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065: Typography with Susannah Brinkley Henry

Hello! Welcome to episode 65 of I’d Rather Stay In. This week, we’re chatting about why font choices are important with graphic designer Susannah Brinkley Henry.

Quick links


Vocal Type Co.

I Love Typography

Brand New blog

Kerntype letter spacing game

Pangram Pangram Foundry

Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton

Creative Market



Episode transcript

Welcome to I’d rather stay in with your hosts Megan Myers and Stephie Predmore. This week we’re chatting with our friend Susannah Brinkley Henry about typography, stay tuned.

Hey, Megan.

Hey Stephie

so I have a really just borderline shameful admission I need to make to our listeners. All right, so you tell and that is that I got a I downloaded the tiktok app. And whichever you get I guess technically me it’s I got a tiktok account, although to say I got a tiktok account makes it sound like I am actually using Tiktok for anything besides stalking what other people are doing, which I’m not. But yes, I am now one of the Olds on tiktok

on the tiktoks.

I am an old on the tiktoks. But I so I downloaded it for two reasons. One, because I do work in this space and influencer marketing and I was like okay, I really should probably better understand this. And guess I have clients who are interested in this blah, blah, blah. Then the second reason I got it is because my I’ve had a couple friends who were like, this is the best algorithm I’ve ever encountered. I think brandy or from brandy said it last time that she was on the podcast. My friend Bethany has said it to me. They’re like, the minute you like something tiktok’s like, I’m gonna show you more things like that. And then sometimes they’ll throw in something else. Like I think you’re gonna like it and you’re like, I do like this tiktok, thank you very much. And motherfucker if that is not the goddamn truth. I need all these other social platforms to get on board with whatever algorithm tiktok is using because it fucking works. I mean,

okay, so I’d be fine with that. If Instagram did that for their reels. Yes. However, I really still just want chronological order back for Instagram and Facebook. That’s all I really want. Yes. all the features like follow

Yes. For the people I follow. I want chronological shit back. And then for like, if I’m going to go like check out new things. It’s like, I think you might like this new thing. I wanted to actually be a thing I’m gonna like, Yes, I

do. Actually. I’ve been watching reels more often. And I do think they’re pretty well, it depends. Because when I first opened it, it was like a lot of people’s doodle videos. doodle being the dog, which was very wrong for me, aside from the fact they’re dogs but then as I liked a few more reels, I was getting other things that were kind of related. But the other problem that I see with reels and I don’t know if this is the same problem with Tick Tock is that a lot of people do the same kind of video where they use the same music or the same kind of concept and I end up seeing that over and over and over. And that drives me insane.

Like I don’t want to see the same thing.


please do not show me any more. feta pasta. Oh, I’m not gonna make it. I don’t need to see any more of it. I don’t need to see variations of it. If I wanted to make pasta I would just make it I don’t need to see everyone baking their feta Thank you.

Let’s move on or doing the like the fucking nature cereal where it’s literally just berries and coconut water.

Like just fruit guys the fuck

out of here with that shit.

It’s a bowl of fruit. Literally a bowl of fruit. I’m fine with you in a bowl of fruit but just to have a bowl of fruit. A bowl of fruit it’s called fruit salad.

Some kind of nature cereal.

Yeah, cereal has a very specific meaning to it and grains.

Cook You’re ruining it.

words mean things

like a literal definition,

you guys

it’s fine. Anyway, this

is the this is why we’re the Olds if we get a tick tock or like use a dictionary youngsters

get off my internet wine.


anyway, what’s new with you?


I finally hung some stuff up on my wall behind my television.


I we when we lived here for six months and right when I moved in, I hung up a lot of stuff. But there’s a space behind our TV that I was just kind of creatively blocked by. It’s a very tall with very tall ceilings. So it was a big empty wall and we decide not to mount the TV and So I was just trying to figure out what the heck to do with that space. And I finally got some a picture, a canvas print of a, an Austin artist that I really liked and a couple like frame shelf things that you can put plants on. And it looks really cute. And I’m really happy with like a finished area now, like, I feel like that room is like fully decorated in all this on the walls.

It’s truly amazing what that can look just like kind of do for you.

Yeah. And it also makes me think of I have a few friends that I follow on the internet and their walls are just completely

empty. And

I have a lot of questions about that.

I don’t get it. I have a lot of stuff on my walls.

And to the point where I’m like, kind of starting to run out of wall space, start to get creative. And I don’t know, I mean, I like having stuff on my walls. I don’t know.

Yeah, I guess I don’t know, maybe they’re just really into minimalist theme. Maybe you don’t want to put holes in your walls. Maybe it’s too much of a thought to like hang stuff, which I get. But it just makes it feel too much like you’re in a hotel room or an apartment instead of your actual house. I like art on my wall. I

don’t know. Me too. I mean, I hung up stuff when I lived in an apartment to make you feel like I’m in a dorm room when there’s nothing on the wall.

