All posts tagged “Global”

Hackers rob US and global banks of millions in one of the largest heists ever

Banks in Russia, Japan, the US, and Europe have fallen victim to a massive, sophisticated malware hack, allowing the perpetrators to steal hundreds of millions of dollars since 2013. According to a Kaspersky Labs report provided to the New York Times, more than 100 banks in 30 nations have been affected by the breach, with upwards of $ 300 million stolen in the process.

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Apple will spend $2 billion to turn its failed sapphire plant into a global command center

Apple plans to spend $ 2 billion turning the site of its failed sapphire production plant into a data center. Apple tells Bloomberg that the site, located in Mesa, Arizona, “will serve as a command center for our global networks.” The 1.3 million-square-foot building will be powered entirely by renewable energy and is expected to create 150 full-time jobs and 300 to 500 construction and trade jobs — far fewer than the 2,000 or so jobs that the sapphire production plant was supposed to make. “This multibillion-dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made,” Apple says.

Apple initially built the plant for GT Advanced Technologies, which Apple forwarded a bunch of money to so that it could start building furnaces and…

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The Verge – All Posts

Spontaneous Global Travel with Booking Now: Booking.com’s new iOS makes adventuring at the last minute very easy

Spontaneous Global Travel with Booking Now

At a rapidly increasing rate, travelers have begun booking hotel accommodation at the very last minute—with more than half of all travelers booking within a mere 48-hour window before a scheduled trip. That, coupled with the radical increase in the……

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Cool Hunting

Interview: Davis Smith of Cotopaxi: Inside the innovative social business combining global causes with outdoor gear that’s built and designed to last

Interview: Davis Smith of Cotopaxi

The desire to see the world, step outside one’s own boundaries and see how others live is human nature. Davis Smith, founder and CEO of socially conscious outdoor company Cotopaxi, spent much of his childhood outside his native US in developing countries……

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Bob Marley will be the face of the first global weed brand

Plenty of ground has been broken since Washington and Colorado became the first states to make the sale and recreational use of marijuana legal earlier this year. We’ve seen the first medical marijuana ad on television, the first rules governing how banks handle the money coming from dispensaries, and even the first weed publishing vertical at an established newspaper. Now the world’s first international marijuana brand is being created — and it will use Bob Marley’s likeness to promote it.

According to The Guardian, Marley’s family is working with private equity firm Privateer Holdings to create a company called Marley Natural. Its focus will be on distributing “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains” of marijuana, but will also offer…

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Global, Local, Social: ATypI Barcelona 2014 (Part 2)

With Typographic Dialogues, the theme of their 58th conference, ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) invited type and design aficionados from all over the world to Barcelona. The presentations on day 2 concentrated primarily on education. While in part 1 of my review you can discover some of the more technical talks given at BAU Design School Barcelona, focusing on interpolation tools, we now switch to all kinds of typography teaching methods.

Day 2: educational advice and lots of learnings: by lettering, letterpress dialogues, legibility studies – and looking for roots

Again I strongly recommend to take a look at the ATYpI presentations programme for an overview and pointers for further exploration, because I only share personal highlights in these reports. The second day at BAU Design School Barcelona was predominated by explorations about how to teach type and typography, and more specifically how to teach letter drawing.

Dan Reynolds tried out 10 methods. Among them were drawing by pen and in Illustrator, stencil making (which he finds an “excellent method”), or just walking around and taking pictures of type you like, than work with those (and other) photographic resources. This turned out to be most effective for his students, but Dan still would be open for a method 11 or 12, “if they work”.

One, two three: draw fast!
Sofie Beier applied legibility studies to find out how to design type that works (you may know the stunningly effective bouba/kiki effect). And Martina Flor uses a trick: “Teaching lettering is a friendlier way of saying ‘I teach type design’”. She encourages her students to explore, as “the more extreme you go, the more problems you have” – and the more interesting it becomes. Martina considers it essential to teach the tools first, then to teach the design process, and eventually practice a lot. “Draw fast, and as much as possible”! We should not stick to a layout (or any idea) for too long, says Martina, because this makes it harder to detach ourselves from it, change it, and improve it.


Martina Flor offered valuable insights in how to teach people type (via lettering) – and how to get things done in general.

In his lecture Looking for roots Domen Fras illustrated how difficult it is to teach type when on the one hand students are interested and motivated, yet on the other hand almost no teaching structures exist, in his particular case in Slovene. He mentioned the lack of historical sources and the lack of fonts that support the functional aspects of the Slovene (and other) language systems. He described the only four existing books on typography in his mother tongue and the Tipo Brda workshops at University of Ljubljana, being the first of their kind in Slovenia. (For German readers: Filip Blažek, Petra Černe Oven and Veronika Burian spoke about intercultural aspects of type design and usage at the Raabs conference in Austria – read more in my Bericht aus Raabs.)

