fonts.com blog
Archive for February, 2011

by Allan Haley

U&lc began its fifth year of publication in 1978 and was fully established as a unique source of great typographic design, harbinger of new typefaces, cornucopia of information about typography and its practitioners – and the occasional prediction about the future of our craft. Graphic designers would eagerly await the next issue and devour the contents when it arrived.

At the time, I was working for a large company, and the issues were delivered in bulk. As soon as one person discovered the box of issues in the mailroom, all work stopped as we rushed to gather a copy. (The word spread as fast as any email today.)

In 1960 Herb Lubalin created a series inserts about U.S. culture for the German design magazine, Der Druckspiegel. Then, as now, music was an important part of designer’s lives. Radios (sans ear buds) and even phonographs were important fixtures most design studios. In U&lc, Volume Five, No. 1, Lubalin recreated this award-winning design, “Come Home to Jazz,” using ITC typefaces. The designs, although over 30 years old, are still electrifying.

Volume Five, No. 2 predicted a new job title and career opportunity for graphic designers. The opportunity came to fruition – not so much the job title.

The ITC Zapf Dingbats® suite of characters was one of the many designs announced in the pages of Volume Five. Today, ITC Zapf Dingbats is the staple for bullets, boxes, stars, pointing hands, and the like. In 1978, it was a groundbreaking accomplishment – and the first time that a large suite of these characters were drawn with consistent design traits and organized in a logical way.

Readers were also treated to a 3000-year “Brief History of Typography” – in four pages.

Volume Five, No. 4 features one of my all-time favorite articles. Titled “My Favorite 5, 6, 7, and 9 Letter Words.” Herb Lubalin, who was almost as concerned with the look of a word as he was with its meaning, picked his favorites (graphically speaking) from the English language, listed them and transformed many into wonderful graphic images set in the ITC Benguiat® typeface.

Click the PDFs below to enjoy the above articles and features – plus lots more.

Low Resolution:

Volume 5–1 (Low Res).pdf (15.4 MB)

Volume 5–2 (Low Res).pdf (12.1 MB)

Volume 5–3 (Low Res).pdf (13.5 MB)

Volume 5–4 (Low Res).pdf (12.8 MB)

High Resolution:

Volume 5–1.pdf (78.9 MB)

Volume 5–2.pdf (63.0 MB)

Volume 5–3.pdf (65.2 MB)

Volume 5–4.pdf (62.5 MB)

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 Johnathan Zsittnik

The Honda CR-Z website was created by the Digiden agency for Honda Automobil Germany in support of the hybrid sport coupe’s German launch. The flashy site contains vibrant colors, assorted video streams, loads of interactive controls and, of course, Web fonts. Navigation and other text elements ride in style, courtesy of the Neue Helvetica® typeface family.

“Web fonts are going to be a part of most websites in the future, just like HTML5 and CSS. With Fonts.com Web Fonts, it was easy for us to use high-quality fonts in our CMS-driven website,” said Jan Renz, chief technology officer of Digiden. “If you need high-quality fonts online and you don’t want to hassle with licensing issues you should try Fonts.com’s flexible solution.”

No, we didn’t pay him to say that – but we’re glad he did!

Honda CR-Z website
Stay tuned as we continue this series with more of our favorite sites using Fonts.com Web Fonts.

Johnathan Zsittnik
Johnathan Zsittnik is the eCommerce Marketing Manager at Monotype Imaging. Johnathan holds both a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in business administration from Bentley University.



by Vikki Quick

Tech Talk’s Craig Peterson sat down with us at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. The hot topic was fonts, of course, but the discussion went far beyond that. Certainly, fonts are a major key to brand expression, which nowadays is conveyed not only in print and on mobile devices, but also increasingly on the displays of washing machines, ovens and other appliances. Through their built-in user interfaces, every device has the potential to bring powerfully rich user experiences to consumers. And the degree to which brand equity is successfully reinforced also depends on the quality of those user experiences.

