Variable Width Fonts

I know very little, way more than I should, about the new variable typography stuff that’s been gaining traction and was discussed in css-tricks’ most recent shop talk episode. 

However, I’m having serious skepticism about how they can replace entire font families. There’s a lot of the discerning human eye in creating various weights (and especially italic versions) of fonts. I just can’t picture how some math algorithm can make that go away.

Multiple master icons

Just like fonts, icons can be designed in different weights. Here’s how it works in my current design, chubbicons:


These are all rendered at 32×32. The bold weight was designed with 1 pixel wide stroke on a 9×9 grid, while the light weight was 1 pixel on an 18×18 grid. The solid is just solid with some white 1 or 2 pixel details.

Everyone’s so big on the outlined icons, but I have a feeling solids will come back in style.

Studio window

I have a bunch of birds that hang out in the trees outside my studio window. I got my good camera geared up with a zoom lens and I try to take photos when I see them. Still getting used to the camera, so expect improvements over time. Here’s the latest:

Typography sucks on screen

We’re in an odd place with the whole typography thing.

Most people who look at computers on a daily basis have an idea of what fonts are. They just have no idea about how beautiful they can be.

The reason is that screens suck. They are either too low resolution (we can see the pixels) or too tiny (phones). And everyone reads screens nowadays, not paper.

Screens have sucked forever. Just that word, “screen“, is nasty. It’s like a mesh, or a veil; something you have to look through to see the real thing.

If you want a good screen, you’d better be rich. Which is why typography as an artform still only exists in print. If we remove the barrier of location, which the screen claims to have done, artwork should be look the same to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Put the same printed piece in someone’s hands, regardless of this restriction, and she will see the same thing. Stand in front of a painting, sculpture, heck–even digital art, and you see the same thing as anyone else in the gallery. Share a link to your design on behance, dribbble, or your website? Forget it. Everyone’s seeing something different, and most of them are seeing garbage.

Print is inherently ubiquitous. Physical location and space is definable. Screen is nowhere near being able to make the same claim. Screens suck, and it’s pointless to use it as a forum to discuss typographic merit of any design until screens get better, way better.