A Few Updates

I added SLS Network to my case studies.

I redesigned the lock-up for the 24th Annual Judicial & Legislative Reception. I reduced the typeface to Minion Display.

I revealed the beautiful designer behind Simplexpression.

I created a new Vietnamese typography sample.

I made the logo much bigger at the bottom. I also added a red bow on top of it.

New Sample: Lì Quá

Anh Cầm Fact’s Lì Quá Để Nói Quài is a pocket-size book filled with Vietnamese quips and wordplays. I enjoyed the prose so much that I had to create a sample page with my personal favorite quotes. The page is typeset in Bricolage Grotesque, by Mathieu Triay. Enjoy the quotes!

Visualgui 2024: Lang

This is the fifth design iteration of my blog. As skiing-snowboarding season coming to an end, I want to remove the vibrant graphics and focus on the typography. I have been wanting to use Lang, designed by Stephen Nixon, for a while, but the quirky yet beautiful semi-slab type family is not intended for reading text.

Lang might not work at small size, but it looks great at large size. I dialed the body text up a notch and I loved how it took up the space. I am also getting old; therefore, larger font size works for me.

To complement Lang, I tried Lang Gothic, which is Lang’s cousin. I did not realize that Lang Gothic has no support for Vietnamese yet. I am not sure when Stephen will add Vietnamese diacritics for Lang Gothic; therefore, I went with Name Sans, which is also designed by Stephen.

As I was already using Stephen’s two typefaces, I might as well add Recursive Mono, another typeface of his, to the mix. I used Recursive Mono primary for code samples.

As for the colors, I went with the dark mode to fit my mood at this time. I am going through a dark time. I hope I can pull through it.

Visualgui 2024: Snowboarding

The latest design of this blog dedicates to snowboarding, a sport I am obsessed with. I just can’t wait to hit the slopes. I don’t have much else to say. If you want to follow my journey, check out my YouTube Shorts or subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

GT Pressura Speaks Vietnamese

Grilli Type Foundry:

The Standard GT Pressura encoding now supports 196 Latin-based languages. We’re also offering a Vietnamese add-on to complement the typeface, created in consultation with Donny Trương.

It was my pleasure to play an advising role in GT Pressura.

Mừng Xuân Giáp Thìn

Hôm nay đổi hình ảnh trên trang blog này cho có một chút cảnh Tết. Chúc các bạn viếng thăm trang blog này năm mới an khang thịnh vượng. Gia đình vui vẻ thân mật đừng lạnh nhạt với nhau. Tết trên xứ người cũng chẳng biết làm gì. Thôi thì tự mình ca nhạc Việt đăng lên tự mình nghe. Chỉ có thế thôi.

Visualgui 2024: The Button

It’s only January and I already cooked up a second iteration for this blog. The design is inspired by my son Đán Trương who created the cool button and asked me to add it to this site. At first, I refused because his button was a bit too flashy for my site (try hover the next and previous buttons). He insisted that I should use it.

To include his button, I had to redesign the entire site. I went with the Bauhaus style. For the header and footer, I added vibrant, colorful, AI-generate illustrations of Bauhaus architecture, created by Eyetronic. I also added a vector set of abstract avant-garde minimal geometric dividers (to separate each blog post), designed by Vitaneo.

To keep the Bauhaus vibe, I had to remove the scripted typeface for the blog titles. The new titles are now set in Neue DIN, designed by Hendrik Weber, Andreas Frohloff, and Olli Meier, which I had already used for large display text and UI elements.

Of course, I have to give a shoutout to Đán, one of my awesome sons, for creating the supercool button using CSS. Keep learning HTML and CSS, kiddo. You’ll be a superstar designer and you’ll create way cooler sites than your dad. I love you!

Grato Marker Speaks Vietnamese

Grato Marker, designed by Teja Smrekar, is a playful hybrid of geometry and informality. Although it has a casual attitude, Grato Marker is serious about supporting Latin, Greek and Cyrillic languages. Reviewed by skilled experts, it supports more than 270 languages including Vietnamese. Yes, I was consulted on Grato Marker’s Vietnamese diacritics. Big props to TypeMates.

Playpen Sans Speaks Vietnamese

As soon as I found out about the release of Playpen Sans, designed by Laura Meseguer, Veronika Burian, and José Scaglione, I typeset the “Cổ tích nhi đồng” sample page again. Playpen Sans has an organic handwriting quality that fits well with the folk tales for children.

When setting the stories in Playpen Sans’s regular weight, I was surprised how well the text can be read. The TypeTogether team had done an exceptional job of keeping the authenticity of the handwriting style without compromising readability. Striking that balance requires research, time, and skills. The final product shows that they had invested in all three.

Playpen Sans comes with Vietnamese diacritics right from the initial release. The combinations, the stacks, and the positions of the marks are spot on. What I love the most is the bottom tail of the hook above, which adds a handwriting touch to the mark. In my type reviews, I always recommend the bottom tail.

While admiring the diacritical marks, it occurred to me that I have seen this typeface before. I went back to my font review archive and there was Playpen Sans, but under a different name. José Scaglione had sent it to me a while ago to review. I almost forgot all about it until now. It is incredible that they made Playpen Sans free for anyone to use.

Neue DIN: German Engineered, Vietnamese Premiered

Neue DIN, made in Berlin by Hendrik Weber, Andreas Frohloff, and Olli Meier, has been German-engineered to take advantage of the variable-font technology. Neue DIN packs 81 styles into one single variable font. The weights span from extra extra thin to black and the widths vary from extra extra condense to extra extra wide.

With the power of variable font, the sky’s the limit. From advertising and packaging, editorial and publishing, film and TV, logo and branding, poster and billboard, software and gaming, sports and entertainment, wayfinding and signage, to website and user interface, Neue DIN is ready to take on any platform and environment.

Neue DIN supports 435 languages, including Vietnamese. Ivo Gabrowitsch and the talented team at Fontwerk cared deeply about the language expansion; therefore, they reached out to me when they designed Vietnamese diacritics for their typefaces. It had always been a pleasure experience working with them, and Neue DIN was no exception.

As versatile, flexible, legible, and incredible Neue DIN is, I wish it had an oblique or italic companion. Without italicized letters, a typeface can’t be a textface. In most writing formats, including APA, MLA, and Chicago, emphasis and title of source needed to be italicized. Let’s hope Neue DIN will have italics in the future.