Monthly Archives: May 2013

Buyer’s Guide: OurType EULA

We’re introducing a new series for buyers. Every month we will pick two foundries from FontShop and highlight key points that you should pay attention to in their EULA.


The first foundry we’ll highlight is OurType because of their exceptional basic EULA that allows web and mobile embedding. Yes, I said their basic EULA allows you to embed the font you licensed into one (1) website and one (1) mobile app. The standard license also allows embedding the fonts into PDFs and e-Publications! Since OurType delivers OpenType, TrueType, and EOT/WOFF files with their product you’ll have everything that you’ll need to create documents, a web site, and a mobile app.

Now for the fun part. The basic license allows OurType fonts to be used in a single (1) location for up to 5 users, but you can extend the license to support additional locations and users. You can not share the fonts with third parties that do not have a license for the same fonts. And you can not send the font files to a service bureau or a printer, but you can deliver your files as press-ready PDFs with the fonts embedded. If your website or mobile app allows users to create content using the font, then an additional license (Online Editing-Publishing) will need to be issued.

Phew! Hope you got all of that. If you have additional questions you can always email FontShop’s Support Team for help.

EULA highlights will be posted every other Monday. Stay tuned for Dalton Maag.

Farewell Anna!

Tuesday was Anna Eshelman’s last day in the office, our designer over the past two years. She’s moving on to grad school and other adventures – a term I don’t use lightly by the way – in the coming weeks she’ll be traversing the length of a major mountain range, for which excursion she’s steadily built up a supply of hiking things and dried food. Anna’s always been one to get out and see what the world’s made of. I’ll miss sitting across from her every day, collaborating on projects and doing the work of promoting great type together. We’ll all miss her warm personality and consistent ability to surprise.


Here’s a shot of her I got on an office outing to Angel Island last summer, (though you can continue to pretend that when people leave FontShop, we make them ride out on a boat). Gosh, Anna. Thanks for everything. We’ll continue to look out for you and your work. And we’ll miss you.

Pinterested: Fleurons for Mom

This Sunday is Mother’s Day — if you forgot to put in your order for a bouquet to be delivered to your mom, you still have time to quickly order some flowery fonts and send her a bouquet of glyphs.


With the combination of beautiful images from fStop and the selection of fleurons and springtime fonts on FontShop, you can also create a quick e-card to send your mom if you can’t visit her this weekend. Check out our Glyph Garden board to get started!

Understanding Visual Hierarchy

Now that we’ve got the scale of text type talked about, however successfully, (I think I’ll end up completely revisiting that subject later, when I’ve got a better approach worked out) we can move on to the relationships created by scale.


Visual hierarchy – whether used in a magazine, book or other long text, or on a single page or slip of paper, or a sign or system of signs, or in the presentation of a single piece of data in relation to a larger data set – serves to draw a clear relationship between the one thing, and the whole thing. Hierarchy obviously exists beyond the visual. There are levels, real, imagined, and imposed, in and upon any medium. The organizing principles are essentially the same at whatever scale. And we should take into account things like hierarchy in non-visual media, but this is already beginning to get deep, and that’s probably a full discussion to have some other time. I’ll put it on my list, and keep the rest pretty light and practical.


Using type to create hierarchy is more than setting headers and subheads at different type sizes; but can incorporate several principles of design, such as scale, composition or arrangement, pattern, and pacing, contrast (above all), and probably more if you care to go looking for examples. Even if all the type on a page is the same size, such as in a resume, we can still draw conclusions about the related nature and relative importance of each piece just by looking at what it’s grouped with, whether it’s set near the top of the page or the bottom, whether it aligns the same or differently from elements around it, and how much negative space it requires above or beneath it, or to one side. The following are a few bits of advice, which we’ll get into with more depth next week.

Separate the content from its navigation.

Just as a policeman is capable of policing in large part because of what he wears, the navigational elements of a document should set themselves apart from the content in order to be in its service. This can be made to work simply by setting the navigational type in a complementary voice (using a different typeface or contrasting style within the same face), or by using any number of techniques to break up and separate the two.

Understand the complexity of the piece you’re working on, and get rid of as much of it as you can.

If you’ve got seven main levels of hierarchy, but only really use four of them regularly, then condense, adapt, rearrange, erase, etc. (to the extent you can) to get it down to four. When I’ve had to do this in the past, the client has been generally happy that I take interest in the content’s accessibility and readability, not just its appearance.

Make sure the hierarchical steps are well-defined.

A header with a lower-level header set just below it should appear as such. The audience should not be left to wonder why these two appear so similar to one another, nor should they wonder if there’s room for a step in between. Find a way to differentiate, so that each step down can occupy and own its place in the hierarchy.


Switch up your approach.

If you’re laying out a numbered-item proposal, or some very sequential piece of technical writing, such as product documentation, you’ll soon find that additional left indent accompanying each level of hierarchy will lead to some ungainly narrow columns, high page counts, and odd margins. Create systems that reset themselves periodically, using all the ways you can think of to diversify the content within each level.

That’s all for now. Using Type looks more closely into visual hierarchy on Thursday. A special thanks to Octavio Pardo’s Sutturah, featured here in a small way (outside its use in the title graphic). Its period character used at different sizes illustrates the points above.

