series from the beginning and often visit the brick buildings in person in order to get a first-hand look. The Wienerberger Brick Award 2012 was presented in the categories “Special Solution with Brick”, “Single-Family House”, “Non-Residential Building”, “Residential Building” and “Conversion”.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

Brick+: New magazine supplement with Chipperfield and Jelinek

New this year is the magazine supplement Brick+ which can be found in the second part of the book featuring current developments in modern brick architecture. The architecture magazine reports on the expansion of the Tate Modern in London by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and their use of brick as a construction material. Brick+ also features a profile of architect David Chipperfield, who calls himself a friend of “good old brick” and reveals how he recovers from the stress and strain of the architect’s life in Galicia. A further highlight is an essay by Literature Nobel Laureate Elfriede Jelinek about ceramic artist Kurt Ohnsorg.

Highest quality

“The book is more than a coffee table book of the nominated projects. It is a comprehensive reference work for students, architects and fans of architecture, a must on any well-stocked bookshelf,” says Heimo Scheuch, clearly impressed by the new edition of “Brick’12” accompanying this year’s Wienerberger Brick Award. “Thanks to the untiring dedication, organisation and coordination of the many contributors, we have – in a period of just one year – again published a work that demonstrates the highest level of quality from both a journalistic and a design point of view.”

Swiss daily “Neue Züricher Zeitung” called the first edition a book that demonstrates works which, because of their formal beauty and technical precision, stand out far above the average, everyday architectural product. The German architecture journal “Deutsches Architektenblatt” called the book a feast for the eyes with very lively text. “Brick’12 will meet the previous, positive feedback and will definitely satisfy fans of architecture and critics”, says Heimo Scheuch pleased about the new book.

five copies of Brick'12 to be won

About Wienerberger

With 230 plants in 30 countries, Wienerberger is the world’s largest brick producer and the largest roof tile manufacturer in Europe, as well as market leader in concrete pavers in Central and Eastern Europe. The publicly listed company, founded in Vienna in 1819, employs some 12,000 people worldwide. More information about the Brick Award 2012 is available at http://www.wienerberger.com/brick-award and about the previous awards from 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 at www.brick10.com.