fonts.com blog
Archive for August, 2014

by Matt Brinkerhoff

This morning, from approximately 3am to 9am EST, certain Fonts.com Web Fonts customers experienced an outage in service, affecting delivery of Web fonts as well as the Fonts.com site.

The outage was a result of internal server changes, preventing ‘fast.fonts.net’ from resolving. Users employing the Javascript or CSS implementation method experienced outages as a result.

Changes were made to fix the problem early this morning and by 9am EST we noticed most users had service restored. Due to the fact that these are DNS changes, it may take some users up to 48 hours to see the fix. In addition, users who employ HTTPS may have experienced a slightly longer delay in restoration of service. If you’re still experiencing an outage, there are a few workarounds:

  • If you’re using the Javascript or CSS implementation method, changing ‘fast.fonts.net’ to fast.fonts.com’ in the code snippet should resolve the issue. ‘fast.fonts.net’ will be faster, so you’ll want to switch it back in a day or two when the DNS has had time to propagate.
  • All Standard, Pro and Master plans offer self-hosting. Switching to this implementation will resolve any issues you’re experiencing related to this issue.

We’ve enabled additional checks that will catch outages like this in the future, and we’ve made changes to internal processes to help us respond and recover more quickly. We know that Web font delivery is important to our customers, and we apologize for inconveniences caused as a result.

If you’re still having issues, please contact our Support Team.


by Ryan Arruda

Here’s a listing of the top 100 most used fonts from the Fonts.com Web Fonts service for July 2014:

Trade Gothic
Neue Helvetica
Avenir Next
Avenir
Univers
Proxima Nova
Frutiger
Helvetica
Klint
Futura
Gill Sans
Linotype Univers
Museo Sans
DIN Next
Neo Sans
Museo Slab
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
Century Gothic
Chaparral
Arial
Rockwell
Myriad
ITC Caslon No. 224
Eurostile LT
Motoya Birch
Univers Next
ITC Legacy Serif
ITC Lubalin Graph
VAG Rounded
ITC Century
Soho Gothic
ITC Franklin Gothic
Optima
Linotype Sketch
ITC Legacy Square Serif
Trade Gothic Next
Soho
Neue Frutiger
Swiss 721
Swift
ITC Officina Serif
Neue Helvetica eText
Minion
ITC Charter
Gill Sans Infant
Frutiger Next
Linotype Didot
PMN Caecilia
Bookman Old Style
Bodoni LT
Helvetica World
ITC Fenice
ITC Stone Informal
ITC Officina Sans
Lexia
Adobe Garamond
Slate
Humanist 777
Copperplate Gothic
ITC Conduit
Auriol
Rotis II Sans
Calibri
Trade Gothic Next Soft Rounded
ITC Eras
Novecento
ITC American Typewriter Hellenic
ITC American Typewriter
Rotis Sans Serif
Droid Sans Mono
Orator
Egyptienne F
Adobe Caslon
Droid Serif
Effra
C Hei 2 PRC
Monotype Goudy
Sackers Gothic
Baskerville Classico
M Elle PRC
C Hei PRC
M Lady PRC
M Stiff Hei PRC
ITC Stone Sans
Delima
ITC Stone Serif
Monotype News Gothic
Plantin
Comic Strip
Caslon Classico
Lucida Sans
Brandon Grotesque
Twentieth Century
Azbuka
Linotype Feltpen
Cachet
Droid Sans
Copperplate
Inform
Foco Corp


by Allan Haley

Jim Ford describes designing a large typeface family as “a mountainous commitment.” “You don’t scale a mountain just to turn around and go back,” he says. “There’s a triumph to be had; whether it’s in the challenge overcoming a fear, a discovery or a reward, or just a beautiful scenic overlook. In any case, that triumph is the anticipation that drives you through the project, and you know about it before you start climbing.” And Ford has taken this journey several times.

Originally studying advertising at Columbia College Chicago, Ford switched to graphic design to concentrate on typography and color. “I’ve always been fascinated with history and the developments in art and typography, so becoming a type designer was like joining that rich heritage,” he adds. Ford also credits his typography teacher, George Thompson, and Monotype type director, Steve Matteson, as an important mentors. “Mr. Thompson is a great educator and a prolific type designer that gave me a terrific introduction to the typographic arts,” explains Ford, “and Steve took me under his wing and helped me find my footing in the art and craft of typeface design. I am indebted to both.”

