Tag Archives: typography

FontShop SF Hits Up Pixels of Fury

Our San Francisco office has been having a blast popping into the various events this week for AIGA’s San Francisco Design Week, but as Typography Sponsor, last night was the one we were most excited about.

Shutterstock’s Pixels of Fury: A Live Creative Inspiration Tournament pitted eight designers against each other in speed rounds of 20 minutes. They were provided Adobe CS6, stock images from Shutterstock, and we threw in the FontFont Advertising & Packaging Skill Set to spice up their font palette. The designers were charged with making a poster to inspire others to learn a randomly assigned topic (i.e. “learn to speak Spanish,” “learn to code.”) As the audience cheered and jeered, judges Max Spector and Eric Heiman took note and provided commentary at the end of each round. Each judge had a vote and the attendees picked their favorite by chiming in via SMS.

Of course there was lots of time to mix and mingle as well. Thank you to everyone who stopped over to say “hi” at the FontShop table. It was lovely to meet you all! In case you missed us, make sure to take a look at our Design Assistant position just listed this week.

A big congrats to winning competitor Grayson Stebbins. Kudos to all the designers that participated: Anthony Bunyan, Andrew Le, Josh Long, Max Batt, Marc Zuazua, Michael Sun and Kristen Youngman. It definitely takes guts to be on stage and on the spot!

FontShop Plugin Now for Adobe Illustrator

In April we rolled out our free Fontshop Plugin, which allowed you try any of the 150,000+ fonts in our library within the context of your own artwork in Adobe Photoshop (CS5, CS5.5 and CS6) for free. We heard you loud and clear and are happy to announce that the plugin now supports Adobe Illustrator (CS5  and CS6) as well. This is a great new way to find the perfect typographic fit for your project.


  • Preview fonts in your document
  • Search by name, designer or foundry
  • Collect and tag favorite fonts

Get the plugin from our website at FontShop.com/plugin. If you’ve already got the previous version of FontShop plugin for Photoshop, be sure to uninstall it first through Adobe Extension Manager, then install the latest one. The new one works in both Photoshop and Illustrator.

The plugin page includes step-by-step instructions and FAQs on how to use this handy tool. If you have additional questions, we also have a help page on FontShop that should assist you. The plugin is still in beta, so please feel free to leave your feedback for our developers.

Have you used the plugin? What do you think?


Carolina de Bartolo Talks Type at swissnex

Thursday evening several members of the FontShop San Francisco office attended a reception and talk at swissnex presented by design author and educator Carolina de Bartolo.

Carolina’s talk ‘To Explore = To Love’ toured the inspirations behind the typographic compositions in her book, Explorations in Typography. Through quotes and insights gained along the way, she guided us through her own exploratory process and encouraged those present to set up an area of typographic focus and find its limits.

The event was set among the exhibit Types We Can Make, a showing of the work of contemporary and classic Swiss type and typographic designers, like Adrian Frutiger and b+p.

Carolina stressed that exploration need not begin on the fringes of already-known work. The curious typographer can learn something from previously well-explored territory if she or he makes a point of it. It may be that a designer starts from the same place as another, or that two designers start from two very different places and end at a very similar result. “Start anywhere,” she added, noting that the destination and process of arriving to it are key.

A famous spread from the Nuremberg Chronicle composed by incunabula printing master Anton Koberger, an iPod.

The evening ended on much of the same note as it began. To explore means to get one’s own experience, and while this process can be cheered and directed, it isn’t taught by lecture. I think Carolina knows this limit well, which causes her to conclude as I do, that when we go out exploring the typographic expanse on our own, there’s no better explanation for it than love.

Typography Travels

Team members in the FontShop San Francisco office have been trekking the globe this winter. Of course, even on our vacation, type is never far from our mind. Designer Anna Eshelman and Meghan Arnold, Communications Manager, recently visited El Salvador and India, respectively. Below are a couple typographic highlights from their travels.

El Salvador

I found that the city of San Salvador offers many interesting and beautiful displays of lettering and typography, especially in its graffiti art and storefront signage.

But at the summit of Izalco Volcano, 6,398 feet in the sky, were surprises aplenty – besides the heat under my feet from the steaming rocks, this rough blackletter lettering on stone captured my attention.

Whether it be initials carved into a tree or artful scrawl on a bathroom wall (or letterforms painted atop a mountain of fire!), stumbling upon interesting lettering in places where we least expect it is a treat.


This was my second trip to India and visually it’s a bit like being stuck on hyperdrive in the space-time continuum. Ultra-modern and classic design swirls in a sea of shapes and colors – typography doesn’t escape this whirlpool. Sanskrit and Roman lettering co-exist, just as English, Hindi and regional languages are verbally intermixed.

The signs above were spotted in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, where I traveled for a friend’s wedding. Not surrounded by the crowds of tourist destinations, wandering through the bazaar on a weekday allowed me time to scavenge for handmade signage. The timeless feel of these two signs really popped out at me. I love the flourishes on the misspelled sign. On the other, the word “Tailors” is so whimsically painted, in such a bright yellow, it brought a smile to my face.

