The Gap: Developing Taste into Skill

Ira Glass’ advice on creative work has been gaining momentum for months, but even if you’ve read or heard the advice before, these two gorgeous typographical videos are worth a look.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

One of the most resonant things that Glass addresses is “The Gap”. Creators usually get into their craft with a sense of taste, and a desire to be great. But beginners often forget that taste does not translate to skill right off the bat. There’s going to be a period of time, quite possibly a very long period of time, where the work does not live up to the level that your taste would dictate. It’s going to fall short.

Luckily, there’s a solution.

Unluckily, it’s a solution we’ve all heard before. It’s a solution that we avoid, because it sounds like too much work.

The solution, of course, IS work. Work hard, work often, and work until the gap looks a little less intimidating. And in the meantime, remember the gap, and don’t let it scare you into giving up.

Free Fonts You Can Actually Use

free fonts gif

Free fonts are awesome, but it’s so easy to end up with a computer full of fonts you’ve only used once. To avoid this trap, it’s preferable to stick to high quality, versatile font families with full character sets and multiple weights. With this in mind, check out the free fonts below, handpicked with an eye for usability. They are ordered in terms of license – at the top you’ll find fonts you can use even for commercial projects, where the strictly personal use families are at the bottom.

Bebas Neue

A tall, clean sans-serif display face that has been called “The Helvetica of Free Fonts”.

  • free for personal AND commercial
  • multiple weights
  • all caps


Another tall sans-serif with a bit of a sci-fi vibe, great legibility, and a ton of glyphs.

  • free for personal AND commercial
  • upper & lowercase sets with full punctuation

Odin Rounded

A super-round, super-versatile display with a HUGE glyph set and stylistic alternates for a varied look.

  • free for personal AND commercial
  • multiple weights (and italics)
  • upper & lowercase sets with full punctuation
  • stylistic alternates (more…)

The Type of Horror

He Knows You're Alone typography

Modern horror movie posters seem to follow a formula: take a dramatically lit photo of the lead or big bad person, crop it in super close, and throw an all caps, simple, sans-serif font on it for the title. Or maybe a very thin serif in all caps, if you wanna get crazy. (Seriously though, just look at these: The Purge, The Last Exorcism, Carrie)

But it wasn’t always this way – there was a time when horror movies got the first class treatment with beautiful custom logotypes. In the 80′s the genre enjoyed a boom in popularity, and movies like The Evil Dead and The Fog led the way with beautiful distinct type. Take a closer look at The Verge.

From Creative Bloq: Design Your Own Typeface!

Courtesy of

Ever wanted to create your own typeface, but you’re not exactly sure where to start? Creative Bloq helps you design your own typeface in eighteen steps. Some tips include figuring out some choices you have to make first: do you want sans serif or serif typeface? How will it look in long documents versus larger font? Also, don’t be afraid to “use your hands.” Draw it out before making it more precise digitally. That way you can see exactly what you want it to look like before it’s on the screen. The article also gives tips on what software to use and why it’s not just about the letters “A-Z.”

Read all the tips here.

When Graphic Typography Mixes with Baroque Pop Music

There is almost nothing better than finding something new and innovative in the way of creating art. I’m always fascinated when I see a music video that has a creative concept to it, yet appears to be relatively simple. Husbands’ new video from their single, “Dream,” is another example of that; although, the making of it was more complicated than it looks.

Created by French visionary duo, Cauboyz (made up of photographer Bertrand Jamot and graphic designer Philippe Tytgat), they created a concept for “Dream” that “fools viewers into thinking the flashing retro typographies are done digitally.” Upon closer inspection, this is not the case. In the “Making of / Husbands – “Dream”” video, we see that in order to create the effect of digital typographies, Cauboyz assembled light-up boxes in a wooden frame with “each box connected to a control panel with switches assigned to each phrase or word in the song.”

What I found amazing about this is I see digitally typographic lyric videos all the time, but I enjoyed watching this video the most, especially after I learned that it was, in fact, not digitally created.

Previous videos created by the Cauboyz include “Set You Free” by The Black Keys where the words appear on a revolving can, and AgesandAges, “No Nostalgia” where the words to the song appear on a green background written in white chalk.

Source: The Creators Project


Husbands – “Dream” from Cauboyz on Vimeo.

More downloads of some of the “Best Free Fonts”

“Cubic Sans”

Typography isn’t always just about creating a fun design to catch people’s attention. “[I]t can also add subtle references to the message you’re trying to convey.” Creative Bloq wrote an article with 70 free fonts that they consider the best of the best. Some look like similar Sans Serif fonts in your average font book, some are perfect for a fashion magazine spread, and some look like they belong on the side of a concrete wall displaying some kind of artistic propaganda. These fonts are meant to “give you greater flexibility in your designs, and add to your arsenal of design tools.” Each one is worth taking a look and using however you choose!

“The Fell Types”

A Critical Approach to Typefaces

The author’s friend in his reading room

What makes a typeface good? Not only should a typeface look good, but it should also be good in the way it works. Smashing Magazine brings us a way to look at typefaces critically by using two simple steps; “select your sources carefully” and “study materials from these sources closely and critically.”

When selecting your source, you need to make sure that you are aware of the nature of the source and the experience of the source, as well as making sure you are keeping diversity in your sources.

After gathering your sources, the time comes where you must study and question what you have read. You need to look at context, evidence quality and completeness, and testability. Along the way you also need to be checking reality, motives, and post modernity. If you follow the steps that this article leads you through, you will be able to take a critical approach to thinking about typefaces.