Almost there…

Playfair Display A4 specimen

Typographica’s ‘Our Favorite Typefaces of 2011’ Honorable Mention for Playfair Display

Just got an Hon­or­able Men­tion on Typographica’s Our Favor­ite Typefaces of 2011 list for my Play­fair Dis­play, and it’s even one of the editor’s favour­ites. Thank you Mr. Coles!

Let me also use this occa­sion to send a big thank you to Google Web­fonts for fund­ing my work on this fam­ily. The latin-​script fonts are near­ing com­ple­tion, and if all goes accord­ing to sched­ule they should be out within the next month. These are the semi-​bold, bold, black uprights and match­ing ital­ics, includ­ing small caps for all weights and styles.

Short review of Gerard Unger’s Capitolium News 2 on Typographica

I was asked to select a typeface for Typographica’s list of Favor­ite Typefaces of 2011. While Ger­ard Unger’s Cap­it­olium News 2 is not a new design per se, I’m happy to use just about any excuse to make typo­graph­ers and design­ers pay notice to, and hope­fully use, his exquis­ite designs.

Playfair Display Regular now published

I’m pleased to announce that the first font of the Play­fair fam­ily is now pub­lished on the Google Web Fonts ser­vice. The font is the reg­u­lar weight of the dis­play fam­ily, and the italic font is soon to fol­low. You are free to down­load and use the font on your com­puter. Using the font as a web­font is very easy – just grab the code from here and start using Play­fair on your web pages.

Should you have com­ments or dis­cover bugs, I would encour­age you to com­ment on this art­icle or con­tact me directly.

321 seconds

I am attend­ing the TypeTalks2 sym­posium at the Uni­ver­sity of Arts in Poznań, on the 18 and 19 of June, 2011. I will be mak­ing an exactly 321 seconds long informal present­a­tion entitled ‘Lost in pixela­tion’. It will be about… well, I won’t give it away here. Come, and you shall see.


I have been given fin­an­cial sup­port by the Google Web Fonts team to design a typeface fam­ily. In fact you are look­ing at this design right now. This web­site uses Play­fair Dis­play (as the typeface is named) as a web­font to dis­play the text.

Play­fair is a trans­itional design. From the time of enlight­en­ment in the late 18th cen­tury, the broad nib quills were replaced by poin­ted steel pens. This influ­enced typo­graph­ical let­ter­forms to become increas­ingly detached from the writ­ten ones. Devel­op­ments in print­ing tech­no­logy, ink and paper mak­ing, made it pos­sible to print let­ter­forms of high con­trast and del­ic­ate hairlines.

This design lends itself to this period, and while it is not a revival of any par­tic­u­lar design, it takes influ­ence from the designs of printer and typeface designer John Bask­erville, the punch­cut­ter Wil­liam Martin’s typeface for the ‘Boy­dell Shak­speare’ (sic) edi­tion, and from the ‘Scotch Roman’ designs that fol­lowed thereafter.

As the name indic­ates, Play­fair Dis­play is well suited for titling and head­lines. It has an extra large x-​height and short des­cend­ers. It can be set with no lead­ing if space is tight, for instance in news head­lines, or for styl­istic effect in titles. Cap­it­als are extra short, and only very slightly heav­ier than the lower­case char­ac­ters. This helps achieve a more even typo­graph­ical col­our when type­set­ting proper nouns and ini­tial­isms. Lan­guages, like Ger­man, where nouns are cap­it­al­ized, par­tic­u­larly bene­fit from this lower con­trast between lower and upper case glyphs. In Ger­man, with it’s many cap­it­al­ized words, and other European lan­guages that use many dia­crit­ical char­ac­ters, it is advised to use more leading.

Being a trans­itional design, styl­ist­ic­ally Play­fair can accom­pany Geor­gia, where Geor­gia is used for body text.

Play­fair includes a full set of SMALL CAPS (cur­rently only sup­por­ted by the Fire­fox 4 or newer browser), com­mon lig­at­ures, and dis­cre­tion­ary lig­at­ures. For Pol­ish, a set of altern­ate dia­crit­ical char­ac­ters designed with ‘kreska’s are included. All European lan­guages using the latin script are sup­por­ted. →A set of eight arrow devices are also included←.

Once the latin script part is fin­ished, I will expand the fonts to cover the Cyril­lic script.

Once the reg­u­lar weight is released I will announce it here. Watch this web­site for fur­ther inform­a­tion on Play­fair.