Archive for the ‘Type for Print’ Category

by Sumner Stone

Magma II

Natural beauty speaks for itself. When we see a full moon, a ripe peach, or a smooth round pebble on the beach, their simple shapes touch something significant inside us. Man-made objects such as letters can create a similar inner resonance. A perfectly balanced ‘g’ or a subtly crafted ‘O,’ can evoke a delicate but powerful aesthetic experience. Unfortunately, few letter shapes elicit this response.

Just to begin to qualify, the letters must have certain fundamental properties. For instance, they must have pleasing proportions between the weight of the stems and the size of the counters. The curved strokes must be both graceful and strong. The swelling of the curves must be subtle and consistent. Other proportions, such as the relationship between height, width, and stem weight must be harmonious.Magma IIBut creating these relationships does not in itself guarantee that the form will possess the desired magic. Master craftsmanship transcends measurement. Only careful observation and intensive practice will lead the designer to synergetic forms. Type designers must continually ratchet their skills upward in order to reach the point where their letters attain the kind of beauty we see in the night sky, the orchard, or at the beach.

Sans serif typeface designs are not generally known for their beauty. They are for the most part primarily notable for their reliability and sturdiness. They are safe. They work. They are plumbing. Only a few sans serifs fulfill this functional role and yet also have forms that reach the aesthetic level described above. My goal in designing the Magma™ II typeface was to create one of those designs.

Magma II is the latest installment in a project that has been ongoing for two decades. This typeface family has its head in the night sky, and its feet firmly on the ground. It is intended to be both charismatic and practical. Large sizes have the ability to charm. At the same time, long passages of text have an inviting presence, and with its alternate one-story ‘a’and ‘g’it shines even at very small sizes.Magma II

The Magma family has five weights –thin, light, regular, semibold and bold. The thin weight is especially effective for display. The other four weights can be used for both text and display over a very large range of sizes. The skeletons of the capitals are closely related to the proportions of the Adobe Trajan® typeface, a design I art directed at Adobe Systems. The skeletons of the lower case forms are closely related to those of Garamond.

Sumner Stone

Magma II is part of the Magma superfamily which also includes the Magma Compressed family, the Magma Condensed family, the Munc family, the Tuff family and Basalt. These typefaces are all harmonious companions. They can be used together to create distinctive, integrated typographic compositions for everything from logotypes to books. Styles can be mixed together within a single word.

Magma II is magical. Let it cast a typographic spell for you.

by Ryan Arruda

Type Through the Eras is in the midst of a three-day sale celebrating some of the most distinctive eras in design history. Running until July 25th, our Type Through the Eras sale brings you classic and contemporary typefaces inspired by important design periods of the 20th century—with up to 85% savings! We’ve featured fonts from the elegant Art Deco era, as well strong, industrial typefaces inspired by the Constructivism era. This promotion won’t last, so be sure to take advantage of these excellent discounts before it’s too late.

Just check out the Type Through the Eras page on to learn all the details of the event, and to see us reveal our last featured era on Friday! Plus, you can also win some excellent design-themed prizes—just tweet @Fontscom using the hashtag #TypeEras. Again, see our Type Through the Eras page all the details.

In the meantime, take a look at a few of the great families that are part of this sale:


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.

by Allan Haley

Quire Sans

“I always start by visualizing the design in my head,” says Jim Ford about how he designs typefaces. “I’ll work out the concept in my mind for several days – or even weeks – before I start to draw anything.” Many type designers first visualize a new typeface in their mind’s eye, but they typically quickly transfer their mental images to sketches – either on screen or on paper. Ford’s process is unusual – in several ways.

He does not move on to the next step until he has fully worked out the design concept in his mind. Once Ford has revised and refined a mental design to his satisfaction, he either files it away mentally for future development, or he proceeds to sketch a few characters.

In the case of the Quire Sans™ typeface, Ford’s mental design was a meditation on contemporary humanist sans serifs. “I had developed several proprietary sans serif families over the years for various companies’ branding purposes,” says Ford. “Quire Sans is in a sense a reflection of all that knowledge and experience. I felt it was time to make a humanist sans of my own.” His vision was to make a design that would communicate clearly in all environments. “To ensure that Quire Sans would perform well on screen, I did what I call ‘soft proofs’ of the design on my computer before I actually printed anything out for further review,” explains Ford. He also performed screen tests on both Mac and Windows machines. “Interestingly, you discover some major changes in imaging on screen between the two platforms,” Ford explains.

