Monthly Archives: August 2012

New Fonts This Week

All these fresh faces just arrived this week. As always, subscribe to our newsletter and read this blog for the full stories on these. Now for all the latest from:




Orly Stencil

Standing Type

Arnhem Display

Fakt Slab Condensed  / Fakt Slab SemiCondensed

Fontlympics Decathlon Wrap Up

A big hand to all the typefaces that participated in the now complete Fontlympics Decathlon. After all the ups and downs, what a surprise to see Jörg Hemker’s FF Sero emerge with the gold! Klavika’s strong lead held well into the second week until Wednesday’s Pull Quote, when FF Sero steadily pushed into first place. And in a tight match-up Thursday, Jackson Cavanaugh’s Alright Sans squeaked past Eric Olson’s Klavika in the Light Italic event, gaining second place by just ten points—only a tenth of a percentage point! So now with great pleasure we award each of our medalists for their best all-around performance, and thank you our readers for your enthusiastic and discriminating eye.

Special thanks to FF Chartwell and NBGrotesk for their impartial reporting during the games.

Buyer’s Guide: Trying fonts with the FontShop Plugin

If you haven’t already downloaded our FontShop Plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, you’re missing out! Free and easy to use, you can preview any font available on FontShop as long as you have Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator CS5 or above.

When downloading the Plugin, a .zxp file will be downloaded that contains the Plugin for both Photoshop and Illustrator — if you only have one of these programs, you won’t be able to download a separate plugin for either program. Instead, the .zxp file opens up Adobe Extension Manager, which will automatically detect whether you have Photoshop, Illustrator, or both. Don’t worry if you have Photoshop but not Illustrator or vice versa — you’ll still be able to install the Plugin even if you only have one of these programs on your computer.

If you have any questions on how to install or use the Plugin, you can read more about it on the FontShop Plugin page. Don’t forget that our Plugin is still in its beta stage, so if you encounter any issues or have any feedback, please let us know!

While the FontShop Plugin is great for testing out desktop fonts before buying, if you’re looking to test a webfont by FontFont, you can go to FontFonter to try select Web FontFonts on any website.

Fontlympics Decathlon Finale: Long Running Text

Before we get to the clincher, a short stop-in at yesterday’s results FF Sero overtakes Alright Sans by a small margin.


Now on to the final event, the Long Running Text. Select among the competitors below the face that reads best for longer passages. And remember, your vote could decide it all.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). Check back here Monday for the full wrap-up, and thanks for reading.

Home from TypeCon

I’m back from Milwaukee. After spending five days and nights participating in lectures, critiques, and generally staying up late chatting about type design, the type industry as a whole, the webfont market in particular, religion, and politics, I re-embrace the steadier pace of home-and-work life. And while the model here is more sustainable for personal growth and getting things done, I miss already the chaotic and inviting atmosphere of TypeCon. I’m amazed each time at how many new friends I’ve made, and what great connections have happened, and what great direction and advice I’ve gotten both as a writer, and designer.

I’ll now step you through some of the more memorable moments I had during the program, beginning with Thursday night’s intro to the single track conference.

On a side stage, audiovisual production manager JP Porter dissolves to the first title slide of Christian Helms’s talk.

Not only do TypeCon presentations have an all-star cast, they also have an all-star audience. It’s hard to attend the event without literally bumping into an accomplished designer or industry leader like Kent Lew, Steve Matteson, or Daniel Rhatigan, only to name a few in the above shot.

Graphic designer and studio proprietor Christian Helms walks us through his typographically rich and personally invested approach to working.

Educator and type designer Craig Eliason steps through a series of pangrams he’s written, remarking that to him, the perfect pangram is not the one that’s most compact, but the one that most subtly includes all the letters of the alphabet. Number 1113 is my favorite in this regard.

Just outside the conference hall doors, Bill Moran and company from the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum make and sell letterpress posters while you wait.

Mike Parker is recognized for his work advancing the type industry—separating the distribution of typefaces from the technologies that output them. He receives the Society of Typographic Aficionados’s SoTA Award Friday evening.

