Category Archives: FontShop Education

FontShop Friday Five: Reboot

FridayFive0708Friday Five is back! We know you’re busy and the Internet is a crowded place, so we’ll try to give you a little reminder on Fridays of what’s going on out there. Below please find five recent FontShop-related threads that you may have missed.

TYPO San Francisco
Have you purchased your ticket to TYPO Rhythm yet? Save $100 if you buy before January 15!

On the FontFeed
Yves Peters starts the year off with his Type of Music of recently released albums.

Buyer’s Guide
Theresa shares the basics of Letters from Sweden’s EULA this week on the blog.

FontShop Newsletters
Perk up your inbox with our bi-weekly newsletters!  We highlight new fonts and promotions every other Wednesday so make sure to sign-up today.

Reflecting on 2013
With 2013 behind us, we haven’t forgotten to keep our resolutions in mind. Check out our top Type Resolutions for 2013.

Friday Five Fonts:  Terital United by Letterbox and Salvo Sans Black by Font Bureau

Typographic Horrors: Impostrophes!!!

Happy Halloween! The final installment in our series, read if you dare:

A horrible feeling settled into her stomach as she read the article spelling out her impending doom. She didn’t know if she was being quoted or possessed. She felt dumb. Nothing was right and she worried it never would be again. 

A common typographic error of the modern era of which nary a designer is completely immune. Oftentimes, software guesses wrong and will turn your apostrophes into quotes or vice versa. Anticipate the problem and fix in proofreading. Bloggers should pay special attention and use html quotes or Macintosh keyboard shortcuts if necessary.

Graphic set in Sunrise Till Sunset Buried Deep International by Comicraft

Typographic Horrors: The Bolding That Wasn’t

Part five in our series, we hope you’re not getting nightmares:

He only noticed the effects of it over time, more like arsenic than the guillotine. Something so beautiful and young shouldn’t have to endure wearing such a horrific mask, when its real features are much bolder. But how could he have known? He wasn’t used to working in this platform and he realized his fatal error much too late.  He didn’t mean to inflict such a slow death on web typography.

Faux bolding and faux italic is a common crime for designers using webfonts. It happens by not specifying the font family properly. Instead of showing a true bold or a true italic, the browser or renderer will embolden or slant a regular weight. You can fix this issue by defining your font family properly in the CSS, including links to each font that will be required.

Graphic set in Confidential OT by FontFont

Typographic Horrors: Vertical Rhythm Vertigo

Part four in our series. Scared yet?:

Nausea swept over her. Looking at the body copy rendered her incapacitated. She couldn’t tell if the sentences belonged together in one cohesive paragraph or if text had gone missing. As her eyes leapt and jolted from one line to the next, she couldn’t tell if the previous thought had led her to the present, or if the text had by some malevolence been sliced apart and rearranged. She looked away into the stormy night and glanced back at the page once more, before passing out. As she awoke all she could see were gaping holes between lines of now meaningless words killed by inattentive designs.

Uneven vertical rhythm occurs when your line height shifts, having inconsistent values from one line to the next. It most generally occurs from testing out different leading values and not deciding on just one. It can also happen by patching together text layers in Frankenstein fashion. The best solution to avoid this is for designers to adhere to a strict baseline grid.

Graphic set in Mason Serif OT by Emigre

Typographic Horrors: Fake Small Decapitation

Part three in our series of blood-curdling common mistakes:

He shuddered, realizing something didn’t add up. An impostor had snuck into the midst and only those with  a trained eye such as his could spot the difference.“Good God!” he panicked, “The others don’t even know the horror right in front of their eyes! And they won’t until it’s too late.” He silently sobbed knowing that the real thing looked so much better than this typographic incubus. He vowed revenge on the designer who denied life to OpenType features, opting instead for fake small caps.

Certain desktop publishing programs allow you to too easily create ad hoc small caps. Fake small caps are simply scaled-down regular caps, their weight is too light and their proportions too narrow, which makes them look wispy (a tell-tale sign of an impostor). Instead, use them through the OpenType features or a separate small caps font. Your design will look the way the typographer intended, with the symphony of letterforms playing correctly together.

“FAKE” in graphic set in Poltergeist by GarageFonts

Typographic Horrors: The Ghost in the Machine Optical Spacing

Part two in our series of gory design:

In an unassuming office building, in Anywhere, U.S.A., a designer sits, her hand on the trigger. Thunder clashes outside, cold rain falls on her keyboard through a leak in the roof . Though the letters beautifully dance together on the page, their individual forms joining in unison to form words and sentences, she needs to fit in just that much more copy. A dark voice in her head whispers, “Just do this so you can go home. It’ll make it fit more easily, the reader be damned!” Temptation overcomes her and she changes the box from “Auto” and starts clicking arrows left and right. Somewhere a typographer dies a little.

