What’s been happening since August 2007?

Posted on October 30th, 2007

I haven’t posted since August, I have just been too busy, too much work. Here are a few significant things that I have been tracking in the intervening period.

First something nice, look at these delicate type animations as part of the Hyundai teaser campaign by Buck. Animations like these may seem over used, but these examples demonstrate a refined quality in the motion. Meanwhile, Peter Bilak created a strange little application called DanceWriter, which is a video dance alphabet that will convert the word you type into simple dance moves! I will file it with some of the other weird and wondering alphabet generators such as Spell with Flickr or Amaztype.

On a different note, there have been lots of things happening in web typography. Andy Clarke has formed a think tank group called CSS Eleven:

CSS Eleven is an international group of visual web designers and developers who are committed to helping the W3C’s CSS Working Group to better deliver the tools that are needed to design tomorrow’s web.

The line up is pretty impressive, many of the names you would expect to see there including Richard Rutter, Mark Bolton and Jeff Croft. Jina Bolton is the only woman in the group. Mark Bolton is also giving another talk on web typography, but this time at Web 2.0 in Berlin, should be interesting.

WebKit announced in August that it now supports CSS @font-face rules. With font face rules you can specify downloadable custom fonts on your Web pages or alias one font to another. This article on A List Apart describes the feature in detail. All of the examples linked to in that article work in WebKit now. @font-face is on the WebKit feature branch, you can try it out here.

A List Apart published the results of their fairly comprehensive (33,000 respondents!) survey about Web Design. Some of it is interesting because there is little topical research available on a discipline that is changing and evolving so fast, but much of the data is also somewhat ambiguous.

In the blogosphere, John Boardley lauched his I Love Typography to much acclaim in August 2007 and he later published a short review of contemporary web design practice. There have been a few other reviews with a similar viewpoint posted on other sites too – Rainfall Daffinson’s is one example. Minimalism and simplicity are certainly the new zeitgeist at the moment, of which John Maeda is the obvious champion. His recent talk at TED though was anything but simple, reflecting the underlying complexity both technologically and conceptually in his extraordinary practice.

This is what others have been doing while I have finished the first draft of a critical review of contemporary practice for my PhD. It was difficult to write, because there are few examples out there that cover the range of territory I am examining in a single publication. I will publish it here soon in a series of short articles.

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