Wednesday 14 March 2007

Hoefler & Frere-Jones

A visit to the New Dowse (just how long can that name last?) was marred by the eeny-weeny type face used on some of the wall labels. It's a small point, but for a museum profiling the best in contemporary design, it has pretty shitty signage.

That's what brought me back to - the website of typeface designers Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, and the page in particular about the Whitney font designed by Frere-Jones for New York's Whitney Museum:

"When Tobias Frere-Jones was asked to develop an institutional typeface for New York's Whitney Museum, he had to contend with two different sets of demands: those of editorial typography, and those of museum signage. Typefaces for catalogs and brochures need to be narrow enough to work in crowded environments, yet energetic enough to encourage extended reading. But typefaces designed for wayfinding programs need to be open enough to be legible at a distance, and sturdy enough to withstand a variety of fabrication techniques. Fonts destined for signage need to anticipate being cast in bronze, etched in glass, applied in vinyl to backlit signs, and rendered in pixels."
Exactly. Go to the page and check out the myriad ways that Frere-Jones worked this font.

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