Although I also put a lot of crap on my

god for command strips. Yeah, I mean, even hotels

have art on the wall. So

it’s ugly art, but it is still art.

That is true. Well, I don’t know about everyone else. But one of the things that has come from working on and with websites for many years is paying attention to what fonts are used both the good and the bad. I still don’t understand them. But I sure do have a visceral reaction to the bad ones.

So to help us explain why we hate Comic Sans and curls with a Z, we invited back our graphic designer friend Susannah Brinkley Henry,

welcome back, Susannah.

Hello, how are you guys?

Good. What have you been up to? since the last time we had you on?

I’m not hanging art on the walls of my new house. I am sitting here in a room with literally a calendar on the wall. And that’s all

you just moved in a few months ago, though, like not that long ago,

I did. Technically the art is all stacked up in my guest room, which is the room next to me. So it’s like a mirror it. But this is not on the walls yet.

that’s ready to go. It’s just waiting in a moment.

Yeah, I haven’t decided what’s going where we got and like what I might want to get rid of and donate. So you also

got a lot of like new furniture and stuff when you moved into the house because you moved into a bigger space. So because Megan like she didn’t really have to get anything new when she moved into the new house except for like some a couple things. So I feel like for her she already had a lot of her art. Whereas like, maybe you need to figure out what’s gonna look good with your beautiful new green chairs or whatever. Yeah, exactly.


just have to decide, I think I might, I’m gonna try to source some new things. It’s just feels like a good time for a change some of the prints that I’ve had I’ve had for 10 years. Like, I still love this. Maybe it’s time to Marie Kondo and let it go, you know,

bring me joy

happened when we moved from our first house to our second house, we had a bunch of stuff where I was like, I don’t really like this anymore. It’s ready for it to go my husband’s like, what’s wrong with this picture? And I’m like, it’s time for it to go.

This doesn’t do anything for you anymore. It’s time for something new. Yeah, I feel that. So let’s jump right in. What exactly is typography? And why should we care?

Okay, that says, so much fun. For me, my favorite class in college was actually typography when I want to, I want to create one, like, there was a whole bunch of them. So my favorite class, I got to be such a nerd. So it’s a study of the design of letters and how you arrange them in a way that conveys what you know, whatever you’re trying to say your text in a clear, legible visual appealing why. So it is the study of like, literally, the letter forms, how the Y curves underneath, you know, the V shape of the Y or, or where the crossbar of the capital A said it’s like it’s, it’s the little tiny pieces of the letters that you haven’t thought about since the first grade when you learned how to draw them like it’s all of that. And it’s how you know much spacing goes in between them how that they work in a word, how they work in a paragraph, how the paragraphs sit on a page. So it’s, it’s starting small with the letter forms and then working toward a bigger visual reading experience that nobody ever has to think about. The whole point of good typography to me is making it seamless so that the everyday reader has no idea what typography is, because it just works.

Yeah, I don’t find myself sitting around. I mean, unless I see a font that’s just like a grievously ugly. I don’t sit around thinking about typography very much. So

that’s fair.

I just, I, you know, I just don’t even I never even thought about it as that much of like, because it sounds like it’s almost as much science as it is art in some ways.

Yes, there is a lot of like, a lot of math and numbers that go into calculating just little things like how much spacing goes between an A and A v, we call that kerning. There’s a name for that k e r n, i n g kerning. So it’s, that’s the measure of this, how much space goes in between letters. And that’s very mathematical. And there’s arguments to help you know how much math goes into it. But it’s also very visual, because you want to make sure it just looks good and doesn’t like, you know, catch your eye as being weird. Yeah, that

makes sense.

So what what is the difference between a typeface and a font,

they are similar things. So a goes back to the letterpress days. So a typographer as they would be called, would be the person who’s putting the each individual letter in the letterpress or arranging it backwards. You know, from right to left, and then the, the ink it and then roll the paper throw. So that’s what the timeout, typographer would do. And they would have a room full of drawers. And you probably seen these drawers at the antique store. They and sometimes you see them even on people’s walls actually have one in the next room that you could go on.

They’re great for displaying trinkets. Yeah, I’ve seen them. They are really cool.

So they’re about a yard ish wide. And they have all these little compartments of different sizes, and each compartment had letters in it. So like each one would have like, you know lowercase a little crispy each one would have a different letter. And they would arrange them where the upper what they call the uppercase letters, which are what we call uppercase letters up top, and the lowercase letters down below. Like where they’re working. So they could just you know, if they needed a capital letter, they reach up affinia lowercase letter they reached down

for that cup. I literally never thought about this. In my goddamn mind right now, Susannah?

