Advising for Vietnamese Language

In the past few months, I have been fortunate to play a role in advising Vietnamese diacritical marks for a handful of typefaces. I just updated the advising page with a list of clients. Some typeface are commissioned; therefore, I could not show them. The two recent ones I am excited about are Fragen and Recursive Mono. The Recursive family is still in beta. I can’t wait to see the sans version supports Vietnamese.

On a related note, the traffic for Vietnamese Typography is decent. I don’t use Google Analytics tracking anymore, but Cloudflare keeps track of some analytics. In the past 30 days, there are 16,493 unique visitors, 241,918 total requests, and 12 GB total data served. The last one is a bit of a concern because I use so many typefaces on the site. The recommendation page alone has over 20 typefaces with Vietnamese subsets. Hopefully my hosting provider won’t shut down my sites.

What’s Up with MODX?

The law school runs on MODX for over ten years. We migrate from Evolution to Revolution. MODX is a solid content management system. The infrastructure is robust, flexible, and secured. And yet it has never gained as much traction as WordPress, Drupal, and other open-source CMS. The community remains small.

I have been a bit fearful and skeptical about the future of MODX because my career depends on it. Will it go away if it won’t grow? Whenever I run into issues, I can’t find the solution or support I needed. Even on Twitter, MODX is not too active.

MODX has not made any revolutionary update, but it does a good job of putting out releases that fixed security issues. For the law school site, that is perfectly fine since we don’t do anything crazy, but just maintaining the content. I still wish that MODX is getting more traction so that it doesn’t stay behind. I think what they really need is a Matt Mullenweg for MODX.

Triple Strength Merged With Sharp Innovations

I am surprised to learn that Triple Strength joined forces with Sharp Innovations in July this year. These two agency bring back so much memories for me.

When I finished in college around 2001, I wanted to work for a web design and development agency in Lancaster and Sharp Innovations was the only one in the area. Its web design was horrible, but I always impressed with its marketing strategy. Joseph Sharp, founder of Sharp Innovations, was a business savvy fellow. I went for an interview and talked with him, but I did not land the position. I don’t remember why it fell through. They probably never called me back.

One day, I found out about Triple Strength and applied for a web design position. When I came for the interview, I was a bit skeptical. The agency was in the middle of nowhere. When I rang the doorbell, all I could hear was a dog parking. As I was about to leave, Lance Dietrich, the founder, came out and greeted me. The studio turned out to be in his home’s basement. I ended up joining them as a part-time web designer. My main responsibility was taking the graphic designers’ Photoshop mockups and sliced them into webpages using Dreamweaver. Hùng Nguyễn was the creative director at the time with Pam, another graphic designer and Lance who was also doing graphic design.

I was with Triple Strength for a couple of months, but I loved the environment. It was a small, creative group. I didn’t know much about typography and I really didn’t have any design skills. Hùng taught me a bit about design here and there. They were going to offer me a full-time position, but the money was not right. I left for Vassar College. Later on when I needed references to apply for new jobs, they were always available for me.

Years later Lance sold Triple Strength to Hùng and now it had merged with Sharp Innovations. It is probably a good thing because Hùng can bring the level of design that Sharp never had. Even today, their web design portfolio is pretty average. I wish them all the success.

Demo for Web-Based Book

After releasing Professional Web Typography and Vietnamese Typography, I received a handful of inquiries expressing interests in using the web as a publishing platform. As a result, I decided to share the source code for Professional Web Typography. In the demo, you will get the front cover, the introduction page, and the history page. These three pages and the complete CSS file will help you get started creating your own web-based book. Because this is a demo, I have to change the typefaces from commercial to open source. I chose Source Sans Pro, by Paul D. Hunt, Source Serif Pro, by Frank Grießhammer, and Source Serif Pro, also by Hunt. I hope this demo will inspire you to create your own web-based book and share with the world.

If you supported my book, please download the files again to get the latest demo.

Why Scalia Law?

When WordPress’s Twenty Nineteen first released a while back, I created a child theme for Scalia Law School network of websites, but I didn’t get a chance to use it. Last week, I received a brochure about the school in PDF format and I thought it would be a great opportunity to recreate it with the new theme.

