Πέμπτη, 30 Οκτωβρίου 2008

We packed and moved!

We created a new blog at an independent location. The new parachute blog "Upscale Typography" was officially launched on October 8 with several new features. This blog posts articles in 6 main categories, all about typography. For instance, under the gadget category you'll find fresh new products made with type and under history references to great typography from the past. Contemporary designers will be interviewed, new releases and pre-release notifications -for typefaces worth mentioning- will be presented. Finally news from all over the world and of course powerful tips & techniques.

But this is only the beginning. Come and visit us, leave a comment, send your feedback, propose an articles that you will like to read we are waiting you!


Πέμπτη, 25 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

ABC 3D Book

This is not just a book but a work of art. Each of the 26 three-dimensional letters move and change before your eyes as you flip through the pages. Book designer MARION BATAILLE has managed to amaze us. Boldly conceived and brilliantly executed with a striking black, red, and white palette, this is a book that readers and art lovers of all ages will treasure for years to come. This book comes out in October.

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Παρασκευή, 19 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008


Chris Clark has recently graduated with a first class honours degree in Graphic Design from the University of the West of England. One of his project is the "typecube". This is a design box which contains 64 cubes with different forms on every side of the cube, which provide the basis of two dimensional and three dimensional typographic systems, encouraging flexibility within uniform structure. It is a very creative type game which will be on production soon.


Τρίτη, 9 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

Bodoni as never seen before.

The online version of Bodoni Script Pro has just been released. Based on Bodoni’s distinct swash capitals, this is not simply a digital version of his work, as this typeface was designed with connected lowercase characters and capitals with extra calligraphic elements. It was first released back in 2002 and published in Parachute’s award-winning catalog/book IDEA/Trendsetting Typography vol.1. Later in 2005 a large number of ornaments and borders was revived. All this work was left behind until recently when it was revisited to create a complete 'Pro' family. Several new uppercase and lowercase glyphs were designed in order to make it stand out on its own. Bodoni Script Pro is a (3+1)-weight superfamily. It supports 10 special opentype features including 'contextual alternates' as well as support for both Latin and Greek. Each font comes with 725 glyphs including a large number of alternates as well as 144 ornaments. The full package includes an additional 'bonus font' which contains 120 frame parts. These parts, when put together, create some truly amazing borders.

Bodoni Script Pro

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Πέμπτη, 4 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

Typographic illustrations

Alex Trochut creates unique typographic illustrations. He's the grandson of Joan Trochut, developer of Super-Veloz, a modular ornamental and typographic system in the 1940s. Alex is based in Barcelona, Spain and is an independent designer and illustrator.
behance mag

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Τετάρτη, 16 Ιουλίου 2008

Typography in action

Typography is alive and stars in great movies.
Actors? Yeah, we've got typefaces...
Enjoy them

Pulp Fiction

The Eight rules of Fight Club

other great movies
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The Big Lebowski

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Παρασκευή, 27 Ιουνίου 2008

typographic screensavers

These tasteful and unique typographic screensavers will satisfy your design appetite and most definitely will not put you to sleep. Designed by award-winning designer Babis Touglis to work flawlessly on both Mac and PC computers at any resolution. There are all together 6 different screen savers to choose from. It is easy to download and are all free, courtesy of Parachute® . Let your screen go off and enjoy the view!

download the screensavers

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Πέμπτη, 22 Μαΐου 2008

Parachute wins international award.

Parachute wins international award.
European Design Awards 2008 - Stockholm | Sweden