That was his words come from, and they would, each drawer would be a different font. So the typeface would be if they were working with, say, the font and Dara bond. And they would the drawer that they would pick if they were working with 10 point type, which is the size we measure letters in print in points, and pikas. And then in on the computer, we now use pixels, kind of similar pixels and points are not quite the same. But that’s just kind of how they’ve translated these days. So well, 10 point type would be 10 point gearman would be the font. And then you would have another font that would be 12, point, garamond. And 14, so you’d have all the different sizes. And another font would be like garamond, metallic or garamond, bold, and the different types sizes. So you literally have a huge room full of all these different fonts. And they were really expensive. They’re all made of lead. And so to be a typographer was an expensive work, because you had all of us expensive equipment with all these little, little teeny tiny pieces. And I can’t imagine doing it because you have to think backwards and that’s hard for me. So

I was watching a Outlander recently and there’s like one point where they’re like working with a printing press, and I was thinking like, Oh my god, it’s like such a terrible tedious job.

I couldn’t make it seem so fun and Newsies,

right. But think about like, Okay, you’ve like let’s say you’re printing a newspaper that has like, Relatively few pages, like you would have had to put out each pay, like do each page. But then if you were doing like an actual book My God,

like take forever. Yeah.

What? Oh

my gosh. So I definitely was watching it thinking like, Oh my goodness.

Yeah, it’s really tedious, really fun, there was a lot of press at my college and we got to play with the letter forms. And, you know, using your blood type as well, I was, I guess a bit before the lead. And like the wood, the wood and letters just have the most beautiful textures on them, because you get like the, the grain of the wood that kind of comes off with the ink onto the paper. So you can create some really beautiful works of art. And I totally understand why people go do that for their wedding invitations. It’s just super expensive, especially because they don’t really make printing presses anymore. So it’s it’s an art for sure. That’s crazy.

So then you know that we’ve got all of these different fonts within the font family, what types of fonts are, are there?


This is like a really big question because there’s, there’s so many. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for, I think it would be easy to be overwhelmed with all the different kinds of bots. So the most common ones that you’ll see our Sarah F and Sam Sarah. And the word Sarah in Latin means foot. So a Sarah font would be like Quarrier, or Times New Roman, or something like that, that has the little feet on the bottom of the letters. And then this Sam Sarah would be the ones without so more like Arial, Helvetica, Futura. All those ones that don’t have any feet, they’re more straight and modern. Those are like the two main types, but then you can get really into the weeds of all kinds of other things. There’s a slab saref, where the feet of the CRF are really big and bulky. An example of that would be like, there’s a font called Memphis that is coming to mind right now, but not the usual person would know that one. But they’re, they’re more really bulky. anthropology is kind of a slap Sarah, it’s kind of across the jeans got thicker, thicker Sarah Fs on it. But they’re, they’re kind of bigger and bolder. You’ll see them used in newspapers sometimes ask more for headlines or for like the title of the newsletter or newspaper. But you will also see like the calligraphic fonts like the New York Times, or the Washington Post, they have those really beautiful, what we call black letter calligraphy. So those are really beautiful, too. Then you get you get into the display fonts. And so those are the like the weird ones that don’t really fit into a category like Joker, man or pirates. They’re like, they’re meant for one or two words, a headline logo. And those are both really terrible fonts. But

Harrison, I had like a visceral physical reaction.

Yeah, but they’re not meant to like, be a paragraph in a book, you know, they’re, they serve a different purpose. They’re more like display fonts. And you also have your handwriting and scripts fonts, too, that are very popular these days. It’s very easy to make on the iPad. So you see a lot more people creating those. And then within all of that, you’ve got different weights. So that’s what we would call, like the boldness of the format. And there’s a whole spectrum of how bold something can be. So started out with like hairline or thin, or book, and those are all usually pretty, pretty narrow. And then you have the Roman the regular kind of the middle of the road, like kind of what you’re used to seeing. And then you get into the semi bold board altra the extra like you can get really, there was a really fat, fun letters to me. You get into big weight.

Of course you like one that’s called extra because yeah, you were extra o’clock. I always like to say

I am Yeah. And then there’s even within all of those in different styles and they go back to different areas of yours of history, and they’re like maybe humanist or grotesque or Neo grotesque. You just get into all these different types of things that go back to different points in time where different styles were popular.

So interesting. So obviously, there’s a whole lot to choose from, how do you choose the right font? How do I know what’s right for a project that I doing?

If you are working for a designer, or working with a designer, they should be talking to you about what you’re trying to convey who your audience is, what you what you want to? How you want the final product to look? Is it going to be new modern? Or is it a little more old and traditional? Do you want something more rigid? or traditional? Or do you want to go a little bit more whimsical? Is it a logo? Is it a text? Do you need both? Where are you going to use it? Or is your brand only online or your project only online? Or is it something that you’re going to have printed, they’re all different things to consider. And they, they all help you think about the early help the designer that you’re working with, think about how they can pick the right font for you and get you what you want. And if you’re designing for yourself, think about all those things, too. There’s a lot of nuance, but I still think if you’re not a designer, there’s totally a way you can pick some beautiful fonts yourself.

So do you have favorite fonts or least favorite fonts?

