webty.pe: A Journal of Typography & the Screen

Designers working on the web can still learn from the history of print. To try and help bridge this gap—and to better understand it myself—I designed a sample issue of webty.pe: A Journal of Typography & the Screen.

It pairs one seminal essay on typography, with a corresponding contemporary article on the web.

webty.pe on the shelf.
A stack of journals in the shop
A stack of webty.pe journals in the shop. The journals were saddle-stitched rather than perfect bound—partially due to their length, but also based by Peter Bilak’s similar decision for Works That Work.
This spread features Tim Brown’s More Meaningful Typography, reproduced with his kind permission.

The structure

The structure of the publication paired classic articles on graphic design and typography with new ways of thinking about those same ideas on the web. For example, Words-in-Freedom, discussing the Futurists’ approach to typography, was set alongside Michael Bierut look at Vladmir Nabokov’s work as a precursor to hypertext links on the web.

  1. Destruction of Syntax—Imagination without strings—Words-in-Freedom was paired with
    Vladmir Nabokov: Father of Hypertext
  2. Towards a Universal Type was paired with
    A Dao of Web Design
  3. The Crystal Goblet, or printing should be invisible was paired with
    More Meaningful Typography
  4. New Life in Print was paired with two shorter pieces,
    The Form of the Book: A call for book designers to migrate to the screen and
    A Richer Canvas

These four sections were intentionally ordered to work their way out from content to container.

An issue of webty.pe being read.
The Crystal Goblet article spread

The wordmark

I also designed the webty-dot-pe wordmark for the publication. It sets tone of the publication by using a typographic ornament, more commonly seen in historical book design, as a dot in the URL. The use of typographic ornaments continues on the title pages of the ebook and 80-page print journal.

A smaple of sketches completed during the project
A sample of the sketches done for the web-dot-type wordmark.
The webty.pe wordmark

The ebook

Designing publications in an .epub format requires understanding the environment—which there are many. Instead, subtle ways to introduce the publications’ identity must be used. While this is often cited as a limitation of the format, these constraints are also an opportunity.

The ebook running in the (sadly) discontinued Readmill app.

I went onto design another publication for print and .epubs using a similar approach, and open sourced the code.