Monthly Archives: September 2012

Pinterested: New boards this week

This week, we’ve traveled across the internet in search for street art — our most recent Pinterest boards showcase some fun and extraordinary examples of type.

Fall is a great season for traveling, so we’ve explored a tiny bit of the internet for type around the world. Our Street Art & Graffiti board is another great example of “handmade” type (or lettering, if you will). As David discussed some skeuomorphic type for this week’s Type Trends, you’ll find some examples of that with street art, as well, including ribbon type by the street artist Eme. If you’re traveling this season, maybe you can find some of these examples on our pinboard!

Also, don’t forget about our Alphabetized board — it’s always interesting to find how different objects or materials, such as raw meat, can be made into a sturdy alphabet or how elaborate details can be worked into or out of an already-existing typeface.

If you’re new to Pinterest, don’t forget to follow all of our boards, otherwise you’ll miss the new boards we create every week!

Type Trends: Skeuomorphic Type

As a brief caveat to last week’s typographic trends post on physical type, there are times when one hopes to lend some of the relatability of physical objects via media incapable of their transmission (for example webpages or mobile apps). In these cases, some designers cheat using skeuomorphic elements such as illustrated switches, dials, finished wood backgrounds, etc. which at best give a sense of familiarity to virtual tools, and at worst confuse its user with needless or obstructive allusion.

Skeuomorphism, briefly put, is the vestigial imitation of objects or materials. The commonly referenced example is the stitched-leather bound calendar app familiar to mac owners, its ‘previously used pages’ leaving behind ‘torn’ edges. Real world examples include headlight decals on racecars and—one invisible to me until recently—the yellow band on cigarettes, a printed cork filter.

With skeumorphism comes the onslaught skeuomorphic type treatments, leaving your type looking fictionally debossed, embossed, chrome-plated, glazed, etched, routed, or any combination of the above.

Underware’s Liza and Adrian Frutiger’s Univers pressed into chipboard.

Angus R. Shamal’s ARS Maquette machine stamped into brushed aluminum.

And lastly, this proof that some faces work better than others. Here, Just van Rossum’s FF Dynamoe works great as designed, but an already overtly skeumorphic embossed tape labeler face reaches its limits when fake-debossed into leather.

Staff Picks, September 2012

September’s picks are in. See the complete list or just sit back and enjoy the following selections.

Meghan picks Zipolite by Eli Castellanos, published by Cocijotype

“That ‘w’ is ready to party.”

Volker picks FF Marker Skinny by Thomas Marecki, published by FontFont

“’cause it has the coolest dingbats”

Star picks Aksent Cyrillic by Alexey Kustov, published by ParaType

“All lasers, all the time”

Finding Fonts that Speak Your Language

Typefaces don’t all talk the same. We’ve heard from you that more information about what languages individual fonts support can make a big difference in choosing which packages would best fit with the projects you’re working on.

We’re excited to announce we’ve launched a solution, it’s still beta, but you can see some new features in a few places.

Language tabs

Visit the product pages (e.g. Paratype’s Orbi Sans Multilingual) and there’s now a new tab which lists which languages are supported.  If you’re working with multiple or less commonly supported languages, you can make sure the single font you chose speaks the right one before you buy.

Sub-category pages

Pick a category (such as serif) and then filter the results based on language. This will return only those fonts that support the languages you’re seeking.

Bestsellers page

We’ve added an extra filter so you can now return just those results with that languages you use.

As always, if you have any suggestions on what changes to the site you’d like to see, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

FF Chartwell Web Ready to Shake Up Online Infographics

Since FF Chartwell’s May release, the design world has been abuzz with accolades for its unique approach to infographic creation. With the recent FontFont release, web designers can now rejoice – FF Chartwell Web is here!

Get FF Chartwell Radar Web free!

FF Chartwell Rose Web

FF Chartwell Bars Vertical Web

FF Chartwell Lines Web

FF Chartwell Bars Web

FF Chartwell Pies Web

FF Chartwell Rings Web

Back in May we first introduced FF Chartwell’s nonconformist approach to creating charts and graphs: simply type in the numbers and let the font do the rest. Rings, rose, radar, pies, bars, lines, and vertical bar charts, all as easily styled as type, result automatically. Use FF Chartwell Web with static text or real-time data.

FontFont had to think creatively to work around the lack of OpenType support in most web browsers to keep FF Chartwell working to its users expectations. The end result is “more than just a font“:

All the chart drawing functions of FF Chartwell Web are provided as small JavaScript libraries. To create a chart you enter the values in a similar way to the desktop font and use HTML code to determine color and appearance.

Nobody likes bloated JavaScript libraries, so the JavaScript files are split into one base file and one file for each of the chart types. This way you never have to load more files than you really need. All FF Chartwell Web packages come with a demo page and example HTML code to help get you started. As with all Web FontFonts, you will also receive a WOFF and an EOT font called FF Chartwell Text Web Pro. Please note, that these only contain the alphabet part of FF Chartwell.

