DenSchThink

Design, Life, and Everything Else

Polite Company and Mutual Thinking

A Response to the Daily Prompt: Polite Company, January 15, 2013

“So, what do you think about the Democrats?”

English: Humorous flags of "commie" ...

“Commie” Democrats (Wikipedia)

“Not much. What are your thoughts on the Republicans?”

English: Humorous flags of "commie" ...

“Nazi” Republicans. (Wikipedia)

“Not much. Christian?”

“Only on Sundays. You?”

“The same, though I like to move around a bit, spiritually speaking.”

“Like a little bit of everything, eh?”

“It seems easier that way; better to have a ticket to all the shows, I think.”

“You might be right. No worries about being wrong? Or overworking it?”

“Nah. The way I see it, we’re all trying to get to a better place.”

“Got a point there. Won’t really know ’til it happens, though.”

“Once it does happen, I’ll be too dead to care.”

“Righty oh. How about a Tea Party?”

“Only if we add a little bit of Jack.”

“I’ve got a bottle. We can make a night of it. Talk about religion and politics.”

“Sounds good. I’ll pick up another bottle.”

An Opinion on the Big Questions About (Big) Little Things

Author’s Note: I live roughly 20 miles south of Steubenville, OH, driving along Ohio State Route 7. Across the Ohio River, I can see Wheeling, WV from my doorstep; I see the stadium lights, hear the numerous fans of whatever team is playing at the athletic multiplex. This is not an easy post for me. I don’t sympathize with the Big Red players, I don’t sympathize with the character witnesses for the defense, and I certainly don’t sympathize with the media that would simplify the entire ordeal to nothing more than boys being boys, or girls showing a little too much. I would have liked to think — in another day and age perhaps — that the Ohio Valley might garner a more positive review from The New York Times. Though I applaud the thorough coverage the NY Times has given this particular debacle, I am still outraged. 

Bystanders knew. Those who took pictures knew. Those who made videos knew. There is little, if any, evidence — caught on video, Instagram, or any other form of capturing a moment — that would even suggest this girl was willing, let alone consensual (after all, when it comes to sex, an initial “yes” does not trump a secondary, tertiary, or any other level of “no.”)

And yet, there is something wrong with this: the boys were great athletes, poised to take the Big Red to a state championship (excuses, excuses: the team missed the opportunity simply because this case took away their best players); the girl was from another state (West Virginia, which in Ohio is generally considered less-than-worthy of equal treatment, especially where both states meet at The River) and was said to be sexually provocative, according to the NYT. Maybe she was flashing some skin, trying to be older by drinking more… trying to fit into the crowd that is today beset by images of promiscuity and lavish, unrestrained sexuality. Maybe she was. But, I bet, at the end of the day, she wasn’t looking for what happened. The people who did it, filmed it, photographed and shared it: I bet they weren’t looking for it either, though they also weren’t overlooking an opportunity to be indifferent.

And then, the football culture in this area! It worries me more that this might be the only reason this story came into the national spotlight (aside from the premise that social media now make it easier to be indifferent).

Had the two suspects not been high school football stars, would this even be a scandal? What if the suspects had been members of a science club? What if the victim were an exchange student from Uzbekistan, rather than right-next-door W.V.? What if this had just been a random rape in the streets of Steubenville, not involving football boys, but a homeless man who’d think he’d get something from a drunk passerby who just happened to be female?

Would the world care then?

Finn Mac Cool [Morgan Llywelyn], Meet my Blog

Taken  from The Daily Prompt (Jan. 5) : Call Me Ishmael

The red stag broke cover unexpectedly.

English: About to Meet the Challenge Red deer ...

English: About to Meet the Challenge Red deer stag during the rut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I could see its body jump onto the shoulder in my near-sighted headlights, could nearly see the tension in its hindquarters as it went to make another leap. I ran off the road as I tried to swerve around it in the oncoming lane; the front tires were too bald, my reaction time in the fog too slow. There wasn’t a house in sight.

