Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Fonts, February 2012

February brought us loads of great new faces, a bit heavy on novelty, but not without its finds. Here are three script faces that stood out to us, and if you’re still left wanting, see the complete list. Now on to the good stuff.

In Filmotype Havana, Charles Gibbons masterfully gives new life to this casual signage hand from the mid-20th century.

Feel Script by Alejandro Paul of Sudtipos brings back some of the wonder of 1950s-era ad lettering.

Stephen Rapp’s Shoebop similarly explores a fifties feel, but carries itself with an awkward adolescent gait. Though highly expressive, the letterforms’ introverted gestures are careful not to stick out too much.

Staff Picks, February 2012

Staff picks are out for February. See the complete list. Here are a few endorsements.

Theresa picks Ronnia by Veronika Burian & José Scaglione of TypeTogether

“A friendly sans serif with multiple styles and sweet italics.”

Jason picks Airy by Alexandra Korolkova; published by ParaType

“Airy, it smacks Curlz® and pulls its hair.”

Our Systems Administrator Mark picks Bourgeois by Jonathan Barnbrook, Marcus McCallion; published by Virus Fonts

Mark admits his attraction to Bourgeois’s “somewhat techie feel.” Don’t miss the Alts!

Linotype Film Premieres on the West Coast

Doug Wilson’s Linotype: the Film premiered in San Francisco Tuesday night to two back-to-back sold out audiences. The subject of the film is the historical impact of the Linotype typecasting machine on its trade, and on society.

Director Doug Wilson (in shirt and tie) talks as film attendees fill the venue.

I was first introduced to Doug Wilson through his writing. In The Eighth Wonder, published in Codex, Issue 1, his story revolves largely around the personal misfortune of Linotype inventor, Ottmar Mergenthaler. While its design and mechanical precision was undoubtedly the work of genius, Mergenthaler’s proneness toward its constant improvement put him at odds with the project’s principal backer, newspaper man Whitelaw Reid. Reid wanted a finalized product that could be sold and shipped. In the film, Reid is resoundingly pronounced a tyrant, ruling ‘with an iron hand.’  The resulting product, despite its complexity, eventually succeeded in mass production, and became the foundation of an enormously profitable business, as well as “the pinnacle of late-Victorian mechanical engineering.”

Diagram detail from The Official Manual, Linotype Machine Principles, 1940.

Most notably, the movie wasn’t some sad story about a few sweet old men left behind as the history of their trade was lost. Though some genuinely sweet old men make up the cast of the documentary, the tone of the film is hopeful. One bit of evidence was the small but much younger group of ‘second generation’ Linotype operators. Another was presented like this: With the use of the Linotype, the work of one man was now equal to that of 6 hand-typesetters. While this initially spelled ruin to the typesetting trade, within a decade of its introduction all these workers and more were called back to the industry, as the many new volumes of books, magazines, and newspapers – now produced and sold at a much more affordable price – needed someone to make them.

After the film, the director answered the audience’s questions, including “How much did a Linotype cost?” and “Is anyone making new matrices for the Linotype?” The answers took a bit of explaining. The first typecasters sold for the equivalent of a house, “between $10- and $50,000.” This expense could be made up in the case of a newspaper, for example, in a couple of years. The ‘matrices’ – mats, in Linotype terminology, underwent 63 machine processes in their production. All of the custom machinery that made the mats was scrapped with the close of the Linotype factory’s hot metal era, thus “even with today’s technology, their reproduction would be completely nonviable, impossible.”

The film was received entirely positively. Its release to DVD happens Summer 2012.

Signpainting at New Bohemia Signs

Michael Pieracci and I stopped in on our just-up-the-street neighbors at New Bohemia Signs last Saturday during their first-ever signpainting workshop. You may remember hearing that name from one of our FontCasts. When we first approached the studio’s proprietor, Damon Styer, about incorporating some kind of a brush lettering workshop at TYPO San Francisco, he invited us to come see how this one came off. From a bystander viewpoint, and from the mouths of his students, everyone seemed happy with the results.

Damon had long intended to offer some sort of instructional workshop to interested parties. Things picked up speed when a gentleman stopped into the shop last year looking for a unique Christmas gift for his wife. “For the first time, we kind of had to set a date and plan on it,” Damon explained. Several graphic designers, artists, letterers, and fans of the shop caught word and responded that they too hoped to attend, and with minimal trouble all vacancies were filled.

The students were started out with some tips on how to hold the brush and how to approach letter construction; the rest was practice, practice, practice. Damon made the rounds during practice time to answer questions and jump in when his pupils needed help.

