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Font Fizz

Typography

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Comic Neue

Three years ago, digital designer Craig Rozynski set out to save Comic Sans, the blacksheep of the font family. The self-described "font philanthropist" has emerged from his hobby project with Comic Neue, a makeover of the awkward glyphs of the font that everyone loves to his hate. Free to download, Comic Neue aspires to be "the casual script choice for everyone including the typographically savvy." It's the perfect choice for lemonade stand signage or passive-aggressive office memos. "Best of all, Vincent Connare, the creator of the original Comic Sans, told me it ‘should be more casual,’" says Rozynski. "The criticism has come full circle."

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Type:Rider

The search for a fontastic pastime is here in Type:Rider. Created by Paris-based interactive studio Cosmografik in conjunction with the European cultural TV channel Arte, the elegant puzzle game (available for iOS and Android) follows two plucky dots on their adventure through the history of typographical styles and techniques, from cave paintings to pixels. A series of ten worlds are brought to life through historical images, artwork, and music to reveal key periods in the history of type.

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Lettering Large

Weary and wary of design clients' constant calls to "make it bigger"? Immerse yourself in Lettering Large (Monacelli Press), in which Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic explore the outsized world of monumental typography. From a consideration of "extroverted type" and "typo-hypnotic messages" to letters that live large outdoors and those that balloon into objecthood, the book offers a giant dose of inspiration and a visually exhilarating reminder of why size matters.

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All Aboard

When Ludvig Bruneau Rossow discovered an old model train set in his grandmother's basement, he did the obvious thing: made letters out of it. The Norwegian designer's "self-initiated typography experiment" resulted in Train Set, a zippy typeface dotted with tiny houses and the odd caboose. Rossow photographed his font and laid it out with a choo-choo twist, replacing the usual fox-jumping dog with another pangram: "The quick brown supertrain travels from Oslo to Grua."

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Freudian Font

Sometimes a font is just a font, except when it is based on the handwriting of Sigmund Freud. Harald Geisler turned his fascination with the famed psychoanalyst's century-old letters into an elegant typeface. "It made me smile to imagine a person writing his or her shrink a letter set in Freud’s handwriting," says the typopgrapher, who studied original documents in the archives of Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna and Freud Museum London to develop four alphabets that are interchanged at random. Don't be surprised if the elegant letters show up in your dreams.

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Typography Calendar

Only 60 calendar shopping days 'til 2014! Keeping track of time takes on a typographical twist with the 365 Typographic Calendar, which sets each month in a different typeface. The calendar is the brainchild of Pentagram veteran Kit Hinrichs, who produces it through his San Francisco-based design office. "So many people, designers included, have no idea who designed the beautifully crafted typefaces that are very much a part of our everyday life," he says. "I wanted to enable people to become more aware of type as a designed object." The dozen typefaces celebrated in the 2014 edition were nominated by members of the illustrious Alliance Graphique Internationale, and in addition to holidays, the calendar notes the birthdays of the type designers along with their brief biographies or explanations of what inspired the design.

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I Love Eurostile

"Everything a graphic designer can do, I can do better... with Eurostile," pronounces the industrial design grad turned "big time movie producer" (personified by Edgar Allan Poe in Ray-Bans) behind I Love Eurostile. The cheeky typographic tribute is in fact the work of Mike Mai, a Boston-based web designer who knows the power of squarish letters with rounded corners. Scroll through to discover Aldo Novarese's 1962 typeface in all of its vaguely space-age charm, including Mai's "restiled" logos and videos that feature Eurostile in action. Come on—you know you love it.

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Talking Type

You say Noi-ya Hel-veh-tih-kuh, we say Noi-ya Hel-vay-tee-kah. Before we call the whole thing off, let's brush up our typographical pronunciation skills with this handy primer from Ralf Herrmann. The German designer and author recently took to his blog, Opentype.info, in an attempt to settle age-old questions such as: do you pronounce Frutiger’s typeface Univers like the English word “universe”? Nope. Listen and learn the proper pronunciation of some popular European typefaces, from Akzidenz-Grotesk to Zapfino.

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Pixel Comic Sans

Ah, Comic Sans MS--iconic, timeless, the apex of typographical evolution--could it really be possible to improve upon such a perfect specimen? Yes, according to the forward-thinking, technology-driven types at OKFocus. The New York agency has given the world Pixel Comic Sans, "an exquisite Open Type Font that you can use for all your fantastic computer-based projects." Free to download, the delightfully raggedy alphabet was created through a labor-intensive process of degradation: what began in Photoshop as 18 pt Comic Sans MS was rasterized, brought into Adobe Illustrator, made into a vector, and last but not least, brought into Fontographer. Pixelated pleasure at its finest.

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Experimental Calligraphy

With a little tracing paper, a handful of beveled-just-so pens, and some elbow grease, almost anyone can manage something resembling calligraphy. If you're ready to take your fancy lettering to the next level, pick up a copy of Calligraphy: A Book of Contemporary Inspiration, out this month in paperback from Thames & Hudson. Teed up by typographic legend Adrian Frutiger (who wrote the introduction), renowned calligrapher Denise Lach looks to the natural world for details, textures, and motifs that serve as inspirations for more imaginative letterforms and calligraphic images that leave the boring ol' standard of legibility dazzled and stammering in their curlicued wake.

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