Sam Jacoby

English Monotype Game

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Garamond, Joanna, & Centaur.

In the fine printing community, there is a slight kerfuffle around the aesthetic difference between type designed for letterpress printing and type designed for digital or offset printing. With the rise of photopolymer printing, many designers are using digital-native typefaces to print on film, which inevitably results in bulky, inelegant letterforms, as a digital type design doesn’t account for the cross-sectional distribution of ink-on-paper.

The first typefaces adapted for phototypesetting and digital printing were, as a rule, too light and too spindly. They were also, generally, somewhat malformed. While high-quality metal typefaces were cut slightly differently at various sizes—so 18 pt. Bembo was not simply a scaled up facsimile of 10 pt. Bembo (or vice versa), but somewhat elaborated upon—digital typefaces had no such subtlety.

At any rate, this is all a very long way of saying, one of the first Django projects I put together was a little typography-training game. Rather than using digital copies of the typefaces, though, I scanned each letter-form from a specimen book of English Monotype that a friend let me borrow. Other than that, there’s not that much to it. I haven’t had this hosted live in awhile, but I recently started looking into Amazon Web Services, which made setting up an ec2 instance a snap.

At any rate, try your hand: Classic Typefaces. I killed the instance, as it was too expensive to keep running after my free year. Thought I’d use it for other things too, but mostly use Heroku now. Anyhow, it’s damn old now.