Monthly Archives: February 2012

Theresa’s Tip: A Designer’s Guide to Webfonts

You’ve heard about Web FontFonts, but if you’re still not sure what they are and how to use them then don’t fret. FontShop created a guide to get you up to date on what webfonts are and how to use Web FontFonts. Just go to our education page to view the guide online and if you need to brush up on your typography then we have guides for that too.

You can also download the PDF here.

Staff Picks, February 2012

Staff picks are out for February. See the complete list. Here are a few endorsements.

Theresa picks Ronnia by Veronika Burian & José Scaglione of TypeTogether

“A friendly sans serif with multiple styles and sweet italics.”

Jason picks Airy by Alexandra Korolkova; published by ParaType

“Airy, it smacks Curlz® and pulls its hair.”

Our Systems Administrator Mark picks Bourgeois by Jonathan Barnbrook, Marcus McCallion; published by Virus Fonts

Mark admits his attraction to Bourgeois’s “somewhat techie feel.” Don’t miss the Alts!

Discover More Typefaces with New Show FontLists Tab

We’re excited to announce the addition of a more robust FontList tool on today. Now when you browse font packages, you’ll see a new tab marked “Show FontLists.” If the font is listed in any Fontlist, you’ll see a list of where else you can find it on the site. When you mouse over the FontList name, you’ll get a preview of the list.

This is a great way for you to unearth Alternatives, Applications, Award Winners and more. Let us know what you think of the new feature in the comments section!

Linotype Film Premieres on the West Coast

Doug Wilson’s Linotype: the Film premiered in San Francisco Tuesday night to two back-to-back sold out audiences. The subject of the film is the historical impact of the Linotype typecasting machine on its trade, and on society.

Director Doug Wilson (in shirt and tie) talks as film attendees fill the venue.

I was first introduced to Doug Wilson through his writing. In The Eighth Wonder, published in Codex, Issue 1, his story revolves largely around the personal misfortune of Linotype inventor, Ottmar Mergenthaler. While its design and mechanical precision was undoubtedly the work of genius, Mergenthaler’s proneness toward its constant improvement put him at odds with the project’s principal backer, newspaper man Whitelaw Reid. Reid wanted a finalized product that could be sold and shipped. In the film, Reid is resoundingly pronounced a tyrant, ruling ‘with an iron hand.’  The resulting product, despite its complexity, eventually succeeded in mass production, and became the foundation of an enormously profitable business, as well as “the pinnacle of late-Victorian mechanical engineering.”

Diagram detail from The Official Manual, Linotype Machine Principles, 1940.

Most notably, the movie wasn’t some sad story about a few sweet old men left behind as the history of their trade was lost. Though some genuinely sweet old men make up the cast of the documentary, the tone of the film is hopeful. One bit of evidence was the small but much younger group of ‘second generation’ Linotype operators. Another was presented like this: With the use of the Linotype, the work of one man was now equal to that of 6 hand-typesetters. While this initially spelled ruin to the typesetting trade, within a decade of its introduction all these workers and more were called back to the industry, as the many new volumes of books, magazines, and newspapers – now produced and sold at a much more affordable price – needed someone to make them.

After the film, the director answered the audience’s questions, including “How much did a Linotype cost?” and “Is anyone making new matrices for the Linotype?” The answers took a bit of explaining. The first typecasters sold for the equivalent of a house, “between $10- and $50,000.” This expense could be made up in the case of a newspaper, for example, in a couple of years. The ‘matrices’ – mats, in Linotype terminology, underwent 63 machine processes in their production. All of the custom machinery that made the mats was scrapped with the close of the Linotype factory’s hot metal era, thus “even with today’s technology, their reproduction would be completely nonviable, impossible.”

The film was received entirely positively. Its release to DVD happens Summer 2012.

Theresa’s Tips: Preview Web FontFonts on any website with FontFonter

FontFonter is free tool that lets you try Web FontFonts on any website. It was introduced almost two years ago and continues to be one of the easiest ways to comp an existing site with Web FontFonts. Just go to, type in a website, and FontFont It! Here are more tips and examples to help you out.

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.

New Fonts, January 2012

January brought loads of great new fonts with it. Have a look at some of our finds.

Neue Haas Grotesk by Christian Schwartz, after Max Miedinger; published by Linotype

If you’re going to use Helvetica, choose a beautiful one. What makes Neue Haas Grotesk any different from any other cut of Helvetica? First, its optical sizes differentiate between display and text typography, and compensate accordingly. The second difference is only in the small details, which in typography is only everything.

Elegy Pro by Ed Benguiat, Jim Wasco; published by ITC

I was very surprised and delighted even to find this stately formal script among ITC’s new faces. Elegy’s fine lines and contrasty caps are best suited to display setting.

Ysobel by Delve Withrington, Robin Nicholas, Alice Savoie; published by Monotype

Ysobel started as an update to Century Schoolbook. Its rationalized axis and carefully controlled contrast produce in running copy a kind of special texture peculiar to the Scotch Roman and its predecessor, the Neoclassical and late Baroque letter. An extensive collection of weights and optical sizes for both text and display are available.

Theresa’s Tips: Optimize Web FontFonts with Subsetter

FontFont Subsetter is free tool that allows you to optimize your licensed Web FontFonts by stripping out glyphs and data that you don’t need. All you have to do is upload your licensed Web FontFont on Subsetter, choose how you want to customize it, then download your new web font. In three easy steps you’ll have leaner file that will help make your website faster, while optimizing bandwidth usage, and reducing high-traffic cost. Try it today!

Signpainting at New Bohemia Signs

Michael Pieracci and I stopped in on our just-up-the-street neighbors at New Bohemia Signs last Saturday during their first-ever signpainting workshop. You may remember hearing that name from one of our FontCasts. When we first approached the studio’s proprietor, Damon Styer, about incorporating some kind of a brush lettering workshop at TYPO San Francisco, he invited us to come see how this one came off. From a bystander viewpoint, and from the mouths of his students, everyone seemed happy with the results.

Damon had long intended to offer some sort of instructional workshop to interested parties. Things picked up speed when a gentleman stopped into the shop last year looking for a unique Christmas gift for his wife. “For the first time, we kind of had to set a date and plan on it,” Damon explained. Several graphic designers, artists, letterers, and fans of the shop caught word and responded that they too hoped to attend, and with minimal trouble all vacancies were filled.

The students were started out with some tips on how to hold the brush and how to approach letter construction; the rest was practice, practice, practice. Damon made the rounds during practice time to answer questions and jump in when his pupils needed help.

After working through some details, Michael and I are pleased to announce that Damon’s brush lettering workshop will be available to conference attendees at TYPO San Francisco. Details on how the workshop will be set up and which day(s) it will be offered are not yet set, but if interested please check back on the conference website for the full details as they become available.

Theresa’s Tips: Hosting Web FontFonts on Typekit

Update April 2016: Recent changes to the FontShop website have temporarily made this automated “Bring Your Own License to Typekit”unavailable. To use your Web FontFonts on Typekit, visit your order history and click the green button to request a Typekit web voucher.


FontShop makes hosting Web FontFonts on Typekit easy.

When you purchase a license from FontShop for a Web FontFont you can self host the typeface, or you can take advantage of our partnership with Typekit. It’s just a simple click on the link we provide on your check out confirmation page. If you don’t have a Typekit account, then you can set up a plan that’s right for you. Please note that only Web FontFonts can be hosted on Typekit from FontShop.