The embankment was shallow, but the ditch deep and wide — wide and deep enough to ensure that I wouldn’t be driving home anytime soon. I freed myself through the passenger-side door; the fog was damp, thickening,  but not yet chilly. There was no wind, to my comfort, when I climbed the embankment and stood at the edge of the road, hoping to see the cloudy reflections of lights from an approaching vehicle on this remote stretch of County Road 4. As I stood, the thought occurred to me that any incoming lights might mistake me for a red stag and repeat my action, or worse, actually run into me. Living out here, it didn’t take long to learn that many drove the roads recklessly. I even did so on a usual basis.

My cell phone had been lost or stolen at the bar my coworkers and I frequented on many evenings before going to our “outside space,” home, away from the rigors of a fast-paced environment. I was sure I had it in my pocket when we went in, sure I had it sitting on the table as we ordered a round or two, just in case my wife would call to tell me that dinner was once again getting cold, though she and the kids had eaten it hot. I had always been sure.

“I’m heading out now. Sorry, lost track of time.”

But there was no phone call; my coworkers joked that I was running  late, that my wife should be calling soon. I knew they were right — my internal clock having become adjusted to the daily reminder, as well as the two beers I sipped before going home — and went to call home. I wanted my family not to worry, and was worried at the sudden shift in routine. It was not on the table, nor in my pocket. I had my friends call the number, listen for the ringtone; I felt my pockets inside and out as I sought the familiar shape and feel of the phone. Nothing. (I would have been happier to have an answer, either from a friendly person who would ask where I could meet them, or an opportunist who would say, ” I found it, it’s nice, and it’s mine.”) So, I bid farewell, and prepared to face the double onslaught of lukewarm food and the face of a woman sick with worry.

And then that damn stag.

I began walking, thankful for the dull light of the moon through the vapor and trees. It would be a long walk through the fog. I favored the caution of drivers unfamiliar with the road who would likely notice my silhouette, and feared the common travelers who would hardly notice the thud of my body in the thickening haze. I moved slowly, not as sure of myself on the shoulder as in the space between the white and yellow lines. I strained my eyes in the fog, looking ahead for the lights of a house or approaching car. I strained my ears for the sound of a car coming behind me, too nervous to turn around, lest I stumble down the embankment myself. It leaped onto the shoulder not five feet in front of me, and I gave a startled yelp.

That damn stag.

English: Red deer stag. Picture taken during r...

English: Red deer stag. Picture taken during rut (mating season) 26. september 2009 in Jægersborg Dyrehave in Denmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I paused, waiting for it to continue across the road and pass by me unawares. But, it’s silhouette — it’s large body, regal stature, elegant, pointed antlers — remained. I could hear its hooves on the pavement as it plodded one foot then another, hear the grunts of its breathing. Then it turned its head toward me, that great rack coming into full view. It sniffed at me, as if I were as large a nuisance in his world as I thought him to be in mine — damn stag — and then moved slowly toward me. I shivered as he approached, though not from the chilling air; unwilling to let my fear agitate the creature, I remained still. The touch of his head against my shoulder was gentler — the smell of his coat and breathe more wondrous — than I would imagine from a wild animal. There was a moment where his large eyes met mine, and there seemed a thankful understanding. Then, brushing gently past me, the stag moved across the road and down the embankment on the other side.

Author’s Note: I’ll leave the story here. Though I must let you know this is a fictitious tale inspired by the DP, I will give a quick synopsis of the end: the narrator did eventually find a house off a short driveway along C.R. 4. He was able to call a tow, as well as his wife. The former returned the vehicle safely home, while the latter was ecstatic to see her husband safe and sound. The narrator retold the tail to his awe-struck wife over a reheated dinner of roast pork, carrots, and homemade mashed potatoes. The red stag, as far as anyone knows, is still alive and well.

I also recommend the novel, Finn Mac Cool, by Morgan Llywelyn – the first sentence of which begins this post – to anyone who might ask. I loved this book so much, I actually read it out of its binding.