Web designers can test FF Chartwell Web on the FontFont How To site’s live demo. We can’t wait to see the beautiful infographic websites that FF Chartwell is bound to inspire. Please share your creations in the comments!

New Fonts This Week

Just in—a nice variety of fresh new faces. Be sure to check out the latest deal from Sudtipos. As always, subscribe to our newsletter and read this blog for the full stories. Now for all the latest from the following foundries:


Hipster Script Pro


Kahlo Family Pro


Adelle Sans


Sirba Greek

Buyer’s Guide: Best Format for Microsoft Office

TrueType (.ttf) and TrueType-flavored OpenType (.ttf) work best in Microsoft® Office. Typically, PostScript-flavored OpenType (.otf) contain additional features and glyphs that apps like Excel®, Word®, and PowerPoint® can not access. Also, PowerPoint® only allows TrueType fonts to be embedded into a saved presentation.

So when you are purchasing a license for a font, make sure that you are getting the correct format. You’ll want to select PC TrueType or TrueType-flavored OpenType. Any font that has a TT icon is a TrueType font and you can use the legend below to help guide your way through the different formats on FontShop for all the products we provide.

Don’t worry, TrueType works with Macs and choosing the correct OpenType-flavor is easy!

Pinterested: New boards this week

We have a few new Pinterest boards up this week including our X Marks The Spot board that we created especially for those who were plunderin’ for typographic treasures on Talk Like A Pirate Day.

On our Alphabetized board, we’ll be pinning interesting finds that showcase full alphabet designs ranging from posters, unique fonts, home decor, and character sets designed just for fun.

In line with our Typographic Trend this week, our Let’s Get Physical board contains images and items of type in the physical world as well as three-dimensional fonts including Buster OT from Elsner+Flake designed to appear like the letters are popping up from the ground and Ironmonger Three D OT from Font Bureau, sharply chiseled down to catch your eye.

If you love our pinboards and have friends on that are in need of some typographic goodies on their Pinterest feed, spread the word!

Typographic Trends: Physical Type

The idea that type exists in physical form is another visible trend in typography, and within the larger discipline of graphic design. It’s worth noting here that type since its beginning has existed in physical form; Only within the last fifty years or so has type (as a product) existed as anything but a physical product. But as printing techniques matured, efforts were taken that de-emphasized the physical nature of type. Whether born of practical consideration, or style or both, printers’ handbooks described the process of printing as lightly touching the page’s surface with inked type, leaving the most subtle and even impression possible.

With the rise of digital type, desktop publishing, digital prepress, direct-to-plate, etc., it’s no wonder after a few years of slick, overly-perfect glossies, a corresponding interest in traditional letterpress printing on uncoated paper developed. The mark of this second letterpress movement, diverging from prior conventional practice, allowed the positive image to strike a deep bonk, or kiss, a relief that unmistakeably marked the presence and weight of the type in question. And given its tactile quality and the patterned texture of the ink, it somehow felt more real.

Print show flyer hand-set in Spartan by Jonathon Bellew and James Yencken of Something Splendid

So returning to trends, it would appear that in pursuit of this idea of genuineness, we continue to follow the course that got us this far, but ever conscious of how our efforts will be received. More people than ever spend their days interfacing with a screen. Boutique letterpress print shops now dot the landscape. And that once-desirable deep impression now appears to many as passé, or worse, insincere. We designers design on, guided by the idea of the physical, relatable, and approachable.

One way this concept of relatability consistently plays out in the world of design is through photographing work. This way one’s design is not merely a collection of assets, but rather a series of art objects to be beheld. Anyone can design something and reproduce it flawlessly on screen, but to take it to press, or render it in stone or steel or glass—that takes real commitment. And it’s this—the power of focused commitment to an idea—I feel is one of the principles that stays new, and never grows tired.

The above piece illustrates this principle beautifully. As part of an invitation made to Jessica Hische to speak to the Society of Design, its members successfully coordinated, initiated the production of, and assembled 27 official Pennsylvania license plates—the tags on their own vehicles, spelling out the invitation message. (The plates are set in a custom embossing face, not unlike Christian Swartz’s Pennsylvania.)

The last example of physical type is of our office signage here at FontShop San Francisco. We settled on something understated that fit the architecture, but that stood out just enough. Our process was to cut labels out of clear acrylic and adhere them to our glass walls. The signage is set in Fakt (with certain alternate forms enabled).

Plunderin’ for Typographic Treasure

Ahoy, designer mateys! Aboard the good ship FontShop today some of us arrrr fully celebratin’ Talk Like a Pirate Day. If yer out revelin’, here’s some type booty for ye to check out.

First, fer all ye fans of our Pinterest page, we’ve got a new board that should suit yer fancy.

If ye prefer fontlists, we’ve got an oldie but goodie buried on the site. Ye can pillage Pirate Fonts to yer heart’s content.

