Just Your Type

Type, design, writing and other funny stuff

Typography

It’s Emma period.

See that? I haven't written a thing and already it looks like I goofed. The marketing geniuses for the new movie Emma. decided to put a period in the title. So it's Emma., not Emma. Emma.. See that? It's nearly impossible even to write about. Still confused? The issue...

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The $156 Million Typo

Before we went to the Moon, we went to Venus. Sort of, anyway. We sent an unmanned probe there in 1962 to have a look around. Venus welcomed Mariner 2 on December 14, 1962, with a brisk 760 degree day. But that's nothing compared to the heat generated when its...

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Font vs typeface: you’re all right

National Public Radio shared an interesting story about the redesigning of Helvetica. By far, Helvetica is used more often than any other face, so why redesign? Technical reasons, mostly to do with changing times. It's a great story, but not for here. Whew, what a...

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How to catch typos

I got an email from my beloved Alamo Drafthouse movie theater. A new location was about to open, right in my neighborhood. Hooray! Right after that email, I received this emergency follow-up: Just as an update, the $5 tickets was a miscommunication and we will be...

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Is roman type really Roman?

Renaissance type designer Aldus Minutius You know what an italic font is. Bold type is simple enough to understand. Bold italic? Easy-peasy. But what if a font isn't any of those? If it's just straight-up normal, like the text you're reading right now? We call that...

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Underlines for emphasis? How about never.

When you want to say something big — no, big — no, REALLY BIG, BIGGER THAN BIG, THE BIGGEST OF THE BIGS — should you choose italics, ALL CAPS, or underlined text? First, consider none of those. Try letting the text speak for itself, rather than using formatting to...

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Should punctuation be included in italics?

  This problem came up in a book I was working on recently. The author italicized a lot of words, but didn't include any of his punctuation in the italicization. Put another way, his words were italic, but his punctuation was Roman. It left a lot of visual...

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Widows and orphans and runts – oh my!

  Before I start this post, let me be clear: no, I do not want to go out back and fight you. If you invite three typesetters to a party, one will disagree with the other two about what widows, orphans, and runts are, voices will be raised, drinks will be thrown,...

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Kerning is king

Okay, the photo they chose for their ad doesn’t help the confusion, but is their bar name one word or two? I'm guessing it’s located close to either a hospital or a frat house. If the latter, it's spelled "rapey." And c'mon, guys: it's li’l, not lil’. The apostrophe...

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Cast of characters

#HashtagsAreAllTheRage. Oddly, that # character isn't called a hash—not in America, anyway. We call it the pound sign, or (with pinky raised) the octothorpe. (The geniuses at Bell Laboratories gave that fancy name when they added it to the telephone keypad, because...

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Who's this guy?

"Mick" is Michael Campbell, a book designer, graphic artist and writer. His humor column, The Dumpster, closes every issue of Food & Spirits Magazine. Author of Are You Going To Eat That?, and the new 2017 book of seventy hilarious all new essays, Of Mice and Me.
A singer songwriter too. New CD My Turn Now is available now!