A Long, Winding Road to Typedia

Aug 24, 2009

In 2007, at An Event Apart Chicago, Jason Santa Maria and I were talking over some pints about typography on the web, and in particular about how challenging it is to discover good typefaces. They are out there, but there’s no good way to find them! I said “we should make something to do that” and he said “I already have something in the works”.

Typedia Logo

A few months later, I found myself working on Typedia (which was already well underway) with a small army of fellow web designers & developers. Jason describes Typedia quite concisely:

At its simplest, Typedia is a shared encyclopedia of typefaces. Think of it as All Music or IMDb for type, but created and curated by everyone.

I remember back in college when I read The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. There was one recommendation in that book that really resonated with me: Consider the subject matter when choosing a typeface. For instance, if you are designing a book cover by a British author, consider using a typeface designed by a British type designer. This means doing research. Unfortunately that’s pretty challenging, and increasingly so, with new foundries, type designers, and typefaces, and no centralized repository of information.

We built Typedia to solve that problem. Typedia isn’t just a catalog, though; rather it’s built to be grown by you. We made it easy to create an account and start adding information. Know the foundry behind Centaur? Add it! Have a few spare minutes over your lunch break? Tag some typefaces to make searching easier.

We built Typedia with ExpressionEngine (surprise surprise), though the list of enhancements, tweaks, and customizations we added is extensive.

It’s taken years to get this project launched, but it’s easy for us to see that this is just the beginning. We can’t wait to get your feedback and start tweaking things to make it even better.

We built Typedia with a forum so we’d love to interact with you there, or you can drop us a line at the contact form. And follow us on the twitter too, of course.

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