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Letterpress App

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Oct 25th, 2012. Artwork published in 2012.
Game_iPhone5.png
Source: http://www.atebits.com. License: All Rights Reserved.

No, ink-and-paper fans, this has nothing to do with printing. Released yesterday, Letterpress is a brilliant game for iOS that combines elements of word games like Boggle or Scrabble and territory strategy games like Risk or Strategery. A rounded geometric font with relatively normalized letter widths is a good choice for the game, but there are better options than Museo Sans Rounded, which has some awkward spots (especially at the end of angled strokes) that possibly result from automated rounding or a radius that is too small for the heavy weights. I would have gone with Proxima Sans Soft, Gotham Rounded, or FF DIN Round. Still, Museo Sans is a decent foundation for the tile letters and the rounded version lends a friendly tone to the game while remaining perfectly legible.

An in-app upgrade promises extra game board themes, but they haven’t yet been revealed. Could they bring other type styles with them? Let me know if you want recommendations, atebits. I have some ideas…

Menu_iPhone5.png
Source: http://www.atebits.com. License: All Rights Reserved.
letterpress-mai-100008573-large.png
Source: http://www.macworld.com. License: All Rights Reserved.
letterpress-gameove-100008571-medium.png
Source: http://www.macworld.com. License: All Rights Reserved.
letterpress-gamepla-100008572-medium.png
Source: http://www.macworld.com. License: All Rights Reserved.
letterpress-thumbnail-100008570-medium.png
Source: http://www.macworld.com. License: All Rights Reserved.

7 Comments on “Letterpress App”

  1. Oct 25th, 2012  2:43 pm
    Edit

    Dunno, I find Museo Rounded very fitting for the game. Even if it may have some imperfections in your eyes, it matches the design and atmosphere perfectly.

  2. Oct 25th, 2012  3:24 pm
    EditI was thinking Brandon Grotesque would have been perfect. Still love this game!
  3. Oct 25th, 2012  10:18 pm
    Edit

    Brandon, does its name endear you to the typeface or is that just a coincidence?

    Kidding aside, Brandon Grotesque tiles would probably perform similarly to these, though everything would feel a little more antique and less friendly. But the typeface would fail for the rest of the app because of the lowercase proportions. The very small x-height and long extenders demand large type and a lot of space. It’s really not a good option for UI design.

  4. Jos Buivenga says:
    Oct 27th, 2012  10:56 pm
    Edit

    Just wanted to leave a little comment on the so called awkard spots as they are really intended the way they are, not as rounded stems but as rounded corners. 

  5. Oct 28th, 2012  11:12 am
    Edit

    Thanks for your comment, Jos. I probably gave this nitpick too much emphasis here. I understand that it was an intentional design decision to have flat terminals with rounded corners, but I maintain that some areas look uneven. Of course, this is the reaction of an obsessive with his own preferences. The odd bits are barely visible in the app and I am sure most users don’t notice. Indra states more clearly my main point: the typeface works great for the game overall.

  6. Simon says:
    Oct 29th, 2012  12:02 am
    Edit

    The themes are already available, the second screenshot you’ve posted shows on of the themes.

  7. Simon says:
    Oct 29th, 2012  12:07 am
    Edit

    The choice of typeface will also be heavily influenced by what’s available for embeding. It’s often quite expensive to obtain a license to embed a typeface in an iOS app. Marco Arment recently posted about the difficulty in obtaining licenses.

  8. Oct 29th, 2012  12:25 pm
    Edit

    Simon, all the alternatives I listed are readily embeddable in one way or another. Mark Simonson (Proxima) is a one-man shop who is eager to respond to licensing requests, FontFont (FF DIN) offers one of the most straightforward and reasonably priced mobile font products in the industry, and H&FJ (Gotham) fonts frequently appear in iOS apps. 

    But your point is well taken, generally. Licensing is often overlooked as a major factor in type selection, and the big players have a reputation of being slow to respond to this new medium.

    Thanks for your comment on the themes. I realized shortly after I posted that themes were already in place. Looks like they only offer color changes for now, but a font freak can hope…

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