Post(s) tagged with "nicole dotin"
I was happy to read that a new version — 4.1 — of Instapaper has been released for iPhone and iPad. I don’t read via Instapaper on my iPhone much, but now that I am reacquainting myself with my iPad, I will have to take another look.
One thing that caught my eye is that Marco Arment has included a number of new fonts, including Elena, which is now the default font for Instapaper on iPhone and iPad. Perhaps the current fonts are part of the reason I don’t read on my iPhone much, I immediately wondered.
Marco said that on these devices, the fonts had to meet stringent requirements:
Marco Arment, Introducing Instapaper 4.1 for Iphone, iPad
I’ve spent a lot of time testing fonts recently.2 My criteria were:
- Every font had to be extremely readable in a wide range of sizes, since Instapaper’s fonts are highly adjustable.3
- Every font needed to look good on Retina and non-Retina iPhone and iPad screens.
- Every font needed to be licensable for apps. (Easier said than done.)
- I didn’t want to overwhelm people with a barrage of slightly different choices. I wanted to offer just six — three serifs and three sans-serifs — and cover a wide range of styles and tastes, so every font needed to be sufficiently different from the others.
So I clicked through to learn about Elena, created by Nicole Dotin:
The design of a new serif typeface meant for extended reading is an exercise in subtlety and restraint. The type designer traveling this path is faced with a limited and abstract palette with which to build unique character – stem widths, counter shapes, proportions, terminations and so on. Elena is a manipulation of these subtleties in a direct and unaffected way to create a modern serif typeface quietly balancing warmth with a crisp, tailored tone.
Central to this typographic balancing act is a rejection of extremes. Serif typefaces meant for continuous reading quickly turn bookish and old-fashioned when rote historicism is the singular influence. On the other hand, a designer attempting to capture a contemporary voice may strip or exaggerate details only to find that grace and ease went with them. Elena merges these two ideological opposites by heeding the lessons of the past while taking advantage of formal possibilities no matter their origin.
The result is a low contrast typeface of economical proportions, moderate x-height and spare details. The influence of the broad-nibbed pen is conspicuous but tempered by a discreet reinterpretation of its shapes. Soft, brush-like terminations in the lowercase lend an
organic note while fluid, tense curves mixed with a strong horizontal movement create a structured counterpoint.
From its conception, Elena was designed to serve two basic typesetting functions: text for continuous reading and display work of moderate size. Following from this, the typeface was tested extensively for text sizes between 6 and 14 point and for display sizes between 14 and 48 point. As such, magazines, books and publications of all types would be well served by this compact, two-weight family.
As with all of our typefaces intended for complex typographic tasks, a suite of related parts naturally follows. Small caps, lining figures, tabular lining figures, small cap figures, tabular figures and arrows are all included in the full version of the design. If this sounds excessive for your job, we’ve also designed a basic version with – you guessed it – just the basics for simple tasks and web use with the CSS @font-face rule.
Elena is available exclusively at the Process Type Foundry.
I look forward to looking at it.
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Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. more.
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