fonts.com blog
Archive for January, 2010

by Allan Haley

Handwriting fonts are hot. In our digital world of zeros and ones, on and off, black and white, handwriting fonts are a bit quirky. They evoke quickly written notes — but more deliberately than a scrawl. We sell a lot of handwriting fonts on Fonts.com and we are considering adding more to our offering.

Handwriting fonts are somewhat less sophisticated than formal scripts. They lack the refinement of most calligraphic designs. They differ from casual scripts in that their characters are not made from flowing brush strokes. They are rarely subtle, and sometimes are actually in-your-face. And, yet, they definitely have their own beauty as well as a “certain something.” Used appropriately, they make their point with speed and style.

A handwriting font does not have a personality per se — the usage creates the personality. But a handwriting font does have a persona or attitude, affecting the content in a distinctive way. Handwriting scripts can be edgy, laid-back, playful, or ingenuous. You wouldn’t want to set more than a couple of words in one of them. (If you did, the repeated idiosyncratic characters would call attention to themselves, making the copy look contrived.) They are, however, perfect designs for logotypes and wordmarks, posters and headlines. They are also ideal for successions of words not in big blocks of text. Such uses include invitations, menus, certificates and captions. These pieces, whether on a page, a sign, a banner or a screen, seem personal, like correspondence — perhaps because of the relatively quiet way in which they’re read. So, even though part of your brain knows it’s not processing a personal note, the piece “feels” a bit like one.

Please let us know if you are interested in seeing more of these kinds of fonts available from Fonts.com

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.



by Allan Haley

If you think about it, the craft of typography is little more than the combination of three simple things: attention to detail, common sense and visual acuity. Sure, there are typographic rules and guidelines, but they are, for the most part, just based on what is sensible and pleasing to the eye. Learning to identify the parts of a character may increase a designer’s business vocabulary, and knowing the lineage of modern Garamond designs may aid in the choosing of a good modern revival of the face, but the real key to typographic success is basically just “sweating the details” and a simple coordination of mind and eye.

Take, for instance, the typographic rule of avoiding all cap headlines. It’s one of the first typographic rules on an educator’s hit lists. It’s also one of the first rules professional graphic designers break. The tenet about not setting all capitals, however, is really based on little more than simple logic. Capital letters take up more space than lowercase letters—up to 30% more space. Headlines, subheads and pull-quotes are about setting brief blocks of copy in a relatively small space. It’s only common sense to use the most space-efficient letters: lowercase. Sure, there’s all that stuff about how “word shapes” (made from ascending, descending and x-height lowercase letters) help us to read faster and that all capitals only create rectangles as visual identifiers, but just the fact that the little letters can pack more information than capitals into a given piece of design real estate, ought to be enough reason to rely on them.

Oh, it helps to know when to use an em-dash instead of an en-dash or that “smart quotes” are preferable to foot and inch marks, but so much of what it takes to create good typography is just paying attention to the type.

Points, picas, line spacing, and kerning are only the mechanics. Software applications are just tools. It takes common sense and a careful eye to create communication that is inviting, makes an impact, focuses attention, organizes information and creates a mood – ultimately giving life and personality to the printed word.

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.



by Allan Haley

“What’s new?” We’re asked this question daily. A friend might find out about a new love interest. A relative could learn about a new limb on the family tree.

Want to be able to tell a fellow designer what the hot new typeface is? It just might be possible.

Fonts.com makes a major new typeface release announcement just about every month. Many of these are new additions to the ITC®, Monotype®, and Linotype® typeface libraries. If there are particular kinds of typefaces you would like to see designed (scripts, sans serif typefaces, serif designs, decorative faces, etc.) let me know and I will pass along your requests to the team that determines what typefaces will be developed for these libraries.

This is a real opportunity for you to have a voice into what new typefaces will be designed. A board of type experts meets three times a year to determine what new additions will be added to the ITC, Monotype, and Linotype typeface libraries. Their next meeting will be on January 21st, and I will be sure that the review board is aware of your preferences.

Independent type designers and type foundries (big and small) want to provide graphic communicators with typographic tools they want and need. Few, however, reach out to their customers and ask them what they want. While I can’t guarantee that all your typographic wishes will be granted, I can ensure that your request will be heard.

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.



by Allan Haley

It is abundantly clear that the cognoscenti of the type and graphic design communities love to hate the Papyrus™ typeface. While not as reviled as the Comic Sans® typeface, Papyrus receives more than its fair share of bad press.

Sure, it’s overused, but that doesn’t make it a bad design – just popular. And Papyrus does tend to show up in less than stellar graphic design solutions – but, if this is the reason for supposedly sophisticated designers reviling the design, it smacks of elitism.

Would I, use the Papyrus? Probably not – but not because it’s a bad design. If I wanted to make a distinctive graphic statement, I would use a typeface with a little less “face time” – one that really would stand out from the crowd.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this. I saw the movie Avatar™ last weekend and was blown away. While the story was little more than a rewriting of “Dances With Wolves,” the cinematography, animation and special effects were virtually beyond belief. Like the original Wizard of OZ™, Gone With the Wind™ and Star Wars™ movies, Avatar has set a new benchmark for film making excellence.

So why are the subtitles for the Na’vi people, the alien protagonists of the film, set in Papyrus? It is the only unimaginative visual aspect of the movie. If the choice were mine, the subtitles would have been original calligraphy. (There are times when custom handlettering is the perfect answer.) One would think that, in the $300,000,000+ budget for Avatar, there would have been some room for hiring a lettering artist or calligrapher. If there was only $30 allotted to the subtitle typeface (which appears to be the case), designs like ITC Noovo™, ITC Tempus™ Sans, Briem™ Script or Carolina™ would have carried off the alien and beautifully exotic demeanor of the Na’vi quite well – and would not have reminded the audience of a restaurant menu.

Script Font Samples

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.