Monthly Archives: September 2013

Buyer’s Guide: Basic Licenses and MULs

Are you following FontShop’s EULA Highlights? If so, then you are familiar with basic licenses for desktop use. If not, then a basic license is the initial cost to license a font so that you can use it within the terms of the EULA. But did you know that you can extend the basic license to add additional users?

A Multi-User license, MUL for short, is purchased when you need to support additional users above the basic license. MULs may also support multiple geographic locations, extending the single location terms found in most EULAs.


Once you’ve added a font to your cart, you can extend your basic license by changing the number of users that you need to support. For this example we’ve used Bookmania from Mark Simonson Studio.

Changing the number of users in your cart will re-calculate the cost of the license and the tier that you fall into. As you can see, the cart re-calculates to a 10 user license if support for 6 users for Bookmania is needed.

If you’ve purchased a basic license in the past and you need to extend it to support additional users, or multiple locations, then email FontShop’s Support Team to extend your current license.

Pinterested: Pow! Bam! Zap!


Did you know September 25th was National Comic Book Day in the US? If not, that’s ok — check out our Holy Typography Batman! pinboard and find some comically set typography.

Fonts: Making Your Own

We get requests from time to time by young designers wondering where one begins when they want to design their own font. I could suggest that they leave this to the professionals, but that would be a missed opportunity, since it was specifically because I picked up a pencil and drew the type around me that I developed a sense for how different typefaces do what they do, and how type genres relate to one another. So inasmuch as learning to talk about type anatomy and dabbling in type design offers insight into using type well, I’m including this in our series on using type.

Comma,-Apostrophe-1There are plenty of different approaches to type design. Some designers do very tight drawings on paper, others sketch just enough to get the main ideas worked out. Some, from this point (myself included) skip the step of digitizing hand work and compose directly on screen in a font editor. Some draw only on screen (I discourage a beginner from following this method, by the way). Figuring out what your shapes should look like, knowing which to begin with, drawing them, fitting them, testing and adjusting them to work properly in whatever context is required for target output is largely what type design is. And by necessity, the process varies with the requirements of each design.

IMG_1476To the graphic designers interested in type design who are now reading this: If you want to design type as a hobby, or for a one-off project, great! (And if you want to take it further, great!) It’s never been easier to start drawing type. I would recommend beginning with something simple you can complete in a few days’ or weeks’ time, just to get the hang of the entire process. Certain constraints and genres of type naturally lend themselves well to a quick project, such as a pixel-based design, or a constructivist face. I recommend FontStruct for someone who just wants to jump in and start making something: Arrange “bricks” on a modular grid, fill out your character set, and download your font.

Picture 1For designs that don’t work on a modular grid, you’ll need a font editor that allows you to draw and space your own vector shapes. These include Glyphs app, RoboFont Editor, Fontlab, Fontographer, and the open source editor FontForge, among others.

Picture 2An alternative to drawing your own vector shapes is to autotrace work you’ve scanned using a relatively inexpensive program called ScanFont. (There are others.) Depending on the level of quality you’re pursuing, the nature of the design, and your means of reproduction, this might be precisely the solution you’re looking for.

Follow this advice and chances are your first typeface will be a great learning experience (and honestly, I wouldn’t expect much more from it beyond that.) Good luck, remember to move on, and let us know how it goes!

Also, reach out to members of the type community, online and in person. They’re generally very helpful since every one of them has been where you are now. Once you’ve completed your first face, process stories like Tal Leming’s reflection of his new sans, Balto, will be even more meaningful to you.

Using Type continues here Thursday.

Sovereign and Global (and Free Fonts)

A quick look today at Nick Cooke’s Sovereign and Dino dos Santos’s Global; well, it’s that, and also a made-up reason to talk about free fonts. If you’ve kept up with our weekly New Fonts posts, you’re likely already aware that certain foundries, such as exljbris or Hoftype, commonly offer a single weight of a new release free. As it happens, lots of other foundries do this too, so today I’m limiting our pairing to just fonts that appear on our new, site-comprehensive Free Fonts page. All the type shown here is available from FontShop for $0.
Sovereign is an extensively developed, relaxed-fit, semi-serif. As a text face, it offers a nicely open texture, with surprises here and there. Global’s wide-stanced, simply stylized monolinear forms serve as a support to Sovereign’s quick-stroke humanist quirks.
Sovereign-and-Global-2 Sovereign-and-Global-3
In addition to Global’s OpenType fonts being available free in the three styles above, the same faces are also free as webfonts.Sovereign-and-Global-5That’s all. Great Pairs is a regular Wednesday thing here on the blog.

