Hello, Type for Illustration. Goodbye Type Worship

14 August 2023
4 min read

If you’re one of the 220,000+ Type Worship followers on Tumblr, or a regular visitor over the last 12 years, you might be wondering what on earth is going on. Well, here I’ll explain all, and I'll also let you in on a little secret…

I started the Type Worship blog back in 2011 while still working at my digital agency. At the time I had no idea it would grow so fast, or that it would propel me into a completely new career.

The blog began as a personal research aid, a place to collect examples of the type and lettering that inspired me, along with my own notes and commentary. Tumblr was on the rise and its short-form blog platform felt like the perfect place to host it all.

The Type Worship blog. Screenshot 28 February 2013
The Type Worship blog, 28 February 2013

Type Worship grew rapidly. It gained support from Tumblr, which added it to a ‘Spotlight’ list of blogs to follow. I kept blogging in my spare time and grew familiar with the key figures working in the type and lettering industry and the underlying design trends. Eventually, I began to approach type designers and lettering artists, hoping to learn more about their work.

I even wrote blog posts, about the blogging, for other blogs, like Creative Bloq.

Tumblr spotlight featuring Type worship

At this time, Seb Lester was becoming well-known for his gorgeous lettering work (this was before he became a calligraphy superstar). I contacted him out of the blue in 2012 to ask for an interview and he agreed. Even though my blog was growing fast I was worried this opportunity might be too big for the blog. I needed back-up!

8 Faces Magazine

I’d met Elliot Jay Stocks at an event during my agency days. He’d set-up the popular typography magazine called 8 Faces, which was on a whole other level compared to my humble blog. I called him to ask if he’d be interested in publishing my interview with Seb in 8 Faces.

Not only did Elliot agree, he also wondered if my blog and 8 Faces might join forces? This set off a chain of events that led to Type Worship becoming the official blog of the 8 Faces magazine. I also wrote articles and interviewed type designers for the magazine and subsequent book.

Our partnership culminated in me flying to New York to interview Michael Beirut of Pentagram, while Erik Spiekermann wrote, “Need to go back to 8Faces more: blog.8faces.com great blog about type & typography.”

The complete set of 8 Faces magazine issues

More importantly, it led to a life-long friendship between myself and Elliot. We now even live in the same village, just outside Bristol (that was a bizarre coincidence, I assure you!). We can regularly be found in our local pub, talking about fonts and life.

Growth and Sponsorship

After the release of the final issue of 8 Faces and the publication of an omnibus book, Type Worship continued to grow. For several years, it was sponsored by the global type foundry Monotype. At its height, Type Worship became one of the web's largest type and lettering blogs. By late 2018, it enjoyed a following of almost 225,000 type enthusiasts.

Type Worship statistics in 2018

However, by that point Tumblr had been in decline for a while. New follower numbers grew but interactions were slowing. My blog posts became less frequent and my audience drifted to other platforms.

I recently decided to stop posting to tumblr and focus my efforts on my own platform. For now, I'm going to leave the Type Worship blog where it is. I'll be migrating over some of the most popular content to this blog (there are over 1000 posts so it can't all come!).

New blog: Type for Illustration

With my new blog, I intend to continue exploring the world of type and lettering, The focus will tighten to examine the relationship between, you guessed it, type and illustration. I'll write more about that in my next post.

And the secret I promised to share? Well, in fact there are a few. I’d never run a blog before. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I just jumped straight in with a passion and the urge to learn more. The blog offered me a veil of legitimacy with which to approach established type designers and lettering artists. It also gave me the space to educate myself about the industry with no preconceived vision of where it might lead.

The blog gave me the confidence to try my hand at type and lettering myself and it propelled me towards the type design course at Reading University. I had no idea it would be a catalyst for a career change that currently has no end in sight. Let’s hope this new blog will write another momentous chapter.

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