Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pinterested: Hello, Tokyo!


Our Sales & Support team, Theresa and Mayene, both went to Japan for vacation this month at different times. We have a Type Travels: Hello, Tokyo! pinboard up from last year but wanted to revisit the typography seen overseas. A few new shots of Japanese typography are posted, as well, including a quick snap of an ad seen on a bus using sakura (Japanese cherry blossoms) to create the word “go”. If traveling to Tokyo is on your to-do list, we recommend trying during cherry blossom season — not only will you get to see how typography is treated in Japan but the beauty of spring and Hanami parties!

March Madness: Sweet Sixteen Wrapup

Final Final Final Final
38 Frutiger 47 Today Sans 47 FF DIN 34 FF Netto
27 Telefon 18 Edward 17 Aften Screen 31 Foco

Let’s hear it for the Sweet Sixteen! From the right side of the bracket, the remaining serifs go from eight down to four today. To participate, vote for the winner in each faceoff. One vote is one point. Follow the links in the titles for more info on each face. Let the games begin!

FF Tisa vs. Bodoni Egyptian


Freight vs. Fedra Serif B


FF Unit Slab vs. Maiola


Periódico vs. Elena


All polls close tonight at midnight (Pacific).

Using Type: Tabs, Nested Styles

Nested-Styles-1 Nested-Styles-2
Tabs and nested style settings in InDesign aren’t hidden away anywhere, but the ins and outs of their use can still be tricky. As a brief addendum to Using Styles Properly and last week’s how to on figures, I thought I’d demonstrate a couple of techniques for automating the application of styles, which happen to sometimes require a good understanding of tabs. The above example uses a character style, a couple of paragraph styles, and is set in FF Milo and FF DIN Round.

Show Hidden Characters

First, when working with any kind of information that requires a tabular layout, make sure you can see exactly what’s there, and what isn’t. This means turning on invisible characters. Type > Show/Hide Hidden Characters. Now we can see our tabs, represented as guillemets, spaces, shown as vertically centered periods, as well as various break characters, etc.. As covered in Using Figures, the decimal points of the numbers above should align vertically. This is done by using a decimal tab as opposed to the left-, center-, or right-aligning tabs shown at the top left of the tab panel. Upon closer inspection, the decimal tab additionally works with “any specified character” in the “Align On:” field of the same panel. Think for a moment of a case where you might want to align to an arbitrarily specified character.

Align to "s"

I admit I didn’t think of anything all that useful beyond the obvious, but I’ll keep thinking. End of detour.

Repeat tabs

Since the columns of figures I’m working with are all of equal width, I can specify the first interval, and then repeat the tab position automatically. Another way of wielding tabs with precision is by placing guides on your document, or of course, by performing arithmetic. Tip: if you want to move a tab by a half inch, type “+ .5” at the end of the contents of the “X” field and hit enter. After setting this line as a paragraph style by simply keeping my cursor blinking on the line and clicking New Paragraph Style, I was able to apply this style to all the lines. With the top line, the exception, I adjusted the tab over the center of the first column, changed it to a center-aligning tab, set the next at the same interval, and repeated the tab just like in the image above.

Center-aligned tab

All lined up. Now on to that character style I apply to the ‘month’ label along the left edge.

Month labels

By the way, I don’t show you this so you can repeat it, I do it so you can become familiar with the possibilities and come up with even better ways of using styles and saving time producing your own work. The first thing I did to create the style was change the font to FF Milo. Then I took the size down slightly, painted it white, raised it off its baseline some, and applied the all caps feature, available through the Character panel. (By the way, this isn’t the same as Text > Change Case > UPPERCASE. If you’re a CSS hacker, this is akin to text-transform: uppercase.) Then I gave it its magenta background, which is in fact a thick underline. I also put a space on either side of each month label. Then, highlighting the characters I had just changed, I hit “New Character Style” in the Character Styles Palette.

In order to apply the magenta and white character style I had just created to the rest of the lines in the table, I opened up the paragraph style I had called ‘entry’ and went to its Drop Caps and Nested Styles page.

Nested styles

Because I used a preceding tab on each line, I set the first nested style to [None], then the character style ‘month’. The style applies itself automatically up until that second tab, just where I want it. Now if I have pages to format similarly, I just apply the paragraph style and I’m done.

I kept this example relatively simple, but by all means, go nuts. Nest twelve character styles across four lines and three forced line breaks, systematically cycle through all the weights of a typeface, and put a bar chart in the center column.

Thanks for reading. Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments. Using Type continues here Thursday.

