Monthly Archives: June 2012

Monogramma from Wiescher

Gert Wiescher’s new Monogramma is a set of 14 fonts made for creating entwined monogram initials. Monogramma Base displays these stately Roman forms plainly, without any overlay. The rest of the 13 fonts double to cover every possible two-letter combination. For example, in Monogramma GH covers all the ‘G’s and ‘H’s. Type ‘A’ and you get ‘GA’, ‘B’ gives you ‘GB’. In the lowercase, ‘c’ returns ‘HC’, ‘d’ becomes ‘HD’. No features you have to enable—it’s made to work all from the font selection menu and with a little know-how.

Lastly, the question of where to put these interlocking forms; Some have suggested the usual places—on the bath towels, the handbag, the pocketknife. Perhaps cut into the stepping stones in the garden or at the bottom left corner of the blank invitation cards. I’m sure you’ll come up with something.

Staff Picks, June 2012

It’s Staff Picks time! The full FontList is here. And we’re glad to include our readers’ comments on what’s made the cut for Best of 2012 (so far).

Meghan picks Tablet Gothic by Veronika Burian, José Scaglione of TypeTogether

“I like the mix of functionality and personality.”

Mayene picks LTC Glamour Hairline Engraved by Colin Kahn, published by Lanston Type Co.

“Who says display faces have to be bold or heavy?”

Volker picks Alpha Echo Swashes by Gert Wiescher

“An emphatic display font.”

And we got a number of responses on what’s been best so far this year, including:

Krul & Winco by Ramiro Espinoza of ReType, Trim by Göran Söderström of Letters from Sweden, and FF Tisa Sans by Mitja Miklavčič, published by FontFont. What more have you come across this year that’s been great? Keep ’em coming.

New Fonts This Week

Light week. We’ve got a couple new additions this time around from Wiescher, and a regular update from FaceType to the family previously known as Stanley Slab.


XX Century Ornaments

Thistle Borders


Stanley Slab is now Stanzer.

That’s it for now. For more about these and additional updates, watch this blog, read our newsletter, and follow our type tweets on Twitter.

Superfamilies in FF Chartwell Bars

One of the things FF Chartwell Bars does well is it shows how individual contributions add to the whole. This turned out to be a perfect way of showing the numbers involved in superfamilies, and how they added up. To start, I chose two superfamilies to visualize, Novel from Atlas Font Foundry, and FF Meta from FontFont of course, and used bars of differing length to represent individual fonts in each superfamily as they fit into a particular style or classification. You’ll have to excuse the colors, as similarly colored bars hold no relationship from one line to the next. (Maybe that would be an interesting dimension to work with.)


FF Meta

Rather than representing values as percentages, FF Chartwell Bars stacks values up to 1000, leaving plenty of room for me to use actual values. Just to make them easier to see, I multiplied all values by ten.

Novel is 54 fonts spread across five styles. Additionally, I’ve taken those 54 fonts and added them up in different ways to illustrate a few different dimensions of the superfamily.

Choose some colors (I’ve used more or less the process primaries and secondaries) and you’re done.

By way of reminder, Novel Sans Rounded is half off through the end of the week. You also may have noticed up there, FF Meta has a little-known distressed variant, FF Meta Plus Boiled. It also occurs to me that I had not even mentioned FF Meta’s vowel-free variant, FF Mt, a FontFont exclusive.

The FF Chartwell series continues on Monday. To find out how all this type-to-charts magic works, read the last one, or catch up on all previous editions here on our blog. And hey! How are you using FF Chartwell? Let us know.

Stuart Sandler’s Air Flow and Starliner

With the addition this week of Breaking the Norm, a new label under the Sideshow foundry name, we came across all kinds of new novelty display faces. Taking a closer look at a couple of related ones now, here’s Air Flow and Starliner.

Air Flow calls from memory the sense of wonder surrounding space travel, integrated circuits, and a future of technological advancement. Its rectilinear forms and a top-heavy structure distance the style from the here and now, to some far-off advanced culture.

Starliner follows the lines of the popular chrome script lettering styles seen on cars, refrigerators, radios, and other specially marked items from the fifties and sixties.

See more from Breaking the Norm on their foundry page.

Your Type: Best of 2012 So Far

Happy Summer Solstice! We thought this would be the perfect time to check in with you to see what you’re digging so far this year. Whether its a new font, like Bold Monday’s Trio Grotesk or ReType’s Krul, or a tool like the FontShop Plugin, let us know in the comments what’s come out in 2012 that you love and why.

We’ll include a summary of “user picks” with our next installment of Staff Picks next week.

New Fonts This Week

As always with these short updates, there’s more to come from us on these, but for now here’s all our latest.

New Foundry

Sideshow’s Breaking the Norm

Plus new faces from these foundries:



Schiavi Design

Sys 2.0

Get the full stories and keep up to date by subscribing to our newsletter, reading this blog, and following us on Twitter.