As a developer or designer, how can you make sure your product delivers a “brand perfect” experience? Listen as Monotype Imaging’s Ken Soohoo and Dave Gould provide detail. Even on smaller, memory-constrained systems, achieving a user experience that is dynamic, enjoyable and brand expressive is more realistic and cost effective than ever before.

In addition to fonts and font technologies, what do we offer that will get you on your way? Check out our SpectraWorksUI development tools, which allow you to create engaging GUIs in a single phase. You’re able to collaborate closely with both UI designers and software engineers, minimizing iterations and testing cycles so you can get your product to market, faster.


by Chris Roberts

PDF Catalog of Hand-Hinted Web Fonts

If you’ve been following the developments regarding “Web fonts”, you’ve probably heard someone complain about the way some Web fonts look in the Windows® operating system. You may have even heard that the problem is more specifically to do with Windows XP. If you really dug deep, you may have read that the most egregious cases are centered on a scenario where a Windows XP user is surfing with a browser that does not have default ClearType® support. And if you are a total Web fonts junky with way too much time on your hands, you may have looked up operating system and browser market share figures and arrived at the conclusion that over 30% of your visitors may fall into this category. Then, you may have been overcome with feelings of nausea, dread and hopelessness.

All is not lost. First of all, time is on your side. XP won’t be around forever. Every day Windows 7 is gaining ground on XP. Someday this will all be nothing more than a poorly rendered memory. Better still, you don’t have to wait for “someday”. There is something you can do today to cure those XP induced Web font blues. Fonts.com Web Fonts now offers over 600 “hand-hinted” Web fonts to help address this specific situation. Among them you will find several classics like Avenir®, Bookman Old Style™, Century Gothic™, Eurostile® Next, Frutiger®, Helvetica®, Trade Gothic® and Univers®.

What does hand-hinted mean? Basically, it means that a real person sat in front of a computer monitor and studied each character at different point sizes, making painstaking adjustments until they were satisfied with the result. But we are not talking about just any person. Hand-hinters are to fonts what sommeliers are to wine. It takes many years to learn to do it well. Every font is different in design and characteristic. It takes a rare and highly skilled expert to get it right.

Monotype Imaging has been in the hinting business since the beginning. Over the years we have accumulated a great deal of font hinting knowledge and talent. We’ve also produced a very large number of expertly hand-hinted fonts. Today, it’s our pleasure to share them with you.

Here’s a link to our hand hinted Web fonts now available on Fonts.com Web Fonts:
Click here

Here’s a link to a PDF catalog of our hand-hinted Web fonts:
Click here


by Johnathan Zsittnik

When designing the Kirkwood Mountain Resort website, the Verritech agency aimed for a design that was clean, bold and focused on vivid imagery. According to founder Daniel Verrico, “It was important that the site remain visually interesting while designing a simple user interface, so we knew we needed a unique typeface. Fonts.com was the obvious choice for a Web font service when we looked for service reliability, reasonable pricing and a wide variety of fonts.”

The DIN Next™ typeface gives headlines a lift while the Neue Helvetica® family adds a cool, stylish touch to body text.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Stay tuned as we continue this series with more of our favorite sites using Fonts.com Web Fonts.

Johnathan Zsittnik
Johnathan Zsittnik is the eCommerce Marketing Manager at Monotype Imaging. Johnathan holds both a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in business administration from Bentley University.



by Allan Haley

Few typefaces are released with the fanfare of the Carter Sans™ family – but then a new design from Matthew Carter is something of importance. Designers were treated to a sneak preview of sorts when the family was used as the graphic identity for the 2010 Art Directors Club Hall of Fame ceremony, at which Carter was an inductee. This was followed by the official announcement of the typeface earlier this year.  Which, in-turn, was followed by an unprecedented – and very special – event this week.

On Wednesday evening, San Francisco’s design community joined Carter at the Book Club of California in the celebration of the Carter Sans release. Also at the event was Dan Reynolds, Monotype Imaging’s senior type designer, who collaborated with Carter on the design of the family.

More than 90 graphic designers, art directors, creative directors and other lovers of type and typography filled the intimate venue. While primarily intended as evening of typographic amity, the event was highlighted by an informal interview of Carter by Patrick Coyne, publisher of Communication Arts magazine, and a brief slide presentation by Reynolds.