If yer lookin’ for bedtime tales of the sea for yer parrots or lil’ scalawags tonight, have ye heard the one about Jim Ford‘s Captain Quill? After losing his right hand to a spirited sea dog, Captain Quill settled down to focus on his first love, nautical treasure cartography. The ease of stroke in this swashy script face confirms what his boyhood calligraphy teacher stressed from the start: It’s all in the elbow.

If you’re not sure if ye are “hooked” on any of these, try ’em out first in the FontShop Plugin for Creative Suite. Stock up on sea type for your next adventure or on landlubber fonts too.


New Fonts This Week

Fresh new faces just in. As always, subscribe to our newsletter and read this blog for the full stories. Be sure to check out the new extensions from Bold Monday and Wiescher. Now for the latest from the following foundries:

Bold Monday



Andes Condensed

Kahlo Essential

Los Niches

Ride My Bike Pro


Ancient Astronaut International

Totally Awesome International


Blitz Condensed

Buyer’s Guide: Fonts Like This

Searching for fonts on FontShop can be daunting, but we’ve added a few things to our site to help you find the perfect font for your needs. We’ll go over these tools in the upcoming weeks and we’ll start with Fonts Like This.

Located on every product page, Fonts Like This will help you find similar fonts to a specific typeface. It makes finding Helvetica alternatives, or in this case Estilo, easy. Try it today and discover what you’ve been missing!

Pinterested: New boards this week

Raise your hand if you like handmade type! We created two new boards on Pinterest this week that tie in with our Typographic Trend this week.

As our font expert, David, mentioned in his Typographic Trend post yesterday, some fonts are influenced by actual handwriting. Our In Your Face: FF Mister K board puts the spotlight on one of our own FontFonts that falls into this category of “handmade” type. FF Mister K is a family of four that was inspired by the handwriting of writer Franz Kafka. Check out the different cuts of FF Mister K on FontShop!

We also pinned a different approach to what “handmade” type can mean. On our Getting Out Of Hand board, you’ll find a collection of type and images and designs made out of hands or done on hands. You’ll find words spelled out in sign language and also letters shaped with fingers.

Can you handle our new boards this week?

Typographic Trends: Handmade

This is the first in a series of trends I see affecting typographic design written by me, David Sudweeks, Type expert here at FontShop. One of the prominent undercurrents I’m noting in design generally is the move toward approachability and authenticity. The movement is fueled by a growing skepticism toward the overproduced, highly finished corporate brand image – or in fact anything that appears too easily reproduced – in favor of a more substantial, personable connection to one’s professional services, goods, etc.. When designing for such an audience, details that reflect thoughtfulness and humanness, such as a bit of playful script lettering or an aptly placed tooltip that gently offers assistance, aid in building a relationship between people and the things we designers make for them.

On using the word typography: Type purists like myself generally don’t appreciate seeing the term typography thrown about so carelessly as to include anything remotely related to letter art, such as graffiti, lettering, sign painting, or handwriting. Typography is the use of type, and type is writing using prefabricated letters (to be unguardedly concise). Lettering, calligraphy, handwriting and traditional engraving, while not type, share many design aspects with type and in fact overlap in their definitions. Rather than focus so narrowly that these disciplines fall outside the scope of the series, I’m including them; noting up front that they’re not all typography.

That said, today we’re only looking at type.

Madelinette carefully reproduces Crystal Kluge’s handwork leading to a nice, approachable result. Crystal’s hand to paper to type follows the traditional model, though also in vogue is type that takes one additional step.

P22 Stanyan, like many members of the Hand-made, Hand-drawn, Paper-cut genre, draw type by hand, and then turn it into type. The application of the hand-drawn style exists across many genres of type. Some are even named after specific faces, like Gert Wiescher’s Franklin Gothic Hand.

In other faces, the influence of the hand determines the construction of the letterforms, like the decision to close the loop of the lowercase g & y in Veronika Burian and José Scaglione’s Bree.

In the next part of the series, we’ll stay on the subject of hand-made type, with an emphasis on it having a presence in the physical world.

JAF Bernini Sans

The JAF Bernini Sans Superfamily is one of those collections that’s easy to overlook. On the outside, it’s a refined humanist sans (in two distinct styles) that speaks plainly and walks in dignified fashion across the page. But the subtle loveliness and thoughtfulness with which the type sets and makes use of common yet little-known features is what caught my eye. These details above all show the experience of its designer, Tim Ahrens, in working with text.

For example, how often do you come across an all-small-caps acronym within text whose presence appears too greatly diminished? Or an ALL CAPS setting that draws too much attention to itself? In the Bernini Sans Superfamily, the designer takes advantage of the ‘All Caps’ case feature (Shift+Command+K in InDesign) to set caps at sized and spaced just right to solve this common problem.

The superfamily comes in two variants—the cool humanist JAF Bernino Sans, and the friendly, slightly warmer JAF Bernina Sans. Each comes in five weights across four widths: Regular, Narrow, Condensed and Compressed. Companion italics span the Regular width only.

As a special introductory offer, get the entire set or individual weights at half off through September.