After working through some details, Michael and I are pleased to announce that Damon’s brush lettering workshop will be available to conference attendees at TYPO San Francisco. Details on how the workshop will be set up and which day(s) it will be offered are not yet set, but if interested please check back on the conference website for the full details as they become available.

A Walk Though FontBook 2.0

Taking a couple hours to get up to speed with the recently updated FontBook App this morning, I found what makes the new version better, and worth the upgrade. Its new collections give you more and easier ways to find what you’re looking for, and even if your typographic knowledge is expert, plenty of opportunities to be surprised along the way. Keep reading for some news about our favorite app for iPad.

Without a doubt, the top feature of FontBook 2.0 is its auto update. Now instead of holding a fixed number of fonts (albeit a very large fixed number), the new version quietly updates itself with the latest from FontShop.

Getting into the two new buttons on the opening screen, News & Trends, and Usage, I first went to see what Usage was all about. By Genre, I found list after list of descriptive categorizations, mainly organizing the faces by formal characteristics: Distressed Sans, Dotted, Multiline, 3d Embossed, etc.. I’ve linked to the corresponding FontLists.

Browsing by Period allows the researcher to flip through types based on more than classification or year of release, but by popular association to a given period. The ‘Art Deco,’ or ’1950s’ set for example contains not only types designed during the period, but also those most evocative of it.

The Award Winners section within News/Trends  makes for a fantastic browse, turning up no lack of new and very good text faces for sophisticated, understated typography.

Speaking of, we’ve just this morning learned that FontBook’s creators have been honored with the Certificate of Typographic Excellence from the Type Directors Club at their annual TDC Communication Design Competition. We’re very happy to hear the news.

FF Skill Sets

With our latest releases from FontFont came the news of a new kind of collection, FontFont Skill Sets. Three curated collections, one for advertising & packaging, one for editorial & publishing, and one for corporate & business work make it simpler to build a library of fonts you can use. The idea of reintroducing collections (FontFont used to sell collections on CD) comes from the consistent requests FontFont gets to recommend ‘starter’ sets to its clients, young designers mainly.

What’s inside

Each of the FF Skill Sets contains a selection of the most indispensable weights of several very good, contemporary, and recently released faces, curated with that collection’s specific applications in mind. OT packages—the high-bang-per-buck but without extended language support variety—offer what most projects need without letting too many options get in the way.

Just picking out a few from the Advertising & Packaging Skill Set includes among lots of others selections from Evert Bloemsma’s FF Cocon, Hans Reichel’s FF Sari, Xavier Dupré’s FF Tartine Script, Just van Rossum’s FF Brokenscript, FF FlightcaseH.A. Simon’s FF Market, Nick Shinn’s FF Fontesque, FF Oneleigh; Daniel Fritz’s FF Ticket, and the FF Dingbats 2.0 set by Johannes Erler, Olaf Stein & Henning Skibbe.

It’s difficult to mention any of these without mentioning them all. Lucky for us, the other two collections emphasize more weights within fewer families.

The FF Editorial & Publishing Skill Set chooses from the weights of FF Atma, Clifford, Legato, Meta Headline, Strada, Eureka, Parable, Celeste (this cut of Celeste is specific to small settings), Nexus Serif & Nexus Mix, Unit, Zine Sans & Zine Slab.

And the FF Corporate & Business set contains selections from FF Dax, Kievit, Meta, Letter Gothic Mono, Fago, Magda Clean & Magda Clean Mono, Zwo, Plus, and Page & Page Serif.

Though I left the labels off for fear of too much repetition, every type family above starts with FF.

One last thing: If you’re a student who’s ‘goin’ legit’ with properly licensed fonts, you’ll notice that when you go to buy one of these packages, or when you get your parents to buy it for you, that it comes at a significant discount. Let me repeat that. It’s significant. Send your inquiry to education@fontshop.com to find out what I’m talking about.

FontShop Friday Five: Early

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.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Eager to experience the inaugural TYPO San Francisco? Tickets for this conference of design, culture, society – with a little bit of kerning went on sale this week. Get a great deal with early bird pricing through the end of the year.

Be Early in Exploring New Typography

Here’s our list of November’s new fonts.

Start Celebrating Early

We began counting down to 2012 this week, in typographic terms of course.

Get Your Early Issues

Yves Peters explores the new issue of 8 Faces. Also, sign up early to receive next week’s edition of the FontShop Newsletter.