5 Things I’ve Learned About Relationships — Part 2

Per the Weekly Writing Challenge, I’v spent a good deal of time thinking over the last 11.75 months. What did I accomplish? What did I leave unfinished? What have I not started? The list gets longer as I move through the questions. One constant of this year, however, has been my relationship with my fiance. So, in memory of love, relationships, and everything (anti?)romantic, I offer 5 lessons I have learned about relationships in 2012.

In Part 1, I talked about giving one another space during arguments, as well as supporting your partner, even if the current situation is not ideal for dream-catching. In this episode, I will touch on interests, forgiveness, and (a different kind of) support.

3. Be Together, not Conjoined.

I am, most of the time, an introvert; I get shy around new people or find myself at odds in new situations. When I began my current job, I hardly spoke to anyone, unless it was related to the work-at-hand — for four months. A large part of this is “people watching,” while a larger part is that I want to know how to relate to people before I shove my foot down my throat; I need to know that when I make a joke, it is acceptable, for example. Alcohol, of course, negates this shyness, though at a detriment to my impression on others (they find me aloof, emotive, or downright intolerable, with very few finding me delightful). In all honesty, I try to save the alcohol-induced me for very close friends.

Conjoined twin tomato

Conjoined twin tomato (Photo credit: K.Wiklund)

My fiance, on the other hand, is a 100% bona fide, Grade-A++ extrovert. The first time I took her to my hometown, she talked to more people at the local oasis than I did; became friends with people I never got along with, or them with me; and knew none of them beforehand. To her credit, she refused several attempts by others to take her “off my hands.” She is unafraid of putting herself into the fray of society, and rests fully on the belief that if someone finds her disdainful, then that person can go @#$^ themselves. This is a result of her strong will, above average self-esteem, and education in a school of hard knocks that is several grades above mine.

But, to the point: we both have interests that do not interest each other. I like to read, view an art gallery, write blog posts about how I perceive my life (and the thoughts I have on that life).  She likes to dance with her friends, sing karaoke, meet people she’ll never meet again (usually while singing and dancing somewhere she’s never been, with no intention of returning). I don’t ask her to critique my writing, or share a book, or give her insights on the latest work by David Carson (I have my own network for that). On the same note, she doesn’t ask me to stand in front of a crowd and croon the lyrics to “Purple Rain,” or pretend I know all of her friends that grew up in the OhioValley, or give my advice on the best acoustics/space ratio for a “Just Dance (3? 4?)” party.

We don’t drag each other to our special little things (despite what Number 2 might suggest)., because our distinct interests are not our interests. We have mutual interests — romantic comedies and horror films, tastes in music, a day trip outdoors — but there are things we know the other will not enjoy (not mention we don’t want the buzz kill). We are together as one unit, but we are also a couple (of different people).

4. Forgive Daily (Even if Forgetting is Off the Table).

As I stated before, my fiance and I bicker, a lot. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we’re just plain irritated with one another’s presence; I mean, you can’t enjoy someone’s company all of the time, can you? But, for the most part — unless the arguing gets really intense — we always share a bed at night. I’m a firm believer in the notion of not going to sleep angry. I toss and turn; I stew and try to think of ways to keep her awake (so I can prove or reprove my point); I generally ruin a good night’s rest for both of us. Of course, experience has taught me that is sometimes easier said than done. Sometimes, one of us is, to be blunt, pissed to the core. We are also wore out from the day, run down from the emotional release of an argument, and ready to put it past us (because we always win in our dreams).

But — no matter how hurt or angry or vengeful we might feel — there is always one thing we say to one another before closing our eyes: “I love you.” And in the end, that’s what we have to remember. Despite our disagreements and sometimes juvenile conflicts, we are only human, full of pride and prone to mistakes. Somehow, the resentment and need to argue is gone when we wake up, and we wipe the previous day’s slate clean (primed to fill it up with a brand new list of annoyances and counterpoints).