Custodia and TheSans

Today we examine the pairing of Fred Smeijers’s Custodia and Luc de Groot’s TheSans (also known as Thesis Sans). What surprises me most seeing these two at work together isn’t how one pulls the other in a specific direction, but rather how very much at home the two Dutch designs appear to be with one another.
Custodia,-TheSans-1 Custodia,-TheSans-2

Custodia takes influences from the work of a number of 17th century Dutch punchcutters, creating a lively surface when setting running text. I’ve given the body generous line spacing in these examples, helping to give it an contemporary look.



TheSans is humanist (and obviously, a sans serif design), full of many complementary quirks, such as the baseline-twisting S. TheSans, together with the numerous members of its superfamily, TheSans Mono, TheSerif, TheMix, TheAntiqua, etc. come in an impressive array of weights and offer quite a bit of options in terms of language support. Seeing the relationship come together between TheSans and Custodia was a nice surprise for me, given the sometimes haphazard nature of pairing faces, but I see these two getting along quite well.


Great Pairs continue here Wednesday.

New Fonts This Week

Let’s get right to it this week! Sudtipos’s latest is Heraldica Script and Wiescher brings us a twist on an old classic with Franklin Gothic Raw. Abdo Fonts is introducing Abdo Egypt and Abdo Joody at 30% off until June 2nd.

Relato by Emtype is also 30% off until May 31st.

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

Abdo Fonts

Abdo Egypt

Abdo Joody


Heraldica Script


Franklin Gothic Raw  » Webfonts Available

Buyer’s Guide: Educational and Non-Profit discounts


While we have occasional promotions for new fonts, we have ongoing discounts for students, teachers, and non-profit organizations.

For students and teachers, you can use the promotion code “EDUCATE10″ to take of 10% off your cart. This discount automatically works for school emails ending in .edu, but if your school email has a different ending, just send our Sales & Support team an email and we’ll get you set up!

For non-profit organizations, you can use the promotion code “NONPROFIT” to take of 10% off your cart. This discount automatically works for emails ending in .org.

Pinterested: High-5!


Looking forward to the Fifth of May? Get ready by browsing a bunch of 5s on our I Got 5 On It pinboard. From different font categories from Ayres Royal‘s swashy blackletters to HGB Lombardisch‘s deliciously inky glyphs to bold display faces like Parkinson Type Design‘s Sutro Shaded Initials, these glyphs will look good in bright, vivid colors too!

A Sense for Typographic Scale, continued

I didn’t really get at what I was hoping to convey with the last piece on developing a sense for appropriate typographic scale. Which is a real shame considering how fundamental it is. It’s true that if one does the exercises I prescribe, the result is likely a furthering of the development of this sense that’s both difficult to describe and impossible to confer. After giving it a couple weeks’ thought, I now see that what’s really missing from all this talk is an ultimatum, and more bad examples.


I’m calling this a sense, because if it were only a series of techniques, they would be easily acquired. Like a little child’s sense of balance, or a motorist’s sense for the road, one is not born with an eye for typographic scale. It develops and refines over time and with experience. This ability to feel and not merely see type, is the indispensable characteristic of typographers who know what they’re doing.

Here’s the ultimatum. Great and mediocre designers diverge on this point: having developed senses specific to typography. Your demonstrated ability in this precise area – that of scale – is impossible to hide. It will be one of the first signs of the quality of your work. So you had better learn this. Here are some examples of what not to do. For similar examples with properly used type, refer to my previous post. Seems like I wrote this out of order.


Above: Notice how the type, Fry’s Baskerville, is too light and spindly on the page. A closer look below reveals that its fine details and tight fit make it suited to display settings of, say, 20 pt and up.

Below is Tony Stan’s ITC Garamond, deceptively given the weight name of ‘Book.’ But, don’t be fooled; this is more of the same. A type style drawn for display, but unlike the above, it’s additionally been poorly adapted to function as text. The letter spacing is tight and the contrast of the letterforms is overpronounced in all the wrong ways. If you’re going for a late ’70s – early ’80s vibe, this will get you there.

Which could cause one to think that lowering the contrast is all that’s required. Below,  Jos Buivenga’s Museo shows it isn’t so. Because Museo is designed to work as a display face, it limits its ability to function well at text sizes. Notice how similar a feeling ITC Garamond and Museo give off when setting text. And you can achieve this with nearly any display face.


Lastly, Cyrus Highsmith’s Novia is a set of two size-specific script faces. Be careful not to do what I do above, which is ignore that the design is size-specific. Since the style is inspired by the engraving discipline, the fine hairlines above should match in weight. How? Either by keeping the size consistent, or by using the Light weight at an appropriate scale. Similarly, it would be inappropriate to use both the Regular and Light weight at the same size, unless it’s for the purpose of showing the difference.

That’s it. Again, the previous piece on type scale should make a lot more sense now. Thanks for reading. Using Type is a regular Thursday deal.

Pona and Salvo Sans


This week we examine the pairing of Jordi Embodas’s Pona and Cyrus Highsmith’s Salvo Sans. Our look will more or less be a quick study in typographic texture, a pairing of coarse and smooth. As I generally do when working with two faces, I line up their styles to get a sense for what’s working.


Pona comes off incredibly even-colored, a contemporary pushing along of the great page presence had by late baroque and neoclassical types before it. Note how the rhythm of the stems, overall relaxed fit, and high stroke contrast contribute to a rich, sophisticated, smooth texture.

Add to that the much coarser texture of Salvo Sans’s exuberant gestures and near-monolinear stroke. The result is a text that warms to its subheads, and a titles that – though casual – stay on their best behavior.


Great Pairs drop here Wednesdays.