Morris Fuller Benton

I have a draft of a thing that’s been sitting in a folder for several years. It’s unpublishable, unresearched, unfinished. But there’s something to it that makes me want to quit my job and run away up into the forests of northern California, renting a cabin somewhere along the way, in order to spend a whole year typing away at this thing and building a little shrine of a website around the idea.

I imagine this thing is part type specimen, part historical account and it would focus entirely on the life of a Milwaukee born 20th century type designer called Morris Fuller Benton.

The name is famous in typographic circles, but it’s one that I don’t think many designers have heard. And yet it’s a name that all of us should know and, I would argue, be in awe of. This is because of all the type designers that have ever lived, Morris Fuller Benton is quite probably the best of them.

Sadly I don’t have much time to dig into every typeface that Benton worked on or remixed today, and the only reason why I bring this up is since I worked on a project recently that uses a digital version of one of the many gothic typefaces that he designed: Franklin Gothic.

I love how squat the letters are and I think it’s cute that each character always has a little something that makes it interesting to me. Take the uppercase U for example where the right hand side is thinner then the left. Or the top half of the C that has a tiny bit of flair to it.

The project I’ve been working on though is a little teaser of a website that I built for my pal Jez Burrows’s new project. It’s called And Introducing and not to toot our horns too much but I think Franklin Gothic looks mighty fine in this setting, in the style of an end credits sequence:

I really want to spoil what this project is all about because I’m so thoroughly excited for it but all I’ll say for now is that you ought to read each title there and sign up for the newsletter at the end because Jez will be writing about it soon.

And it’s going to be damn funny and interesting.

Unrelated Non-Typographic Things That I’ve Been Writing About

  • I’ve been taking a lot of notes about CSS in the CSS-Tricks newsletter which I always find super fun and interesting to write. There’s so much weird stuff going on with web design right now and a lot of it has to do with web typography to be quite honest.

  • Here’s a tiny piece on one of my favorite books which happens to be all about Dereky Yu’s wondrous video game Spelunky.

  • I made a quick note about a recent trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles where I sort of talk about the climate crisis and sort of just straight up brag about how much of a cool motorcycle boy I’ve become.

  • And here’s another brief note about something Merlin Mann mentioned the other day where he described his daughter’s laziness contributing to the Late Muscle