It was a great night at the Awards. The elite of European designers showed up for 5 days in Stockholm, to celebrate and award excellence in communication design. The European Design Awards is the premium venue that honors the best in European design. This year, it was hosted in Stockholm, Sweden May 15-19 as part of the European Design Week which included several exhibitions, a 3-day conference, an award ceremony, a formal reception, two design walks to 7 agencies and open houses. ¶ The ED Awards Ceremony honors
the winners in 27 categories. This year, the award for original typeface went to Parachute® for the Centro Pro typeface superfamilies. In his acceptance speech, Panos Vassiliou the designer of Centro Pro, was quoted saying “...it is awards like these that make you feel that your work is appreciated, it is awards like these that make you feel responsible for your work, it is awards like these that raise your standards, but most of all these awards make you believe in yourself and your work. So I can say this: now more than ever I BELIEVE!
According to the jury, “PF Centro Pro is a type system, not just a type family. This large series of 40 fonts with 1519 characters each, is composed of 3 superfamilies (serif, sans and slab), includes true italics and supports Latin, Greek and Cyrillic. It is an almost ‘invisible’ typeface which has legibility as its main attribute and is ideal for a wide range of design works. It does not attract any unnecessary attention, but rather serves its purpose. A rare case of contemporary type family working across three alphabets, Centro Pro meets an ever-growing demand for such typefaces among pan-European companies and institutions”.
¶ The night of May 18 started with an invitation by the Mayor of the City of Stockholm to a formal reception in Stadshuset (the City Hall), the very same hall used for the Nobel Prize dinners. After several rounds of red wine, we were almost ready for the Awards Ceremony which was held at the nearby Södra Teatern. But it was after the ceremony that everybody let loose when the participants were invited to the official Winners Party at the Södra Bar. When we were forced out at 2 a.m. the party was taken to after-hours clubs till the early morning hours.
Thank you for sharing our joy!!!

Further Links

The making of PF Centro Pro

PF Centro Serif Pro

PF Centro Sans Pro
PF Centro Slab Pro

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Δευτέρα, 12 Μαΐου 2008

Antiqua Boom

Slanted magazine. "The Antiqua boom issue"

The new issue of the award winning German magazine 'Slanted' is out. This is an excellent 264-page publication dedicated to new contemporary serif typefaces. The 'Antiqua Boom Issue' is filled with interviews, typolyrics, photo spreads and typeface specimen. It features eight international type foundries and designers such as Natascha Dell and Karl Friedrich Oetzbach (Fontfarm), François Rappo (BP Foundry), Kent Lew (Fontbureau), Peter Bil’ak (Typotheque), Kris Sowersby (Village), Veronika Burian (FontFont), Panos Vassiliou (Parachute), Xavier Dupré and Zuzana Licko (Emigre).
This magazine/book may be ordered directly from the Slanted weblog or from selected bookstores.


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Δευτέρα, 5 Μαΐου 2008

The Centro Pro Project. A mixed type system.

The Centro Pro Project. A mixed type system.
Three related superfamilies.
// by Panos Vassiliou


The Centro Pro Project started out as a small serif family of eight, but it grew to become the largest and most versatile set of related superfamilies. The result is a series of three families, Centro serif pro, Centro sans pro and Centro slab pro for a total of 40 weights. Each font contains 1519 glyphs and supports simultaneously Latin, Greek and Cyrillic. It is recommended for magazines, newspapers, catalogs and corporate identities.
//centro serif pro
The Centro serif pro project was initiated in 2005 with specific requirements in mind.

basic requirements
1. Design a contemporary typeface with square-like characteristics, which will be legible and perform very well at small sizes, but at the same time create a striking effect at large sizes. This would eliminate the need to modify the letters (optical compensation) and create an additional version for small sizes.
2. Balance out legibility with aesthetics in order to establish a distinct identity. Text typefaces have to obey certain rules so that they retain their natural (familiar) features which are particularly important when legibility and readability are of major concern. This, of course, leaves not much space to the designer for absolute originality. Eventually, distinctive identity would have to rely on a mix of differentiations mostly in the contrast, the stress of the letters, the serifs and the joints.
3. Perform equally well in Latin, Greek and Cyrillic (visual match). Often designers rely on outdated references for scripts other than Latin. This eventually creates a visual mismatch when mixed scripts are used in a modern document.
4. Incorporate special symbols for publications and packaging.