In design programs like Adobe Creative Suite, there’s a built-in default for spacing that’s created to go with the metrics built into the professionally crafted font that you’ve purchased. The type designer carefully spaced and kerned the font: a conscious decision based on experience and know-how instead of a mechanical solution. By setting the kerning/spacing to “optical,” you negate the input of the type designer. Though more difficult to do now than the early days of such applications, sometimes people inadvertently end up fiddling with the setting.  So unless you’re a typographer, leave it as is.

“Ghost” in graphic set in FF Pitu by FontFont

Typographic Horrors: Rivers of Terror

Halloween is just a week away and to get you in the mood we’ll be rolling out a series of tales about common typographic errors over the next few days. We won’t leave you completely in the cold and dark – we’ll also tell you how to avoid committing such deadly sins. And now, for our first horror story:

She opened the book and screamed. Remnants of the crime splattered across the page. Crimson in magnitude, the glaring error ran in deep rivulets throughout each paragraph. “RIVERS!” she shrieked. “RIIIIIVERS!”

It was a crime of negligence, really. A rookie mistake by a designer not bent toward mayhem, but hurried to finish the job. He simply hadn’t checked after full justifying the paragraphs in the text. As a result, his ignorance had created unsightly patterns of white space that ran the length of the pages in the document – rivers.

He could’ve easily avoided it all. By taking some extra time to adjust his hyphenation and justification settings or choosing a typeface with different letterspacing the reader would be spared. The ultimate fix to avoid such pain and suffering? Rewriting the copy to fit to the page.

“Rivers!!!” text in graphic set in Dead Mans Chest by Comicraft

Five Ways to Impress Your Typography Teacher This Semester

Heading back to the classroom this fall? Forget putting an apple on the desk. Here are some sure-fire ways to impress both your instructors and classmates using tools from FontShop.

5. Readily reference your summer reading from the FontShop Education pages.

4. Design your online portfolio using webfonts. Won’t your professor be impressed when your gorgeous site shows up in search results?

3. Bring up new fonts highlighted in FontShop’s twice monthly newsletters in class discussion.

2. Constantly refer to alternatives for common typefaces and the perfect font for every project.

1. Preload your iPad with the FontBook app, impress your instructor and wow your classmates. And, of course, let us know if you get any dates through showcasing 620,000 type specimens in your lab.

When Visual Met Virtual

Bridging the digital divide, a group of around 75 designers and developers gathered Wednesday evening at San Francisco’s Storek Building to discuss how the two teams can work together. The group listened to a panel of three people who’ve successfully worked on both sides of the coin. Chris Palmatier of Neighborland gave great tips to designers looking to work with developers, and speaking to the developer side were Gregor Martynus, Founder of Minutes.io and Cary Dunn, CTO of Right Signature. An active Q&A session followed the panel discussion.

Takeaways from Chris:

  • It is good to have at least some understanding of what the other side does. If you are focused in one area that’s fine but you should at least find something in the other field that interests you and learn about it. Being a designer who knows a bit of PHP doesn’t hurt and being a Developer who knows something about color theory doesn’t hurt.
  • Make the focus of your collaboration about the product—how it uniquely serves the user.
  • CSS shouldn’t be scary to print designers, it’s exactly like setting up styles in InDesign when working in long-form documents.

Takeaways from Gregor:

  • I don’t care if you are the best designer in the world, if we don’t share the same vision I would not hire you. You need to talk to people to be able to get a feel for them when you are hiring.
  • Anyone can sketch the “essence” of a product, you don’t need to be a designer or developer per se.
  • Important to establish wireframes before getting into visual design. The uglier they are, the better, because they represent the essence of the thing.

Takeaways from Cary:

  • Focus how a product works.
  • Finding a designer depends on what kind of design and how technical the designer is.

Chris also recommends designers look into this resource:

I mentioned playbook.thoughtbot.com last night. While it’s not specifically about the design/dev boundary, it’s a good window onto how an internet manufacturing concern works, which might require some demystifying for a designer who hasn’t yet dived into creating web products.

Did you attend the event? What did you think?

FontShop Friday Five: Resources & Revisiting

We know you’re busy and the Internet is a crowded place, so we’ll try to give you a little reminder on Fridays of what’s going on out there. Below please find five recent FontShop-related threads that you may have missed.

Brush Up with our Education Resources

Just in time for the start of the school year, we’ve updated our education library with everything you wanted to know about webfonts and how licensing works.

New Foundry & New Fonts in Latest Newsletter

Did you miss our latest newsletter on Wednesday? Read it here. Then check out our new foundry, Canada Type, as well as the great new selections from Sudtipos and Three Islands Press. You can subscribe to newsletters on this page to get this font delight in your inbox twice a month.

A New Perspective on FontBook App

Our new type expert explores the FontBook for iPad.