5. Stand Up for Each Other, No Matter What (or Why).

I’m sure everyone is familiar with a movie or television scene in which a couple is at each other’s throats. The scene is usually a public sphere: a dinner party, holidays with the family, etc. Insults and vulgarities abound, as well as the comic gesticulations that make us laugh at the absurdity of the argument unfolding before us. You wonder why this couple is still together, even how they might have gotten together in the first place. And then, somebody unrelated to the incident slings an insult at one of the quarreling lovers, and the two suddenly unite against a common foe. In a matter of seconds, it’s not about the argument anymore; it’s about someone else disrespecting my partner. I think the line of reasoning goes something like this: “Only I can call him/her a selfish bastard/bitch!”

My fiance and I don’t always get along, but let someone else attack one of us, and PHOOSPAH! you’d better be wearing your helmet. We don’t let others bring us down, and believe me when I say, there’s been quite a number of people that think I’m too good for her (or vice versa). At the end of the day, our troubles are our troubles; we don’t need other’s fighting our battles for us, or disrespecting us (individually or as a unit).

5 Things I’ve Learned About Relationships — Part 1

Per the Weekly Writing Challenge, I’v spent a good deal of time thinking over the last 11.75 months. What did I accomplish? What did I leave unfinished? What have I not started? The list gets longer as I move through the questions. One constant, however, of this year has been my relationship with my fiance. So, in memory of love, relationships, and everything (anti?)romantic, I offer 5 lessons I have learned about relationships in 2012. These lessons are divided into two segments, because of the level of detail. 

 

1. Disagreements Happen. Space Helps.

My fiance and I bicker on an almost daily basis. It’s generally about the little things, like the fact that I don’t like to wear socks (or anything, ideally) to bed, or that she is a prima donna when it comes to her hair, which has made us late for numerous occasions (if she doesn’t like how hard it is to style a short ‘do, then I say grow it out a bit). It’s when we get into the big disagreements that we have problems.

This Is My Set Of Keys

This Is My Set Of Keys (Photo credit: awmalloy)

My fiance and I both have a tendency to keep hold of things from the past — a guy who innocently sent flowers to her work, or an attractive friend’s behind I admired once — an arsenal of monkey-poo to throw into one another’s faces when we’re angry. Generally, when we get to this point, it’s time for one of us to leave the house, stay with mom or a friend, and blow off steam in less-than-constructive ways (friends are usually pretty good at getting you drunk, though moms can help more than you’d expect).  We don’t call, we don’t check up, we just get the hell away from each other for awhile.

9.99 times out of 10, when we do see each other again, there is an adult conversation, an apology from one or both sides (depending on the situation), and a return to the normal, loving bickering that we both adore.

2. Support is Key (if not Convenient).

I graduated from college in August 2012 (the story behind that success is a week’s worth of blog posts, at least). I was ecstatic, my fiance more ecstatic than I. We had a plan, built over 2 years, that would not only help with my student loan debt, but also our current living/financial/whatever situation.  We would both still have to work to make ends meet (and somehow find time for both to be a part of her our 2-almost-3-year-old son’s life), but we had a tentative grip on the whole idea. And then, my fiance lost quit her job.

I can’t say I wasn’t upset or even a little outraged (go back to number 1), but I gritted my teeth, tightened our belt, and went with it. She had a strong reason for quitting and I supported her decision. I didn’t, however, take into consideration two things: 1) how much I relied on her income to help with daily expenses, though I paid all the bills, and 2) just how expensive our daily cost-of-living, even after paring it down, actually was. Let’s just say I had to beg, borrow, and all but steal to keep us afloat; I was on needles the entire near-three months she was unemployed, though my fiance did her fair share of begging/borrowing and was on top of the job search.

Lo and behold, my fiance has been employed for nearly a month now, at a job she loves and is more than capable of doing (to the envy of some co-workers… which may prove troublesome). She’s helping me recover my “losses.” We still have some ground to regain before I can start turning my extra income into gas money for that farther-away-but-better-paying job opportunity. But now we both have a little something to put away for later, and everything is getting back on track.