Buyer’s Guide: Free Fonts Page

Looking for more great ways to try out a new font? We’ve create a new Free Fonts Page for you to download and enjoy free fonts on FontShop. Usually these include a weight or two of a family you’ll end up falling in love with. The latest additions are at the top, so you’ll want to bookmark the page and check back regularly. These fonts are free of charge, but you will need to agree to their EULA’s.


Once you’ve found the free font you want to download, you’ll be asked to sign in to your account and agree to the EULA. If you don’t have an account, then you will have to create one. Once you’ve agreed to the license, the fonts will download to your designated download folder. These font files are not shareware, but you can share the page.

Want to know more about how free fonts aren’t really free? Read the three-part series on the FontFeed; An Introduction to Free Fonts, Free Fonts: Free Is Not Always Free, and Free Fonts: Technical and Artistic Beauty.

If you have additional questions you can always email FontShop’s Support Team for help.

Don’t forget you can also try out almost all of our fonts for free in your comps using the FontShop Plugin for Adobe Creative Suite.

Pinterested: X Marks The Spot


Yesterday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so if yer still out revelin’, here’s some type booty for ye to check out. Our X Marks The Spot pinboard is a collection of typographic treasures and photos from fStop Images that’ll suit yer fancy.

Making Do When Accented Characters are Missing

You flow in your text, and then you notice something odd. Not all the characters made it. In their place, a disruptive, boxy, Not Defined character.
Yes, it’s a problem you generally get only when the fonts you’re working with contain limited standard (non-Pro) character sets. The best way to deal with it is often always to upgrade to a font with a Pro character set, but, when you’ve got to work with what you have, you make do. In case you didn’t notice the blips in the text above, they’re marked below:Making-Do-When-Missing-Accented-Characters-3
In this example, the accented character that’s missing up top is a lowercase a with macron. If we look in the Glyph palette, there’s a macron waiting there for us, all by itself. We type in the a, then double click the macron to insert it after.
Put the cursor in between the two, and kern them closer until the macron is in place. Simple. Now do it for all accented characters that are missing. Now replace all instances of the newly fabricated characters with their replacements.

When is this a bad solution?

Almost always. If, for example, it’s a print piece and you’ve got control of the entire process, and the substitutions are relatively few, go for it. Otherwise, you run the risk of having to make and remake these fixes with every revision’s reflow of the text. And on the web, in a PDF or whatever, indexing engines will choke on your fake characters.

Say it’s for print only, isn’t there a smarter workflow than the above?

Potentially, yes. You could flow all your text in, set it in a system font so that all characters are represented, make that into a paragraph style, and carefully set up some GREP styles that substitute the missing characters with their tightly-tracked replacement characters (which each have character styles applied to them). Yeah, or something like that. It gets kind of dicey applying styles on top of styles. And your spacing is bound to be thrown off slightly on the right side of the substituted character.

When will I most likely need to pull a stunt like this?

Proper nouns, such as author names, are often the sneakiest kinds of information that come bearing requirements for glyphs that even your Pro fonts may not have in stock.

We’ll wrap here. Thanks for reading everyone. What questions am I missing? And thanks also to Century Expanded Std for its lead role in today’s story, as well as a thanks to Peter Verheul’s Versa Sans. Using Type continues here Thursday.

Century Expanded and Reservation Wide

Let’s take a look at Morris Fuller Benton’s Century Expanded with Silas Dilworth’s Reservation Wide.
The two together have a warm, unmistakeably American feel. Century’s bright text is complemented by Reservation Wide’s confident lettering-inspired gestures. Reservation Wide was initially designed as part of a branding package for The Food Network, and can be seen in associated broadcast and print applications.
Century-and-Reservation-2 Century-and-Reservation-3
Owing to its popularity, Century’s history is quite fragmented and spans lots of different foundries’ interpretations and reappropriations of the same basic style, so if there’s something you need but don’t see here, it likely exists. The below cut of Century Expanded is one Adobe licensed to Linotype (it’s slightly more complicated than that).