Saturday night, Alan Haley directs the infamous Type Quiz. If you’ve not seen it first hand, imagine all the front-row-sitting nerds you remember from college—the ones who corrected your art history professors on the obscurest details—packed tightly into the first six rows of the venue, licking their lips at the thought of testing their knowledge and taking home t-shirts and other prizes as a result. With both a crowd-response portion, and a written section, needless to say it could get out of hand.

The Type Quiz re-earns its reputation each year.

In one of the more fun talks of the conference, type designer Antonio Cavedoni points out the ubiquity of customized Stop, ending with this parting thought from its designer Aldo Novarese, “It’s better to be criticized than ignored.”

And Sunday afternoon’s Type Crit was a complete success, exposing young and enthusiastic type designers and their work, myself and my work included, to the wise comments and suggestions of Roger Black, John Downer, and Akira Kobayashi.

Designer Roger Black commented afterward that the past five years have been marked by a dramatic uptick in quality from new type designers.

In sum, there’s no business like the type business, where people whose work you’ve admired your whole life welcome you in, put an arm around you, and help you to become the designer you wish you were. Thanks to the organizers and TypeCon attendees for making another great one happen this year.

Pinterested: New boards this week

This week got off to an exciting start with pictures from Mars, so we felt the need to travel through space and time using the cosmic selection of fonts available at FontShop. We created two fun Pinterest boards — you can choose to space out in a galaxy of fonts or ride on a typographic carousel!

Blasting off with inspiration from familiar Sci-Fi movie posters, you’ll find fonts that fit your futuristic, techno, or alien design needs on our Spacing Out board. Dare mighty things with Starlet Bold from Gestalten or have a friend decode a message you set in Aliens OT from Elsner+Flake.

Did you know that National Clown Week in the US is August 1–7? If you missed clowning around, don’t worry — our That’s In Tents! board will help you catch up on the fun. With a board full of lively fonts, you can use Plaza or the layered Dusty Circus Family to create your own circus at home.

Check us out on Pinterest to find these quirky characters that will take you through the cosmos and into a circus. Intense!

Fontlympics Decathlon: Light Italic

After a quick look at FF Sero’s victory in yesterday’s Pull Quote, we’ll get right into today’s event: The Light Italic.

In its lighter weights, an italic can loosen up a bit and offer a fresh, distinct feel from the rest of the face while maintaining consistency. For today’s challenge, select the light italic shown that best accomplishes this task.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The final event of our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

DIY Fontlympics

Hopefully you’ve been enjoying our 2012 Fontlympics. With the event soon coming to a close (at least until the 2014 Winter Fontlympics, when Baseline FontsMegaflakes start falling), we wanted to point out some free assets and tools to help you build your own Fontlympics at home and on a budget.

First, don’t miss out on downloading Virus FontsJonathan Barnbrook’s Olympukes 2012 edition from our free fonts page. Read the interview with Barnbrook on The FontFeed, then build your own subversive competitions.

Next up, if you’re looking for an angular typeface on a budget for the background signage of your at-home games, try out Max Kisman’s FF Jacque from FontFont, a free download on

Finally, try testing out how other typefaces will fit into your games before you buy with the FontShop Plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. See how over 150,000 fonts look in your mockups with this free tool.

Get inspiration for your events from our blog posts, recent newsletters, Pinterest board and Twitter hashtag #fontlympics. We’d love to hear how your competitions turn out! Let us know in the comments.

Fontlympics Decathlon: The Pull Quote

And we’re back. Today’s event is the Pull Quote, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Superscript Throw:

Pull quotes are designed to pull the reader into longer texts, by offering up a particularly juicy bit of copy at a contrasting size or style, or by some other means of compositional contrast. For today’s challenge, select the face that best gets the reader’s attention and causes them to move on to the [not here presented] text of the story.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

New Fonts This Week

All these fresh faces just arrived this week. As always, subscribe to our newsletter and read this blog for the full stories on these. Now for all the latest from the following foundries:


Aranjuez Pro



Wayside Ornaments


50% off Fiorentina until September 1st.