This morning, I span up a WordPress site from our Multisite network, switched up the theme, and got to work. Here is the result. With lots of photos and flexibility, the editorial design came together nicely. I kind of like Gutenberg for its ease of use.

Type Choices for Professional Web Typography

I became a fan of DJR’s work after I advised David on Vietnamese diacritics for Fit. He was an absolute pleasure to work with. He took my feedback and turned around with a new design almost instantly.

Last year, I bought a license of Turnip, one of my favorite text faces for screen reading, with the hope that David would extend it to support Vietnamese so I could feature Turnip on Vietnamese Typography. As I was thinking about revising and updating Professional Web Typography in the last several months, Turnip came to mind. Once I started setting body text in Turnip, I was pleased with the result immediately.

Because the book has a bit of sample codes, I needed a monospaced font to complement Turnip. Input Mono came to mind. I was glad that I could download Input for private use through Font Bureau . While testing, I also tried out Input Sans for small text and UI element. Because they worked out well together, I licensed both Input Mono and Input Sans.

For the book cover and big heading, I had another black display sans-serif in mind, but I settled on Forma DJR Chiaroscuro, which I already have access to as a proud member of Font of the Month Club, to complete the DJR typefaces. It was unintentional, but I am really happy that I ended up with all DJR typefaces.

ProWebType’s Version 2 is Coming

Professional Web Typography published in May 2015. I wrote it for my independent study as a graduate student in graphic design and for myself because I could not find a book that combined theory and practicality on web typography at the time.

By relying on my own experience as a web designer for almost two decades and keeping the technical aspects as simple as possible, my goal was to prove that typesetting on the web is fun and rewarding—not intimidating.

Four years later, this book desperately needed a revisit as webfonts continue to grow and variable fonts begin to emerge. I have been working on removing outdated information and expanding on new materials. I am redesigning the book website, adding more illustrations, and reworking the demos.

I will be on vacation for a week starting this Sunday. I am planning on working on this book at night after the kids go to bed. Financially, the time and effort aren’t worthwhile to do this, but I wanted to make an update to the book. The outdated information and scattering materials are bugging me. I ignored the book and thought of pulling the plug on it, but I decided to revise it anyway. Wish me luck!

Nunki

When Future Fonts launched over a year ago, I wanted to get in on it, but the lack of support Vietnamese was a deal breaker for me. Even now, only one display typeface, Alga, supports Vietnamese.

Yesterday I came across Nunki, a new typeface by Mark Frömberg. In his release note, Mark states that he’ll consider supporting Vietnamese in the future; therefore, I snatched it up for $25. I posted my purchase on Twitter and Mark responded that he will do so in the future.

Nunki is now featured on this blog homepage to display word of the day. I am looking forward to seeing the future release with the Vietnamese language.

Simple Web Design

I just relaunched my professional portfolio. Almost twenty years into the game and I still am passionate about the art of web design; therefore, I want to bring back simplicity and beauty to the web.

These days, too many sites are built using pre-made site builders such as Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. As a result, most small-budget websites looked the same. I believe that even with a limited budget, your online presence does not deserve to be templated.

Take a look at the projects I have created. Each site had been designed with specific goals and visions. If you have a small business or a passion project that needs a unique website, let’s talk. Together we will create an experience that is focused on your audience and tailored to your brand.

New Hero Banner

On the homepage of my blog, I am combining Merriam-Webster’s “Word of the Day” with David Jonathan Ross’s “Font of the Month Club.” The idea is for me and you to learn a new word a day if we come to this site everyday. Thanks to RSS Feed, I can get the word of the day to display on my site automatically and easily. Since WordPress already has an RSS built-in function, I just need the following code to get the word:

< ?php include_once(ABSPATH.WPINC.'/rss.php'); wp_rss('https://www.merriam-webster.com/wotd/feed/rss2', 1); ?>

As for the typeface, I want to take advantage of my membership of the “Font of the Month Club.” I can’t wait for August’s font in three more days.

On type-related news, I added Crimson Pro to the Type Recommendations section. Check it out.