design aspects
After setting the basic requirements of the new typeface, I went through the long process of deciding what the design aspects are going to be. It always helps to look back to what the masters of the trade have done. Some characteristics of Centro serif pro were modelled after W.A. Dwiggins’ experiments with type (fig.2).
The angular slanted serifs of Centro, in letters like ‘n’, ‘p’, ‘r’ etc. (fig.4),
while they foster a distinct identity at display sizes, they tend to look like curves at small sizes. Other characteristics like the abrupt cut at the joints were influenced by Galfra (fig.3), a typeface designed in 1975 by Ladislas Mandel for the Italian phone directories.These cuts add a certain flair to Centro serif (fig.4) especially at display sizes, but they are functional as well, since at small sizes, while they disappear into rounded curves, they compensate for over-inking.
Other characteristics (fig.4) include:
1. Letter ‘e’ with a slanting bar (reminiscent of Jenson’s types).
2. Wedge-shaped serifs (at x-height) which are not steep but almost horizontal, in order to foster an even appearance when reading body text.
3. Balance the effect of the strong angular serifs by introducing ‘tear-shaped’ ball terminals to letters like ‘c’, ‘f’ and ‘y’. The terminal of letter ‘r’ follows suit.
4. Triangular letters like ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘y’ with a pronounced stroke shape.
5. larger than usual x-height to make it more legible at smaller sizes.
6. Stress not quite vertical but slightly inclined.
7. Robust, low contrast typeface. High contrast between the thin and thick strokes is often the reason text becomes difficult to read. (fig.5) shows a test page of an early discarded version. Contrast was later decreased and several letters replaced with alternate forms.
8. Stroke thickness. Several classic serif typefaces were examined and their proportions measured and averaged in order to decide on the proper stroke width for Centro serif pro. This process would insure getting as close as possible to what is normal color for regular weights, bold weights etc. Fine tuning is performed on-screen along with contrast adjustments.
9. Finally, capitals should become a bit heavier to compensate for the additional white in their shapes.

Having now a clear view of how Centro serif pro is going to look like, implementation begins.
First I start with a very rough sketch of as many lowercase letters and as many characteristics as I can fit on paper (fig.6).Then I create a more elaborate sketch for several but not all characters, starting with ‘a’, ‘n’ and ‘o’ (fig.7). These are the three letters I always design first since they contain many of the characteristics I need as a guide for the design of other characters (fig.8). Contrast is not a matter of concern at this stage, as it will be adjusted on-screen at a later stage.The pencil outlines are only used as a basis for digitisation (fig.9), whereas further adjustments and corrections as well as a large number of characters are drawn on-screen. In most cases I design first a regular weight. During this process several alternate forms for each letter were tried before the final version (fig.10).Of major concern, right from the beginning, is not only the shape of the characters but the rhythm of text as well. If letters are not properly spaced the text will be hard to read. First, the basic spacing (sidebearing adjustment) for capitals ‘H’ and ‘O’ as well as lowercase ‘n’ and ‘o’ is set. Then, for every new character created, the sidebearings are adjusted based on the similarities of its straight or round strokes to the letters used as reference. Further fine tuning takes place when the basic alphabet is finished (fig.11).Throughout the implementation process numerous pages were printed to check the typeface under operational conditions while contrast was adjusted.
The design of Latin lowercase characters was followed by the design of Latin uppercase, numerals, punctuation marks and other special symbols in order to complete the basic Latin 1252 codepage. This was followed by the design of the Greek characters i.e. codepage 1253 (fig.12).
Extended codepages like Central European as well as Greek Polytonic were taken over by designer George Lygas who also worked on initial drawings for Cyrillic. Proper positioning of accents was double-checked and adjusted (fig.13).Then, initial drawings for Cyrillic were sent back for further fine tuning.
Finally, every font in this series was completed with 270 copyright-free symbols, some of which have been proposed by several international organizations for packaging, public areas, environment, transportation, computers, fabric care (fig.14). These will prove to be quite useful and handy to designers involved with branding, packaging and products with international appeal.Kerning is as important as the rest of the design process. This typeface series supports three major scripts like Latin, Greek and Cyrillic, so several thousands of kerning pairs were included (fig.15). The better the letterspacing the fewer kerning pairs needed.
Taking advantage of opentype programming, Centro serif pro was loaded with 21 advanced features, a procedure which takes place after everything has been tested thoroughly (fig.16).
This concludes the design of Centro serif pro regular. The long process of designing the other members of the family involves the creation of 3 to 4 extremes (depending on the number of weights per family) and interpolation. For Centro serif pro I only needed the black version. Interpolation does not translate into an automatic production of other weights. In most cases an exhaustive number of corrections and adjustments must be performed.
There’s only eight variations to Centro serif pro. The strong character of its serifs does not allow as many variations in weight and width as the sans or slab versions.

