Monthly Archives: March 2013

New Fonts This Week

This week we are proud to present another great line-up of quality fonts. New from Alias are Glue, Grist, and Noah; from Borges Lettering, Louisiana Grab Bag; from Font Bureau, Quiosco and Turnip; from Latinotype, Sanchez Slab — with a great starting price of only $49 until April 18th; from ReType, Medusa – 30% off until April 28th; and from Sudtipos’s, Piel Script – 30% off until April 7th – and Business Penmanship.

Also, be sure to check out MacCampus and p.s.type, our latest web font vendors. Until April 30th, Novel Sans Web is on sale at $119 and the Novel Sans Office Pro is only $89. Type-Ø-Tones’s new fonts Arboria, Magasin, and Karol are 30% off until March 31st. Rosetta Type Foundry’s latest, Arek, is 25% until April 5th.

As always, subscribe to our newsletter and read this blog for tips on using type, Pinterest updates, and more.


Borges Lettering

Louisiana Grab Bag

Font Bureau




Sanchez Slab




Business Penmanship

Piel Script

Worn Gothic opens Grit History Series B, Painting Giveaway

Organizing a promotion of a less-conventional sort is Nathan Williams of Baseline Fonts. Any purchase of a Worn Gothic package or single before May 1, 2013 automatically enters the buyer into a drawing to win this painting.

Nathan Williams's Dusty Circus B

The 40ʺ × 40ʺ acrylic and oil on canvas piece features a Dusty Circus B, and upon promotion close will be stretched, packed and shipped from his Kansas Studio to the randomly-drawn winner “anywhere in the world.”

Worn Gothic

Worn Gothic is the first of the Grit History Series B Collection, with forthcoming releases soon to follow. This post will be updated to include those as they come along as these purchases will also qualify for the drawing. The design of Worn Gothic is taken from a couple of heavily used ATF and Ludlow gothics, found in metal near Baseline Fonts’s operation.

(Update: The series in its entirety can now be seen perused on our site. Webfonts are also available for all faces.)

Buyer’s Guide: Having trouble checking out?


Are you having trouble checking out? When you click “Checkout” in your cart, does the page seem to hang for a bit or does the page just refresh without moving forward? Are you staring at a blank page waiting for something to load?

Sometimes, your browser just isn’t having a good day. When you’re experiencing difficulties with your cart or checking out on FontShop, we recommend first trying to place your order in a different browser.

There are three pages during checkout:buyersguide-checkingout

Your Cart and Payment Information — these are the first two pages you’ll go through. To move forward from Your Cart, you’ll click a green button that says “Checkout”, which will take you to the Payment Information page. Once you enter your payment information, you’ll click a green button that says “Review Order” (if the button is grayed out and not green, double-check to make sure all your payment details have been entered correctly). If the checkout process hangs on either of these pages, try placing your order in a different browser. You haven’t actually submitted payment on either of these pages, so you will not get charged if your browser hangs after you click “Review Order”.


Order Confirmation — this is the last page during the checkout process where you can double-check to make sure you’re getting the right fonts, the correct format, and licensing the fonts for the number of users you need to support. To place your order, you’ll click a green button that says “Purchase”. After this, don’t close your browser yet! The next page you should see is your “Purchase Complete!” page where you can download your fonts. If you don’t arrive at this page, you can contact us to see if your order went through or not. We’ll let you know and send you your fonts if you weren’t able to download them after a successful order.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email the Sales & Support Team or call!

Staff Picks, February 2013

February’s staff picks are compiled. (Short month you know, and I can’t believe we’re already halfway through March.) See the complete list of February Staff Picks, or read on for the highlights.

Theresa picks MVB Verdigris by Mark van Bronkhorst of MvB Fonts

MVB Verdigris

Mayene picks Relava by Cisma, published by T-26


Jason picks Copperplate Alt by Gert Wiescher Copperplate Alt

March Madness Faceoff Begins!


Let’s get started. If you don’t have a bracket filled out yet, that’s alright. Today’s the first day. Printable brackets are here. To participate, vote for the faceoff winner in the poll below each sample. For a closer look at each face, follow the links in the heading above each sample. One vote is one point. A special thanks to Trend from Latinotype for moderating the tournament. May the best face win

FF Unit Slab vs. Arno


Maiola vs. Scotch Modern


Periódico vs. Parkinson Electra


Elena vs. Treza


Polls close tonight at midnight (Pacific). The next faceoff begins here Wednesday March 20th.