I know you have least favorite. Right?

I do I do. Usually the just the crap ones that came with the word when we were kids like I just

come in like Word Art is like, Oh, no.

Yes, the pirates. The curls empty. The Joker Matt Joker is truly horrible.

Enough. I remember that font. I had to look it up.

Oh, well, it’s like, it’s like it’s trying to be a comedian. But it’s the font. You know, it’s

Oh. Created in 1995?

It looks like the 90s to?

That’s right.

Did you know that the designer of Comic Sans has actually issued an apology for making it.

I did see that action.

It always cracks me up. But he, he was hired by Microsoft to make a font for a comic software like that. Like it was a design program where you could make your own comic, and it needed a font. So he made that. And then Microsoft was like, Oh, just like put this with Word, and Excel and PowerPoint and all the things. And then every fifth grade teacher everywhere was great. We love this. Fantastic. And here we are. But

the one thing I have been I have seen about Comic Sans recently is that it is like because the letters are irregular, that it is really good for people who like struggle with dyslexia. Like it’s harder to mix up the letters. Have you heard that?

Yeah, that’s true. All the letters are really different.

Can we come up with a better font for that?

I think that there are designers out there who are trying to solve that problem, because that’s what we’re taught in type design is to make letters that have seen this, you’re looking at the B, the D, the P, the Q, those are all the same shape just flipped and reversed and rotated. So we’re taught to make them the same, like an N and an A, like all of those have the U those are also all have sameness. So that’s what we’re taught. And that has been the way for centuries, yeah, to make letters that are legible and have sameness. But if you have a hard time reading, and it and we’ve created with these with the same this something that’s hard to read, that’s a real problem. Yeah.

Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that. And until I saw it recently, and I mean, it makes total sense, but how it’s also like, oh, can’t somebody else come up with something better? Less ugly, like Comic Sans for that? Come on? Anyway,

yep. For sure. So favorite fonts, and have so many favorites and it really depends on the day but a font that I have loved for the last few years is Brandon grotesque. I see a lot of brands using is actually the font they use them The Good Place. I know you guys love. It’s a beautiful font, but I also use it on my blog and I’ve been using it for a few years and it’s just one that I’ve I’ve come to really love for its modern shapes. It’s got a little bit of roundness. But it’s also quite modern. It’s just like a soft version of like future, which is very sharp.

One of my faves,

but I think you can’t really talk about fonts without, in favorite fonts without talking about like a favorite designer or a favorite foundry. The Foundry is like a book publishing company, but it’s for fonts. So before there were computers, you would have to get catalogs from font foundries who are the type designers or groups of type designers who would be publishing their fonts, and you’d have to, you know, order them can just download them because that wasn’t a thing. So they were these publishing houses. But now that we have computers and the Internet, there are so many font foundries out there. And I think it’s been really, really amazing. So one of my favorites right now is Latino type. So Latino type is Latin American, and they focus on creating fonts for that are inspired by Latin America. If you think about the history of the world, a printing press is not something that they really had in Latin America, and sew. Now with computers, and these, a group of type designers on there is making fonts that are inspired by their history, their culture, and they’re making some really beautiful stuff. So that’s one that I’m really loving. There’s another one called vocal type CO, by Trey seals. And that is, he is creating fonts that are inspired by African American History like history, and really studying some of the forms of hand lettering, and just even my back to Africa, and studying, you know, migration patterns and the way that people are writing and learning to write. It’s really, really fascinating. And I love the work that both of those font foundries are doing.

I love this, because, honest, honest to God, I’m not sure I’ve ever learned quite so much. In an episode that we’ve done. I had not really considered, like, the designers, and because I love anyone, that’s friends with me for more than five seconds knows that I love supporting small, like, smaller artists and artists of color, and I love having the art in my home and things like that. But like, a you the idea that you can support, like artists of color, and designers of color, and, you know, work that people are doing to promote their heritage, like you can do that, even down to the fonts that you’re choosing. For a project. Like that concept had not occurred to me until today. And that’s so cool.

Yeah, I think a lot of people like previously would just be like, I’m gonna find whatever free font is available. Yeah. And not really like think, deeper than what’s free and pretty.

Yeah, for sure. There’s not a lot of diversity in design, which is I, I hope is changing, I think is changing. But I was reading on the vocal type co site and that you said that three to three and a half percent of all practicing designers in America are black, really horrible number. So I’m, I’m hopeful that we if we can keep supporting these artists and designers by buying their fonts, not just like getting the from your friend or finding them on some server somewhere. If we can support them and pay them. We can keep lifting them up. That’s what I’m hopeful for.

Yeah, the rest of us want to be paid for our work.

Yes. Like,

it’s not really that radical of an idea to pay designers for their work. And yeah, we’re like, I’m gonna go find my free font.

