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Fontstruct brings DIY fontography to the unwashed masses

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Jason Fagone’s oddly intimate revelation of font-nerdery in Slate’s YouType: The strange allure of making your own fonts highlights Fontstruct, “YouTube of typography” which allows you to… well, make your own fonts. It lead Fagone to wax nostaligic for his bootleg Fontographer days:

I was a minuscule part of the great grunge-font craze of the late ’90s, ignited by the bad boy of graphic design, David Carson—an ex-surfer who took over RayGun magazine and turned it into a punk-rock version of Rolling Stone, a bible of the ugly/pretty/ugly aesthetic. Carson’s movement was fueled by hundreds of young dabblers like me. In our dorm rooms, we churned out distressed versions of workaday fonts: smeary Helveticas, grimy Garamonds. The self-seriousness behind it all seems strange when I look back, but it was actually in keeping with the manifesto-laden history of graphic design. One of the most famous designers of all time, Jan Tschichold, famously issued a diktat against the use of serif faces, decreeing that the only honest letterforms were sans-serifs. The Nazis, who preferred “blackletter” fonts with heavy, ominous down strokes—what came to be known as “jackboot grotesques,” according to art historian Stephen Eskilson—put him in prison.

As for myself, I created an A…. then decided I was an important, busy person, with the stick-to-it-ness of a gnat. Someone else can be Frutiger. I just want to use his fonts.

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Category: art & artists, graphic design, technology

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