Domen’s presentation made us aware of how privileged we are, if you are living in a city like Berlin for example, with its high density of type designers, several universities with design and communications curriculums, lettering workshops, meetings points, and a huge conference… The same applies to Great Britain. Rose Gridneff, Alexander Cooper and Andrew Haslam presented the 6×6: Collaborative Letterpress Dialogues teaching project to which six design schools in UK contributed. They explained in minute detail and very academically the links between contemporary and historical letterpress work, providing theoretical background and pointing out political implications as well.

France: an eventful history and generous funding

A proper follow-up is Thomas Huot-Marchand who speaks about the (almost non-existing) history of French typography. This encompasses a lot of learning, many drawbacks and new starts, including several revivals of the ANRT (Atelier National de Recherche Typographique). As its current director Thomas Huot-Marchand does his best to have the ANRT playing a stabilizing role in the state of typography in France and making a strong impact, with a focus on research and interdisciplinary partnerships.

The ANRT prefers to support complex, long-term projects. Among them is the digitization of the typeface for the Französisches Ethymologisches Wörterbuch by Walther von Wartburg. If I understood it correctly, it contains at least three diacritical marks that have never before been combined in one font. This is the PHD project of Sarah Kremer; another one would be Sébastien Biniek’s research of the type systems used for cartographic visualizations. He explores textual hierarchies and lettering in large-scale maps and the gap between the archetype and the actual letter forms in the context of their composition.

The ANRT in Nancy, France grants funding for two projects per year, which they propose themselves, and are also open for one application with a topic suggested to them. In either case the support is really generous, so students with good ideas and long-lasting intentions in type should feel encouraged to submit their project! You can find the current (2013/14) student projects supported by the ANRT and all the information required for applications on their website.

Research, live on stage

Each and every day in Barcelona made a lot of impact – the lectures were packed with information and the ATypI programme packed with excellent lectures. Jesús Barrientos from Mexico discussed the fact that “nomenclatures can be very different from country to country”. For example the expression “gótico” in Spanish countries means something else than what native English speakers or German designers refer to when they use the words “Gothic” or “gotisch” in the field of typography. Next lesson learned!

Kevin Larson – a researcher on Microsoft’s Advanced Reading Technologies team – actively engaged with the audience during his presentation. Instead of simply presenting certain theories or stating new ones, he asked questions that we tried to answer, but not always succeeded in doing so. Not only did he leave them open as well, in some cases he had no answers himself, forcing us to come up with our own solutions. Using this fun presentation technique, Kevin gave a live demo of what research is like. He made us realize how many theories or rules are very much in transition, even if they initially seem to be straightforward and self-evident, like punctuation in this specific case. Where in the following test sentence would you put a comma, and how many would you use in total? “The only people I have ever met who believed their ears were blind”. It was no wonder that this was followed by a heated discussion amongst the audience with a lot of new questions, and eventually a birthday song. Congratulations Kevin! You made us think.

Ann Bessemans collaborated with Kevin Larson on her legibility research and contributed to TYPO Berlin 2013 Touch by presenting her research-based font Matilda. She did her PhD dissertation on Type Design for Children with Low Vision under the supervision of Prof. Gerard Unger (Leiden University) and Prof. Dr. Bert Willems (Hasselt University). She researched how people, specifically children, read type and grasp content? In which ways can this be influenced by the design and choice of typefaces? Ann Bessemans added the aspect of rhythm to the lively debates we had in Barcelona. Please read Ralf Herrmann’s article on her findings when working with children with low vision.

Vehement tempers

Michele Patané runs his studio Cinetype in London and works for Dalton Maag. One of his tasks is bridging the academic world and the industry via employee training programs. He does so with charming Italian flair and champions freedom of experimentation, because “the mindset is more important than the tool”. How true…

On the evening of the second day we were treated to a powerful opening keynote in the Museu del Disseny in Barcelona. Raquel Pelta spoke (in vibrant Spanish) about Graphic design and typography for social change. She is a professor at the department of fine arts of Barcelona University and co-editor of Monográfica magazine. She holds degrees in geography, history and audiovisual communications, with an emphasis on the cultural implications of design and typography.


Raquel Pelta displaying strong statements live on stage and on posters. This one says: “We were children of comfort but we will not be parents of conformism”.

Pelta explained how type design helps to spread the rights (“ayuda difundir los derechos”) of citizens and are a prerequiqite for the freedom of press (“la libertad de la prensa”), as well as a means of transmitting concepts (“medio de transmisión de ideas”). She backed up her statements with a well-selected range of posters, art installations, and subversive fonts. Probably the most impressive poster was one displaying the letters “S PAIN”. The letters seem to literally embody the hardship our Spanish colleagues (and their whole country) have to bear. Pelta, in her forceful way of speaking, was not shy to admit that “esta situación nos hace un enorme dolor” – in no need of translation.