Monotype Quire Sans

Even a decade as a type designer, with many commercial and custom typefaces to his credit, Ford says he’s still in love with type design. “Having learned the “ins and outs of the ‘black art’ while at Ascender,” he says, “and now working as part of the Monotype Studio, each new project is welcome challenge.”

His most recent typeface design, Quire Sans, was born from Ford’s personal endeavor to create a universal sans “You could say it’s a thesis of sorts,” he says. “The goal was to create a modular typeface.” He explains. “It was a simple alphabet, really just a simple line ¬– but with “historic” alternate characters for the more distinctive letterforms like a, e, and g, to emulate the various type design genres. By switching in these characters, the whole look of the alphabet could be changed.” Ford used the most “universal” old style forms from his experimental design as the foundation for the Quire Sans typeface.

He describes the new typeface as “almost a flat design exercise,” explaining, “Quire Sans pays homage to the more decorated book faces — however very subtly. It draws on the motion of old style typefaces, but does not have calligraphic stress, serifs and other peculiarities, while retaining the underlying form and proportion.” Ford has also injected his “personal signature and character” into every letter. “It is not unlike what Eric Gill did with Gill Sans,” he says. “Or what Adrian Frutiger did with Frutiger, only there are more technologies and end uses to consider.”

Quire Sans translates exceptionally well from hardcopy environments to digital screens and user experience design. It retains its personality and legibility at both large and small sizes, and its extensive range of weights gives the family extraordinary versatility.

Monotype Quire Sans

The Quire Sans family is comprised of 20 typefaces – 10 weights from thin to fat – each with an italic complement. The designs are available as either desktop or Web fonts from the Fonts.com Web Fonts Service. In addition, the Quire Sans family is available as both Web fonts and desktop fonts through Fonts.com Professional and Master subscription plans.

Click here to learn more about – and to license – the Quire Sans family.

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 Ryan Arruda

With a wide range of clients, as well as popular self initiated projects, it seems strange to think that Victor Erixon originally intended to become an investment banker. After owning his own cleaning business at age 20, in just two years he’s gone from dabbling in design to a respected, sought after designer. Victor sat down with us to offer some of his insight into his burgeoning career, as well as best practices.

From-Business-to-Design_1

You originally had dreams of becoming an investment banker, and you started your own business when you were really young. How did you decide that design was something you wanted to pursue?

I think that the design industry wasn’t something I really decided that I wanted to be involved in, it sort of just happened. I’ve always been interested in fashion design and minimalism. Everything around us is designed for a purpose, so it’s very difficult to not stumble upon design. In my case, I needed a website for my own business to optimize the conversion rate.

I saw on your timeline that opening Photoshop for the first time was a big milestone for you. Did that translate into teaching yourself about both graphic & web design?

It’s a funny story. I was never the creative type of guy, and I still believe that I’m not. During arts classes in school I used to draw pigs on a letter sized canvas for two years (I passed the course). I never pictured myself being good at Photoshop or Illustrator, as that wasn’t my goal in life. But after selling the shares of my own business to pursue my investment banking dream—by studying economics at Stockholm University—I started applying for various banking jobs to be able to pay for my studies.

And I saw one design opportunity in Stockholm and I thought “why not?” I applied and got accepted. That put a lot of pressure on me, because I knew nothing about the industry or how to design at all. So I had to learn really quick and adapt to keep my job. I quit studying just after a week into the program.

Minimalism_1

Looking at your body of work, there’s definitely a stripped-down, minimal quality, both in terms of layout choices and typography. But it’s not just to be trendy—there’s a real sense of purpose to the designs. Do you think the term minimalism today is sometimes used incorrectly by designers, by simply being an aesthetic instead of a deep-rooted approach to design?

My purpose has never been to be trendy. My goal is to push the design industry into different directions while still maintaining my own style, which I believe people see as minimal. I just do my own thing right now and it’s just luck that it happens to be trendy at the moment.

I definitely think people throw around the term minimalism, and I might be too. I guess people interpret it in different ways. People tend to mix up minimalism and flat design; I can see why they work well hand in hand, but it’s deeper than that. My philosophy has always been, and will continue to be, that I strip down all the clutter of the UI just to make it easier for people’s eyes to read the actual content. More focus on function than focus on adding that beautiful gradient that people will love, but eventually get tired of. This is obviously not always shown in my portfolio because I like to experiment with aesthetics, but in the end I think a good designer—or at least the designer I want to be—should be able to strip down all the clutter, make things functional and still appealing to the eyes.

