Alphacrit: May 18, 2018

Take your typeface to the next level by getting constructive feedback from two seasoned professionals. This Alphacrit, focused on typeface design, features Jill Pichotta and Nina Stössinger (Jill Pichotta!! and Nina Stössinger!!). Four lucky participants will submit their work for Jill and Nina’s review. Nicole Dotin will moderate to ensure a smooth crit. Read on to learn more.

Jill Pichotta began working for Font Bureau as an apprentice with David Berlow in 1991, honing her skills on projects for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Condé Nast Traveller, The New York Times, Apple Computer, and other notable brands. She has managed the production of retail releases for independent designers since 1993, and has contributed several of her own typefaces to Font Bureau’s diverse library. Over the years, she has divided her time between various retail, custom, and OEM projects. In conjunction with its mid-2016 launch, Jill Pichotta took on the role of Principal Product Manager for Type Network, overseeing type development and quality for the company’s global alliance of foundry partners.

Nina Stössinger is a Senior Typeface Designer at Frere-Jones Type. Originally from Basel in Switzerland, she graduated in multi-media design from Burg Giebichenstein University of Art Halle/Germany, where she discovered her love for type. She went on to receive a CAS in Type Design from Zurich University of the Arts, and an MA in Type and Media from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Nina teaches type design at Yale University School of Art, serves on the Board of Directors of the Type Directors Club, and has spoken at numerous international conferences and events (this year she’ll be a keynote speaker at Typecon!). Her published type designs include Conductor (with Tobias Frere-Jones), Nordvest, and FF Ernestine.

What to expect: Four people will present their in-progress typeface, each receiving approximately 10 minutes of feedback. The entire session will last about an hour. Participants will have the benefit of sitting in on the other critiques as well. To keep it focused, we suggest presenting either a single weight of a typeface or come prepared with a specific question about a multi-weight typeface. Specimens need to be ready about a week before the session so plan ahead!

When & where: Friday, May 18 at 2 pm Eastern (UTC -4) via video conferencing.

Who can participate: This session is open to everyone, of any skill level, and the four spots will be drawn lottery style. Preference will be given to underrepresented groups and people who haven’t participated before. Underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to: women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals.

How to apply: Fill out this form https://goo.gl/forms/kvUTTfX3wG6fGkix1

It asks for some very basic information, like your name and email address. Nothing you can’t handle.

Applications due by: May 6, 2018

Questions: Still have questions? Drop us a line at crit@alphabettes.org.

Dear Alphabettes: What is a good font editor for Windows 10?

Dear Alphabettes,
I worked in Typographer a long long time ago. I made a few of my fonts back then. What I would love to ask you, what is the modern version of that programme? which one can I use for the Windows 10. Thank you very much for your answer.

Dear Windows,

Thanks for your question. We are going to assume you are referring to Fontographer, which you can actually still buy (for Windows or Mac) from its vintage but functional website. What if you wanted to spread your wings a little and fly a bit closer to the sun. What would be your options then, Dear Windows?

At first, we thought this might be a quick LMGTFY situation. However, we treat each Dear Alphabettes question with the utmost respect it deserves. Also, we did that and got this hot mess:

a google search for "font design software for windows 10" turns up a bunch of unrelated things like CorelDRAW and Hallmark card design software.

Thanks but no thanks, Google.

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The first 8 reasons to read Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag

These are eight of the many highlights and corresponding notes made by me—a typographer, mostly for print—upon reading Laura Kalbag’s book Accessibility for Everyone released last fall by A Book Apart.

1. “…everyone uses the web quite differently.”

Perhaps obvious. But we all know about what happens when we assume and assumptions are at the root of problems related to accessibility.

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Alphacrit: April 27, 2018

Ever wonder what Dana Tanamachi and Kelly Thorn think of your work? You can find out! The focus of this Alphacrit session is lettering, where Dana and Kelly will provide constructive feedback on your own works of lettering. Nicole Dotin will moderate to ensure a smooth crit. Read on to learn more.

Dana Tanamachi and Kelly Thorn

Dana Tanamachi began her career as a graphic designer, but serendipitously discovered she had a knack for creating large-scale chalk lettering murals — a trend which she pioneered beginning in 2009. Post-chalk, she now runs her Seattle-based company Tanamachi Studio where she blends her talents in lettering, design, and illustration for clients such as Nike, Target, West Elm, Instagram HQ, and the USPS. In 2017 she spent the entire year spearheading the ESV Illuminated Bible project, with over 500+ gold ink illustrations.

Kelly Thorn is a lettering artist and illustrator who runs the design studio Charles&Thorn with her husband Spencer Charles, whom she met while they were both working at Louise Fili, Ltd. Together, Kelly and Spencer specialize in lettering, type design, illustration, branding, packaging, book covers, and all of the intersections in between — including, but not limited to hand-poked tattoos!

What to expect: Four people will present their work or works-in-progress, each receiving approximately 10 minutes of feedback from Dana and Kelly. The entire session will last about an hour. Participants will have the benefit of sitting in on the other critiques as well. Work submitted for review can be anything from single lettered words, to logos, to lettered book covers. You may want to submit only one complicated piece or 5-10 smaller pieces to talk about your overall trajectory. Work samples need to be ready about a week before the session so plan ahead!

When & where: Friday, April 27 at 11 am Central (UTC -5) via video conferencing.

Who can participate: This session is open to everyone. Depending on demand, we will give preference to underrepresented groups and people who haven’t participated before. Underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to: women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. The four spots will be drawn lottery style.

How to apply: Fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/43f7f2l8zuJBJqIp2

The form asks for some very basic information, like your name and email address. Nothing you can’t handle.

Apply by: April 13, 2018

Questions: Still have questions? Send us an email.

Expanding on Infini, with Sandrine Nugue

Sometimes, parts of what you write for a specific article gets left on the editing room floor. Those bits might be the most interesting parts, that simply don’t necessarily fit perfectly into the story. Sometimes it’s the predefined word count which is forcing one to leave it out. But the interest stays, and the will to dive deeper into the thoughts and process behind one typeface does not leave. This is the story of Sandrine Nugue’s Infini, a typeface she designed after winning a commission from CNAP (National Center of Visual Arts) in France, and is available for free, to everyone.

I followed up with Sandrine and asked more questions, based on her original replies. This typeface is so nicely explained, with the process shared and great images, that I encourage every reader to take a quick journey into a typeface that is both here and there, present and past, serious and lively.

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Some Awesome Experts

Happy International Women’s Day!

Last year, we celebrated by going on strike. This year, we’re introducing you to some experts on type, calligraphy, and lettering live from Robothon 2018 on Instagram. Follow along!


Top: Alessia Mazzarella, Noe Blanco, Nicolien van der Keur.
Middle: Linda Hintz, Irina Smirnova, Christine Gertsch.
Bottom: Sophie Caron, Monika Bartels, Françoise “Fransje” Berserik.