Quire Sans

Ford’s design process is different from other designers’ in additional ways. After drawing characters that embody the essence of the design, he uses these to make a poster. “I create a poster for the typefaces I draw before I’m very far into the actual design process,” says Ford. “I’ll set key words at various sizes to see how the design looks in use. The letters have to work and function as a typeface. The poster shows me the ‘end game.’ Only when I’m pleased with the key words, do I continue with the design process.” Ford kept his poster of the Quire Sans design close at hand while he drew the rest of the characters – and referred to it often. The result is a typeface family that does indeed perform admirably in an extremely wide range of sizes and applications.

Quire Sans

“It was challenging to achieve all my objectives for the design,” Ford acknowledges, “from representing my personal style, to capturing the essence of oldstyle typefaces, and making a sans serif family that performs well in nearly any environment. I admit I’m pleased with how it all turned out. The designs work well together, and I believe they can work in virtually any environment. If this were the only sans serif design that I do, I would be very happy with it.”

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 desktop fonts, and as a special introductory offer the complete Quire Sans family is available for just $99 until August 12th! That’s an 80% savings!

The Quire Sans collection is also available as Web fonts through all Web Fonts paid subscriptions;  in addition, the Quire Sans family is available as desktop fonts through Professional and Master subscriptions, as well as plans paired with our new desktop add-on option.

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

Just over a year ago, we debuted our Master level Web Fonts plans. These plans offer our broadest range of benefits including millions of pageviews and our Typecast design app. But the keystone is unlimited desktop fonts. This feature was inspired by the knowledge that most of our customers design for both print and the Web, and that Web designers rely on tools traditionally used for print. Today, the desktop font feature has proven to be incredibly popular among Master subscribers—in fact, many of you on our other plans have shown interest in having it available as well. Starting today, you can!

Add Unlimited Desktop Fonts

Standard and Pro subscribers can now add unlimited desktop fonts to their existing subscriptions. This is a great option for those designing for print and the Web, but don’t have the traffic to justify moving all the way up to the Master plan. Boost any new or existing subscription for an additional $50 per month (or a little less for annual or three year plans). At the cost of 1–2 fonts, we hope you’ll agree that this is a great value.

The feature operates just like our Master subscriptions. Fonts are distributed through our SkyFonts client—the original desktop font syncing utility. Browse through our selection of more than 7,000 amazing designs from top foundries—including Monotype, Linotype, ITC, Bitstream, Ascender and others—and sync fonts on up to five workstations. When you see one you like, click the ‘add to SkyFonts’ button and SkyFonts will install the font for you. Repeat as often as you like. Fonts are licensed similar to traditional fonts, giving you an unparalleled range of assets for creating logos, imagery and more.

To add unlimited desktop font to a Standard or Pro subscription, visit our Plans & Pricing page, select the ‘Include unlimited desktop fonts’ button and click ‘update my plan’ or ‘subscribe now.’ If you have an existing subscription, we’ll sync up your billing so you’ll receive only one charge each billing period. We think you’ll love this new option, but if its not for you or you no longer need it, you can cancel the desktop font add on at any time, and even retain your Web font subscription if you like. This is a great way to get access to an amazing library of fonts without making a major commitment up front.

by Allan Haley


Almost 50 years since it was first announced, the Helvetica Compressed suite of typefaces has been re-envisioned for digital use. Designed in 1966, by Matthew Carter, for phototypesetting, the three original typefaces have been immune to changing style or fads. The remarkable collection of designs continues to be used for advertising, packaging and other venues where a commanding design and economy of space is required. With typography showing up on more and more small screens, however, it became obvious that the faces should be updated.

Helvetica Compressed

When Linotype first asked Carter to craft the Helvetica Compressed designs, characters had to be drawn within a coarse, 18-unit system, as seen in the image to the right. Every letter was limited to being designed to fit with one to eighteen units; this limited the number of typefaces that could be designed to very narrow proportions.

Drawn by Monotype designers to complement the Neue Helvetica family, the Neue Helvetica Compressed collection of typefaces benefits from 8 weights that range from ultra light to black – mirroring those in the Neue Helvetica family and rounding out the quintessential sans serif design.

Timeless and neutral, the Neue Helvetica family is now even more versatile.

The designs are available as desktop fonts or Web fonts from the Web Fonts service. Learn more about – and license – the Neue Helvetica Compressed collection of typefaces.