Have you had any great letterform encounters on your travels? Share your story in the comment.

Want to learn how to make your own handmade signs? Register for TYPO San Francisco and take the Friday workshop from New Bohemia signs.

Wedding Invitation Fonts & Typography

It’s Valentines Day. And on the off chance that means you’re getting married soon, we here at FontShop congratulate you and hope it’s of some service our putting together a list of recommended faces for your invitations.

Elegy by Ed Benguiat, Jim Wasco; published by ITC

It is clearly important that Americans misspell the word honor.

Novia by Cyrus Highsmith of Font Bureau

Compendium, Burgues Script by Alejandro Paul of Sudtipos

These two both interest me because of their departure from more established formal calligraphic styles in pursuit of practical 19th century penmanship.

P22 Allyson by Paul Hunt

Premiéra by Thomas Gabriel; published by Typejockeys

MVB Verdigris by Mark van Bronkhorst

Something casual; Feel Script from Sudtipos.

On getting just the right typographic feel, the work of the typographer of course extends well beyond the type selection process. If you’re a young designer, let me suggest just a few things to keep in mind starting out:

Choose an appropriate and flattering medium. Try a few different sizes of paper dummy. Package each as they’ll travel in the mail, and post them to yourself. This confronts the cost of postage from the outset. If environmental impact is chief among your concerns, consider dispensing with the interior envelope, or going with electronic only invitations.

Think about different processes and design to process. If printing letterpress from photopolymer plates for example, have someone familiar with the strengths and limitations of the process help you. Other common processes include engraving, foil stamping, thermography, letterpress printing from moveable type, lithography, and digital. If your printer quotes you a digital option, make sure you know what he or she means (usually sheetfed inkjet, but lately the term has also come to mean monochromatic or color laser).

Establish harmonious proportions. The invitation should feel good to the hand and its message clear to the eye. The size of the type, as well as the size of the margins should relate to the media that carries it. If designing in multiple sizes or styles, adhere your text to a sufficiently coarse baseline grid.

Don’t ‘brand’ this. Make it beautiful, and avoid the temptation of applying logotypes or monograms to everything. Carefully controlled, understated typography is one of the best ways of developing a consistent voice.

Do what you like. One of the things that makes a good typographer invaluable to her or his client is the ability to be arbitrary when necessary. Don’t care for this J? Try an I instead.


It’s Thanksgiving today in the US, so while us FontShop SF folks are off stuffing ourselves with turkey we thought we’d share what in the type world our social media followers are thankful for this year.

Here’s some of what you shared:

  • “I am thankful for the invention of Futura STD. What a clean Sans Serif font :-)”
  • Franklin Gothic.”
  • Meta. It really does half of the job.”
  • Frutiger.”
  • “For @espiekermann, again and always.”
  • “I give typographic thanks for (slightly) better font-face rendering on IE this year.”
  • “I give typographic thanks for the promise of a new FUSE magazine this year.”
  • “The letter ‘g.'”
  • “Proper kerning.”

What are you thankful for today?

Theresa’s Tips: Finding Inspiration

If you’re like me and need a bit of inspiration to get your creativity going, then FontShop has great archives you should check out.

Our Gallery has a curated collection of typefaces being used in the real world and is categorized based on the type of projects those images fall into. For example, you can choose to view all the images for packaging if you wanted. You can even submit images to our gallery using the bookmarklet tool.

If you ever missed a newsletter from FontShop or accidentally deleted one you were saving, don’t fret! We’ve stored all of our previous FontShop Newsletters here. Sign up to receive them, if you haven’t already. You don’t want to miss our Best of 2011 (and don’t forget to submit your suggestions for the chance to win a FontBook app for iPad).

Our education page is a favorite resource for students and educators. It provides typographic tips available in PDFs that you can download for free, which is nice when you need to brush up on terms.

Hope you enjoy our archives. Are we missing anything that may be useful to you? Let us know in the comments.

Call for Input: Best of 2011

It’s definitely difficult to believe that it’s already November. We’re hard at work compiling our “Best of” lists before the holiday season distracts us. While we definitely have opinions amongst our staff on what typefaces and enhancements defined the year, we’d like to hear yours as well.

Need some inspiration? Take a look back at some of our previous years’ posts. Next, flip through our New Fonts lists to see what’s come out this year. Then leave your picks in the comment section below.

Not sure if you’ll have motivation to volunteer picks? Let’s sweeten the pot a little bit. We’ll pick 10 lucky commenters to win a copy of the FontBook for iPad. Just leave your comment by November 30!

FontShop Friday Five: Reflections

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. Please find below five recent FontShop-related threads that you may have missed.

Remembering a Legend

Our SF staff reflects on what Steve Jobs meant to them.

Foundry Finds

David Sudweeks takes a look at some of the new additions to FontShop – Storm Type Foundry and Astype.

Accounting for Your Account

Theresa’s Tips this week reviews the “My Account” section on FontShop.com.