Gone Too Early

We end this week on a somber note, with a memorial to the multi-talented Hans Reichel.

Friday Five Fonts: Miss Lankfort by Sudtipos and Filmotype Horizon by Filmotype

Pilgrim Type

With Thanksgiving fast approaching here in the New World, I decided to do a bit of research into a subject I knew little about: what types did the Pilgrims use? Right off, I’ve had to enlarge the definition of ‘use’ and perhaps also ‘pilgrim,’ since English America didn’t see its own printing press until several years after the famous November 1621 feast at Plymouth.

P22 Mayflower by Ted Staunton, published by Sherwood

The Pilgrims read from popular religious books such as the Bible and other slightly lesser-known Puritan works with titles like Observations Divine and Moral; Defense Propounded by the Synod of Dort. These tracts and books were published back in England using types we classify today as being Baroque, or Dutch Old Style.

It was nearly 20 years later when the first printing press of the English colonies was set up in Henry Dunster’s house, in 1638. Dunster would become the first president of Harvard University. The arrangements were made by Joseph Glover who selected a printer, a Mr. Day, and transported him and his family to Cambridge. The first job printed at the Cambridge Press was done on half a broadsheet, and was known as the Freeman’s Oath. No originals survive.

We should end here. Several printers arrived in America after the establishment of the Cambridge Press. William Bradford famously started the New York Gazette as an escape from the constraints on publishing in early Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin can receive some credit for popularizing the types of Caslon and Baskerville in America. Though since we don’t generally count earlier colonialists of the 18th century among the Pilgrims, these must wait their turn.

What is a Foundry?

Foundries make type. They can be large organizations or small, one or two-person operations. Historically, foundries turned out a physical product — metal type cast from a font of molten lead. These productions, however small in scale, necessitated the procurement of heavy, skilled labor. The masters who hand-cut the punches, down to those who kept the fires burning still got greasy every day. It was hard work. Up until the turn of the last century, the trade of type design kept its perception as blue collar. At foundries presently, there is little commotion compared to the hot metal days when you could tell a foundry worker by the smell. Gutenberg was the first, and while we haven’t seen the last, the trend has moved from physical to digital production. But the name ‘foundry’ persists.

Stephenson Blake Foundry, 1914

When I think of foundries today, I tend to think of people like Peter Bruhn, who spends his days drawing and fitting his letters, and checking his proofs, a little time tending to business on the phone or sending emails, but mostly, with the letters. Other designers can release their fonts through Peter’s foundry, but for now, it’s mostly him. Foundries can sell their types directly, or through distributors, who take a cut of the revenue to pay for promotion and operating costs.

Mayo by Peter Bruhn of Fountain

So what is FontShop?

FontShop is the first of the independent digital type retailers. Our aim from the beginning arose from the idea that great design is a valuable service to everyone. And since great typography is the core of great graphic design, we made it our purpose to improve design by making the best type available to designers everywhere. In the beginning this meant that we printed and sold big yellow books, and waited by the phone with price lists, ready to mail out diskettes, same-day. Now it means that we curate a collection of type online, and publish newsletters, blog posts, tweets and comments, produce and commission original artwork, and sponsor and host design conferences, and of course, reach out to new foundries.

What makes FontShop independent?

While we deal with hundreds of foundries, we don’t hold the intellectual property of any. Each foundry retains the rights of authorship for its original works and chooses which of its fonts to let us sell. We do our part to make and publish promotional material, help our customers choose the best type for a given project, and sell licenses to the fonts.

Great type in print, web & mobile: the 360° approach

Crafting a well-branded message takes great design, and great design takes great typography.

When webfonts began to receive broad support at the tail end of the past decade, a new internet appeared with it. Given the ability to specify font families on the web, designers embraced their new medium and began to work layouts from the typography out, rather than from the bounds of an arbitrary rectangle inward.

From the first release of Web FontFonts, FontShop has delivered a consistent experience with type optimized for screen readability with faces that also get great results in print. That same level of sophistication is now available for mobile apps.

Customers choose what feels right.

Giving consumers a familiar experience, one that they’ll return to, is best accomplished by making use of familiar elements, like a continuous visual vocabulary, palette, voice, and tone. Consistent typography is one of the best ways to unobtrusively remind the customer that it’s you with whom they choose to deal. When deploying across multiple media, choosing similar faces can be a challenge, but when one starts with mobile fonts, it need not be.

Print, type’s first love.