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

Carl Crossgrove’s new Burlingame® family is a classic example of the subtlety type designers bring to typeface design. At first glance, Burlingame appears to be square sans design with understated humanistic overtones. A closer look, however, reveals myriad details that define the typeface.

BurlingameOne of the primary goals behind the Burlingame design is legibility. “Overall design traits, individual character shaping and even letterspacing were carefully considered in the design process,” says Crossgrove, senior type designer at Monotype. “While these considerations are part of every typeface I design, they took on an increased importance in Burlingame.”


The impetus for Burlingame was a branding proposal for a major gaming platform – which meant that the design had to perform well on a small screen. While it was not incorporated into a video game, Burlingame was eventually licensed for use in human-machine interface displays for automobiles. The process of fine-tuning Burlingame for its new home, however, imposed new legibility issues for the design.

“I modified the original Burlingame renderings based on findings from automotive user interface legibility research Monotype undertook previously,” explains Crossgrove, referring to an exploratory study sponsored by Monotype and conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab and the New England University Transportation Center, which examined the role typeface design may play in minimizing glance time – the time a driver takes away from watching the road to interact with in-vehicle displays.


Crossgrove carefully introduced design traits, such as the triangular cuts where strokes join, flat tips on sharp counters, and character bowls that he describes as “superelliptical” to improve character legibility. He also applied generous character spacing to enable clearer character definition. In addition, Crossgrove incorporated character designs from the German DIN 1450 initiative for barrier-free legibility. “There are characters such as the footed l and t, open c and s, and simple bowl and tail g,” says Crossgrove. “I included these, and many other traits into the Burlingame design, intending that they would aid in character recognition and easy reading.”

To help ensure legibility at small sizes and in modest resolution digital environments, Crossgrove made Burlingame’s proportions almost extended. Realizing, however, that there are many instances where economy of space (in addition to legibility) is required, he also drew a series of slightly condensed designs.


The Burlingame family is comprised of 36 typefaces – nine weights from thin to extra black with condensed counterparts – each with an italic complement. The designs are available for desktop licensing, as well as Web fonts through all Web Fonts paid subscription plans. As a special introductory offer, a sampling of the Burlingame family (Burlingame Light and Burlingame Condensed Black) is available at no charge. Simply load them into your shopping cart and check out. Want all 36 fonts of this great new design? Until May 7th you can get the complete Burlingame family for 50% off!

Learn more about – and license – the Burlingame family today.

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 Big Script Sale

Here at we’re excited to kick off our Big Script Sale, a three-day promo event where you can save up to 80% on leading script typefaces. Running through Friday, we’ve got 60 script designs from a dozen leading foundries, so you’re sure to find a typeface that’s perfect for your next design project.


60 Great Families to Choose From

Selections run the gamut, from formal scripts — such as ITC’s Elegy and Canada Type’s Maestro — to more expressive, playful designs like Laura Worthington’s Hummingbird and Sudtipos’ Affair collection. There’s also handwriting inspired faces, like Monotype’s Julietrose family, and Steinweiss Script from Alphabet Soup.

Be sure to check out our Big Script Sale page on to see all the discounts we’re offering through our event. And make sure to take advantage of these deals now, because they’re only available for three days!

Win Prizes

Spread the Word and Win

Win typographically themed prizes when you tell the world about your Big Script Sale experience. Just tweet @Fontscom with hashtag #bigscriptsale. We’re giving away professional lettering supplies from our friends at Sakura of America, and even an original piece of lettering art by one of the Big Script Sale’s talented type designers. See all the official giveaway details on our Big Script Sale page on

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.

by Allan Haley

Silica Blog takes a fresh look at the Silica™ typeface this month. In its honor, we wanted to look back at the family’s typographic heritage.

Slab serif, or Egyptian, typefaces first appeared in 1815, developed in response to the fledging advertising industry’s appetite for heavy, attention-getting alphabets. Slab serif designs were intended to be display typefaces of the highest order.

The slab serif typestyle was introduced about the same time as sans serif typefaces. Interestingly, both originated in England and were initially only available as cap-only designs. Coincidentally, William Caslon IV, who produced the first commercial sans serif, called his design “Egyptian,” the term also used to designate slab serif typefaces.

Also interesting is that the first slab serif typefaces were generally maligned by the intelligentsia of the typographic community.

A prominent typographic critic of the time described the new slab serif style as “a typographical monstrosity.” And well into the 1920s, The Fleuron, the famed British journal about typography and book arts, ignored the typefaces altogether. Daniel Berkeley Updike, the great type historian of the period, went so far as to refer to the design style as one of the plagues of Egypt.

