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Chinese web font research

Did some research on Chinese web font best practices a while back when working on Memory Machine for Tyler Coburn + Asia Art Archive with Luke Gould. It was an interesting challenge. This was my overall takeaway from the research:

  • Self-hosted fonts are out, the font files are prohibitively enormous due to the number of characters
  • The Great Firewall can cause issues with most font services, so no Google Fonts or Typekit
  • If you need to render a mixture of Latin and Chinese characters and want them to use different fonts, the font stack structure and naming is critical (see article by Kendra Schaefer for more info)
  • Bold and italic should never be used for emphasis on Chinese characters since it distorts their meaning

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Tiny pat on the back

The e-newsletters we made for Penguin Classics got a mention in a recent newsletter from The Better Email [✉ ∞]. Made me smile. Here are a few newsletters from the Penguin Random House team that I particularly like.

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David Reinfurt on the beginnings of Dexter Sinister

This idea began as a bit of a joke of course, over whiskey in Nicosia late at night we said “Hey, we should run a book store with this stuff.” And like most things that are worth doing, the jokes are worth following through because they’re fun.

David Reinfurt on the beginnings of Dexter Sinister from his 17 March 2009 talk as part of the Walker’s Insights Design Lecture Series. Quote is a paraphrase, see 33:45 for full comment.