Painfully descriptive.

Among the socially subversive typefaces shown by Raquel Pelta were Prozac and the Doctrine family by Jonathan Barnbrook (Virus Fonts), and the gruesome Genocide “font” by Lars Harmsen (Volcano Type), who used pictures of war and torture victims from our collective consciousness. Please check it out, there is so much worth discovering.

An unrepenting NO

Another impressive character awaited us the next morning. Day 3 started off with Michael Twyman, who followed José Scaglione’s and Andreu Balius’ welcoming address. Michael Twyman, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at Reading University, referred to a presentation he gave in 1970. Back then he had to explain the concept of the first typography course ever introduced at Reading…


It is probable none of the younger ATypI attendees knew who this hippie, visiting the letterpress shop at Reading University in the early 70s, was.

One of the early visitors of the course was a young blonde hippie who had just started printing at the University’s letterpress workshop. Twyman wondered “who in the audience under the age of 30 can identify this young man”? Well, it was the notorious Erik Spiekermann who could not attend this year’s ATypI but sent a poster he had printed in his very own letterpress gallery which he runs in Berlin since a few months. It was rolled out on stage and read “You cannot not communicate“.


Erik Spiekermann could not attend the conference, but sent those self-printed greetings from Berlin: “You cannot not communicate”.

Coming back to our topic, Michael Twyman wondered why teaching often results in desaster. Possibly Dan Reynolds and some other speakers of the first conference day in Barcelona may have agreed. 50 years after that other lecture, in the current digital era and radically changed society, education and type design, Michael Twyman wonders whether typographic education is or should be different. Probably not. Twyman still favours encouraging future generations to explore the products of the past. He has an open mind and picks up on the ideas of design thinking and the importance of looking at user experiences, nevertheless referring to letterpress and other artifacts as the most useful interface. So, did his convictions change over the past 50 years? His answer came as no surprise: “an unrepenting NO” (it sounded as if it simply had to be written in capitals).

During the Q&A art historian Marianne Unger-de Boer asked another one of those essential questions: “Does the content of a text influence the typography?” Twyman replied: “Undoubtedly! And not only the content, but the underlying spirit of the text”, which prompted another member of the audience to wonder whether he feels when he understands this underlying spirit of a text. AT first Twyman seems to not grasp the meaning of the question, then replies with an infectuous relief: “Well, I do when designing my own text. With other texts you never know…”

Yes, you never know.

Still to be continued! In part 3 of this review I will try and sum up the rest of the conference days (not an easy feat, believe me) and give an overview. And in case you missed it: you can find part 1 here.


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Global, Local, Social: ATypI Barcelona 2014 (Part 1)

The 58th annual conference by the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) from September 17 to 21, 2014, was held in Barcelona – for the third time in the history of ATypI, after 1972 and 1995. It was a great experience. With this year’s theme, Typographic Dialogues, ATypI invited students and professionals to participate in a delightful mixture of workshops, lectures, social events and exhibitions, and to explore the wider fields of design and typography together.

The first two days with practical, technical and educational topics plus workshops took place in the BAU Design College; then for the three main conference days with longer lectures focusing on history, international strategies and research, we moved to the Museu del Disseny (Design Museum), Barcelona. Yes, the main official language in Barcelona has become Catalán, followed by Spanish, then English – the first thing you notice as a visitor at the airport.


The sky in Barcelona is blue almost all the time and is called “cel” – which is Catalan. Or “cielo” in Spanish.

Day 1: Technical advice, lots of user-centered lectures, and a corporate community programme that comes as surprise

If you take a look at the presentations programme and see the complete list of speakers and topics, you will realize it was a lot. It is simply not possible to give a complete survey of everybody and everything, sorry! I picked out my personal favorites, pars-pro-toto style.
A good example of the excellent technical talks was Parametric typefaces in a nutshell by Berlin-based Thomas Maier, “a short history of formula driven typefaces”. Building on the premise that designing a font means making decisions and setting at least one rule, Thomas Maier reminded us of beautiful results such as

  • Donald E. Knuth’s Metafont (1979),
  • Euler Metafont (1983) by Knuth, Hermann Zapf and David Siegel,
  • Donald Knuth’s Punk Metafont (1988)
  • FF Beowolf by Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum (1989, Random PostScript-Type-3-Font),
  • Erik van Blokland’s Flipper-Font FF Kosmik (1993),
  • Zuzana Licko’s Variex (1988, PostScript-Type-3-Font with varying stroke thickness).


