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September 6, 2012

We heart typography

Search results for typographyDesigners are endlessly obsessed with fascinated by typography. Letters, words, signs, notes, logos, you name it, we love it.

We look at typography, take pictures, write books, and create websites about it. I've mentioned it 561 times on this website, most recently just a few weeks ago. An Amazon search for books about "typography" shows nearly 5,000 results. We even write songs and make movies about it.


Just as the human brain is hard-wired to recognize faces with all their similarities and differences, a designer's brain may be highly attuned to typographic differences. It may be more than coincidence that we call them type "faces." In fact one study found that our brains have evolved to recognize specific shapes used in letters and symbols.

There's an app for that

Screen from Fontly appMore than one, in fact. When I searched the iPhone App Store today I found 131 apps listed under "typography," and far more under "Font."

The one I downloaded is called Fontly. Here's what it does (from their website):

Use Fontly to capture, map, and explore the world of vintage typography around us.

Collect and share typography all across the globe. Create a living, collaborative, and digital archive filled with examples of unique type and signage that speak of a bygone era.

Share the best of our world’s ghost signs, neon, architectural, foil lettering, hand-painted, and other typographical wonders. Preserve this invaluable part of our visual heritage.

How it works:
- Download the Fontly iPhone app.
- Take a picture of found lettering.
- Title and tag the picture using the available categories.
- Your picture will be automatically geo-tagged and added to Fontly’s feed, map, and website.
- Share on Twitter, and beyond.

As of today there's nothing on the map in the Cleveland area, and only a couple in the entire state of Ohio. I aim to fix that. Might be a good challenge for people attending the AIGA presentation next week, too.

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