Why the US Government Just Made Its Own Font

While most of the changes won’t be terribly interesting to anyone who doesn’t build websites for a living, one big change caught our eye: the federal government has created its own bespoke typeface for the project, fittingly named Public Sans.

Coolest thing I have seen about the government in quite some time.

Fortunately, the GSA is releasing Public Sans under the SIL Open Font License, so designers working on projects outside of the federal government will be able to freely utilize the new typeface.

I actually used to run a call center program for the General Services Administration (GSA).

App Highlight: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts is an app for listening to, discovering and managing podcasts. This post will focus on the Android version, which is available on the Google Play Store for $3.99.

Over the years I've used several podcast apps but have stuck with Pocket Casts for two reasons. The first is that it is cross-platform. It has an iOS version and a recently launched desktop web app that make listening to podcasts across multiple platforms seamless.  The other reason is the app's design.  The app is beautifully designed and the developer frequently updates it to make it fit in with the current UI decisions of the platform itself.

From discovering new podcasts to downloading (or streaming) ones that you're already subscribed to, Pocket Casts makes the entire process elegant and intuitive.  If you're new to listening to podcasts, it has a Discover section where you can view what podcasts are popular in different genres.  You can even browse through podcast networks so that all shows on that network are available in a single view.  No matter how you discover a podcast, a full show description is available and you just tap a button to subscribe to ones you like.  Once subscribed, you can select how many downloaded episodes to keep and you can have all new episodes automatically download any time you are connected to WiFi.  It makes managing podcast updates something you never have to think about. 

The player interface is designed with advanced users in mind, however, the careful placement of controls doesn't overburden even the casual listener. It makes accessing things like show notes (which allows links to be opened), the Up Next playlist and playback speed controls accessible, but not distracting. Podcast artwork is front and center in this view and it is presented beautifully.

Here's a short demo of the app so you can see some of the features mentioned above in action:

App Highlight: Croma

Croma for Android is a lovely app for managing and creating color palettes. It is available for free on the Google Play Store and offers enhanced functionality via in-app purchase.

If you've ever done design work, you know how much a good color palette can make all the difference. Croma is designed with Android's new Material Design asthetic, which makes it feel all the more fresh. As the quick walk-through video shows, creating a palette (complete with color code values) from an existing image is simple and elegant.