For Metafont, Donald E. Knuth (in 1979) created different styles by varying the parameters and by increasingly random pen positions.

Maier also provideds information about the discussions around Metafonts, Metamathematics, and Metaphysics (in which people like Douglas R. Hofstadter were involved), classification systems for example by Benjamin Bauermeister (1988, Panose-1-parameters) or Larry Applegate, Ernie Brock, and Robin Henson (Ares FontChameleon 1993–1997, with 26–220 base fonts), and interpolation systems.

Multiple Masters: Remixing the rules
The most popular interpolation systems have been Ikarus (1981) by Peter Karow and URW, the famous Adobe Multiple Master technology (1992), and Apple QuickDraw GX Axes (1995). Yet Stephenson Blake used Pantographic Interpolation as early as 1930, Peter Karow with Multitype in 1992. In 1988, together with Hermann Zapf, Karow set up their “hz-program” with – as Thomas Maier sums it up – “smart rules for hyphenation and justification” including

  • smart whitespace, balanced right and left margins
  • optical scaling
  • smart condensing and expanding of letters for more consistent justification
  • kerning on the fly
  • balance ragged lines in left aligned lines
  • hyphenation per paragraph, not per line
  • the algorithm running backwards over the text.


Jam by Erik van Blokland with three axes: “Bang” is the weight, “Crumble” causes some of the objects to deflate, “Splatter” causes one or two objects to come into view as random bits of dust (picture from Thomas Maier’s presentation).

Maier also provided theoretical background on interpolation, the best-known and probably earliest model being Gerrit Noordzij’s The Stroke of the Pen (1985) which explores the type space of handwriting by dynamic translation, expansion, and rotation. The book cover was designed by Petr van Blokland as an intern at URW at that time, working on interpolation in Ikarus – just to give you the big picture.

Interpolation tools today
Today, probably the best-known player in the field is

But there are more to be tested (if you haven’t yet), like

Further tools, adding modular to the parametrical techniques, include

They offer different features or different combinations of features, all worth trying out. This was possible for ATypI attendees the same day at the workshops at BAU Design college. Among others, Frederik Berlaen explained what the possibilities are with RoboFont and Erik van Blokland presented a Superpolator3 workshop.



Metapolator allows designers to use Metafont technology without have to write Metafont code.

For more information and compilations of Metafonts (also otf), Thomas Maier recommends

concluding his presentation with the statement that “it’s not about rules, it’s about exceptions”.

Homeless Fonts

Monotype’s Bill Davies presented a surprising project in collaboration with the Arrels foundation. Founded in 1987, Arrels is devoted to bring attention to, and help homeless people in the city of Barcelona. Together they support a local community project which actually is a font project. Arrels set up workshops with homeless people to turn their handwriting into typefaces – the handwriting lifted from the cardboard panels they use to beg for money, which attracted their attention.


The Homelessfonts website is worth taking a look – for its design, the videos, and the professional and touching presentation.

When I asked him about it during a coffee break, Bill Davies explained he was so impressed by the project that he decided to not only support it and visit the local workshop, but also talk about it in public – a new thing at Monotype. Because their other community projects were never so close to their core business, they never advertised them. However, the Homelessfonts project will come to an end at some point, or – according to Bill – will have to evolve and change, as it makes little sense to continue producing countless handwriting fonts. So what’s up next? Arrels is already planning to build furniture with the homeless, thus making use of and improving on their carpenter skills. Bill Davies is committed to keep supporting future endeavors by the organization.

This will also be continued. Look forward to part 2, reporting about the educational emphasis of the ATypI Barcelona lectures.


FontShop’s very own Andreas Frohloff – famous for the popular calligraphy workshops he gives at the TYPO Berlin conferences – took the opportunity to participate in a workshop himself…


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5 pro tips for designing a global brand

Read more about 5 pro tips for designing a global brand at CreativeBloq.com


Paul Stafford of DesignStudio In today’s world, the global adoption of the internet has allowed even the smallest of startups the opportunity to compete on an international stage and reach audiences far and wide. 




Creative Bloq

Indoor Cycling Meets Entertainment with Zwift: The global multiplayer environment integrates exercise with game play

Indoor Cycling Meets Entertainment with Zwift


Whether it’s the dropping of temperatures, shortening of days or just plain lack of free-time, hitting the road for a lengthy ride isn’t always in the cards. While indoor trainers for stationary riding continue to advance, giving cyclists more detailed data on their…

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Cool Hunting

Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Music Festival: Over 70 venues across the German city unite for a raucous showcase of global talent

Hamburg's Reeperbahn Music Festival


The northern European port city of Hamburg, Germany has long been a hub for musicians. While it played host to The Beatles for two important developmental years in the early ’60s, that was neither the beginning nor the end of the city’s musical…

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