Funny how many people told me just to get rid of her — to cut my losses and start anew — that she wouldn’t find another job soon enough, or one that paid enough (or one that kept us away from number 1 above). In a way we are starting anew, together, and I feel that nothing outside ourselves can hold us back.

The Invisible Word, or, The Importance of Typography

Typography is EVERYWHERE.

But, it’s not always good. There are rules — which one can break, with intention — rules developed over centuries of written (and printed) words. Hierarchies of information help guide readers through, and into, a document or flier or advertisement; legibility and readability and the arrangement of text facilitate the reading experience, and provide visual cues to the tone of a piece; typefaces — many of the most popular are elegant in their simplicity — convey a mood that enhances or contradicts the intended message. Good typography, generally, does not distract from the message or story; it keeps the reader… well, reading.

IT IS, in many/most/all cases, INVISIBLE.

It is Definitely Less Irritating

I hope that many of you were able to read through that horrendous, but intentional, example of the exact opposite of good typography. Hopefully, you’re still here, asking “Why the hell did he do that?” My point is to illustrate that we spend a lot of time reading:  newspapers, magazines, posters, street signs, cereal boxes, and books — with or without chapters, tables of content, footnotes, pictures, and page numbers — on countless subjects. And, if any of you are anything like me, you rarely stop and say, “Whoa, this was really easy to read” (somehow, you just know); you have no problem, however, pointing out typos, a confusing hierarchy, or text that just does not “look right.”

There is a reason headlines are short and large, as a matter of fact, and body copy uses both upper and lowercase letters. There is a reason that we place extra space between paragraphs, but not too much (or too little) space between words. Typography deals with these and many other issues, all meant to achieve one purpose: to send a message that is clear and concise, that engages an audience, and that (hopefully) garners positive feedback.

So, if Good Typography is Invisible…

What’s the point of telling you, someone who may never have noticed good or bad typography (or, at least,someone who may never have thought about it for too long)? I’m telling you because, I want you to look for, to see, to notice the importance of typography in our everyday lives. How we read and process the written word is the result of a long history of developing and normalizing the arrangement of text on the page — and, today, digital screens — which directly affects the way we share and organize information. Typography, more often than not, also affects what we choose to read. Changing typographical elements such as font size, kerning, and line-length can have a dramatic effect on the mood of what you might be reading (more elaborate descriptions of typography basics are the topic of a later post); if you use sound typography, you can add tension to a crime novel or airiness to a whimsical romance.  Your words will have an emotional impact before your readers even start the first sentence.

And your readers, looking at the invisible words, won’t even be able to say why.

Give Me a Moment to Collect(ion) Myself

You walk in, either a few minutes early or a few minutes late. Nobody looks at you; they’re all staring somewhere between their knees and the floor. You know that they know, because you know: the shuffling of your feet, the “pardon me”s, the groans of the chair as you settle in. And yet, no one looks at you in reproof. No one will scold you, embarrass you, berate you for your interruption. Of the silence. So you settle in, focus your thoughts, and become one with the group. And then, someone stands up and speaks, and all eyes — such nonjudgmental eyes — look to the speaker. And people listen.

I spent almost all my high school years (minus three months or so, but that’s another story) in a wonderful boarding school, literally right outside the city limits of where I grew up. It was a Quaker-based school that was — and still is — devoted to community, personal/societal growth, environmental conservation/stewardship, and preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world. I remember many things about the school. I remember the people I called classmates, mentors, and teachers. I remember the people who played on my soccer team, who I went to see Cahokia with, who I dated, loved, and separated with. And years after I’ve left, I remember Collection/Meeting the most.

Oil on canvas portrait of William Penn at age ...

