Blenny Joins the Dalton Maag Library

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With summer in full swing here in the UK, it’s appropriate that the seaside is one of the inspirations behind the latest font to join our library. Blenny is a fabulously curvaceous fat face display font with elegant hairlines and exaggerated ball terminals. Conceptualized by our Font Developer, Spike Spondike, the design has a retro feel with lively and voluptuous curves. A true individual, Blenny is launching with support for two script systems, Latin and Thai.

Inspiration came from everywhere. Spike’s early sketches took ideas from her visits to the beach at St Leonards, on the South Coast of England, and encouraged her to play with a vintage, seafaring theme. Other influences included the retro typefaces used on old electronics equipment and gin bottles.

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As international type designers, we decided to include a non-Latin script in the initial launch of Blenny. It was Spike’s previous experience of working with Thai, and a trip to Bangkok, which prompted her to connect the diversity of shapes in the Thai script with the design of Blenny. Spike relished the challenge of creating the Thai glyphs whilst maintaining the key features of Blenny’s design. Creative decisions on the Thai in turn led back to refinements to the original Latin.

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The font includes a large number of ligatures to ensure that the tight spacing works for every letter combination. Individual glyphs such as the “a” seem to wrap around themselves in a hug, creating something that’s visually very pleasing. With its soft curves and retro feel it is perfect for branding, bold headlines, or product labels.

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Our Chairman, Bruno Maag, loved the design from the minute he laid eyes on it, and says he’s considering having a tattoo done in the font to mark its release. We’ve also been celebrating our new addition by creating the Blenny gin cocktail – just like the font it’s named after, a Blenny is bold, punchy, and has a touch of class.

35ml gin
15ml green chartreuse
1 piece of cucumber
Whole lime
10ml sugar
Shake and double strain into a highball with ice. Top with soda.
Garnish with a dash of Angostura bitters.
Created by – Byron Knight, Off Broadway

Licences for Blenny can be bought from the Dalton Maag website.


blenny full set

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Dalton Maag introduces single editions and simplified pricing

We have consolidated the Editions within our font library; each font is now distributed as a Single Edition, with all of the language coverage and typographic support available for that design delivered in a single file.

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We have also introduced a new pricing structure, with all fonts at the same price of £48 per font style for a 5-user licence.

If you have previously purchased font licences you will now also have download access to the equivalent Single Edition file. There is no charge for this update, and there will be no charge for any future additions, features, or technical updates within the Single Edition model.

Why are we doing this?

Our customer base operates in international markets and often has need for different writing systems within one project, for instance the languages of Western Europe plus Arabic. Although they are keen to use matching fonts, customers cannot always justify the additional cost and so are forced to resort to an approximate match for which they already hold a licence.

Our Single Editions will help more of our users to use the right font every time, and at no extra cost.

“It has long been bugging me that someone who wants to use a writing system other than Latin should have to pay more for the privilege. So, it is for this reason that we have introduced this new practise. Anyone can now enjoy the fonts designed by Dalton Maag for one single price, irrespective of the number of languages supported. This will see us fulfilling an ambition as a design business, simplifying both the process for licensing fonts as well as the logistics of font distribution. We do this in the strong belief that font licensing should be as simple as possible, and inclusive, acknowledging the global nature of our customer base and creating equality between the different global regions.”   Bruno Maag, Chairman.

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What should I do if I already own a license to a Standard, Corp, Arabic, Typographic edition?

If you have previously licensed one of our fonts you will find the new Single Edition already in your downloads area. This edition may have different naming when installed, so documents and templates created previously may need to be updated.

You can see our new editions at www.daltonmaag.com

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Oscine – New font from Dalton Maag

Today sees the launch of Dalton Maag’s Oscine, a new sans serif display font family with a geometrical design expression and a condensed feel. It combines quirky lowercase characters with more conventional capitals, and has exactly the right amount of character.Oscine web (1)

Oscine can have a very different feel depending on whether only the lower or uppercase is used, or the two are used together. If designers choose to only use the uppercase then the font is serious and hard hitting, behaving like a traditional grotesque. If they opt for including the lowercase then its personality becomes more playful and distinctive. This makes Oscine a very flexible display font that can be used in a wide variety of situations.

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The condensed proportions and high x-height make it a great choice for wayfinding, while refined draughtsmanship, shortened descenders and a strong personality ensure its suitability for headlines and titles. An unconventional lowercase gives Oscine its instant recognition factor. The characters are bold in their execution and the missing tails and spurs on selected letters (a, b, d, p, and q) render them delightfully idiosyncratic.

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Originally designed for low resolution TV screens by Bruno Maag and Ron Carpenter, Oscine has been tweaked and optimised for today’s print and high resolution digital environments. It is level one hinted, covers an extended Latin character set, and is available in two weights, a regular and bold. The weight differentiations are subtle, and carefully set for maximum impact at large sizes.

