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 I have been working on removing outdated information and expanding on new materials.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 The outdated information and scattering materials are bugging me.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.

Self-Unsatisfaction

I want to change the design of my blog, my portfolio, and my résumé again. I am not quite satisfied with the current designs and yet I have not come up with anything new that I like.

The current designs aren’t bad and I am not trying to impress any potential employer. I just want to make a change for myself. It almost feels so damn narcissistic. On the positive side, redesigning my own sites allows me to stay update with my web design chops. I like to work on my own sites then taking on client’s projects.

Nevertheless, I am going to step away for awhile to clear my mind. Fortunately, our family reunion is coming up this weekend. I can’t wait to get away from my digital life and spend a whole week with my love ones. I give up trying to redesign my sites for now.

Switching Fonts Again

After launching the third iteration of Visualgui 2019 a couple weeks ago, I already switched out to different font. As much as I liked IBM Plex Sans Variable, it quickly became too much like IBM; therefore, I switched to Literata. Then I added Halyard for small text. Then changed up the headlines with Gimlet Banner. Then ended up switched the main text to Pliego. I like to play around with more typefaces than just using one; therefore, variable font might not necessary work for me. Since this is my personal blog, I get to experiment with it quite a bit.

Speaking of personal blog, I am glad to see designers leaving Medium and starting their own blog again. Hylia seems like a promising starter kit to get blogging. Unfortunately I have no idea how to use it. I am still running on the good ole solid WordPress. I trying to keep it as simple as possible. No comments. No Webmentions. No trackbacks. No photos. No tracking. No JavaScript. None. I don’t care if people are linking back here anymore. My subject matters are highly personal. There’s no added value for no one else but myself. Let’s keep it that way.

Off topic a bit, but I added three typefaces from TypeTogether to Vietnamese Typography. Check out Adelle Sans, Bree, and Ebony.

Some News

I jazzed up Vietnamese Typography a bit. The homepage now has several cover designs loaded in randomly. For chapter header and small text, I switched to Adapter, a brand new typeface designed by William Montrose and Sláva Jevčinová for Rosetta. It’s pretty neat. Go give it a visit.

I snatched up a ticket to Typographics next week. The speaker lineup looks amazing. I am also looking forward to meeting up with some friends. Let me know if you’re attending.

I am reading Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight. I am only about 100 pages in, but the book is so good. I also ordered Ocean Vương’s debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. It’s one of my summer reading list.

The kids will be done with school next week. I am looking forward to the summertime.

Google Pixel Customer Service Sucks

A few months ago, my Pixel 2, which I loved, didn’t wake up after an entire night of charging. I did not know what to do or where to go to get it fix. So I replaced it with my wife’s old iPhone 6 Plus. Two weeks ago I shattered the iPhone screen and took it back to the Apple Store for a repair. Apple ended up giving me a brand new replacement even the phone was already five years old.

Because Apple’s customer service was amazing, I would like to give Google a shot just to compare. I still owe $115 for a dead phone and it is still under warranty. I went back to the Google Online Store and found the tiny repair link buried all the way at the bottom of the page. I filled out my info and received a call back without five minutes, which was impressive. I spoke with the technician for 40 minutes. He instructed me to clean up the charging port, to plug the phone into the charger, and to hold the power button and the volume down at the same time. Nothing happened. He then started the process to get it replaced. Unfortunately, my Pixel 2 had a crack on the back housing, which I accidentally dropped the phone almost a year ago. It had nothing to do with the phone not charging. In order for me to get a replacement, I have to repair the back housing first at UBREAKIFIX for $170.

Not only Google’s hardware sucks, its customer service also sucks. It is time to break up with Google and go back to the beloved Apple.

Apple Customer Service Rocks

Last Saturday, while visiting my mom in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I took my baby Vương out for stroll. As I was enjoying the beautiful morning sunshine and breathing in fresh, manured air, my wife called. I picked up my iPhone 6 Plus and it slipped off my hand. The screen hit the concrete and smashed.

I took it to the Apple store in Park City to have the screen replaced. The cost was $150, a young Apple technician told me, and I agreed. I also let him know that I had been experiencing “ghost touches” in the past few weeks. I explained that the phone was having a mind of its own. It opened up apps all by it self. When I listened to music, it would jump to the next song randomly as if it doesn’t like the song I had selected. Typing had been extremely awful since I had done quite a bit of blogging on the phone. He understood and said, “The experience must be really frustrating. Let me take it to the back to take a look.”

Ten minutes later, he came back and told me that the touch screen would be hard to repair; therefore, Apple would replace it with a brand new iPhone 6 Plus with the same specs as my current one. The cost is $150, which was the price for replacing the glass. I was in disbelief. It was too good to be true. Of course I agreed. Then he did the final diagnostic on my current phone and it failed. The phone needed to be sent to Apple’s repair center for further testing. It would take three business days. See, it was too good to be true. Fortunately, he loaned me an iPhone 6 while mine was sent out.

Three days later, I received emails and a phone call to let me know that a new iPhone 6 Plus was ready for me to pick up. In addition, Apple gave me a 90-day warranty even though my old phone was already 5 years old and had no warranty beyond the manufacture. I had my new phone since Friday and just loving it. It does everything I needed. I am glad that the Apple guy didn’t try to sell me a new iPhone X because I was not going to drop a grant on a phone.

I was thinking of getting a Pixel 3A because I enjoyed Google’s user experience. Unfortunately, its hardware sucks. I loved my Pixel 2, but it died on me one day and I still owe Verizon $200 for the dead phone. I tried to contact Google online, but it required the phone’s serial number, which I could not find since I can’t even get the phone to start up. I gave up and went back to Apple.

New Samples for Vietnamese Typography

I have been working on two new samples for Vietnamese Typography.

Rhymastic’s Lyrics

Rhymastic is a young Vietnamese rapper with virtuosic flows and lyrical skills. He piqued my interested in Vietnamese hip-hop. I put together this page to showcase his storytelling as well as to provide a sample of editorial design. The text is set in Frequenz and the heading is set in Sequenz, both typefaces designed by Sebastian Losch. Although Maelstrom Sans, designed by Kris Sowersby, does not support Vietnamese, I included it to spice up the design.

A Useful Guide for Diacritics

In Vietnamese writing, the hook above and the tilde are often misspelled because they often sound the same in speech, especially for the South Vietnamese. In most cases, I have to consult a dictionary to make sure I get the right mark for the word I intended to communicate. When I came across this guide, which helps to differentiate between the two, I wanted to include in this section. It might be useful for type designers to copy and paste the text to see how their Vietnamese characters look and feel. The text is set in Exchange, designed by Tobias Frere-Jones, and the headings are set in Halyard, designed by Joshua Darden.