Monthly Archives: August 2013

All Caps feature, Braces, Brackets, Parentheses

Just a quick review of a feature today, and by association, some notes on punctuation.
Roman caps have a single descender, generally speaking; That’s Q. And that means that parentheses, or brackets, etc. that are designed for general usage tend to miss their mark when enclosing copy set in all caps. The lack of descenders causes the braces to appear out of touch with what they are attempting to enclose.


Manually adjusting the height of the brackets in InDesign (as I did above) is one option. There is a better way, and one feature in particular (common to Pro font packages) I’ll highlight here. It’s the All Caps feature.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 5.31.15 PM

When setting type in all caps, just highlight it, hit Shift + Command + K (Mac) or Shift + Control + K (Windows) and if the font supports the feature, the punctuation will spring into place. (Of course, not all fonts do support this feature, nor would all necessarily benefit from having it. Some fonts have punctuation that works fine for lowercase, uppercase, small caps, etc.) Speaking of small caps, enabling that feature may reveal an additional set of contextual punctuation, as well as change the figures to a set more appropriate for an all cap or small cap setting.


Above is Jordi Embodas’s Bulo, top, and Tim Ahrens’s JAF Bernino Sans, bottom, with All Caps and Small Caps features applied to different segments of each line. Note how Bernino Sans All Caps feature takes the cap height down slightly, handy for setting things like acronymns.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 4.58.00 PM

How does one check if these features are available in a given font? Check the Case-sensitive Forms box while testing some brackety punctuation. (Select the gear icon first.) The above is set in Frode Helland’s delicate Vinter.

On the grammatical usage of parentheses, brackets and braces—this varies by culture and convention, but the general rule to follow for American English usage is that parentheses are a first resort, and curly braces are the last, (each [nesting {inside} the] other) when necessary. (If a sentence is contained completely by parentheses, the period at the end is as well.) In math, the order of which set to resort to is the same, but its nesting order is just the opposite. {[()]}. British math is prettier: [{()}].

That’s it. Using Type continues here Thursday.

Alisal and Recta

Today we look at the pairing of Matthew Carter’s Alisal with Aldo Novarese’s Recta (digitization by Canada Type).


Recta, also known as the “Italian Helvetica,” distinguishes itself from others in its class mainly by the dynamism of its character widths. Its forms give the appearance of geometric construction, while maintaining contours full of nuanced touches. What first drew me to Alisal was the forceful nature of its italic, a spare and linear updating of the Italian Renaissance hands that influenced the first italic typefaces. Note the fine details, such as the swelled terminals of the brackets and parentheses.
Working with each other, Alisal and Recta give one another sufficient opposition in structure, while retaining a strong sense of stylistic compatibility.

Great Pairs continues here Wednesday.

New Fonts This Week

Exquise by FONTYOU


Kaili by FONTYOU


Respublika by FONTYOU


Squirrel by FONTYOU


Supra Condensed by Wiescher


Freight Neo by Garage Fonts
Webfonts Available

Freight Neo

Abitare by Schiavi Design
Webfonts Available


Samaritan by Comicraft


Realist by MartinPlusFonts
Webfonts Available


Ode by MartinPlusFonts
Webfonts Available


Bookeyed Sadie by Tart Workshop

Bookeyed Sadie

Continuing Promotions

Lavigne Text, Lavigne Display, Medusa and Winco by ReType *webfonts available — 30% off 1–31 August

Rolling Pen by Sudtipos30% off until 8 August

Four Seasons by Latinotype65% off until 15 August

Anafalbeto, Designal, Frankie Dos, and Peter Sellers by Type–Ø–Tones20% off until 30 September

Buyer’s Guide: Emigre EULA

EFounded by Zuzana Licko and Rudy VanderLans, Emigre is a digital type foundry and publisher of the design journal Emigre magazine. Based in Northern California, Emigre was there, in the eye of the storm, when the Macintosh computer was first introduced in 1984. As part of a small group of believers, Emigre used the restrictions of low resolution output to create inventive new typeface designs and layouts. Here are some EULA Highlights you’ll want to keep in mind if when you’re licensing Mrs Eaves, Solex and/or any of their other wonderful fonts.

Basic EULA Rights

  • Desktop use supports up to 5 devices at 1 location.
  • You may extend your license to support more devices and additional locations.


  • You cannot share the font with users that do not have a license for the same fonts.
  • You cannot embed the font on websites, flash, or within applications without additional licensing.
  • You cannot distribute the font files outside of the licensed location without additional licensing.

See Emigre EULA

If you have additional questions you can always email FontShop’s Support Team for help.

EULA highlights will be posted every other Monday. Next up is exljbris.

Pinterested: Weekend Inspiration


It’s a new month! If your brain begs for more inspiration over the weekend, find typographic projects and posts on our Ideas & Inspiration pinboard. Aside from this one board on Pinterest, we have almost 60 boards that may help get your creative juices flowing for your next or future projects including Found TypeLettering, and Swashbucklers.

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest to keep up with the new pinboards we create regularly for you!

GREP and Styles

Just a few last things to touch on regarding GREP in InDesign. Last week’s piece went over the basics.


Apply a style

One of the great features that InDesign’s Find/Change dialog offers is the ability to apply styles to what you find. Speaking of style, if you’re not all that familiar with the difference in usage between paragraph and character styles, I recommend looking back over the piece on understanding styles, and a related exercise.

So, say I want all numbers to be sized down by a half a point. First, highlight one such number, size it down appropriately, and keeping it highlighted, create a new character style called, say, fig.

Next, open the Find/Change dialog (it’s under the Edit menu), make sure you’re on the GREP tab, and in the first field, type in \d. Then, in the Change Format field, select fig, the character style you just made. Hit change all, and you’ve now applied the character style to all digits everywhere in your document. (You can change the scope of your finding/changing in the box below the Change to field.) You can also (obviously) narrow the scope of your search by specifying a paragraph or character style in the Find Format field.

Grep style

That’s great, but it still means I have to remember to go back through these steps at the very end of modifying my document in order to catch any digits that weren’t previously converted.

Not necessarily. With Grep styles, set up the rule, and it will automatically be applied when anything changes. To illustrate, let’s apply a character style that turns on the OpenType fractions feature whenever there are fractions in a document.

This all happens inside a paragraph style’s settings dialog, so let’s make sure we’ve got a paragraph style already set up. Okay, I made one called Entry and applied it to all the rows in a table of fractions and their decimal equivalents.

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 4.52.30 PM

Next, I turn on the fraction feature through the OpenType menu in the Character palette. Then I keep that fraction highlighted while I create a new character style called Fraction.

Last, I go into Entry’s style settings, create a new GREP style, and apply Fraction to the following expression:


Just to decode the regular expression above, that’s \d any digit, * occurring zero or more times (applied to the thing immediately before the asterisk), followed by \/ a slash (typed backslash slash), followed by the same thing at the start, zero or more digits, \d*

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 5.15.12 PM

Line it all up with some decimal tabs, and that’s it. The examples today are set in Jordi Embodas’s Pona. Using Type continues here Thursday.


PS. I’ve sat through a number of talks that encourage designers and developers to learn each others’ skills, and inevitably during the question and answer period the designers ask where to start with programming. My answer? Start wherever you’re comfortable, whether that be editing markup, such as HTML, or writing some javascript in an online environment such as CodePen, but somewhere early along the way, learn something about regular expressions. You’ll find that using them trains your mind to think logically, and that when understood, they can save you a lot of effort. By the way: how do you use regular expressions?