Quality control
The Centro Pro series supports more than hundred languages and each font contains an enormous number of glyphs. This situation may easily get out of hand as some glyphs could be placed mistakenly in the wrong position. In order to overcome such problems, we devised a quality control method i.e. two sets of tables which we use to check the proper position of glyphs as well as the opentype features (fig.17).Italics
The italic has much softer serifs than the roman, is less wide, a bit lighter and constructed with an Aldine touch. The implementation process follows the same steps as with the roman. Several rough pencil sketches in the beginning (fig.18), then a few more elaborate sketches for certain characters (fig.19) and (fig.20), followed by drawings on-screen.
//centro slab pro
The design of the other members of the family started out in a different way than I usually operate. For the case of the slab version, I did have on the side a few black slab characters, left from a previous unfinished custom project, but I wanted an ultra black version as well. As this was my first attempt on such a heavy face, I was not sure this would turn out to be acceptable. So instead of starting the slab version with a regular weight, I decided to focus first on the ultra black version and design it almost independently. If it turned out well then I would continue with the rest. Otherwise, I would completely discard it. After several attempts I ended up with a satisfactory version, one that based on my visual observations was close enough to the original serif. A complete set of lowercase and uppercase characters were designed. Several versions for each letter were tested (fig.21). Before I moved on to design the rest of the characters, I spend some time comparing the new slab with the serif version, correcting shapes, adjusting the x-height and counters so they come closer as part of related families. One important drawback I tried to overcome is the decreased legibility attributed to the heavy slab serifs. I created a somewhat ‘semi-slab’ version where certain serifs had to be dropped to increase inner white shapes. Take a look for instance at letter ‘h’ (fig.22) where the serif of the left leg was discarded whereas the slab on the right leg has been designed with a softer forward direction which establishes a smooth flow of text and connection to the next character.The other extreme weights, like regular and extra thin, were designed on-screen using as reference the ultra black version as well as Centro serif pro, in order to keep close family ties.
When you compare Centro serif with Centro slab and later with Centro sans, it becomes apparent that they are not mechanical equivalents. They may have similar attributes and optical similarities but they are not identical in construction. Later I will elaborate on this further.
When the full character set is completed for the basic weights, the rest are created through interpolation as mentioned in a previous section.The slab italic is not an oblique version of the roman. It is based on its serif cousin but is less elegant and more sturdy (fig.23). It has a smooth character with a slight influence from Noordzij’s more conservative Caecilia.

//centro sans pro
The construction of Centro sans pro was more or less straightforward. This is a Centro slab, sans the serifs. But not quite so. Several other major or minor adjustments had to be performed before this becomes a whole new family.
As mentioned earlier, the three different versions of the Centro pro series were not designed to be exact mechanical equivalents (fig.24). This decision does not follow any rule but it is rather quite objective. The individual nature of each one of the families as well as the diverse applications they may be used for, calls for a slightly different treatment. But it is mostly personal aesthetics which define these minor differences. Simply put, it just looked better this way and not the other way around.//summary
It was fun designing Centro Pro. Getting involved with such a project, gave me the chance to discover ideas from the past, implement a few of them and create an exciting new versatile series of related superfamilies which may be used in a variery of contemporary applications.
The roman letterforms, while discreet at small sizes, maintain a clean, sturdy and unique personality which motivates the reader, furthermore, they attract attention at display sizes with their distinctively sharp characteristics. Italics, on the other hand, are charming and exciting, clearly distinguished from the romans. Finally, Centro Pro is extremely designer friendly, as it is loaded with a vast array of opentype features and numerous -hard to find- useful symbols for diverse design applications. Enjoy it!
Note. In case you may be wondering...The Centro pro series originally came out in May 2007 with a different name but was changed later to Centro.

more on PF Centro Serif Pro
more on PF Centro Sans Pro
more on PF Centro Slab Pro

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