Yep. There is this crazy story. If you ever want to Google it, if you just read like something that should have been a reality show, but nobody knew about it, because nobody pays attention to type designers, which is fine. But a few years ago, this huge type foundry, a huge, I mean, their fonts are just really popular. They’re called, were called Hoefler and frere Jones. And the two guys that ran that were Jonathan hafler. And Tobias frere. Jones has their abusing names By the way, and they did not sign a contract with each other. There’s friends and they started to work together. And they never signed the contract. And so Jonathan hafler Allah diddly just kicked Tobias out, and took all of his fonts. And Tobias had nothing from this, like empire of thoughts that they had built. I mean, I truly mean Empire because their fonts are ubiquitous they were have been paid by newspapers to design fonts for them. And you see, there’s, I see their work in logos all the time. the lay person would not know. But I, I pay attention to these things.

But they had this huge like,

knockdown drag out, lawsuit and drama. And it was really interesting to follow. And that is why friends, we sign contracts.

Yeah, always, always have a contract. It’s important. But yeah, no, that’s really interesting.

Yeah, but a huge bummer that he didn’t get paid for his work. But yeah, they’re now I think that they put that by, and then they now each have a font foundry. And they’re both doing cool stuff stuff. So.

So most of us are choosing fonts for the web these days rather than print. But can you explain the difference between choosing fonts for both? So, for example, it used to be recommended that Sarah fonts are best for prints and sans serif, or what you should use for the screens? I noticed that I see a lot more Sarah fonts on screens these days. So Is that still the case of what’s recommended? How do you choose when you have to do both?

That definitely used to be the case. And the reason is that your LCD screen is made up of tiny bricks of red, green, and blue bricks, don’t we talk about this in the color episode, I feel like we did possibly, if we didn’t, your computer screen is made up of these little bricks of light that emit red, green and blue fonts. And so each brick is called pixel. And pixels are getting smaller, we have these Retina display screens that have you know, much better picture quality. But back in the day, you didn’t have as high resolution. And so when you are running a small font, you know, you can only fill one pixel with one color at a time. So they were describe it. If you had a saref on the bottom of your letter, and maybe it had some roundness to it, it would, if you made it too small, that roundness would only be seen as a one square and you kind of lose some of the detail of the font. But with a sans serif font, you don’t have those feet. So you don’t you don’t lose the information of the word in that sense. So that’s why they use to kind of lean toward using Sans Serif fonts. But now there’s higher resolution, that’s probably why you’re seeing more Sarah fonts. But in print, they’ve usually preferred is Sarah, flat for books for newspapers, because of the way that the feet form a line at the base is what we call the baseline of the of the work. And it just keeps your eye on track. So it’s, when you’re reading a book, you just seamlessly go to the next line, the next line and the next line, and those little feet are guiding

I’ll be damned.

reading the book, going keep reading, I will keep reading. Um, so we just talked a little bit about this. But you know, people are really taking notice of accessibility issues now. And what that means for font choices, you know, as we just talked about, you know, if you’re dyslexic that Comic Sans is probably an easier print to read. And I think in the past, this used to be just talking about large print books. But what does what all does accessibility really entail? Now, when we’re looking at web typography?

Yeah, it’s just all really good. I think design should be for everybody, and includes the people who don’t have the same vision that I do or can’t see color the way that I do. I think it’s so important. Everybody’s so different. So it’s, it’s so good that designers and the web and website owners are taking notice of accessibility as we’ve been accommodating others for years and sure they’ve been doing it for a lot longer with wheelchair ramps, and you know, making sure there’s bathroom on the first floor and elevators and all those all that really good stuff that we have in buildings. We don’t have that on the web or haven’t. And first so for everybody the web is the storefront the web is the the first entry point before you ever even Get to the office building. So it’s important that our web spaces are accommodating everybody. But so that’s the point of accessibility. For for typography. It’s meaning fonts are larger, you have more space between the lines are what we call line spacing. And print is called letting though, that goes back to the printing press, when they will put little pieces of LED between the lines, that’s where that word comes from. But back to practice screens. They’re just in general putting more thought into the reader experience. They’re looking at the font color, what what the background color is and how much contrast there is, because that is really important for people who have like low vision or color blindness, they need to still be able to see, you’re saying things in dark mode as well, especially on the phone and on the computers, how to just being able to reverse the design is also really important. And that’s just good for everybody. So you’re not staring at a phone all the time. This blue light glasses,

I think it’s really interesting to everyone suddenly doing dark mode, because I remember, it doesn’t even seem like that long ago, everybody was like, Oh, my God, white text on a black background is so bad for your eyes, like people freaked out about it whenever they would come across a website that was with black background and white text. It’s true that everybody’s doing dark mode and

everybody except for me, I like can’t,

I don’t do dark mode, either. I can’t do it. I

love the dark. But it’s different. It’s not true black, it’s not the true black hex code and the true white hex code, it’s usually a really dark gray, and a light gray. Because it’s just a little bit easier on the eye, it’s a little bit less contrast, but enough that it’s comfortable to read during the day or at night.

