Shop Talk

10 Websites and Apps To Improve Your Typography Skills

Do you know your ligatures from your tittles, or your ascenders from your terminals? We’ve gathered together a collection of 10 great applications and sites for type lovers. Some teach us about typography, others just serve up a generous helping of typographic eye candy. From apps for your iPad to web based kerning games, all are beautifully designed and a few are annoyingly addictive.

1. Interactive Typography

Seattle based graphic designer Aaron Bloom has produced a beautifully designed, interactive site, that aims to teach the basics of type anatomy and classification. Interactive Typography is pitched at first year design students, but is a great resource for any designers and artists who are looking for an introduction to typography.

2. Kern – The Game (for iPhone)

Kern is a minimalist typography game where the challenge is to place a missing letter in a falling word. It’s a bit like typography tetris … but don’t take our word for it. There’s a demo video here.

3. Fontroduction

Another site that focuses on terminology and classification, Fontroduction also allows you to test your new found knowledge at the end with an interactive quiz. There’s also a great list of typography resources if you’re looking for some additional reading.

4. Type Is Sexy

What this site lacks in sophistication and subtlety, it makes up for with some meaty content. If you’ve ever wanted to get your facts straight on the difference between a font and a typeface, or the origins of typography terms like Leading or Greeking, this is the site for you. The Rules section also does a great job of covering some common mistakes made by typography virgins.

5. Kern Type – A kerning game

This site should come with a disclaimer. Seriously addictive, Kern Type is also simple to use and beautiful to look at. Spend enough time playing the game and you can see it having a positive, measurable effect on your kerning skills.

6. Shape Type – A letter shaping game

Think you’ve got an eye for type design? This site will not only give your eyeballs a workout, it’ll also test your skills with the pen tool. Faced with an oddly shaped letter, your job is to use the pen tool to turn it into a beautiful letterform. As with the Kern Type game above, your results are then compared to the original and your efforts are scored.

7. Thinking with type

Thinking with Type is actually the title of a book by Ellen Lupton but she generously shares a bunch of resources on this beautifully designed website. The site features information on letters, including anatomy and classification, but also contains some great information about formatting paragraphs and working with grids. The extras section is also well worth checking out.

8. Typography Insight (for iPad)

Dong Yoon Park drew on his experience as both a designer and software research engineer to create Typography Insight. The app started life as a project for a thesis but quickly became a favorite with typography nerds and educators alike and received praise for its ability to teach typography in a new and engaging way. You can see the app in action here.

Image credit: iTunes

9. Letter M Press for iPad and MacBook

You may have a penchant for collecting wooden type and if you’re lucky, you may have tried your hand at letterpress printing, but a many of us can only dream of owning our own press. Letter M Press is a wonderful app that captures more of the process than you would imagine may be possible on a shiny, tech gadget. And it produces beautiful results too. Add to that the fact that it was funded via Kickstarter and this is one app we recommend checking out.

10. Typenuts

And last but not least, Typenuts is a site that sits firmly in the ‘eye candy’ category. Here you’ll find a bunch of free, type inspired iPhone & desktop wallpapers. And with all the new-found knowledge gained from exploring the sites above, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the work behind all this beautiful type!

Are there any great typography apps or websites we’ve missed? Perhaps there’s a type blog you read regularly or a site you visit for typographic inspiration. Any recommendations? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.