Typedia Logo

We had the good fortune to talk to web type guru and long-time (mt) friend, Jason Santa Maria about Typedia — a genius “must-use” resource for anyone looking for inspiration in twenty-six characters. Interview after the jump…

Typedia.com

(mt): Tell us a bit about Typedia. Where did the idea come from?

JSM: The idea for Typedia basically spun out of my own frustration with not knowing nearly as much as I wanted to about different typefaces, and not knowing of a good way to discover new ones based on the aesthetic qualities of a typeface.

(mt): What advantages do you think using a wiki-type format produces and in particular, what objectives does the wiki format meet with this project?

Wiki Format

JSM:The obvious advantage is putting the tools out there so anyone who has knowledge of a typeface can contribute to a typeface listing. Pulling all of that information together can start the foundation for a potentially very useful resource. Plus, making the barrier to entry so low (when adding a listing, the only required information is the typeface name), people at all levels of type knowledge can participate. Having it be similar to a wiki gives Typedia the advantage to adapt and continually correct anything that isn’t working, but because we have overlaid some more structure to the information that goes into a listing (like release year, country of origin, designer), we can slice the information and sort in many different ways.

(mt): Type, especially on the web has had a nice profile push in the last few years with sites like ilovetypography, Typekit, and some other community sites we’ve seen. What are your favorite inspirational type resources, beyond Typedia of course?

JSM: Beyond the ones you mentioned, Typophile can’t be beat for type knowledge and community, and We Love Typography is a great resource for visual inspiration with type.

(mt): “No-cost” seems to be the way of the web. What are your go-to places to download or share (legally of course) hot Typefaces?

JSM: I actually don’t download many free fonts, but when I do, I usually look for free releases (sometimes just one or two weights) for fonts from places like FontShop. MyFonts also has a considerable number of free fonts available.

I think we’re going to see a lot of changes in type on the web in the next two years, largely due to this current push for more typeface options through new licensing plans and font services.

(mt): With your own site’s amazing use of typography, your design involvement with the upcoming Typekit.com and now Typedia, you are clearly becoming a web type guru – where do u see type on the web going over the next 12-24 months?

Jason Santa Maria

JSM: I think we’re going to see a lot of changes in type on the web in the next two years, largely due to this current push for more typeface options through new licensing plans and font services. Most of all, I think we’re going to see a strong need for more education about how to properly use type. In a way, we’ve been sheltered for many years with only having access to a small number of typefaces for screen use. Even though their usefulness might vary by a few degrees, none of them have been tremendously awful. My hope is that as we open the floodgates to many new typefaces, people will want to learn more about typography, which is good for everyone.

(mt): Is fancy font-work & typography the new “bevels & glass” in hot web design?

JSM: I think typography has always been, and likely will always be, a hot thing in web design. Most of the web is text, and wherever there’s text, there’s something that could use help being communicated.

I hope that in the coming years, with @font-face gaining such a head of steam, we won’t need to use image or Flash replacement just to hack our way into some better typefaces.

(mt): Sifr, cufon, @font-face, or something else – whats your current web font replacement method of choice and why?

JSM: Right now I’m still using sIFR on my personal site, but I actually don’t have a preferred method. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, it really depends on the needs of what you’re making. I hope that in the coming years, with @font-face gaining such a head of steam, we won’t need to use image or Flash replacement just to hack our way into some better typefaces.

(mt): Top 3 Favorite Fonts… Go!

JSM: There are few questions more difficult for me, and my answers will probably vary a little from day to day. In no particular order:

Fonts

  • Caslon
  • Trade Gothic
  • Auto

Jason Santa Maria

Jason Santa Maria is a Graphic Designer from Brooklyn, New York. He’s worked for clients such as AIGA, Housing Works, Miramax Films, The New York Stock Exchange, PBS, WordPress, and The United Nations focusing on designing websites that maintain a balance of usability and effective content presentation. He serves as Creative Director for A List Apart, an online magazine for people who make websites, and maintains an award-winning personal website.

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Typedia is a community website to classify typefaces and educate people about them. Think of it like a mix between IMDb and Wikipedia, but just for type. Anyone can join, add, and edit pages for typefaces or for the people behind the type.