Pinterested: Lucky fonts for the weekend

pinterest-keepcalmandhobbitonIf you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend and need some Irish fonts for any reason at all, well, you’d have a grand time revisiting our Keep Calm & Hobbiton pinboard we created last year — there’s still a wealth of uncial fonts for you to dig through.

Like a pot o’ gold, this pinboard has loads of typographic treasures like FF Lukrezia from FontFont’s FF Script Type 2 OT package and the P22 Kells Set. So, before you head out to a pub, try some of these uncial faces in FontShop’s Plugin! Sláinte!

Understanding Figures

This piece is to serve as a quick note on figures: What they are, and when and how to use them. My Belgian counterpart, Yves Peters, has already written a much deeper and more comprehensive look into figures, two in fact, that I hold up as a reference. I’ll try to keep my own comment on the subject as short as possible in order to justify its existence.

Using Type, set in Bryant

Figures are to numbers what letters are to words. Just as lowercase letters range above and below the x-height and baseline of a typeface, ranging figures – or text, lowercase, or old-style figures (these are synonymous terms) – have ascenders and descenders. This formal quality of the figures gives them the ability to blend in with a body of text with minimal disruption, leading to better color on the page and arguably a better experience for the reader.

Lining figures, often the default, are full cap height. These work best with all-caps settings.


Tabular figures are for setting information in rows and columns. The word tabular refers to the figures’ spacing. They’re all the same width. When it’s desirable for figures to align vertically, say, in a list of telephone numbers or an actuarial table, the figures’ common width allows this. Tabular figures can be either lining or old-style. At the time of this publishing, March 14, 2013, the blog’s body copy is set in FF Milo Serif Web, which defaults to tabular lining figures, as do all Web FontFonts. Figures that aren’t spaced to a common width are generally spaced proportionally.

Tabular figures

There are more. Often, a face that includes small caps will include one or more sets of figures sized to fit specifically with its small caps. Super- and subscripts, also called scientific superiors and inferiors are also common, usually either lining or ranging, rarely both. The same is true of fractionals, or numerators and denominators used by OpenType to create arbitrary fractions. As a rule, numerators set slightly lower than superscripts, denominators slightly higher than subscripts. Some faces, such as Nick Shinn’s Scotch Modern, highlighted yesterday in Great Pairs, have an additional set of numerators and denominators for setting what are called nut fractions, the kind you likely wrote when first studying fractions. When appropriate, special punctuation, mathematical operators, currency symbols, etc. are included in a font to work with these additional sets of figures.

Fractionals, superscripts

I could add here that not everything fits neatly into the above classifications. Uncommon figure sets such as Bell’s or Miller’s three-quarter figures stand between cap-height and x-height. Note how Miller’s range slightly. Also note how occasionally lining figures range slightly, such as in MVB Verdigris. Yves documents more uncommon figure conventions in his piece.

Lastly, there’s no guarantee the set of figures you need exists in the typeface you need to use. Prior to OpenType, meaning just about all fonts produced before the mid-1990s, designers had to license additional fonts should they need the added flexibility of multiple figure sets. This is why on FontShop and elsewhere you’ll occasionally see products marked LF or OsF. These fonts differ only in the figure style included, whether lining or old-style figures.

Next week we’ll talk less and get our hands greasy setting all these. Using Type continues here Thursday.

Scotch Modern and Koch

Scotch Modern Display, KochScotch Modern

One of the things I love about Nick Shinn’s Scotch Modern is its ability to capture the best characteristics of the great old moderns, and yet keep a crisp feel. You may then wonder why I choose to pair it with an obscure ’90s digitization of Kabel, Garrett Boge’s Koch. I think what I see in each, and the pair together is a real, substantive attempt to get at the beauty underlying the many years of wear put on by the passage of time.

Scotch Modern optical sizes, Koch

Scotch Modern comes in three optical sizes: the robust and generously fit Micro for classifieds, captions, etc., above left; its normal cut for text, center; and the finer Display, right. Choosing to limit myself this week to a sans without a range of weights was a welcome change. Koch’s medium weight with tall ascenders and caps isn’t very versatile, so you have to plan around it.

Scotch Modern, Koch

Scotch Modern, Koch

If I could name a couple of the more updated sanses in this vein, I’d include Sindre Bremnes’s Telefon and Nick Shinn’s Figgins Sans, initially released with Scotch Modern as part of The Modern SuiteGreat Pairs continues here Wednesday.