Oscine is available to purchase at www.daltonmaag.com

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The Pioneering Days of Multiple Master Fonts

Conrad Taylor (http://www.conradiator.com/) recently came to our office to share his experience of publishing tools used before the desktop computer was commonly available. In his presentation he described some old typesetting machines, among them the Berthold Diatype. At this point, I recoiled in terror as dark memories surfaced of a time when I operated this machine, created by what I still regard as some of the most evil minds on the planet. This got me thinking about some of the important advances that have been made in type design technology.

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Today, our font developers use Multiple Master (MM) technology to create multi-weight font families. This process allows the designer to draw the extreme weights of a typeface, say Thin and ExtraBold. The designer can then interpolate any point in between, and relatively quickly achieve a large range of weights. The interpolated weights have to be manually optimised to ensure they perform exactly as intended, and the larger the difference between the extreme weights, the more manual work is required.

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Interpolation helped our designers expand Aktiv Grotesk to a super family with 8 weights and 2 styles.

MM fonts were first pioneered by Adobe around 1992. It was a great idea that ultimately failed as a font format. Users barely understood how to use normal fonts on their Macintoshes at that point, and support by programs and printer drivers was erratic. However, it also provided opportunities for those of us who were tenacious.

In 1994, I was commissioned by Paul Luna at Oxford University Press to design a titling font for the Oxford Dictionaries, the Thesaurus and other publications in the same series. The aim was to have a typeface that could always be set at the same type size, irrespective of the length of title. MM fonts were the answer to the problem, and fortunately, Fontographer 4 had just been released allowing the creation of MM fonts.

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Multiple Master fonts allowed the designers to optically match weights across different font sizes.

As I was working on the project, it became clear very quickly how buggy the implementation was. Over a period of about two weeks, I was in daily contact with Altsys, the developers of Fontographer, to provide test reports. The engineers would release a bug fix overnight, and in the morning I would dial up with my modem to download the latest update, a process that took several hours. Eventually, however, I had a reasonably stable version that allowed me to finish the font successfully.

The resulting typeface was a two-axis MM font, weight and width. It consisted of caps only, sufficient for the setting of the titles. When working with MM, it is important that a glyph in the various extremes – in this case four – has a design and digital compatibility. The number of nodes, their numbering and direction of digitisation must all match. Not doing so will result in some unexpected interpolations. Font developers now have automated tools to help them achieve this compatibility, but I had to manually ensure that all the glyphs across the four designs resulted in the same structure. This manual compatibility check had to be done not only across the glyph design, but also across kerning and other font related data. To say that it was a painful exercise is an understatement.

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The Oxford Dictionary font, Bruno’s first ever Multiple Master, in development.

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The Oxford Dictionary font, Bruno’s first ever Multiple Master, in development.

I think that this was the first custom MM font ever produced in Europe, and I’m proud of the result. It’s a nice typeface that fulfilled the brief. It was used for a number of years by OUP, but I guess once the MM format was no longer supported, the font disappeared back into the drawer. Creating it was a great learning experience and it felt like pioneer work.

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Type Camp Chennai, India, 2014

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In late February, Hanna Donker and Kalapi Gajjar, both Font Developers at Dalton Maag, attended Type Camp Chennai 2014. “Since 2007, Type Camp has held type camps in 8 countries on 5 continents and has helped hundreds of people at all levels of experience and knowledge to learn more about typography”.

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Image courtesy of Daria Lanz

Here are Hanna’s reflections from the week:

Type Camp Chennai 2014 was an educational workshop led by Type Camp instructor, Shelley Gruendler, and held in the city formerly known as Madras, a city in South East India that contains roughly nine million people and which has a tropical climate and a very fast pace of life.

The camp dedicated a whole week to discussions, projects, visits, talks and workshops – all focused on Tamil and South Indic typography. It brought together a group of enthusiastic creatives from around the world with a shared interest in Indic type. We shared our knowledge and learned from each other throughout the week by collaborating on projects and presentations. And to be honest, the sharing went even further as we crammed 4 people into a tuktuk – which was obviously very cosy!

Type camp was an amazing opportunity to expand my expertise in South Indic scripts by learning about local lettering from sign painters and by seeing and feeling the historical and cultural context.

Visiting the ancient temples in Mamallapuram and seeing Grantha script engravings was quite special to me as it isn’t very common to come across. And when we made Kolams in the streets of Chennai, local woman joined the group by a mutual curiosity in each others worlds, which left us amazed and very humble.

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Type Camp strengthened my understanding of the function and use of typography within the specific cultural context of South India. I also learned Tamil script through some amazing lectures from Rathna Ramanathan and Nia & Selvan Thandapani, and all the incredible sign painted logos in the streets of Mylapore neighborhood.

The colour, speed, food and smell of India all add up to an amazing experience. It was a wonderful journey and I don’t think I can thank Dalton Maag enough for this opportunity.

You can read Type Camp instructor, Shelley Gruendler’s blog of the week-long type camp and see some great pictures at  http://www.typecamp.org/incredible-india-2014/.

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