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The 17 threats and opportunities of 2017

With the risk that you’ll read something similar over a dozen times, here is an overview of what the upcoming design year is about. Naming the issues is half of the work, so a little extra retrospection cannot hurt. The…

Design: the social context

The ways of representing information and content are increasingly dominated by the interactive technologies of digital media. Today design professionals must navigate the constantly changing world of digital technology in order to give consumers a positive aesthetic experience. This interview…


We use them for everything we make, including the text of this lecture. Yet, we know so little about them. Words. Where does meaning come from? Or betekenis? Or the eppnophonics of a story? Why is writing so hard and…

ATypI 2013 keynote: what we need…

Welcome in Amsterdam, welcome to ATypI 2013. I’d like to invite you on a small virtual journey in the world of type and typography. We’ll explore areas that are common to you all. And we also will visit some places…

Typographics 2016 June 13-23

This year again, TypeLab—moderated by Petr van Blokland—took place as a lively side-program at Typographics. You were invited to participate. While on the main stage topics can only be formal presentations, at TypeLab they may be put into practice.

Calligraphy: Jeremiah

I will post some new lettering here occasionally, either a finished piece; a sketch of work in progress or a warm-up exercise.

Four years ago, Inside Paragraphs: Typographic Fundamentals was published.

Since then, the English edition has been reprinted once, and other editions were published in Japanese, French, Spanish, and Polish. I have heard comments of all kinds from readers, students, and teachers. And I have had a chance to reflect…

Luke and Longnose

Book jacket lettering for publisher Houghton Mifflin.


A small sampling of custom lettering.

The making of Bitcount

The Bitcount project started in the late 1970s as an experiment to find the minimum amount of pixels necessary to make a full set of ASCII characters. As normal as that may seem today, it wasn’t then.

Sloop poster

The original Sloop poster designed to promote the release of this popular script family.

Escrow goes big and small

Cyrus Highsmith designed 44 styles in this new Scotch series. Escrow sets the tone of the front page of The Wall Street Journal, envy of the newspaper industry. “Escrow is the spectacular element holding the whole thing together” Design Director…