Archive for the 'Type' Category

The Victorian Emoticon

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Wired reports that on this day in 1982, the emoticon was invented:

At precisely 11:44 a.m., Scott Fahlman posts the following electronic message to a computer-science department bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-)
From: Scott E Fahlman

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use:


But the article also delves into historical precedent for using typography to convey emotions, and here’s where the letterpress / antique typography angle comes in:

In 1881, the American satirical magazine Puck published what we would now call emoticons, using hand-set type. No less a wordsmith than Ambrose Bierce suggested using what he called a “snigger point” — \__/ — to convey jocularity or irony.

Anatomy of a Type Face

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Anatomy of a Type Face

Originally uploaded by mattborghi.

It’s been a couple of years since I was such a newbie that this would help me, but Flickr user mattborghi posted this diagram of a piece of metal type, and I point it out in hopes that I will save some beginner some time. See that nick? When you’re setting a line of type, all the nicks should be on one side. It’s infinitely easier to check the line of nicks to find any letter you might have inadvertently set upside-down, than to find it after you’ve inked the type.


Monday, July 11th, 2005

Looking for some resources to identify my typefaces by name, I stumbled across the excellent little resource Identifont. It asks you questions about the characteristics of your typeface and uses them to identify it. Spiffy. I’ll see how it actually works.

My fonts were purchased from the Kelsey Co., who apparently resold ATF and Mono fonts under a different numbering scheme.