Type High!

By | Typography, Uncategorized | No Comments

Seems hard to believe, but this year’s class of summer residency TypeLab students has already reached the halfway point of its typographic adventure in New York City. Hailing from Denmark, Sweden, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Brooklyn, the group draws upon an eclectic set of influences and design references, including 1940’s Norwegian newspaper headline type, the writing of J.R.R.Tolkien, 19th century handpainted display typefaces, and beloved children’s book character Miffy, a highly symmetrical bunny.

Week one featured a lecture by Steven Heller, design legend and co-chair of SVA’s Designer as Author MFA program. The class experimented with hand-drawing preliminary versions of their typefaces with instructor Yomar Augusto, and ended the week with a hands-on letterpress workshop at the Center for Book Arts.

The second week began the process of moving the preliminary alphabets into the digital realm, drawing letterforms with font editing programs. Under the watchful eye of James Montalbano, the class grappled with structure, logical design relationships among letters, and those all-important sidebearings.

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James Montalbano’s TerminalDesign Type Catalog

By | Design, Typography | No Comments

When just about everyone has stopped printing type specimen books, the contrarian James “the first one hundred fonts are the most painful” Montalbano releases his 292-page tome, the TerminalDesign Type Catalog. Smartly bound in a black hardcover with an embossed red “t” as assertive as the man himself, the Catalog contains page after page of beautifully laid down ink detailing his prolific 27-year output at TerminalDesign.

Embossed black bound cover (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Embossed black bound cover (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Embossed Back Cover (Courtesy:James Montalbano)

Embossed Back Cover (Courtesy:James Montalbano)

Just as smart are Montalbano’s memorable and varied pangrams, and witty typeset excerpts from Moby Dick which gorgeously visualize the use of his 790 fonts, including the Clearview type system, used in highway signage all over the United States and acquired by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.

Typeface Trilon one-line pangrams from Extra-Thin to Extra-Bold

Typeface Trilon one-line pangrams from Extra-Thin to Extra-Bold (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Trilon Text Sample in Medium 11pt text (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Trilon Text Sample in Medium 11pt text (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Not to be outdone by any other type specimen book, the Catalog includes handy indices comparing x-heights and earmark details amongst others, as well as Opentype alternates, and appendices of sample display and text pairings, making a typeface search a breeze.

X-Height Comparison Index (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

X-Height Comparison Index (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Serif Earmarks Comparison Index (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Serif Earmarks Comparison Index (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Sample Display and Text Pairings (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Sample Display and Text Pairings (Courtesy: James Montalbano)

Overall, Catalog is a well thought out and designed type specimen book, condensing 45-plus years of typographical goodness from the master.

James Montalbano is the principal of Terminal Design, a typeface and lettering design studio located in Brooklyn. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Print, Creative Review, ID, Wired, and is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. He is a past president of the Type Directors Club (TDC), and teaches undergraduate typeface design at Parsons The New School for Design.