Fontlympic Decathlon: Superscript Throw

Now rounding the curve into its final week, the Fontlympic Decathlon continues—taking the typographic acumen of you, our readers, and putting it to work to judge five faces competing for best all-around performance. Today’s event is the Superscript throw, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Dashes Competition:

Superscript figures are not merely figures that have been reduced and baseline shifted. They are drawn at size, with stroke weights that harmonize with the rest of the face. (Phony software-generated superscripts are easy to detect; They’re always too light and create a weak spot on the page.) To prevent fake superscripts, always select superscript from the OpenType panel, or hand set it from the Glyph palette. If you need a superscript, but the typeface you’re working with doesn’t have it, it’s time for some better type. Speaking of—choose from these pro faces the one whose superscript works best with the rest of the face.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

Buyer’s Tips: Choosing an OpenType Flavor.

Did you know that OpenType comes in two flavors? PostScript-flavored OpenType fonts have .otf endings and TrueType-flavored OpenType fonts have .ttf endings. Both flavors are cross-platform and can be installed on either a Mac or PC.

TrueType-flavored OpenType fonts will have an OT/TT badge and are optimal for programs— such as PowerPoint and Excel— that do not fully support all OpenType features.

While PostScript-flavored OpenType fonts will have an OT badge and works best in programs—like Adobe InDesign —that can support all OpenType features.

So if you are working with a client that uses MS Word and you recommend that they license an OpenType version of the font, please make sure that you let them know which flavor is best. We have a great post on FontFont’s OpenType formats you should read if you’re eager for an in-depth explanation that uses FF DIN as example.

Fontlympic Decathlon: The Dash

Our Decathlon continues with its sixth event, but first we’ll wrap up last week’s portion of the competition. A look at the scores from Friday’s Short Copy Text Competition:

Which leads us to our midweek standings (click image below for larger view). Eric Olson’s Klavika holds an impressive lead, but  Jackson Cavanaugh’s Alright Sans is battling it out with  Jörg Hemker’s FF Sero in the second and third slots. It’s still any typeface’s game as we head into the final five events.

Now on to hurdling these typefaces through em dashes, en dashes and hyphens. Deemed as the “spork of English grammar” by Mental Floss, the em dash (the width of capital ‘M’) can serve a variety of purposes in long strings of text — serving in place of other grammatical marks or breaking up the tone of your sentence. A bit harder to spot (and named after the width of the capital ‘N’), the en dash shows numerical ranges and can be used as a storied hyphen (when the second part of the hyphenated phrase has more than one word). Hyphens, of course, are a handy tool to join compound words and assist in multi-line text justification.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.

At TypeCon: Education Forum and Official Kickoff

TypeCon’s stellar lineup has made it hard for me to get a spare-moment blog post in edgewise. It’s been just fantastic meeting and talking with people who devote themselves to the type and letter-making disciplines—becoming friends with the people whose work you quite admire. At TypeCon, young and old talk shop and discuss how to solve the visual problems their projects present—over lunch, or a drink.

During yesterday’s TypeCon Education Forum, lecturers like Gerry Leonidas, Jay Rutherford, Craig Eliason, Sumner Stone, Dan Reynolds and more discussed what’s changing, what remains the same, where typography goes from here, and specifically, how to convey these concepts to eager minds in the classroom. A letterspacing exercise was conducted using black masking tape on white paper, led by sign painter and type designer John Downer. Note Nick Sherman’s enormous wood type leaned against the wall in the background of the photo above. He printed with it too.

Just outside the main hall, a gallery of type-related design work shows what we’ve all been up to over the course of the past year. I would refer to this as a conference highlight, but there are so many it kind of doesn’t make sense to present everything as a highlight. There have been many, including last night’s talk by Austin designer Christian Helms on doing great work through incorporating elements you love, and this morning’s lecture on the working parts of good typography by educator and type designer Cyrus Highsmith. Keep an eye on this blog for more from TypeCon.

Fontlympic Decathlon: Short Copy

Our Fontlympic Decathlon continues, but first a look at the scores from yesterday’s Stacking Competition:

Short bursts of text adorn the traffic sign, the report cover or film poster, in sum, anywhere attention is limited and just a small thought has space to be uttered. Select the competitor below that conveys its short bit of copy best.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here Monday at 1pm.