There’s a lot of misinformation out there about difficult second albums. I suppose it’s natural that a debut is exciting, and its progeny will emerge in a tricky position of both having to prove itself against, and improve on, what came before. But there’s no shortage of excellent second albums: Blur’s Modern Life is Rubbish, New Order’s Power Corruption And Lies, Brian Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain. We’d never compare ourselves to Eno, of course, but from this little corner of the graphic design world where typography feels pretty rock and roll, we’re very much hoping that our own little sophomore, TypeNotes #2, won’t disappoint.
To stretch that tired analogy a little further, the contents of our second issue are perhaps a little a little noisier and edgier than our first. We’re still resolutely typography geeks – expect an in-depth guide to letter spacing, an exhaustive look at font software, and deep-dives on the minutiae of designing octothorpes and section signs. But we also uncover the saucy posters used to advertise x-rated movies in the 1960s and 70s, discuss the meaning of psychedelic with none other than Hapshash and the Coloured Coat’s Nigel Weymouth, and speak to a bunch of tattoo artists about the intricacies of lettering onto skin, and why some will never, ever ink a partner’s name. Turns out it ain’t easy to write the entire Lord’s Prayer on a person’s arm with a tattoo gun.
Alongside more sex and more tattoos, I’m also thrilled that this issue contains another thing that worries prepubescent boys’ mothers: a comic. The brilliantly funny Babak Ganjei has created one especially for TypeNotes, which fittingly explores the trials and tribulations of being a freelancer with a head full of dreams and pockets full of nothing but coppers and old receipts.
It’s been a total joy to work on the issue and explore the myriad possibilities of how we use and interact with typography in places we often don’t even think about. Glasgow-based design agency O Street has contributed a superb exploration of its designs for Scottish banknotes, and Fontsmith’s own Stuart De Rozario delineates how the humble typewriter had a huge impact on the way type designers approached their craft in the wake of new technologies. We’ve been very lucky to work with so many talented and fascinating people who have been kind enough to talk about everything from Milton Glaser to being a female sign painter to designing title plates (and why we shouldn’t be saying “mastheads”); or opening up their studios and sketchbooks for us. We’d like to think there aren’t many publications that nestle Richard Kindersley’s famed letter carving studio next to a chat about Deep Throat.
Issue two of TypeNotes is on sale now through the Fontsmith Shop priced £10.