At first thought, an enterprising business student and business owner might not be somebody you think has excellent typographic instincts. Where do you think you developed those sensibilities?  

I don’t know, it seems like they were hidden somewhere in the back of my brain. I’m not saying that I’m a typography expert of some sort, but I do know that I’m quite fond of beautiful typefaces and I’m always scouting for new fonts. I think it’s all rooted in my fashion design interest where I always read a lot of fashion magazines and fell in love with the typefaces they used.

About your actual workflow—when you’re prototyping your designs, does the wireframe come first? Or have you had instances where type is your starting point?

My workflow is a mess: picture me like a crazy artist just throwing paint on a canvas, adding shapes and finding a suitable font that appeals to me and works with the rest of the design. I do not usually wireframe. In my full-time job I have UX designers doing wireframes for me, and I usually tweak them to work both UX-wise and visually. I think UX and visual aesthetics need to walk hand in hand in order to become a successful end product. Although, when I freelance for different clients I usually do as I first described by just throwing things on a canvas and experimenting with the guidelines they provide me.

Do you find that working the full spectrum —from being a typographer, UX designer, to illustration—helps you understand your clients’ design need as a whole?

I used to do icon work in Photoshop which is a little bit tricky, it doesn’t give you the same control of the icon as illustrator does. Yesterday I took a class by my friend and she taught me everything about illustrator. As we’ve been speaking I’ve been doing about 30 icons and I’m completely addicted. This is probably the thing that excites me the most right now. I think it’s good to work in the full spectrum and have a complete understanding on how things work. I also know front-end coding which allows me to understand the developers better. In whole, you get a better understanding of the entire process, which I find essential for someone who wants full control over their designs.

Do you find that your clients are now more aware of typographic choices, as well as the use of Web fonts for their online presence?

I think that we’ve seen that in the past few years that the designer role has grown into something even more important. People have built their entire companies and products through programmers and now they really want to compete with their competitors. And how do they do that? By launching better features and having better design. Companies have been forced into the design industry and forced into having a good design understanding in order to survive and stand out. I see that typography is an essential part of the design, and I feel like the general public has started to see that as well. I also believe that it is a result of all the amazing typefaces that have been released through the past few years. After all, like Robert Bringhurst said: “typography is the craft of endowing human language with durable visual form.”

Do you have any go-to typefaces or typeface pairings you know you can rely on?

I tend to rely on the Open Sans family because it’s a clean font with a lot of weights—it’s also very readable, and a good alternative to the Neue Helvetica™ collection. I usually pair Open Sans with a serif such as the Sentinel or Source Serif Pro designs. Other fonts I tend to mix in are the Avenir™ family—which is a beautiful and clean typeface— and the Neue Helvetica collection, which is a classic that needs to be in every designers library. The same thing goes with the Proxima Nova family, which is a very versatile font.

You’ve posted some very interesting personal projects in the past. Do you find that self initiated projects help in not only satisfying creative needs, but also as a way to hone skills and incorporate new ideas into client work?

I totally agree. The reason why I do a lot of fictional work that I share with the community is mainly to experiment and to try push myself into different directions, but also to try to give inspiration to the people who follow me. Working for a company or for a client often puts a constraint on your creativity: you have to design the product with others’ thoughts and ideas in mind. By making a fictional product you can do exactly what you want and come up with new ideas that you later on can incorporate into in real company or client work.

Do you have any overarching words of advice for designers or developers?

As mentioned earlier, when I began designing and got my first full-time job without any experience—it put me in an awkward position where I had a huge amount of pressure on me. You should always look for awkward scenarios that force you into working hard and learning new things. It definitely stresses you and almost makes you hit the wall. But you should do this every now and then when you feel like you have the confidence and time to be put in an awkward new position. Accept it as uncomfortable—it may be tough, but it’s a small price to pay in order to grow as a person.

Favorite designers?

Vic Bell, Daryl Ginn, Justin Mezzell, Jeremy Sallee, Mason Yarnell, Bill Kenney, Ben Cline and Kerem Suer.

Ryan ArrudaRyan Arruda is the Web Content Strategist at Monotype Imaging. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in film studies from Clark University, and an MFA in graphic design from RISD.
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