TYPO San Francisco 2-for-1 Ticket Sale

via the TYPO San Francisco blog


TYPO San Francisco is just two weeks away! To celebrate, we’re offering a great deal, but you have to act fast! Buy a ticket by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) Friday, March 29 and you’ll receive a code for a FREE companion ticket. It’s your final chance to save on the West Coast’s premiere design conference. Don’t miss presentations from Jessi ArringtonErik SpiekermannChristoph NiemanKelli Anderson and more.

Those who purchase tickets during the sale will receive a code on Monday, April 1 (no joke!) to register the companion ticket. Great time for design teams to buy!

This deal also applies to Typekit Student Tickets.

Register here.

Ysobel and Dessau

This week we pair and explore the relationship between Ysobel, the Century-inspired collaborative work of Delve Withrington, Robin Nicholas and Alice Savoie, and Gábor Kóthay’s Bauhausian display type series Dessau.


Both come in a variety of styles. Ysobel includes a separately drawn Display optical size for large work. Dessau’s various styles catalogue the popular architectural lettering and type created during the early years of the Bauhaus, offering alternates and variations on the theme as the designer edited his collection. Dessau does include lowercase letters, though I don’t show much of them here since the faces are more successful in uppercase.

Ysobel, Dessau

Together the two temper one another. Dessau’s cool tendency is turned cheery. Ysobel’s conversational nature comes off slightly more factual and succinct. Since it’s designed for display, at text and small subhead sizes Dessau requires a bit of tracking to allow its letters room to breathe. Though the pair is anachronistic, I think I’ve found something worth discovering by putting the two in the same composition.



Great Pairs run here weekly on Wednesdays.

March Madness: First Half of the Sweet Sixteen

Final Final Final Final
58 FF Tisa 47 Bodoni Egyptian 58 Freight 58 Fedra Serif B
36 Swift 45 Premiéra 32 Odile 34 Fakt Slab

We’re past the initial round of elimination starting fresh today with the Sweet Sixteen! From the left side of the bracket, the remaining sanses go from eight down to four. Let’s do it.

Frutiger vs. Telefon


Edward vs. Today Sans


FF DIN vs. Aften Screen


Foco vs. FF Netto


All polls close at midnight (Pacific).

New Fonts This Week

We’ve got a full house of new fonts this week! Today we are proud to present Salem Arabic from Abdo Fonts, Keynote, LaCrosse, and Zeal from Filmotype, Gira Sans and Taca from Fountain, Masrawy from Hiba Studio, Artsy Fartsies and Blinky from Sideshow, and Frank Woods from Wiescher. We are also excited about Club-21 becoming our latest webfont vendor.

Continuing promotions: Type-Ø-Tones’s new fonts Arboria, Magasin, and Karol are 30% off until March 31st. Rosetta Type Foundry’s latest, Arek, is 25% until April 5th.

As always, subscribe to our newsletter and read this blog for tips on using type, Pinterest updates, and more.

Abdo Fonts

Salem Arabic






Gira Sans


Hiba Studio

Masrawy » Webfonts Available


Artsy Fartsies



Frank Woods » Webfonts Available

Buyer’s Guide: Promotional Pricing


From time to time, fonts go on sale or a foundry decides to promote some of their new fonts with introductory pricing. Whenever this happens, you can check on any current promotions on our New & Noteworthy pinboard or when we post about New Fonts every Tuesday.

Promotional pricing is already applied to fonts — no need to enter a promocode during checkout. When specific fonts go on sale, the price reflects its sale price and will revert back to its normal price whenever the promotion ends.

March Madness Northeast Serif Faceoff

Final Final Final Final
84 FF DIN 62 Aften Screen 67 Foco 71 FF Netto
29 Maple 49 Soleil 45 Sweet Sans 38 Interstate

Finalizing the initial round of 32 faces to advance to this week’s Sweet Sixteen today are the eight faces in the Northeast corner of the bracket. Some adjustments to your bracket may be in order after Friday’s upset. Two of the three seeds from last season lost to their come-lately challengers. At the end of today, how will our Northeast serifs do? Only you can decide. To participate, vote for the winner in each faceoff.

FF Tisa vs. Swift


Bodoni Egyptian vs. Premiéra


Freight vs. Odile


Fedra Serif B vs. Fakt Slab


One vote is one point. Polls close tonight at midnight (Pacific).

Pinterested: Pinned Promotions!


March has been full of promotions and new fonts with sweet introductory prices — you don’t want to miss out on these! Be sure you’re following our New & Noteworthy pinboard to catch up with running promotions. While we post any new promotions on our New Fonts posts every Tuesday, you can always double check Pinterest to find any of those bright red or yellow circles stamped on a type sample that lets you know something special is up.