Oil on canvas portrait of William Penn at age 22 in 1666, portrayed in suit of armor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quakers love, as far as my experience has shown me, to Collect. By this, I don’t mean that they collect stamps or leaves or portraits of William Penn – though the argument can be made that Quakers do love to hold on to their history, or history in general — but that Quakers have always believed in the community. There were (if I correctly recall) no less than twelve (12) Collections a week: two each weekday, before the beginning of class and the end of the communal day (dorm time); one every Wednesday afternoon; and the big collection at Stillwater Meeting House every Sunday morning. In all of these, silence was important.

It is in the silence that we are all called together, and called to express higher truths. Personal truths. Because, as far as my collecting experience tells me, there is no reigning denomination, no higher power that can be called by name (yes, Quakers are defined as a sect of Christianity); there is only the Inner Light, the voice of a Creator that we can all hear if we only listen closely. In the silence, we are all Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists, Wiccan, and any number of other belief systems. I should know, I was there. With 70+ students from 14 different countries, all of various religious, economic, and what-have-you backgrounds.

And my point? I miss it.

I miss the communal buzzing sensation that comes from sitting in a silent room, even though it is full. I miss the words of wisdom — consider it an unelectronic blog post if you will — that came from people who had the urge/bravery/calling to stand up (because Collection is usually done in the sitting position for all attending) and speak their mind.

I miss being comfortable in that silence. I miss listening to others as they stood, and to myself as I sat.

I miss that silence, because it was good.

dendschmidt:

As one who is passionate about typography and writing, I love this post! There is something beautiful about words, their origins, and the subtleties of meaning. And even though Mark Twain once asked, “Why use a dollar word, when a dime word will do,” I think a world full of dimes would not only get boring, but quite heavy and bothersome (what with the jing-a-ling of change).

Originally posted on The Mercenary Researcher:

I admit it – I’m a word nerd; derived from the Latin Dictum Nerdica.  I’m also a Grammar Geek (ok, ok Grammaticus Geekicus). I think I was the only kid in 7th grade typing English that liked to diagram sentences.  My typing sucked but I could spot an appositive a mile away.

I’m fond of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs, gerunds, prepositions etc. (Please be advised: I don’t quite trust the subjunctive case, however). Our lexicon is rich with variety – we have so much freedom to express ourselves using layers of meaning, double entendre, metaphor, subtle shades of description; we have synonyms abound to choose from; we have slang – we have it all.  Yet we also have this:

I don’t understand why we have to have so many words to describe something- why can’t we just have the one and be done?

Why do…

View original 633 more words

When You Feel Less-than-Creative

Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.
-Paul Rudnick: American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist

So, here I am, at roughly 12:35AM (Eastern Standard Time, or UTC -5:00), and I am at a complete loss on how to continue the evening.  I want to do something creative: write a poem or short story about how I should have made this decision over that one; draw a picture of how I felt at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner (thankful to see them, but out of place); throw cotton swabs at a piece of watercolor paper smeared with gesso and connect the dots. But, I can’t find the mental motivation, the impetus to get away from this computer and actually do it.

(I realize that at this hour, I should be sleeping… or at least preparing for sleep. I have always been a night-owl, finding my deepest insights at the time that bedbugs are naturally inclined to creep through the mattress — that is, close to dawn, when the normal person is deepest asleep. But tonight, I find nothing but the computer screen, some online radio, and a game I shouldn’t waste my time playing, no matter how much I enjoy strategy and virtual warfare. To be short, I lack the ability to do something productive to(day/night).)

What bothers me most is that, later, I will be at work or getting ready to go to work, and PHOOSPAH! there it’ll be: the idea I’ve spent all night/week/month/a lifetime to find (to let find me). And, sadly, I will be unable to follow its creative paths until it is lost to me altogether. It will become as so many other ideas have become: a half-sleeping dream that flits in and out of my conscious awareness, only to escape again before I am able to grab a net or even lay out fly paper.

Somehow, I find happiness in the knowledge that — though I have yet to capture these creative outbursts — I have been able to see them, and will continue to do so. If only I could “reach the point where” I have no choice but to let those ideas free.

