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Shuffled ligatures

The new ads are the first I’ve noticed of this, but the iPod shuffle’s logotype has a rather peculiar ‘ffl’ ligature; whereby peculiar I mean quite attractive. And, for that matter, de rigueur in all manner of other pro —usually serif— fonts like Adobe Garamond Pro.

Apple’s iPod shuffle logotype is almost pixel-for-pixel identical to one I banged up in Photoshop in five minutes, except for that curious ‘ffl’ ligature

The peculiarity is largely so (as far as I’m concerned) because my copy of Myriad Pro doesn’t exhibit the same behavior: the stock-standard Adobe Myriad Pro ‘ffl’ ligature, as well as its ‘ff’ ligature, only join double-f at the bar. In Apple’s case, the ascender of the first ‘f’ meets up with the second in much the same way that the second ‘f’ meets with the ‘l’. It’s a nice touch.

Too, the weights seem a little off even at the same x-height, but I’m willing to chalk that up to scaling, anti-aliasing, and the like. I don’t have a copy of the shuffle logotype any larger than the one you see above. So I’m not going to pretend the renderings should be identical.

Whether this ligaturial (ahuh) oddity is due to some creative fudging in Illustrator to make the logotype pop a little more, or whether Apple commissioned its own proprietary variant of Myriad, remains to be seen. Anybody with insider info is more than welcome to email me and put me out of my misery.

Greater Update

A little birdy tells me that Apple, until recently, was using a Myriad variant known as (wait for it) Myriad Apple; later upgrading to another by the name of Myriad Set.

Wikipedia, for good or for ill, reports differently that Myriad Apple is Myriad Set, distinguishing itself from Myriad Pro with its “minor spacing and weight differences,” and was created by Galápagos Design Group.

Lesser Update

On second inspection it’s particularly odd that I should only notice this now, given that I used a shuffle as my full-time musical companion for six months before the nano arrived, but we’ll chalk that one up to my being a dork. I’d like to believe that if I were more able to spot tiny details like that on the first pass, I’d be less prone to getting in trouble when my girlfriend has her hair cut/layered/highlighted/straightened and I don’t notice.

Patron Saint of Accessibility

If you’ve been working on the web for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard of Joe Clark; accessibility guru, type aficionado, Canadian.

I subsidize Joe’s indolence. Do you?

He’s running a funding drive —a micropatronage with a $7777 target— to put food on his table for four months while he gives up his day job and goes a’beating on important government-type doors to demand the real moolah… seven million dollars to fund Open & Closed, his seven-year accessibility research project.

The Open & Closed Project is a new research project headquartered in Toronto. Our main goal is to improve quality by setting standards for the four fields of accessible media – captioning, audio description, subtitling, and dubbing. We’ll develop those standards through research and evidence-gathering. Where research or evidence is missing on a certain topic, we’ll carry it out ourselves.

We’ll test the finished standards for a year in the real world, then publish them. (You’ll be able to download them for free or buy them in several formats.) Then we’ll develop training and certification programs for practitioners. It will finally be possible to become a certified captioner (or audio describer or subtitler or dubbing artist).

We’ll also develop and test improved fonts for captioning and subtitling (already underway). We’ll develop a universal file format.

Joe’s style is often combative, and it draws as much criticism as it does praise, but you can’t fault his passion and his dedication to universal accessibility. If you’re a human being and you give a damn—and especially if you’re a web developer, media creator, or software developer and you give a damn— go and donate today.