I just switched my phone to dark mode. Yet again, I do this about once every three months. And I’ll switch it back in 30 minutes. And I’m like, No, nevermind.

That’s fair.

It’s fine.

I keep things in dark mode. And yeah, I don’t know.

I’ve gotten used to it or to me, that’s comfortable for me. But I I also like a little bit light sensitive, especially like, first thing in the morning. I’m like, close the curtains, I can’t look outside yet. So it’s really helpful for me that like first hour of the day might

be the same way as because she’s available.

That’s That’s true, I might if I have too much light on my skin, I burst into flames. So

I’ve been there with

you. I’m in the process of building a new website. And typography fonts are one of the decisions that I really struggle with partially because I just see so many that I’m like, Oh, that looks good. That looks good. That looks good. And then I just want to use all of them because they all look great. But I know that would be stupid.


walk us through your process for coming up with the typography slash font concept for our project.

Yeah, that’s a good one. So going back to what I was talking about earlier, thinking about where you’re going to be using it do you need? And how many fonts do you need? The answer is probably just two to three. Most brands will have like a font for the text, like for a blog that you know would be the text of the blog is written in the blog post written. And then you’d have like a font or two and your logo, maybe three, hopefully just two. And then maybe it’s another maybe a third or fourth font for your headlines would be for a blog. But it’s also true for you know, a shop if you’re building a website for them or

kinds of videos.

Or if you’re me,

or like a pamphlet or

a brochure or a business or you don’t want to have too many fonts. So I had a project in in school that was really fun, because we had to do a whole brand with just one font. You know, they have the font family, the whole typeface. I shouldn’t say font, I should say typeface because you may need to explain the difference earlier. So you need to design a whole brand around one font. And that was a fun challenge because you have the bolts and the things and so that’s always a good place to start is just see what you can do with one typeface is that an end that may or may not be enough for you, you could add a second font to support it a third font if you need then you also want to have a budget. I always recommend buying a flat buying the license you there are different licenses. I’m not going to go to the reason I’m not a lawyer but there’s different kinds of licenses for where you’re going to use your font How many people are going to be seeing things like that. But for most things, most small businesses, you probably just need the you know, the basic or next to basic license. And you can ask because free fonts, there are free fonts out there, I just caution anybody that you know, somebody who designed that, it doesn’t live somewhere, can they get paid for it? Can you pay them. And fonts can be expensive, too. So knowing your budget, and having that in mind, you know, going into this, before you start picking it around, otherwise, you’ll be like, Oh, I love this font, but it’s 12 $100.

Expensive fonts.

I know, I know, it happens every time. But you can also a lot of times just by one weight. So if you are making a logo, but you don’t need the whole family, maybe the one weight is $100, maybe that’s a little bit more useful. They’re not always that expensive. Sometimes you can get away for like 20 bucks, so just depends. So then I would say start playing start researching. My favorite place to look for fonts is called my fonts calm. They have, they work with a lot of individual freelancers, and independent designers. They also work with the font foundries, you can find the work from Latino type on there, for sure. And that I mentioned, I mentioned them earlier. I just work with tons of things. And you can sort by, I know I want to share a font or I know I want to display font or I know I want a script, you can start sorting by that. And then you know kind of dive down and do similar things. Also on my fonts, you can add your own word that they’ll start out with the PAM grams, Pam grams are sentences that include every letter of the alphabet, famous wouldn’t be in there quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog typographers Love, love, love, love to come up with other silly ones. Here are a couple that I found for you guys. pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs,

that’s gonna be your favorite. I know.

woven silk pajamas exchanged for blue quartz. I mean, they’re just ridiculous. That’s not the point of doing that is to see what letters look like in a word. You can also use lorem ipsum. And sometimes that’s which is like they call that like a fake Latin. It’s not doesn’t mean anything, it just looks like real letters, or real words. And they’re, they’re pulled together in a way that isn’t distracting, because it just looks like it’s another language. But you can see the letters being used in a natural way. And so that can be really helpful, especially if you’re picking a tech spot. Then, another another way that we as designers, we’ll check words just to make sure we like all the parts of the of the typeface. So we’ll pick a word that has a centers, which are the the stems that go up like you see in a lowercase H, or lowercase p those are the ACE nurse. And then we’ll look at the descenders like a G ally A p, those are the letters that extend down below the baseline. So you want to look at a word like hamburger that has both a ascenders and descenders. And just see if you like how they look. Sometimes you will have a visceral reaction to like only the a ascenders near like, no, not, that’s fine. But it’s something to just keep an eye on and look at all the pieces of letters to see to see what you’re liking. So checking that out is is the next step to picking stuff that you like. You can also in my fonts, look for fonts or special features. So those are the ones that have extra characters and glyphs. If you’re looking at looking for a script font, you might find ones that have like cute little banners that you can incorporate into your logo or little symbols or glyphs. Like not Wingdings, but

not Wingdings. Yeah, yes.

