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1 September, 2015

Let me talk about kerning. Well, I was going to write a boring history of kerning in digital type design and its problem, but I think anyone who has done kerning before is aware of them already so I dropped that section. Basically it’s still in the same mentality of metal type with rectangle body, so cumbersome and time-consuming that most of us find it boring, though it’s not that we undervalue it. I personally find it fun, but am always on the lookout for a better method. So far, mapping Glyphs’s kerning function to XBOX 360 controller has been my favourite, which allows me to do the whole job without using a keyboard. The workflow has better rhythm, and you can distance yourself away from the screen while kerning. Really, it’s so much better kerning experience.

But today I want to talk about the new kerning toy I’ve made, the BubbleKern. BubbleKern is a new way of kerning that lets you draw kern around the letterform (in the sense of metal type), computes collision, and generates kerning data. In other words, you draw the space around the letter and let the computer do the rest. » Continue reading «

Italic subtleties

1 February, 2014

My explanation and thought on various italics. Actually, I only wanted to do the MJ illustration and ended up adding a whole bunch of text. I hope it’s helpful for people who are not familiar with italics, and how much type designers care. » Continue reading «

Font size in the metric system

26 October, 2013

Industrial paper is measured by meters, but everything else such as type size, image resolution, etc is based on inches. Although it’s not really difficult to make the different units coexist on a paper as long as you are fine with fractional measurements, wouldn’t it make more sense to just use metres for type size too? Are you really comfortable with making a point-based grid on a metre-based paper?

In fact, there is a country that uses metric type size, and it’s called Japan. The unit is called Q or q, which is a quarter of a millimetre (0.25 mm), a little finer than a DTP point (0.3528 mm), and was invented in the phototypesetting era. There is also a unit called Ha (or simply H or h), which is basically the same as Q but used for anything other than type size (e.g. line spacing). Ha means a tooth of a cog. Older phototypesetting machines had a big drum where a photographic paper would be attached, on which the operator would expose a photographic image of a letter, dot, line, etc., and the rotation of the drum by one unit (or a cog) would move the paper by 0.25mm. Hence the term. » Continue reading «

Metro Nova stylistic sets

16 August, 2013

My new typeface Metro Nova is currently experiencing great amount of discount on Myfonts, Linotype, and Fonts.com. Normal family price is $1,147, but it’s only $99 now. If you haven’t got it yet, then what are you doing?

I realised that in the official PDF specimen, there was no description of stylistic set & alternate features, which should have been the most important part in my opinion. So I made my own list of it. Why not just update the official specimen? Good question.

Download Metro Nova stylistic set PDF » Continue reading «

Ullstein Fraktur, the unknown geometric blackletter

9 April, 2013

While I was digging through the Fraktur stuff at the Monotype archive last week, I stumbled upon this rather nice fraktur typeface called Ullstein Schrift, series number 482, marked ‘To be held in abeyance’ in the specimen.

Proof » Continue reading «

My rant on the iPhone 5 screen

24 September, 2012

This is a type designer’s blog and I have not intended to post anything non-typographic, but I’d like to share my thoughts on iPhone 5 because I hate its design; or more specifically, its screen size.

As you may know, Apple has stuck with the 3.5 inch screen with screen resolution 640*960 until iPhone 4S, but it enlarged the screen size by 256 pixels vertically in the latest product, iPhone 5.

In the presentation on 12th September, Phil Schiller, senior vice president of whatever, said something like this:

What is the design centre of a phone? It’s this, it’s your hand! A phone should feel great in your hand and more importantly it should be easy to use with this magical device we all carry. So if you carry your phone it should fit beautifully in your hand. It should be easy to send messages, type emails, surf the web, and it’s just how we designed iPhone 5.

I totally agree with that, except for the last part. » Continue reading «

We used to have more letters

2 June, 2012

This is a rough and incomplete translation of this news article, titled “We used to have more letters”.


Please excuse for the bad quality, although I’m entirely up for correction. In order to translate this I used a Japanese news article quoting this as well as Japanese and English Google translations, and of course, the original article itself. Note that I’m not fully able to read Chinese and am aware that this might contain a lot of error. I also omitted the parts I regarded unnecessary or the ones I could not translate.


Here starts the article.


There are 421 Chinese fonts whereas there are 2973 Japanese.

Lots of font foundries pessimistically think that the cold-hearted judgement regarding the logo of P&G’s shampoo 飄柔 (Rejoice) will further contribute to the already grave font piracy situation, and even lamented that typeface design is dead. » Continue reading «

Book review: Type Matters!

10 May, 2012

This book made me furious. In case you don’t want to read the whole post, here’s the summary.

This book is an ‘introductory’ book for typography learners, but contains a lot of false information. It’s not like the author made too many mistakes, rather he simply lacks knowledge. To give you one example, in the final chapter, Glossary of terms, 34 entries out of 94 are either wrong, insufficient, or unnecessary. Simply put, one third of what he tells is unreliable. This is a nicely bound book with some lovely illustrations, but do not be fooled by its welcoming appearance. It will teach you wrong things.

» Continue reading «

RoboHint: the missing UFO hinter

10 March, 2012

The first serious job at Monotype is a trip to the Hague, to attend at Robothon 2012. I guess it’s unlikely that the new employee goes on a business trip in the first week, but somehow it happened to me (privilage!). Robothon is a really interesting conference as it focuses on typeface design and production process only. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in the Robofab and UFO circles which make me think want to get out of old school FontLab workflow as much as I want. Af all the things that were shown on the first day, the most interesting one was RoboHint, the missing UFO hinter being developed by Petr van Blokland. » Continue reading «

Joining Monotype

5 March, 2012

I am Toshi Omagari, a typeface designer from Japan.

Just today, I officially joined Monotype UK as a junior type designer. This is what I have hoped for since I had decided to become a typeface designer, perhaps six years ago. When I was studying typography and typeface design in Japan, this was a dream beyond my reach. The MA typeface design course gave me a chance to grab it, and very fortunately, I could.

This is the first English post of this blog (which means that I’m going to post Japanese ones here as well). I don’t know how often the English posts will be, but I’ll try my best.

* Surprised that I like Times New Roman? I even BOUGHT that font (Times Pro LT) to use small cap, oldstyle figures and Times Ten that comes with it.

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