History - Parachute® on Tuesday, November 06th, 2012

In 1936 the German Standards committee Deutsches Institut Normung (DIN) officially proposed DIN 1451 as the standard type of lettering to be used in the field of road traffic. The purpose of this standard was to lay down a style of lettering which is timeless and easily legible. Unfortunately, these early letters lacked elegance and were not properly designed for typographic applications.

Ever since, several type foundries adopted the original designs for digital photocomposition. The first digital versions were released in 1990 by Adobe but only in four basic variations. Similar ones were also released by URW.
By early 2000, it became apparent that the existing DIN-based fonts did not fulfill the ever-increasing demand of complex corporate projects for more weights and support for additional languages.

Parachute® was set out to fill this gap by introducing the DIN Text series which, ever since, has become the most comprehensive and sophisticated set of DIN typefaces. It was based on the original standards but was specifically designed to fit typographic requirements. Completed in 2002, it was first released in 2003 and published in the award-winning catalog IDEA as a group of 4 separate families (original, condensed, compressed and a special display version) each with 12 weights, including true-italics, for a total of 48 weights and support for Latin and Greek.

By 2005, all families were upgraded to include 14 weights each, opentype features (small caps, etc) and extended support for all European languages including Cyrillic. Later, an additional Hairline weight was added to all families. Eventually, each superfamily ended up with 15 weights and an average 1280 glyphs per font. Finally, in 2010 Parachute® released 4 new families DIN Monospace, DIN Stencil, DIN Text Arabic and DIN Text Universal.
Altogether the Parachute DIN series is a set of 8 families with a total of 96 weights.

The DIN Text Pro has lowercase ascenders that are higher than the capitals, varying letter proportions and italics that are not a mechanically-obliqued version of the regular weights, but rather true-italics.

The letterforms divert from the stiff geometric structure of the original and introduce instead elements which are familiar, softer and easier to read. The other two superfamilies Condensed and Compressed share the same attributes as the original.

DIN Display Pro, on the other hand, was designed as an alternative to the DIN Text Pro series. While DIN Display seems to retain DIN’s basic characteristics, it shines with its sharper corners and contemporary look. This superfamily, just like the other three, is enhanced with true-italics.

PF DIN Mono is one of the latest additions to the ever-growing set of DIN super families by Parachute®. It was based on its proportional counterpart DIN Text Pro, but was completely redesigned to reflect its new identity. DIN Mono is a monospace typeface which is comprised of characters with fixed width. In the world of proportionality, DIN Monospace stands out as a fresh new alternative to the popular standard, particularly for publishing and branding applications. The Monospace family consists of 12 weights including true-italics.

Despite the fact that over the years several designers have manually created stencil lettering for various projects based on DIN, there has never been a professional digital stencil version of any DIN-based typeface. The DIN Stencil family manages to preserve several traditional stencil features, but introduces additional modernities which enhance its pleasing characteristics and make it an ideal choice for a large number of contemporary projects. Furthermore, the spacing attributes of the glyphs were redefined and legibility was improved by revising the shape of the letterforms. The DIN Stencil family consists of 8 diverse weights from the elegant Hairline to the muscular Black.

In 2010, Parachute® released -in collaboration with designer Hasan Abu Afash- 2 new versions. DIN Text Arabic is the basic Arabic version which includes Latin and supports all variations of the Arabic script such as Persian, Urdu and Pashto. The second version DIN Text Universal is the most advanced DIN superfamily ever. It combines the powerful DIN Text Pro with DIN Text Arabic bringing the number of glyphs to 3320 per font. It is also enhanced with 30 advanced opentype features and kerning for all languages. All together it supports hundreds of languages, proving to be an essential tool for corporations which operate internationally. The whole family consists of eight weights from extra black to hairline.

competitions - Parachute® on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Red dot is the largest and one of the most influential design competitions in the world. This year, 15 international experts assessed, tested and evaluated more than 6,800 entries from 43 countries in Essen, Germany. They focused on innovative and smart design that sets new trends. Among the winners, Parachute was awarded the “red dot: best of the best” for the top design quality work of Regal Pro.

This set of five superfamilies has already received 6 international awards and distinctions before its official online release. Among them, Regal was also a winner in the Communication Arts Annual Competition 2012, in last year’s Creative Review Type Competition 2011, as well as a winner in the Granshan Awards 2010.

Regal Pro was originally created for the redesign of Grazia magazine and later was revamped and upgraded for commercial use. The original three basic families were expanded to include more variations, ligatures, swashes and additional support for Cyrillic and Greek. The final version of Regal includes 5 families. The prestigious Red dot best of the best award coincides with the release of Parachute’s new website and the official release of PF Regal Pro, which will be available online in a few days.