Radar Charts in FF Chartwell

FF Chartwell Radar comes next in our series on turning type into useful visuals. Radar charts are ideal for quickly comparing strengths and weaknesses between a few comparable entities, in this case, soccer players. Above you see data from Alan Dzagoev, Mario Gómez, and Mario Mandžukić, presently the top scorers in the UEFA Championship.

To create the charts I took six comparable values (that aren’t commonly grouped), converted them to percentages, and put plus signs in between, resulting in these six-pointed polygons. Points that extend the farthest from the origin represent larger values, and the closer points represent smaller values. Since we need percentages, or rather, integers between 0 and 100, there’s a little math involved in coming up with values that make sense visually.

For example, since a soccer player’s height is represented as a percentage, you may be asking, ‘A percentage of what? The height of the tallest player in the league?’ The answer is—just pick a number to serve as your ‘ceiling.’ If the results look depressed, like the third value in the chart here on the left, just bring your ceiling down a bit. But—be sure to keep a consistent ceiling across all the players’ heights. Keeping the values straight was easy to manage by using a spreadsheet. It’s nice that it handles the arithmetic for you too.
Tip: Use your spreadsheet’s INT function to get whole number results.

After getting the data ready, it’s as simple as dropping it into a text box and enabling Set 1 from the Stylistic Sets OpenType menu.

My final step was to set the numbers in some analogous colors and include a grid for some common reference by putting ‘a+’ at the beginning of each string of numbers. Try a–f for differently scaled / filled grids.

That’s it. We’ll continue the FF Chartwell series here next Monday. In the meantime, go get FF Chartwell and come up with some other useful or ideas on how to use it.

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!

Novel Sans Rounded

We’re glad see Christoph Dunst of Atlas Font Foundry getting some recognition for his latest work in the Novel Superfamily! Novel Sans Rounded was recently named by The Next Web’s Harrison Weber as one of ’27 New Typefaces You Need to Know About.’ We’re also glad that because of Atlas Font Foundry’s Novel Sans Rounded promotion, you can get the full 6-weight package at 50% off — through June.

All Our New Fonts

Just arriving to FontShop this week are these fresh faces from Hoftype, Wiescher and URW. You’ll hear more from us on these in posts and newsletters to come, but for now, here’s all our latest.


Sina Nova by Dieter Hofrichter


Cassandra Plus by Gert Wiescher

Collins Florets by Gert Wiescher

Greenaway Mignonettes by Gert Wiescher

Ohio Bold by Gert Wiescher

Viking Initials by Gert Wiescher


Fou Web by Michael Herold

Ribera Web by Joern Oelsner

Tall Things in FF Chartwell Vertical Bars

Let’s start the first of our seven-part series on making charts with type—with a closer look at FF Chartwell’s Vertical Bars. Bar charts are best for comparing a few data points along a single axis. In today’s examples we explore the heights of tall things and the depths of profound things.

Tall things

After coming up with a list of values, just do a little long division to get the numbers you need. Here I divide the height of the items by the height of the tallest item. Translate those percentages to integers between 0 and 100 and put plus signs in between, then choose Set 1 from the OpenType Stylistic Sets menu.

Setting the colors can be slightly tricky. One InDesign tip Jens Kutílek shares in his how-to video is to set the colors in the Story editor. This saves you from all the back and forth of enabling and disabling stylistics sets. Because FF Chartwell is type, you can simply track your vertical bars tighter or looser. I’ve left them at their default tracking values here. And it’s that simple to create great looking bar charts.

Profound things

Look for another edition of our FF Chartwell series here next Monday.

Look for FontShop at SF Design Week

FontShop is thrilled to be the  Typography Sponsor for San Francisco Design Week, which kicks off Monday and runs through June 17.

We’re especially pleased to support Shutterstock’s Pixels of Fury: A Live Creative Inspiration Tournament event at Adobe next Thursday. Designers will go head to head using stock images and selections from FontShop (we don’t want to give anything away yet, we’ll tell you which ones next week) to battle it out over three inspiring rounds.

Also look for our staff at the Opening and Closing parties and other events throughout the week. See you there?

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 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?


Feeling the FontBook App Love

Venus in transit yesterday must’ve made the internet fall in love all over again with FontBook app for iPad.

We were super excited to be named Smash App’s app of the day this morning, which definitely put a smile on our faces. Then this afternoon Wired lists FontBook as one of its 10 Essential Apps for Makers. That resulted in some joyous office clapping.

The app’s about to celebrate its first birthday, so we’re happy that it continues to be a useful and essential resource for the design community. We didn’t stop there and continue to innovate and create more tools to make your life easier. As we told you in today’s newsletter, we’re thrilled that our plugin now supports both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Stay tuned to the blog tomorrow for a closer look.