New Fonts This Week

This week we’re rolling out six new fonts: Savanna Script and Serge from Font Bureau, Foro Rounded with free light weight from Hoftype, Rooney Sans from Jan Fromm, Cytia Slab from Mint Type and Number Five from Laura Worthington. Number Five is also on special promotion at 50% off until April 24th.

Promotions continuing this week: Latinotype’s Love Story is being offered at a special intro price of $14, Trend at $19, Schwager at $39, and Lolita at $56 until March 18th. Type-Ø-Tones’s new fonts Arboria, Magasin, and Karol are 30% off until March 31st. Rosetta Type Foundry’s latest, Arek, is 25% until April 5th.

As always, subscribe to our newsletter and read this blog for tips on using type, Pinterest updates, and more.

Font Bureau

Savanna Script



Foro Rounded with FREE light weight

Jan Fromm

Rooney Sans

Laura Worthington

Number Five

Mint Type

Cytia Slab

Buyer’s Guide: Looking for a specific font?


Sometimes you see a font and need to have it, but you don’t know what font it is. That’s where FontShop‘s Research Team comes in.

If you are looking for a specific font, visit our Font Identification and Type Research page and fill out the form the best you can — the more information we have about the font you’re looking for, the better we’ll be able to assist you! if you have an example of the font you’re looking for, upload an image through our form or send us a link to the image and we can take a look at it; if we have that font available, we’ll be able to direct you to it, otherwise we’ll let you know of any similar fonts you might like as alternatives. If you don’t have an image, don’t worry (we know the feeling of having the font’s name right on the tip of your tongue but not being able to say it): describe the kind of font you’re looking for and we’ll give you recommendations for fonts that we think you’ll like. One of them might be the exact font you’re looking for!

You can also email FontShop’s Research Team directly with any information, images, or descriptions that may help us help you!

More Women in Type

Following up on last year’s note celebrating International Women’s Day is this one, highlighting the work of another three women who design type.

Veronika Elsner, set in TV Nord 4

Veronika Elsner, in the first conversation I ever had with her said straightway, “And I am the first woman to digitize type.” She did it in her home, in the mid-70s, before personal computers—by carefully touching in order a digitization device’s stylus to each of the marked points on a tightly-drawn character sheet. Veronika with her partner Günther Flake are the foundry Elsner+Flake.

Zuzana Licko, set in Matrix Script

Zuzana Licko’s leading charge during the first digital design revolution carves out a deserved spot in the history books, but her work presses on. I credit Zuzana for first introducing me to John Baskerville’s mistress (and later, wife) Sarah Eaves, after whom she names a very popular cut of Baskerville. Pronounce Licko with me—it’s Litchko.


Laura Worthington, set in Alana

Laura Worthington is my most recent acquaintance of the three, and FontShop’s most recently added library fitting the category of exclusively female-designed type. Laura’s type work draws naturally from her hand work, carefully documenting the feeling of each of the various styles.

And the list goes on, but I’ll stop here. Thanks Tiffany Wardle de Sousa for compiling the list, by the way.

Pinterested: New pins this week


If you’re not into basketball, don’t worry — FontShop‘s got you covered. Our fontastic March Madness begins next week. Check out our March Madness 2013 Pinterest board to refresh your memory on last year’s champion. Also, don’t forget to follow the board so you can keep up with the madness starting next Friday, March 15th!


Also, don’t forget to follow our New & Noteworthy board for current promotions and new fonts and our Typography 101 pinboard to keep up-to-date with our type tips! And while you wait for March Madness to start, our Ideas & Inspiration board will keep you company.

Using Type: How to Justify Type

Using Type, set in FF Spinoza

Alright, you’ve read the intro on when to justify and what considerations to make when doing it, now let’s get to the how of it. First, before any documents are open in InDesign, let’s fix the default. From the Paragraph panel, select the down arrow in the top right corner, and choose Justification.

InDesign justification settings

Common Term: When typographers refer to ‘H&J,’ they’re talking about hyphenation and justification settings.

InDesign justification settings

Applying the above defaults ensures terrible justification. Twenty percentage points of variation tighter and looser than the default word spacing is simply too elastic a standard. Spaces between words will be both much too wide and far too tight as a result. Instead, vary Word Spacing by 2 or 3 percent on either side. The same goes for Letter Spacing and Glyph Scaling, though I’d keep it to a 1 or 2 percent variation.

