Elemental

Twilight wraps the shoreline, and a flock of cranes is silhouetted against the rising moon. The artist stands watching quietly as light and wind and earth and water weave a wild and elemental tapestry at the end of day.  Perhaps the great birds above her head are "whoopers".  The Whooping Crane (Grus americana), is one of the world's rarest and most endangered creatures, and it is also one of the most beautiful. Putting down her camera and sketchbook she lifts her arms in jubilation and dances along the shore, kicking up the cool sand with her bare feet.  The wind sweeps her up in its gusty arms, and she takes wing with the moondancing cranes, her long gypsy skirts blowing.

For the ancients, the dance of the tsuru or crane was a celebration of life, and so it is for the artist on the beach.  A symbol of good fortune and longevity for its fabled life span of a thousand years, the crane also represented honor and fidelity because it mates for life.  The crane is a prominent motif in Taoist wisdom tales, and images of the magnificent birds have been found in Asian tombs as far back as the Shang and Zhou dynasties.The presence of cranes on the beach, or anywhere else, is a gift.

Banner text is set in Suomi Hand Script by Tomi Haaparanta of the Suomi Type Foundry, beyond a doubt, the most exquisite handwriting font ever crafted.  Body text is, for the most part, set in Georgia by renowned type designer Matthew Carter, just because I like it. Georgia (to my mind anyway) is an exquisite sans serif "face" with a slightly traditional feel, and it has a true italic, one so fluid and graceful that it can be used all by itself, an uncommon state of affairs. Georgia is easy on the eyes, and it is just perfect for body text.  

Carter Sans, also by Matthew Carter, may turn up here one of these days as a replacement for Georgia.  Matthew's latest creation has subtly flared strokes and terminals, and it has more in common with a master stonemason's chisel than a broad nibbed pen.  There is a dynamic aspect to the letter shapes that is often missing in modern humanist typefaces, the fine details, flowing curves and elegant proportions resulting in what Carter himself has described as being a ‘humanist stressed sans.’ I have various weights in my type library, and am enjoying playing with them, much as I once played with Lithos, Rusticana and another splendid Carter creation, Sophia.

For the lover of typefaces and lettering, the great wide world is full of wonders, and every single scrap of print encountered is a grand adventure in the offing. It helps to have a good guidebook along as one traverses the soaring peaks and pastoral valleys of the typographical landscape, and I recommend one book alone—book designer, typographer, poet, essayist and mythic historian Robert Bringhurst’s magnificent The Elements of Typographic Style.