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Typeface Review

TXT101

Reviewed by André Mora on March 11, 2014

Latin is, like, so boring. Enter: the Internet, where there is no shortage of alternatives to lorem ipsum dolor… . From cats to cupcakes, Samuel L. Jackson to Carl Sagan, topical lorem ipsum generators are desperate to make your fake pages look real.

But are these ipsum-ators really useful? Many just collect buzzwords, or are comprised of complete sent­ences demanding to be read. When in fact, dummy text should be ignorable — that’s the whole point. A legit replacement for lorem ipsum would actually take the editorial process seriously and consider word and sentence lengths and generate randomized copy.

Or you could drop the words altogether.

Carolina de Bartolo did just that. TXT101 is lorem ipsum for lorem ipsum. A winking, 52-style family in four weights, TXT101 provides a visual alternative to placeholder text. It’s a mock font that mocks not.

Straight lines are regularly used in graphics to indicate text, when the focus is on some other principle. But they tend to feel cold and lifeless. To show areas of type that feel like type — or words, at least — try TXT101. The effect is great for presentation slides, when actual text-rendering might suffer due to scale, resolution, or the distance of the audience from the screen.

What really makes TXT101 a steal at $39 is that it’s actually much more than a text simulator. The type­face’s best asset is its ability to create borders within a single text frame. With its loops, waves, and angular pieces, you can make rows, and then, with stylistic sets, turn it all into a smart border (contextual alternates form the corners).

Once you get the hang of it, you can combine styles and create unique rules and borders. Mix up the weights, and you’ll find that TXT101 doesn’t just set text in the abstract, it can finish off a real page with a fully realized frame. Now, what’s Latin for: “Fake it ’til you make it”?

André Mora is an editor and typographer at Font Bureau. He has designed a lot of magazines and taught Publishing Design at Cornish College of the Arts. He likes it when fonts are printed on paper.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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