March Madness Southwest Sans Faceoff

Final Final Final Final
714 Frutiger 780 Telefon 623 Edward 601 Today Sans
381 Adelle Sans 280 Ludwig 438 Vista Sans 448 Benton Sans

The pace is picking up! We go now to Southwest corner of your bracket to narrow down the remaining sanses in the tournament, including three seeds from last year, Interstate, Sweet Sans, and FF DIN. Vote for the winner in each faceoff to participate. All polls close at midnight (Pacific).

Maple vs. FF DIN


Soleil vs. Aften Screen


Sweet Sans vs. Foco


Interstate vs. FF Netto


Using Figures

This part on how to use figures will be even simpler than last week’s piece on what different figure sets exist and why to use them. We’re working in InDesign today, but general principles apply across any typesetting system that uses OpenType.

Using Figures

Accessing proportional/tabular old-style/lining figures via OpenType

These are attributes that can be applied at either/both the paragraph or/and character level. As a rule, I tend to apply figure styles as generally as possible first (at the paragraph level) using styles when appropriate to the job. Below, FF Videtur’s default figure style is proportional oldstyle.

Apply figure styles generally first.

When there are exceptions to the rule, specify at the character level.

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 4.23.02 PM

Fractions, Superscripts & Subscripts

Fractions, super/subscripts are best set at the character level. A time-saving tip – rather than chasing through menus for each change, just highlight the section of text, hit Command+Return (Mac OS) or Control+Enter (Windows) and type the style you’d like applied in the Quick Apply dialog.

Quick Apply at the character level.


Fractions can be set at the paragraph level, but I advise against it unless you know the copy you’re setting doesn’t include things that can be confused for fractions such as casually written dates:

Casual dates can mistakenly be converted to fractions

Small cap figures

These are easy. Just apply All Small Caps to a character range, and the appropriate figures should automatically swap in.

A few last thoughts on tabular settings

When setting figures in columns, the decimal points should line up. How? One way is by using tabular figures and aligning the text flush right within a narrow column. However, the better and more consistent process is to insert tabs and decimal tab stops. This can be applied at the paragraph level, making document-wide changes much more manageable. I also recommend showing hidden characters when working with tabular information generally.

Digit tabs

Hidden characters

That’s all. Maybe I should do a short piece just on tabs, or one just on nested styles as a follow-up to the Using Styles Properly. Please let me know in the comments. Using Type continues here Thursday.

TYPO San Francisco Announces Type Track


We can’t believe TYPO San Francisco Contrast is just around the corner on April 11 & 12.

Despite its name, the overall focus of TYPO is on design as a whole, not just typography. That said, we’re pleased the organizers added a Type Track this year in the intimate, 100-seat screening room.

More about the track:

It’s not all smoke and mirrors. Learn some of the secrets to creating a successful business in typography on Friday with moderator Carima El-Behairy, of P22 Foundry, and five speakers who will address various aspects of the type industry. Bring your questions, they have answers.

Don’t miss this conference! Get your ticket today.

FF Videtur and Ciutadella

I’ve kept an eye out for a while now for a pairing that brings out the most interesting qualities of Axel Bertram & Andreas Frohloff’s FF Videtur. Coming across Eduardo Manso’s Ciutadella and testing the two together revealed a nice compatibility. The compositions of both Ciutadella and FF Videtur hold to a strict structure, but in different ways, one geometric, the other observant of a coarse modular grid. Either is capable of taking a cool or warm tone depending on use.

Ciutadella’s characteristics such as its low-waisted capitals and casual M, along with its unassuming lowercase tend to warm the page. FF Videtur, begun from a bitmap-based face for maximum legibility on televisions screens, has generous apertures and modest serifs that all but disappear at text sizes. Together, the two oppose each other just enough to create an overall cozy relationship.

Ciutadella’s default single-story a, &, and t have alternates accessed through OpenType Stylistic Sets. FF Videtur’s overall low contrast gives it a special ability of functioning at both text and display sizes.

March Madness Northwest Sans Faceoff

The tournament is heating up! Final scores from last round are posted above. Now the top eight from the Northwest corner of your bracket face off to fill just four open slots. To participate, vote for the winning face in each poll. Follow the links in the title above each sample for more information on each typeface. One vote is one point. All polls close at midnight tonight (Pacific). Let’s make it happen.

Frutiger vs. Adelle Sans

Telefon vs. Ludwig

Vista Sans vs. Edward

Benton Sans vs. Today Sans