InDesign justification settings

And yes, in case you’re wondering I did in fact just say it’s okay to squoosh type, a little. Many designers of text faces take this constraint into consideration and make their designs capable of withstanding modest scaling. But by all means, use your eyes and try it out with the real thing. Once you’ve got a representative sample of your copy set, dial these settings (Glyph Scaling tolerances) back some to see what’s working. (Update In response to one of the comments, I’ll add: If you’re creating a PDF to be read primarily on screen, fix glyph scaling to 100%.) Note that I don’t mess with the Single Word Justification since this is something that’s rarely used, but when it is, you’ll want it to perform as expected. Alright. Provided no other documents are open upon closing this dialog, the values you’ve just set are your new justification defaults.

Justified column

The sample above is justified with the above settings applied. It’s set in Font Bureau’s Benton Sans. Below is a comparison of the default justification settings, left, to the new settings, right. The text breaks at exactly the same points in both samples, which is unusual, but offers a nice apples-to-apples comparison of the subtle differences. Note especially the word spacing on the fifth lines of each.

Default justification settings, new settings

Now to touch briefly on hyphenation. Justification wouldn’t work without it, not without a tremendous copyfitting effort anyway. When words are hyphenated, they should lead the reader from the head of the word, to the waiting body at the beginning of the next line. What I mean to say by that is there’s a logical flow to it. The hyphenated word above, ef-fective, breaks after the first two letters. If it were effect-ive or effe-ctive, it wouldn’t read as well. Which begs the question, how does InDesign know where to acceptably break words? It uses a hyphenation dictionary. But how does it know what language the copy is in? Either you specify it, or it defaults based on the language from its installation setting. The way you set copy to follow the rules of a different language is by selecting the text, either at the character level, or by selecting its text frame, and from the bottom of the Character panel, setting the language. If working with text that constantly flips back and forth between languages, this means that the best way of handling it, at present, is by setting up a character style with the language applied. See Using Styles Properly. Below I adjust the settings on a piece of Spanish text set in Max Phillips’s FF Spinoza.

InDesign language settings

By the way, I recommend limiting the scope of your typesetting work to languages you currently speak and read. If you can’t spot a commonly misspelled word or catch a grammatical error, your ability to operate as a typographer (in that language) will be pretty limited.

InDesign hyphenation settings

My only advice with the above Hyphenation dialog, also accessible from the Paragraph panel, is to look at it on your own and make some conscious decisions, run some tests, etc.. Also, depending on the faces you’re working with, the Story panel’s Optical Margin Alignment setting may offer you a bit of needed latitude, and is worth a try.

InDesign story settings

Now what am I leaving out? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading. Using Type is a regular series on this blog, published Thursdays.

Arnhem and Ludwig

Great Pairs, set in Ludwig and Arnhem

Ludwig and Arnhem

Another perhaps lesser-known ‘made for each other’ pairing is Fred Smeijers Arnhem, and its charmingly awkward companion grotesque, Ludwig. The two are drawn with the same vertical metrics to work compatibly across sizes. Arnhem is a contemporary Dutch Fleischman, cool, dark and rationalized but with a nice bit of sparkle here and there. While Ludwig appears a little imbalanced up close, seen as a body its texture is surprisingly even and undoubtedly warm.

Ludwig, Ludwig SemiCondensed and Arnhem / Display / Fine

Both come in an extensive range of weights. Ludwig and Ludwig Semi Condensed are shown above on the left. Arnhem, Arnhem Display, and the sophisticated optically sized Arnhem Fine to the right.

Ludwig and Arnhem

Ludwig and Arnhem

A quick read. Great Pairs land here every Wednesday.

March Madness is Back!

March Madness 2013

Everything starts Friday, March 15th.

Rebounding from last year’s triumphant March Madness Faceoff is a new season of, well, more madness I guess. This time with a seeded bracket (I had to look that up) and an unrelenting tournament schedule certain to whip the font-beset designer into a mania. So brace yourself, download and print out a bracket, and fill it out with your best guesses on which typefaces will win. Then, come back here to the FontShop blog on the day of the tournament, (the first is March 15) and vote for the winner of each match up. One vote is one point scored by each face. The full tournament schedule is on the bracket. Stay plugged in here for more updates.

Oh yeah! Share a photo of your completed bracket with us. You can drop a link to a photo sharing site in the comments.