Typography Tunes

The latest edition of My Type of Music hits the FontFeed, as well as a follow up.

Numerals: Fireballed

Yves’ two parter on numerals gets a nice mention on Daring Fireball.

Friday Five Fonts: Ambicase Fatface by Teeline Fonts

FontShop Friday Five: Welcome to August

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.

August is Here with a New Newsletter

Did you miss our latest newsletter on Wednesday? Read it here. Then check out the great new selections from TypeTrust, Red Rooster, Alias, Emigre and Dalton Maag. You can subscribe to newsletters on this page to get this font deliciousness in your inbox twice a month.

Join the FontShop Team

We’re hiring in San Francisco! Join us as a Systems Admin & Architect or Entry-level Sales/Support Representative. Learn a little more about our customer support team here.

Let Us Be Your Resource

Did you know about our Education section or student discount? Learn about our resources here. FontBook can also be a great resource for those learning about type. Check out an interactive way to learn about classes and subclasses for each typeface.

On the FontFeed

Yves Peters highlights a new mini-documentary on type and the 2012 Typodarium. And don’t forget, you can win tickets to TYPO London!

Visual, Meet Virtual

On August 24, FontShop San Francisco is hosting a designer meetup with a twist. We’ve partnered with the Storek Building to create Visual Meets Virtual, an opportunity for designers and developers to connect on projects. There will also be pizza, beer and fun.

Friday Five Fonts:  Packard New Style by Red Rooster and Rhythm by TypeTrust

FontBook Features: 5x Classier

Now that we’ve unleashed the FontBook iPad app on the world, we want to take some time to show you all the goodies packed inside. Watch for our FontBook Features posts throughout the coming weeks. Also, remember if you have general questions about app, we’ll keep our FAQs documented here.

As Yves Peters recently explained with his interview with the app development team on The FontFeed, one of the unique features of the app its robust classification system. With the involvement of type historian, typographer, author, and professor for Typography and Communikation Design at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Indra Kupferschmid, the team developed an impressive system of highlighting broad type categories and their subgroups.

Clicking into the “Classes” section of the app you’ll initially see the seven main type categories: Sans, Serif, Slab Serif, Blackletter, Script, Display, and Pi & Symbols. But dig in, by tapping a class, and you’ll find each class has five subclasses within each. It’s easy to get lost for hours checking out each one.

Sans Serif Subclasses

Serif Subclasses

Slab Serif Subclasses

Blackletter Subclasses

Script Subclasses

Display Subclasses

Pi & Symbols Subclasses

Staff Picks, July 2011

Summertime and the living may be easy, but we still have type on the brain. This month’s FontShop Staff Picks are here. We’ve highlighted three below so you can hear why our employees picked them.

Oxtail by Stefan Hattenbach

Michael, First Officer of our SF crew, likes Oxtail from PsyOps Type Foundry. “This is one of my favorites because it’s sophisticated, tasteful, and has a splash of sass,” he explains.

FF Polymorph by Stefanie Schwarz

Designer Anna picks FF Polymorph for its international flavor. “FF Polymorph intrigues me with its variety of forms inspired by characters from all over the globe,” she notes.

FF Mister K Informal by Julia Sysmäläinen

Our communications manager, Meghan, digs the newly released FF Mister K informal. “I’ve been a big fan of the whole family, but now I can have a font to express my more casual Kafkaesque situations,” she jokes. “In all seriousness though, there are so many unique and beautiful glyphs in this version – it’s a very fun font to explore.”

All The App That’s Fit to Print

FontBook for iPad – Halex Pereira QuoteFontBook for iPad – Jens Tenhaeff Quote

We know we’ve talked a lot about our new FontBook app lately. But we’re not the only ones! Check out our special edition July newsletter for some nice words from around the globe. We also have highlighted a couple of features cross-posted from the FontFeed.

What are your favorite parts of the app?

FontBook Features: Browse By Year

Now that we’ve unleashed the FontBook iPad app on the world, we want to take some time to show you all the goodies packed inside. Watch for our FontBook Features posts throughout the coming weeks. Also, remember if you have general questions about app, we’ll keep our FAQs documented here.

A stunning look at the typographic timeline can be found by clicking on “Year” on the homescreen on the app. You then have the ability to browse by century, then decade, then year as type progresses.

Drill in and you’ll see all typefaces created during that timeframe (or their modern equivalents).

This is a great route to take to a product page, especially if your design is trying to capture a certain era.

Have you browsed by year yet?

FontBook Features: Beautiful Search

Now that we’ve unleashed the FontBook iPad app on the world, we want to take some time to show you all the goodies packed inside. Watch for our FontBook Features posts throughout the coming weeks. Also, remember if you have general questions about app, we’ll keep our FAQs documented here.

Today we want to point out the easy and beautiful search function built into the app. Just select the magnifying glass on the top bar on any page in the app. You can search by font family, designer or foundry. And remember the app is gorgeous in either portrait or landscape! Try it yourself and see how the samples auto-populate and rearrange as you refine your search.

Search by Foundry

Search by Font Family

Search by Designer

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