What if it’s Wingdings three?

You know, I definitely use those on occasion. Sometimes like the bullet character, or the little star or whatever is a good element added something so they there’s another, like fancy or Wingdings called Zapf dingbats, ZAP f. And that’s what they’re called. They’re called dig but

they are.

They used to use them in letterpress. So they there were little symbols, sometimes see them at like the end of a chapter or the you know the top of a page and things like that that would little symbols and they’re part of the font because they were a piece of the the whole the whole font and the and the letterpress so sometimes you can look for those special features another special feature that i like to look for and it depends on what i’m designing but if it’s a logo and if there are certain letter combinations in the words then you might want to look for something that for fonts that have ligatures so ligatures when two letters connect good example of this would be an f lowercase f and a lowercase i and when you have those two letters together you know the f kind of loops around and it starts where the dot which is the.on the eye is called the tittle fun fact try not to laugh so um the f starts where the or the turtle is and type ographers used to make special characters for for the linker for us because they would otherwise you wouldn’t have us kind of like awkward space from where the f block ended and the ai block started they would make special blocks that would have the f and the eyes together and so the f the duck like the saref of the app kind of start where the data of the eye is and so the lovers kind of become connected and that’s kind of like a tour i think that’s also a term in music where you like loop two sounds together totally mature so that is a fun feature to look for if you have what is s and t is another one c and h capital sorry capital c and lowercase h t lowercase t and lowercase i all those that kind of you probably the ones that when you’re writing you that connect like just because you forgot to lift your pen up those are kind of folk same letters that ended up being ligatures so those are fun and then if you’re picking you know more than one font you might want to look for fonts that go together there’s a website that i like called type wolf and you can start with a font that they have and they don’t have every font in there but they have a lot of the main ones that you’re going to be seeing on different websites and so you grab one of those and you can see what it looks like with similar fonts or it’s maybe it’s a syrup and you want to see what san siro skillet is that’s another place to look for and then my last tip for that is just supporting designers especially minority designers there are some cool things on the my fonts website and i’ve also got some typography links for you guys to to share with your listeners some different blogs that have some interviews with different type designers just to lift up a little deck

i love that so what are some good resources for people who want to learn more about typography sir like me and their minds have been blown

there are so many out there my one of my favorite books is called thinking with type by ellen lupton she is a professor at maryland institute college of art and she’s just an incredible designer and she really studied the history of the letter forms and she does a really good job of explaining all the parts of the letters and how they work in a word how they work in a paragraph how they work on a page and so that book is really nice to look at an overview of it’s fairly pretty to it’s just fun to look at and see how these different plots looking at these different formats that’s it that’d be my first pick is it if you want a cool book to look at let’s type and then there are some fun games out there that you can like play around a flutters there’s one that i like this carpet kerning game and you can play around with getting the exact best mathematical measurement between two letters though it’s kind of like a silly silly thing to try if you want to try your hand at getting getting the spacing just right and then my fonts the huge repository of fonts has a really good newsletter and they’re always so good about interviewing designers And teaching you about some of the thoughts that they have in their repertoire because it is literally huge and overwhelming. And my my favorite design blog is called brand new. And that is a great place to look at some logos and logo redesigns. And so what they’ll do is they’ll look at brands that redesigned like, for example, Pfizer, like the vaccine company just rebranded. And so you can go on there and see what their old logo was and compare it with their new logo. And then designers vote on like, how well they did it. It’s a fun one.

That’s cool. I always like looking at that when people are I remember when gap changed our logo, people like freaked out.

That kind of thing. It’d be like, oh my god.

There’s some like when slack the app change of logo, that one I always had some visual visceral reactions. Yeah.

Change is bad.

I was just thinking of one go. And then when Google changed all of their nonsense,


I love Google, though. Cuz their logo, they let their logo change with the Google Doodle every day. I think that’s such a, it’s something we’ve come to expect. We go to Google, it has no logo for the day. It’s easy to ignore. But they’re, they’re so fun to, like, look at and see how they picked a different font for the day, or sometimes no letters at all. And they still stay true to their colors. It’s kind of fun approach to the brand.

Yeah, I think that’s really fun. Especially because a lot of the times they use that space now to drive awareness to people from history, or, like holidays are things around the world, like, yeah, and activism and, you know, climate change, or whatever stuff is happening. And so I think it’s, it’s really cool. And they have to have a really cool contest that they do with kids to do the Google Doodle. And they get, I think they get it like a scholarship or something. I don’t remember. But

yeah, I always think that’s really fun.


So you kind of covered a bunch of these already. But what other websites do you have recommendations for to help you choose fonts?