Working in print, the level of typographic control and comfort inherent in a fixed media size is one of most fulfilling aspects of the process. Handling print media is a physical, literal experience. It seems that nothing has yet rivaled print’s ability to at once disarm and stimulate original thought. All of the faces offered in both mobile & web formats originated as print designs, and offer the level of sophistication that typographers have learned to expect from great print faces.

Mobile FontFonts let you use the same face across platforms

With mobile fonts, we’ve given designers the ability to work across media and create a consistent experience whether online, in print, or in-app. Visit MobileFontFonts.com to see a selection of mobile font packages in faces that can also be licensed for web and print as well.

Wondering how to talk to your app developer about mobile fonts?

Sending them the Mobile FontFont use page is a good start. From there they can download sample code, get a few pointers from our app developers (the same ones who designed the FontBook app), and even test a full-featured mobile font.

The example faces used in this post are FF Duper and FF Clifford. FF Duper Mobile, FF Duper Web, FF Duper Pro; FF Clifford Mobile, FF Clifford Web, FF Clifford Pro

Our Category page looks new.

We’ve updated our category page to make it easier to find the type you’re looking for, in the style you’re looking for. Designer Anna Eshelman worked in conjunction with me (David) and front-end developer Jacob Swartz to get the page looking and working right.

“When thinking about redesigning the category page, we wanted to make it easier for users to access bestsellers and subcategories of what they’re looking for – or to just simply explore. One of the goals of the new page was to shine a little more light on FontLists.”

 


Anna continues, “With thousands of families, fonts, and FontLists to keep in mind, presenting just a single visual for each category didn’t seem quite right. An idea sprouted and we decided to implement it: the example images for each category (“Sans”, “Serif”, etc.) rotate on refresh. If you mouse over, you’ll find out what typeface you’re looking at. Try it out!

New Fonts, October 2011

October left us with a number of great new additions, including the new foundry psType and a new product line for a new destination, mobile fonts. See all of October’s new fonts.

FF Good, FF CelesteFF Yoga & FF Suhmo Mobile Font packages

Mobile Fonts arrive. In the same way webfonts allow the designer to specify types outside of the web-safe options for the browser, mobile fonts give the app developer more choices that work at the application level on iPhone and iPad. Browse the Mobile FontFont microsite for a complete listing of fonts ready to embed in iOS apps.

Sweet Square by Mark van Bronkhorst, published by Sweet

Prior to type designer Mark van Bronkhorst’s expansion on the style into Sweet Square, the popular stationer’s face existed as type in the lone Sackers Square Gothic. Sweet Square completes the character set to include lowercase, and pairs the roman with an italic, in nine weights.

King Tut by Kevin King, published by Canada Type

King Tut is a wide slab serif family drawn from the 1850 Miller & Richard face Egyptian Expanded. The set extends from the monolinear thin weight to a rich heavy black weight, seven all together. The name, King Tut, makes a subtle reference to its author.

Terrifying Type for Halloween

Happy Halloween from the gang at FontShop San Francisco!

Here’s a few treats for you today:

Did you have a type-related costume? Tell us in the comments.

Staff Picks, October 2011

We’ve passed some bits around the office; shuffled some emails. Here are our staff picks for October.

David picks Leitura Sans by Dino dos Santos of DSType.

“Here’s a grotesque that plays on the edge between the American gothic and the European grotesque conventions. To me it comes off as refined and beautiful, set both large and small.” The Leitura Super Family claims Leitura Sans.

Meghan picks FF Good Mobile by Łukasz Dziedzic; published by FontFont

“As a self-proclaimed ‘app addict,’ I love that we now have mobile fonts. It will be nice once apps start looking different from one another using typefaces to brand. Glad that the future is here!”

Anna picks Katarine by Tomas Brousil from Suitcase.

“There’s just something about this face that makes it a pleasure to look at. I enjoy its softness as well as its variety of angles (check out the ‘w’!).”

Theresa’s Tips: My Account Features

Every time you log on to FontShop, you’ll see a My Account link on the top right hand menu. We’ll go over the different features tucked into this section of our site.

The first section of the My Account link is your basic information. If you need to change your name, password, or email address then just hit edit.

Hitting edit will take you to fields that you can modify. For example if you forget your password and need to change it after we provide you with a temporary one, then this is where you can create a new password. Don’t forget to hit save!

FontShop also stores the information of your previous purchases. Choosing an order ID number will take you to a one page summary of the license you purchased.

The best part of this section is that you can download a copy of the fonts you recently licensed if you need them again. We even store your Typekit voucher code, just in case you change your mind and decide not to self host your own webfonts.

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