News - Parachute® on Thursday, January 19th, 2012

For the second consecutive year Communication Arts held its annual typography and type design competition in search for the best typography of the year. The 2012 Typography Annual showcases the 150 winning projects selected by a distinguished panel of jurors such as Richard Kegler, Erik Spiekermann and Tiffany Wardle de Sousa.
More than 1,700 entries were submitted for this second Typography Annual, reflecting the quantity of work produced in a single year. The organisers were pleased with the international nature of the submissions, especially in the typeface category, and the inclusion of several non-Latin typefaces.

Regal Finesse Pro by Parachute, was selected to be among the winners in the typeface design category. This is not the first time that various families from the Regal series receive awards. Regal was also a winner in last year’s Creative Review Type Competition, as well as a winner in the Granshan Awards 2010. Regal Pro was originally created for the redesign of Grazia magazine and later was revamped and upgraded for commercial use. The original 3 basic families were expanded to include more variations, ligatures, swashes and additional support for Latin and Greek. The final version of Regal includes 5 families. Currently Regal Pro is available offline but will be officially released online shortly.

documentary - Parachute® on Friday, June 24th, 2011

Designreport Greece is a design research project conducted by two University of Dusseldorf students. They set out to produce their first Design Report in the form of a documentary, so they spent much of their time researching the Greek design scene. Their investigation began in January 2010 and during a several-month stay in Greece, they examined the local design scene, the history and evolution of design, but also the current political and social changes of the country. They interviewed a number of creative agencies, design studios and free-lance designers.
The result is a 74-minute long documentary under the title “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, which will be presented in Germany on July 1st and 2nd as part of a two-day event in the Department of Design at the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf. It includes exhibition works, lectures and discussions with some of the designers who participated in the project, including Panos Vassiliou from Parachute.

For more details visit the project website:

http://www.designreportgreece.de

History - Parachute® on Thursday, February 03rd, 2011

Phaestos was an ancient city on the island of Crete. It was inhabited from about 4000 BC. The area upon which Phaestos stood was the site where a curious clay disk, containing a sophisticated pictographic writing, was discovered. It was the Phaestos Disk, an archaeological find, dating from about 1700 BC. The first moveable type! Its purpose and meaning, and even its original geographical place of manufacture, remain disputed, making it one of the most famous mysteries of archaeology. An Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier discovered this remarkably intact “dish” (about 15 cm in diameter and uniformly just over 1 cm thick) in the basement of the Minoan palace site of Phaestos during an excavation on July 3, 1908.

Physical Description
The inscription was made by pressing pre-formed hieroglyphic “seals” into the soft clay, in a clockwise sequence spiralling towards the disk’s center. It was then baked at high temperature. There are a total of 241 figures on the disc.
Many of the 48 different glyphs represent easily identifiable every-day things, including human figures, fish, birds, insects, plants, a boat, a shield, a staff, etc. In addition to these, there is a small diagonal line that occurs underneath the final sign in a group a total of 18 times. The disk shows traces of corrections made by the scribe in several places.

The Text
Although there is no official Unicode encoding for the symbols on the disk, the ConScript Unicode Registry has assigned a block of the Unicode Private Use Area to be used for the script. Two fonts include support for this area; Code2000 and Everson Mono Phaestos. The text on the disk is given on the second of these links; you can read that text if you have either of them installed.

Strokes and Direction of Reading
There is a number of glyphs marked with an oblique stroke, the strokes are not imprinted but carved by hand and are attached to the first or last sign of a “word”, depending on the direction of reading. Their meaning is a matter of discussion. One hypothesis, supported by Evans, Duhoux, Ohlenroth and others, is that they were used to subdivide the text into paragraphs, but alternate meanings have been offered by other scholars.

The diverse epigraphical facts (overcuts, angulous points of the spirals, corrections, etc.) reveal that the text was written from the perimeter to the center. The scribe was “composing” his text as he was printing it. There is therefore no way to disassociate the direction of printing from the direction of reading.

Attempted Decipherment
The Phaestos Disk captured the imagination of many amateur archeologists. Many attempts have been made to decipher the code behind the disc’s glyphs. Historically, almost anything has been proposed, including prayers, a narrative or an adventure story, a “psalterion”, a call to arms, a board game, and a geometric theorem. Many enthusiasts still believe the mystery can be solved, as it is generally thought that there isn’t enough context available for meaningful analysis.

http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/index.php?id=2648
http://www.evertype.com/standards/csur/phaistos.html

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