My fonts, for sure. Type wolf is the one I mentioned, where you can compare two different fonts. There’s another one that I love. That’s kind of silly, but it’s called type connection. And it’s like a font dating game. And you can start with a font, and then that that’s in its repertoire, and then you pick a pair for it. And so that’s a fun one to sort of play around us. If you ever want to know what a font is. There’s a my font has a tool called what the fonts and you can upload a picture of something and it’ll try to help you figure out what it might be or help you find something similar. What’s kind of fun to

love that. Well, thank you again for joining us for a second time and helping us nerd out about some design stuff. You legitimately blew my mind tonight. I learned so much. I feel so much smarter. I feel kind of dumb that I didn’t know some of these things or hadn’t thought about these things before. But I feel so much smarter now. So today is not lost because I learned something. Let’s wrap up the week with some joy. What is bringing you joy today, Susannah?

What’s bringing us joy?

The weather sounds so lame, but it is so nice out and I’ve been enjoying my lunches on our back patio the last couple days. And it’s so weird, but like I have not been wanting to go outside because it’s been cold. And now it’s not. And it’s just so exciting and just so small, but I love it. And I hope you guys get some warm soon.

It’s been actually pretty nice. It rained today, but um, the weekend was really nice.

It was gorgeous over the weekend so I and yesterday was nice and sunny and yeah. gotten to take the baby to go swing a little bit at the park down from her house. And that’s been really nice. So yeah, I agree. Just a little just a little fun. It’s amazing what some sunshine and just some like slightly warmer weather can do.

My dog is so sad today though, because it was raining and she didn’t get to like spend as much time outside today. She just kept looking at me and I’m like, I can’t help you.

With the rain.

Go to sleep. It’ll be better when you wake up.

Stephie What’s bringing you joy. So over the weekend, you and I did a research mission. We went to Costco for our next episode. Spoiler alert and And so we went to Costco, which was about like 40 minutes from where we live. And then a few minutes from there is a coffee shop that you had never been to before. And I know the owners, and they’re really cool people. And so we stopped by they had just launched their spring menu. And we got to, we stopped by there. And I got to see the owner was there. And so I got to say hi, and introduce you to her. And it was sunny and warm. So we sat outside and had a little lunch and our drinks, and it was just a nice little time. And that brought me a lot of joy this weekend.

It was almost like life was normal.

It was almost like life was normal. Yes. Very. So we’re like so, so close. I can taste it. Yeah. It was quite delightful. Megan, how about you.

Um, so I would say this is an ongoing joy. But the little local spice shop brings me a lot of joy. Because I go there quite often because he, he’s always introducing new products and I cannot resist fancy food shit. I go there like every couple of weeks and drop $100 It’s fine. But so because I have been buying all these things, I just have all these wonderful little treasures in my pantry now. And they’re really fun to just open up and like, taste whatever the new thing is. I had a, I think it’s a Raka chocolate. I think that’s how you say it tastes really cool, interesting flavors, and it’s really good quality dark chocolate. And then I opened a new bottle of chili crisp, which I really love. And I know the Internet has been going crazy for during lockdown. And then he’s got this whole line of like fancy charcuterie. And I have been really enjoying like having a little snack of that everyone’s few days or so. So it’s just a really ongoing joy. And I realized the other day that if he like starts selling cheese, then like, I will never have to go to another grocery store again. Just buy all my food.

Sir, thank you.

He’s been expanding all of his offerings. And I’m like, you’re basically now like the gourmet grocery store in town. It’s amazing. I haven’t been over there in a little while.

I need to go, I need to go pop over and get some things. I am so excited. Yeah, I love him. I was so excited when he opened I like popped over there when they first opened the store maybe like two years ago now. And he was just like, so grateful for anyone that was like spreading the word. And his business has just popped. And I’m so happy for him. Because I’m like, this is amazing, because it is one of those places. We don’t live in a huge town. And if you can’t find it at like the jewel or the hyvee, you’re probably going to have to order on the internet. And now we can go over to spiceworks and they most likely have the like weird, unusual gourmet things that you can’t find at the regular store. So I love it so much.

Yeah, he’s got like so many things that are like I’ve never heard of before. And I’ve been working in food for like a long time. Just like this time me about this. He has some sort of banana thing that I definitely cannot eat at all. But I was like, I need to know

what I just want you to tell me all about it. I know I’ll like often just be like, I’ll like take something up to the counter and I’ll be like, tell me about this thing. He’s like, do you have a specific question? I’m like, No, just know everything I need to know about this thing.

The last time I went to I brought Max with me and he had he had like a little potato free. Uh huh. Little things like Single Serve whatever’s and I asked him if he wanted when he’s like, are they free? And I was like fancy candy is not free child.

No, but I will I will buy you graciously buy one for you, kid.

Kids are funny, adorable.

Next week’s episode

Well, so next week. We’ve already spoiled we are talking about one of our favorite stores, Costco,

all the deals, and all the giant things. So we’re going to talk about it. We’re going to talk about the best tips and tricks and things that you have to grab if you have a Costco near you. So in the meantime, leave us a review on on apple podcasts listen to us on your favorite platform you can also follow us on social media at irsipodcast or send us an email at we’d love to hear from our listeners


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