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TypeTalk: Font Games Galore

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Several type and font games are making the rounds on the Internet. Most are meant to be both entertaining and educational, but not every one hits that mark.

KernType
This is the game everyone’s talking about. The goal of KernType is to slide the letters of a word to the right and left to create even spacing. But while the programming skill that went into this game is impressive, some of the “solutions” aren’t typographically acceptable by professional standards; in fact, one is way off.

While the developer of this game has admitted on a type blog that his type skills “might not be up to par” and has invited submissions of better solutions, I think the admission and invitation should be posted on the actual game.

So if you play, enjoy the game but take the solutions with a grain of salt, and maybe think twice before you brag publicly about a high score.

In the examples below, note the difference between the game’s solution (upper) and mine (lower) for the word “Type,” one of the most difficult words to space. For more on kerning, read “Take the Three-Letter Approach to Kerning”.

ShapeType
The most interesting of the group to me, this letter-shaping game lets you manipulate Bézier curves to correct the shapes of ten distinctive glyphs. You get to compare your solution with the correct one and are given a percentage of similarity. Don’t worry if you don’t score well; the true value of this game is in helping develop a sensitivity to the subtleties of letterforms, which will enable you to see and appreciate the skill and artistry that goes into designing a typeface.

The Rather Difficult Font Game
This multiple-choice typeface identification game shows a sample of each typeface, with four possible solutions. It’s not really that difficult if you know a bit about fonts, as there are usually two or three you can eliminate right off the bat. Nonetheless, it’s a fun game that’s just the right length to avoid boredom or frustration. Plus, the sequence rotates when you restart, which keeps it interesting.

Cheese or Font
If you’re a turophile (cheese-lover) as well as a typophile, you’re sure to be entertained by this game. The challenge is to decide whether the name in question describes a cheese or a font. Even those who know a lot about type may be stumped, as there are many obscure names for both font and cheese. Nothing visual here, and the game is quite long with 268 combos, but you can bookmark it and return later. I’m betting you’ll become addicted.

Deep Font Challenge
This fast and furious arcade-style font identification game will give you an adrenaline rush. You have only a limited number of seconds to shoot the right font target(s), and the game gets progressively more difficult. Also a bit addictive, but it’s frustrating that after three strikes you’re out. Unless you get most of them right, you may never reach the end of the game.

Love type? Want to know more? Ilene Strizver conducts her acclaimed Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. For more information on attending one or bringing it to your company, organization, or school, go to her site, call The Type Studio at 203-227-5929, or email Ilene at info@thetypestudio.com. Sign up for her e-newsletter at www.thetypestudio.com.

Ilene Strizver
Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator specializing in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography Workshops internationally. For more information on attending one or bringing it to your company, organization, or school, go to her site, call The Type Studio at 203-227-5929, or email Ilene at info@thetypestudio.com. Sign up for her free e‑newsletter, All Things Typographic, at www.thetypestudio.com.
Ilene Strizver

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Posted on: November 9, 2011

Ilene Strizver

Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator specializing in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography Workshops internationally. For more information on attending one or bringing it to your company, organization, or school, go to her site, call The Type Studio at 203-227-5929, or email Ilene at info@thetypestudio.com. Sign up for her free e‑newsletter, All Things Typographic, at www.thetypestudio.com.

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