5 Sensational Sites to Find Fonts (Some for Free Commercial-Use!)


Author’s Note: Though some of these sites do offer free fonts, not all free fonts are licensed for commercial use. Always make sure to review license agreements, especially if you plan on using a font commercially (believe me, type designers have copyrights, too; and also believe me when I say they can recognize their own work). Honestly, if you want to use a particular font really, really badly, just buy it.

If you’re a designer, chances are high that you will incorporate text in all or most of your work. Though PCs and Macs have a fairly decent selection of built-in fonts (Adobe Creative Suite also has some nice ones), there can be something appealing in using a font that is a little rare in the design world. A well-chosen font (the technical design term is typeface) can add a lot of impact to a design. In general, typography is critical in many designs (imagine a newspaper using the same font-size and style for headlines and stories!), and the selection of a font should be considered as important as the size, spacing, and placement.

So, without further ado, here is a list of 5 sensational sites I like to use when searching for a unique font.

FontSquirrel

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Arguably one of the most popular sites I have ever seen for downloading fonts, FontSquirrel is a boon for one simple reason: all the fonts are licensed for commercial use! Boosting literally thousands of individual fonts in varying styles and weights — and even kits (or groups of fonts, known as font families or typeface families) for those of use who find importance in the differences between demibold and extra-bold weights — you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll like for any number of commercial projects.

Fontfabric

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Though the current selections include only about 65 different font families, the quality of these designs is astounding. One of my favorite aspects of this site is that several of the fonts are designed using the Cryllic alphabet (used by countries like Russia); this is great for the international designer, and can also add a bit of flair to Roman (or “Western”) words. Not all the fonts are free, but I’ve noticed many of the licensing fees are relatively low (given that some fonts can run well over $200). So, if you’re in the market for something unique yet pragmatic for your next project, why not take a look at Fontfabric?

Fontspring

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As it’s name implies, Fontspring is a virtual mecca of fonts, from a variety of foundries (agencies that design fonts) and type designers (typographers aren’t necessarily type designers,though it is debated whether the reverse is true — but more on that in a later article). There are roughly 250 free fonts from various families, and a whopping 4700 font families on the site; add the numerous styles, 8+ for most, and that results in tens of thousands of fonts. Prices vary, but each font comes with two licenses: one for use on your desktop (when working on a project), and one for use on a website. Generally, these licenses require two different purchases, often at two different costs. If you do both print and web design, this is definitely an upside, especially in terms of branding and identity. The downside: website licenses only allow for 500,000 page views; if you’re expecting extremely high-volume traffic, also expect to keep purchasing licenses.

exljbris Font Foundry

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The selection is small, but considering the entire foundry is actually one man, the work is impressive. To be honest — I’m a bit of a typophile — Museo is one of my favorite fonts, and works great for light, airy, and less-than-formal designs. Though not all the “well crafted” fonts are free, many of Jos’ font families are available for under $150 dollars, which is worth the price when you consider that many families have 10+ styles. All in all, Jos’ style and designs are invigorating, and would work well on a wide variety of projects. If you’re looking for something classy, unique, and modern, this site should definitely be on your list.

Google Web Fonts

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Is there anything that Google doesn’t do? I admit, aside from Google Chrome and Gmail, I try to avoid Google whenever possible (which, to make a completely irrelevant comment, is getting harder to do). But, I was quite taken when I stumbled upon the Google Web Fonts project. The number of families is growing (as everything Google tends to do), and the best part: everything is free! I mean everything: the license is free for commercial use; there are no distribution limits; you can even modify the entire font (FYI, modification is generally a big no-no in type design)! And for anyone who’s ever struggled with finding a unique font suitable for website display (PCs, mobile, tablets, etc.), you’ll be happy to know that “Web Fonts” refers to web-safe fonts (more on web-safe fonts in a later article). So, as much as I shudder to give Google kudos, I have to give them double kudos for developing and progressing this project.

So, there you have it: five sensational sites to find, download, and (maybe) purchase fonts. Thanks for reading!

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