This Week in Design: Oct. 3, 2014
Typography must be on my mind this week. From a collection of typefaces designed for coders to the feelings and emotion behind certain lettering, type kept creeping into my mind. So this week in design, let typography into your thoughts as well.
Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].
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Fonts for Coders
Sharing snippets of code is becoming more and more common. With places like GitHub to design and development tutorials on blogs, little pieces of code are popping up everywhere. But how can you make them look good?
That’s where “10 Fonts for Code” by Jake Giltsoff for the Typecast blog comes in. He found 10 great monospaced typefaces that you can use when sharing (or showing off) your code.
There are some real things to think about when selecting such a typeface because you want your information to be clear. “Punctuation such as commas, colons, semi-colons, and brackets need to be more prominent so they can’t be mistaken for one another,” Giltsoff writes. “Other key characters to look out for are the capital ‘O’ and zero, which when designed to fit in at the same width would look nearly exactly the same. Most typefaces designed for coding typically either use a slashed or a dotted zero. And just like any good UI typeface, the ‘1’, capital ‘i’, lowercase “L’ and ‘|’ (known as the pipe mark or vertical bar) should be easily distinguishable.”
So what typefaces made the list and why? We’ll share the font names here, but you’ll have to read the full post to figure out why each typeface might work for you.
- Eco Coding
- Fira Mono
- Anonymous Pro
- Source Code Pro
- M+ 1M
- Driod Sans Mono
- Pragmata Pro
Design Principles Applied to Everyday Life
Sometimes a concept you use every day can have much wider and broader reach and meaning. Phuong Mai, a strategy consultant and “design enthusiast” recently blogged about how design principles can reshape your everyday life.
And it really made me think. She looked at the ideas of clarity, hierarchy, constraint, iteration and unity and the importance of each. Her advice has really stuck with me in the days since I first read the post. I hope it means something for you as well.
Here are some of the highlights:
- ”Seeking clarity also means knowing when to raise your hand when you need help.”
- ”To help me prioritize, I try to employ the 2-minute rule: if a task can be completed in less than 2-minutes, do it immediately.”
- ”Given what I want and the sequence in which I want them, what can I do with what I have?”
- ”We could wait for perfection, but of course that will never happen and lead to decision paralysis.”
- ”So much of what we do is in the context of a holistic experience. For example, when recounting my last trip to the mall, I remember the smell of the kettle corn that greeted me outside the door, the kindness of the saleswoman who found the perfect dress, and the feeling of elation when it was surprisingly on sale.”
UK Museums Recycle Together
More than 170 museums in the United Kingdom are working together to help eliminate waste from temporary exhibits. The Museum Freecycle movement started in the summer as a result of an open letter published in Design Week, and now a group of museums are donating exhibition materials to each other for reuse.
There are museums of all sizes participating in the project from the National History Museum to the Imperial War Museum to the National Portrait Gallery to the Bagpipe Museum, according to Design Week.
“I have found the Museums Freecycle to be really useful and thoroughly recommend it to everyone I meet with at other institutions. We had a great response to our request for showcases and were very impressed with the offers,” Dulwich Picture Gallery exhibitions officer Nadine Loach told Design Week.
Museums can find shared materials on the Freecycle website.
This project got me thinking: Is there something that we can share or reuse as designers? How would that look? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Do Fonts Have Feelings?
It may seem like a silly question: Do fonts have feelings? But think of it this way: Do fonts make you feel something? It’s true. Typefaces have specific associations connected to them. (Just consider the designer loathing that comes with the mention of Comic Sans.)
Mikael Cho, co-founder of the Crew design and development firm, recently tackled the topic in “Fonts Have Feelings Too.” And he explained how to connect font choices with users so that everything “feels easier and better to read.”
It starts with how you read and the natural flow of the eyes across the screen. He then looked at a little scientific research, including a study that “found that readers felt bad while reading the poorly designed layout. Sometimes, this feeling would be expressed physically with a frown.”
Cho then added cultural considerations into the mix. Courier, for example, was designed to resemble the look of a typewriter so the feeling associated with it is typically one of a historical notion. Helvetica is often associated with the U.S. government, he writes, because it is the typeface used for tax forms.
So what can you do to help create the right feeling for typefaces in your projects? Cho offers a few tips:
- Choose an anchor font
- Pick a size bigger than 12 points
- Watch your line length
- Mind your spacing
Many of these tips are things we have heard before. But sometimes in the everyday rush of things we just need a gentle reminder.