Be There or Be Square

We’re pretty darn excited for our big designer/developer meetup on Wednesday. Are you coming? Can’t make it? What would you ask our panel if you could?

On the Font Feed

Yves Peters highlights two film projects with a focus on type history. Speaking of film, help Yves show Austin what’s up with Trajan in Movie Posters at SXSW 2012.

Friday Five Fonts: Sugar Pie by Sudtipos and Gibson by Canada Type

New Education Resources: Webfonts & Licensing

Recently we reminded you of our education section on FontShop.com and today we’re happy to announce that we’ve added two new resources to the library.

This semester we are guiding you through the world of webfonts and through the basics of licensing.

Webfonts: A Designer’s Guide

The webfonts guide walks you through the files, shows you how to implement them, and directs you to tools that should help in the design process.

Licensing 101: Free Fonts Are Not Always Free

Borrowing from a popular FontFeed post, our licensing guide takes you through the sometimes murky world of “free” fonts. We know that students utilize free and discounted fonts as they begin their design education. If a font isn’t free, remember that  you can sign up for an account on FontShop.com with your .edu email address and use the promo code Educate10 to obtain 10% off your entire purchase.

FontShop Friday Five: Welcome to August

We know you’re busy and the Internet is a crowded place, so we’ll try to give you a little reminder on Fridays of what’s going on out there. Below please find five recent FontShop-related threads that you may have missed.

August is Here with a New Newsletter

Did you miss our latest newsletter on Wednesday? Read it here. Then check out the great new selections from TypeTrust, Red Rooster, Alias, Emigre and Dalton Maag. You can subscribe to newsletters on this page to get this font deliciousness in your inbox twice a month.

Join the FontShop Team

We’re hiring in San Francisco! Join us as a Systems Admin & Architect or Entry-level Sales/Support Representative. Learn a little more about our customer support team here.

Let Us Be Your Resource

Did you know about our Education section or student discount? Learn about our resources here. FontBook can also be a great resource for those learning about type. Check out an interactive way to learn about classes and subclasses for each typeface.

On the FontFeed

Yves Peters highlights a new mini-documentary on type and the 2012 Typodarium. And don’t forget, you can win tickets to TYPO London!

Visual, Meet Virtual

On August 24, FontShop San Francisco is hosting a designer meetup with a twist. We’ve partnered with the Storek Building to create Visual Meets Virtual, an opportunity for designers and developers to connect on projects. There will also be pizza, beer and fun.

Friday Five Fonts:  Packard New Style by Red Rooster and Rhythm by TypeTrust

Go Back to School with FontShop


School is starting soon and FontShop is here to help improve your typographic skills. Visit our Education page and download our PDFs created with students and lifelong learners in mind. Even if you just need to brush up on some terms or need a few tips, the Education page is a great resource to bookmark.

Additionally, for weekly typographic tips you can follow @TypeTips on Twitter.

Student Discounts Available

Sign up for an account on FontShop.com with your .edu email address and use the promo code Educate10 to obtain 10% off your entire purchase.

FontShop’s Education Page

FontShop.com is more than a site that sells fonts — we want to help you do great work too. That’s why we created our new Education page. Enhance your design skills, whether you’re a student in Type 101 or a seasoned professional.

The Education page premieres with four docs filled with typography tips and tutorials from our team of experts. The PDFs are formatted for easy downloading and printing, perfect for the classroom or studio.

Meet Your Type: A Field Guide to Typography

Why settle for casual flirtation when looking for a long-lasting relationship? Finding the perfect match is easy if you know the rules. “Meet Your Type” will help you overcome common obstacles, and keep your heart thumping for your one true love: typography.

Created in collaboration with students at Brigham Young University, this fully illustrated booklet is written in a casual, light-hearted tone that’s easy to read, and hard to put down. Packed with useful textbook info — without the boring textbook text.

Download Meet Your Type on the Education page.

Erik Spiekermann’s TypoTips: Seven Rules for Better Typography

Ever since the invention of “desktop publishing” designers still make the same classic blunders in typesetting, even in top-quality printed matter. Erik Spiekermann, FontShop founder, designer of FF Meta®, and co-author of the classic typographer primer “Stop Stealing Sheep”, offers his top tips for steering clear of the most obvious but common mistakes.

Download Erik Spiekermann’s Typo Tips on the Education page.

FontShop Education on Twitter

Erik Spiekermann: “NEVER use CAPITAL letters to accentuate words in running copy. They STICK OUT far too much. Use italics instead.”

Follow @TypeTips on Twitter and keep sharp with regular excerpts from our Education docs and links to other useful typography info from around the web.

Read Education Docs Anywhere

Type Anatomy

FontShop Education docs were designed for easy reference wherever you need them — on your desktop screen, the printed page, or your mobile device. The PDFs read especially well in iBooks on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

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