And yet, despite its many detractors, the slab serif typestyle flourished. Advertisers, for whom these designs were originally intended, loved their commanding power and straightforward, no nonsense demeanor. Slab serif typefaces were the “flavor of the day” until the first part of the 20th century, when newer designs eclipsed their popularity.

Slab serif typefaces fell into disuse for almost 30 years, until they were revived as text designs by several German type founders. (Actually the Boston Breton family, one of the first revivals, was released by American Type Founders in 1900, but it didn’t attract much interest until the German slab serif designs began to be imported to North America.)

The Memphis® typeface, from the Stempel foundry, is credited with starting the slab serif revival in 1929. It was followed by the Bauer foundry’s Beton, the City® family from Berthold, and Luxor from Ludwig & Mayer – all German companies. Other European foundries followed suit: the Nilo and Egizio typefaces were released in Italy, Monotype’s Rockwell® and the Scarab designs in Britain.

Sumner Stone’s Silica typeface family is an important – and particularly handsome – addition to the lineage of slab serif typefaces. It also perpetuates the Egyptian typestyle tradition of versatility and candor.

The complete Silica family is available for desktop licensing from, as well as for online use through subscriptions to the Web Fonts service.

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

Lately it seems that every new typeface release is either a sans serif or a script. What has become of the stalwart, straightforward – or even quirky and delightfully fancy – serif typeface? Happily, the serif’s back in town.

Take a look at Jovica Veljović’s Agmena™ typeface family. The design – first announced a little over a year ago – quickly became a “New Best Seller” on It’s now risen to become the first traditional serif typeface on the “All Best Sellers” list – albeit below a bevy of sans serif and a couple of slab serif families. The Agmena collection also won recognition in the Type Directors Club Typography Competition in 2013 as well.


Veljović based Agmena’s design on calligraphic letterforms, his primary intention being the setting of long – and beautiful – blocks of text copy. (Old timers might refer to Agmena as a “book face.”) To this end, Agmena is available in four weights: book, regular, semibold and bold, each with a complementary italic. The book and regular weights provide an optical balance between various point sizes – with the more robust regular being well suited for small sizes­. Designers can also choose the best weight for different paper stocks. The regular holds up remarkably well when printed on paper with a bit of “tooth,” while the book is ideal for smooth “calendered” stock.)

Agmena’s extensive character set makes setting refined text copy a pleasure. Each weight of the family offers small caps, old style and lining figures, a throng of ligatures, swash characters and even a suite of dingbats. Not stopping there, Veljović also designed Cyrillic and Greek versions of the Agmena alphabet.

While designed for publications, Agmena has also been welcomed into advertising, branding, and even online environments.

The complete Agmena family is available as desktop fonts from the and websites. It is also available as Web fonts.

Click here to learn more about – and to license – the Agmena 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 Allan Haley

Stefan Claudius designs type, but this has not been his only profession. “Type design is currently my main occupation,” he says, “but I have spent more time as a typographer and graphic designer.” Claudius also teaches typography and typeface design at several German colleges and design schools.

“Teaching has considerably broadened my horizons,” he continues. “I have had to research things that I previously knew little about, to ensure that I provide my students with the best information.”

Yalta Sans

Claudius also acknowledges learning a great deal about the process of typeface design while developing his Yalta Sans family.

From his first trial sketches in 2005 to the official announcement of Yalta Sans eight years later, Claudius was as much a student of typeface design as he was a typeface designer. His first drawings were basically experimentations – pushing characters to their limits, discovering how subtle, and not so subtle, modifications might change the demeanor of the design.

“Fortunately, typeface design is a field in which things don’t move all that rapidly,” Claudius observes. “Although, of course there are always fashions and fads. The most positive aspect for me is that I have matured along with the typeface.” Thanks to breaks in the development process, Claudius was able to cast a fresh critical eye over his work.

Yalta Sans

As it happened, the most challenging part of the design development came almost at the end of the process. “When I first showed the typeface to Monotype, I thought it was more or less complete,” Claudius reflects. “However, it turned out that additional intermediate weights were required. And the personality of the typeface needed to be made more consistent across the various members of the family.”

These realizations meant that Claudius would need to redraw the entire family (with the help of an intern designer and digital design tools) and then completely revise the italic styles to complement the new romans. The final result is a strikingly handsome design that blends diverse sensibilities into a remarkably versatile and extremely legible typeface family.

Click here to learn more about – and to license – the Yalta 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.

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