In the interview, Carter answered questions about what inspires his designs. “I don’t get inspired,” he said. “I work from a design brief – even if it’s my own. I show up; I put in the time, and I do the work.”

He also told the story about how the John Coltrane Quartet changed his life. “In 1960, I spent several weeks in New York visiting design studios and trying to find work,” Carter recalled. I didn’t have much luck, became discouraged and considered returning home to London. About that same time, I heard the John Coltrane Quartet play their first engagement.” Over several weeks, Carter heard them three or four times. “Sometimes they played the same song in the second set that they played in the first. Not because they were lazy but because they wanted to surpass themselves, or find something in the music that they hadn’t found earlier in the evening.” Carter decided that he owed it to himself to stay in New York. “Their seriousness of purpose was a lesson,’ he said. “Four great geniuses that would knock themselves out every night when they could have coasted.” This story is clearly a metaphor for Carter’s long and storied career.

After the interview, Reynolds presented slides detailing the process of his collaboration with Carter and the work that went into creating the large and diverse character set for the family. Carter recalled that the design of Carter Sans got off to somewhat of a rocky start but that he was delighted by the work that Reynolds brought to the project.

Questions from the audience ran the gamut from the value of type to branding – “It’s an invaluable part of the mix,” said Carter – IKEA’s replacement of the Futura® design with the Verdana® typeface – “while designed for on-screen use, it works quite well in their catalog,” to the future of fonts – “Web fonts are clearly the next important step in typographic communication.”

It was a rare and very special evening that will be remembered and retold.

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 Vikki Quick

Winners of the Type Directors Club’s TDC² competition were notified last week. To get a semi-jump on bragging rights (the TDC gave winners permission to boast), I thought I’d provide some behind-the-scenes observations on our winning entries. The TDC won’t be making its official announcement until March.

Elegy
The Elegy™ typeface is simply gorgeous. If it were a wedding dress, I imagine it to be the purest of whites with flowing lace and a long, lavish train. Such a feminine description might not fly with Jim Wasco, senior typeface designer at Monotype Imaging, who created this beautiful face.

Elegy is based on the original, handlettered logo of the International Typeface Corporation, which flourished in the 70s from its New York City headquarters. The logo was designed by the legendary typeface designer Ed Benguiat, who created such well used faces as the ITC Bookman®, ITC Edwardian Script™ and ITC Benguiat® families.

With an eye toward maintaining the spontaneity and flowing attributes of the ITC logo, Jim set out to create a contemporary design based on an American form of ornamental penmanship called Spencerian script, popular from about 1850 to 1925. Close your eyes and picture the Coca-Cola logo. A Spencerian script, the Coca-Cola identity was first published in the late 19th century.

What was unique about designing Elegy? First off, it was difficult. “Elegy was the most difficult design job I’ve ever done in my life,” Jim says, “from getting the shapes right to designing alternatives for each letter in order to take advantage of OpenType’s contextual alternate feature.” This allows letters to be substituted in specific combinations, which enables text to take on the look of handwritten letters. Jim also designed the initial and final strokes for the beginnings and endings of words.

Does the design experience trigger anything funny? “Funny, no. Scary, yes,” Jim says. Scary as in fear that people will not use the typeface correctly. Jim adds, “I’ve already seen an example where an alternate nine old style figure was used instead of a zero. Now that’s scary!”

What’s the most important thing about Elegy? It needs to be used in the latest applications that support OpenType® features, such as old style figures, arbitrary fractions, proportional numbers, tabular numbers, discretionary ligatures and of course, contextual alternate characters. Because of its fine hairline strokes and various design nuances, Elegy should not be used in all caps or sizes under 24 point.

Check out this animated video of Elegy. You’ll get a sense of its graceful beauty in all its glory.

Palatino Sans Arabic
My next blog post will cover the TDC² award-winning Palatino® Sans Arabic typeface by Nadine Chahine, who collaborated with master typeface designer, Hermann Zapf.