That’s it. Catch Great Pairs here each Wednesday.

New Fonts This Week

FF Mark by FontFont

FF Mark

FF Kievit Slab by FontFont

FF Kievit Slab


Bruum FY



Maryleen FY by FONTYOU


Equip Condensed by Hoftype

Equip Condensed

Continuing Promotions

Analfabeto, Designal, Frankie Dos, and Peter Sellers by Type–Ø–Tones20% off until 30 September

Buyer’s Guide: LucasFonts EULA


Started by Luc(as) de Groot in 2000, LucasFonts creates original and custom quality typefaces. TheSans, TheMix, and TheSerif are just a few of the select families now available in OpenType at FontShop. Here are some highlights from their EULA.

Basic EULA Rights

  • Desktop use supports up to 5 computers and 1 printer at a single geographic location.
  • You can take a document with the embedded font to commercial printer or service bureau for printing.


  • You cannot share the font with users that do not have a license for the same font.
  • You cannot embed the font into a Website or Application.

See LucasFonts EULA

If you have additional questions you can always email FontShop’s Support Team for help.

EULA highlights will be posted every other Monday. Next up is Fontsmith.

Pinterested: Like A Boss


While Video Games Day is in July, National Video Games Day is actually September 12th. Did you celebrate yesterday by playing video games? If not, that’s ok — check out our collection of pixel fonts that will remind you of the days you had to blow into a cartridge to make a game work. Our Like A Boss board brings back 8-bit memories — finding the Triforce, fighting off the undead in Transylvania, realizing the Princess is in another castle. Maybe you can use Lomo Std or Sys Flash Ten and create your own video game.

Kerning Defaults: Metrics (or Auto), Not Optical

Just to make it extra clear while we wrap the subject of kerning, I do have a preference on kerning defaults, and you should too.

Picture 3

The main message of last week’s piece on kerning is that you should only kern what you have to. Take advantage of the kerning that comes built into your fonts. Do this by setting your default kern settings to Metrics in InDesign, and Auto in Illustrator. Don’t set your default to zero, and don’t set it to Optical.

But Optical sounds so nice.

It does. It’s alluringly named. Here’s what zero does, and what Optical does: Setting the kerning value to zero ignores the kerns in the font data. Setting it to Optical ignores the kerns in the font data, and essentially makes a spacing exception between every character, meaning that it’s more than the troublesome pairs who need it that get kerned, everything gets kerned by a robot that’s not very good at kerning.

Picture 2

The above is InDesign kerning FF Legato based on—respectively—the font’s metrics set by its designer, the font’s spacing values only (no kerning), and based on an algorithm that discards both spacing and kerning values and comes up with its own. Note how Optical sets WA a little loose, and LT and ER tight?

For display work, you’ll probably be able to spot this stuff and fix it. But what I really worry about is when Optical kerning is applied unknowingly and nobody catches it—in body copy. At text sizes, Optical kerning leaves things kind of tight overall and otherwise just slightly off.

How do I set the kerning default to Metrics?

Picture 1

Open InDesign without any documents open. In the Character palette, set the kerning field to Metrics. All done.

Aren’t we making a lot of assumptions here?

Only a couple. One—that the fonts you use most are good. Two, that when you could potentially benefit from Optical kerning, that you’ll know to switch over from your default.

That’s it. Catch Using Type here Thursdays.

FF Dora and Chevin

Fun one today. Let’s look at Slávka Pauliková’s FF Dora, paired with Nick Cooke’s Chevin.



Both these, while quite capable of communicating their message in a clear, straight-faced manner, let you know they’re enjoying it. FF Dora flirts with unconventional constructions while flaunting a confident mastery of roman and italic pen-derived forms. Chevin’s pleasure comes from its rigid adherence to the templates from which its shapes are derived. Together, the two harmonize well in their text weights, and don’t hold back in their ability to dazzle with their display cuts.

FF-Dora-and-Chevin-3 FF-Dora-and-Chevin-4 FF-Dora-and-Chevin-5
Great Pairs continue here Wednesday.

New Fonts This Week

Kumla CE by Letters From Sweden

Continuing Promotions

Analfabeto, Designal, Frankie Dos, and Peter Sellers by Type–Ø–Tones20% off until 30 September