fonts.com blog
Posts Tagged ‘typography’

by Johnathan Zsittnik

For many designers, the prospect of buying a font is a mixed bag of excitement and trepidation. The idea of adding to your type arsenal can be exhilarating until you consider the uncertainty of whether the typeface will behave as expected when put to work in your project. Countless preview tools have been released to address these concerns, but none resolve them nearly as elegantly or effortless as SkyFonts.

The SkyFonts utility is a free, lightweight client that allows you to temporarily install fonts and synchronize them across multiple workstations. If you’ve been following along, you’ve heard us (and perhaps a few of your peers) talk about it quite a bit. Earlier this year, we teamed with Google to enable users to install Google Fonts through SkyFonts. We also made SkyFonts the delivery mechanism for desktop fonts within our Fonts.com Web Fonts subscriptions. Now we’re further broadening the use of the tool by enabling anyone to use it to try more than 30,000 fonts from over 100 foundries – all for free. Here’s how it works.

SkyFonts-Trial

Visit Fonts.com and search for the font of your choice. If your font is available for free trial, it will contain a ‘download a free trial’ link on its product page, family page or search results listing. Click this link to initiate your trial. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a Fonts.com account and install the SkyFonts client (both are free). The site will prompt you to do both if you haven’t done so beforehand. Once you’re trial starts, the font is downloaded and installed on your machine and can be used like any other font. Open up your favorite design app, choose the typeface from your font menu and give it a test drive. Please remember that font trials are for evaluation purposes only. After five minutes, the font will disappear from your machine. From there its up to you to determined if this is the font of your typographic dreams or if you’d rather just be friends. Either way, you won’t see a heavy-handed offer to buy the font when your trial is over.

Fonts.com desktop font trials will give you an unprecedentedly up-close preview of your fonts before you buy them. And judging from the feedback of our previous implementations, we think you’re going to love it. Go ahead and give it a try and let us know what you think.


by Ryan Arruda

The truly monumental milestones in the evolution of typographic history can no longer be counted off on one hand. Accredited scientists and peer-reviewed statistical studies show such hallmarks to be:

• Written language
• Illuminated manuscripts
• Movable type
• The microprocessor
• Arial

And now…FONTACULAR.

Fontacular

Have you always wanted all your dreams to come true? Look no further, dear reader, because for one week – December 2nd through 6th – Fonts.com is hosting the most impressive typographic event ever seen in the modern age. Fontacular will change the way you look at type. And life. Unlock all your type fantasies.

Fontacular

We’ve got single weights of type. We’ve got type selections. We’ve got complete type families…and they’re all up for grabs. Here’s what you need to know, hoss: each day we’ll reveal a brand new batch of deals that will drive you wild — with prices starting as low as $9, you’d be a fool to miss these deals. And because we idolize Laurence “Mr. T”  Tureaud, we shall pity you. Because come Friday, these deals will be gone forever. Keep constant watch on our Fontacular page for new products and excitement each day.

Fontacular

Plus, all week we’ll be featuring giveaways from our great partners, including Tattly, Mama’s Sauce (who printed an awesome Fontacular poster designed by our pals at Brave the Woods), Field Notes and Typefight. Just tweet to us @fontscom and use hashtag #fontacular to tell the world how our event has changed your life, and you could be showered with typographic goodies as well as held in high esteem in your community.

Have the pride of telling your children “I was there for Fontacular.

Be there for Fontacular.


by Ryan Arruda

Here’s a listing of the top 100 most used fonts from the Fonts.com Web Fonts service for November 2013:

Avenir Next
Neue Helvetica
Gill Sans
Trade Gothic
Avenir
Univers
Proxima Nova
Futura
Gill Sans Infant
Frutiger
Helvetica
ITC Franklin Gothic
Rockwell
Linotype Univers
Classical Garamond
Sabon Next
DIN Next
Klint
Century Gothic
Museo Sans
Courier PS
Bree
Chaparral
Myriad
VAG Rounded
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
ITC Caslon No. 224
Eurostile LT
Univers Next
Museo Slab
Neo Sans
Arial
ITC Legacy Serif
Harmonia Sans
ITC Century
Amasis
ITC Lubalin Graph
Neue Helvetica eText
Motoya Birch
Optima
ITC Legacy Square Serif
Slate
Praxis
Neue Frutiger
Trade Gothic Next
Diverda Serif
Swiss 721
Clarendon
Azbuka
ITC Officina Serif
Frutiger Next
Delima
Amadeo
ITC Bodoni Six
Brandon Grotesque
Soho Gothic
Calibri
ITC Charter
ITC Officina Sans
Linotype Didot
ITC Conduit
Helvetica World
Bodoni LT
Chocolate
Adobe Garamond
Lexia
Egyptienne F
ITC American Typewriter Hellenic
Bookman Old Style
Soho
Comic Strip
Swift
ITC American Typewriter
ITC Fenice
Glypha
Droid Sans Mono
Rotis Sans Serif
PMN Caecilia
Auriol
Zapf Humanist 601
Bembo
Monotype News Gothic
Alternate Gothic
ITC Stone Informal
Neue Helvetica Arabic
Francker
VAG Rundschrift
Linotype Sketch
Sackers Gothic
Trade Gothic Next Soft Rounded
Humanist 777
ITC Eras
C Hei 2 PRC
Droid Serif
M Elle PRC
C Hei PRC
M Lady PRC
M Stiff Hei PRC
Monotype Goudy
Caslon Classico

 


by Ryan Arruda

Here’s a listing of the top 100 most used fonts from the Fonts.com Web Fonts service for October 2013:

Neue Helvetica
Avenir Next
Gill Sans
Trade Gothic
Avenir
Univers
Proxima Nova
Gill Sans Infant
Rockwell
Futura
Helvetica
Classical Garamond
Linotype Univers
Frutiger
Klint
DIN Next
Courier PS
Century Gothic
Museo Sans
Myriad
Bree
Slate
ITC Franklin Gothic
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
Arial
Museo Slab
Harmonia Sans
VAG Rounded
Chaparral
Univers Next
ITC Legacy Serif
ITC Caslon No. 224
Eurostile LT
ITC Century
ITC Lubalin Graph
Amasis
Motoya Birch
Neo Sans
Neue Helvetica eText
Optima
Neue Frutiger
ITC Legacy Square Serif
Trade Gothic Next
Swiss 721
Delima
ITC Officina Serif
Lexia
ITC Charter
Calibri
ITC Officina Sans
Soho Gothic
Droid Sans Mono
Bodoni LT
ITC Conduit
Frutiger Next
Bookman Old Style
Linotype Didot
ITC American Typewriter
PMN Caecilia
Adobe Garamond
Auriol
Swift
Helvetica World
Soho
ITC American Typewriter Hellenic
Neue Helvetica Arabic
Egyptienne F
ITC Stone Informal
Linotype Sketch
Glypha
Monotype News Gothic
Francker
Rotis Sans Serif
Bembo
ITC Fenice
Monotype Goudy
Droid Serif
Azbuka
Comic Strip
Humanist 777
ITC Eras
Bodoni
Sackers Gothic
Copperplate Gothic
C Hei 2 PRC
Rileyson
Caslon Classico
M Elle PRC
C Hei PRC
M Lady PRC
Adobe Caslon
M Stiff Hei PRC
Twentieth Century
Orator
VAG Rundschrift
Droid Sans
Andale Mono
Copperplate
Inform
Clarendon

 


by Johnathan Zsittnik

OpenType Kerning Features

Since the mass availability of Web fonts, the gap between the typographic possibilities within Web and print design has been steadily closing. Continuing the trend, today we unveil new kerning and letter spacing capabilities to our Fonts.com Web Fonts service that can help take your Web designs one step closer to pixel perfect.

While kerning can be incorporated through standards-based implementations, there are several limitations that Web designers currently face:

  • Kerning settings in the browser may be on or off by default
  • The amount of kerning applied is inconsistent between different browsers
  • Kerning cannot always be controlled via the low level font-feature-setting: “kern” syntax from the CSS3 spec or the high-level, font-kerning syntax from the CSS3 spec
  • Text-rendering-optimizeLegibility, from the SVG spec, has inconsistent effects on kerning across browsers.

A variety of JavaScript libraries exist to enable kerning and overcome the issues described above, however each force the Web designer to specify kerning levels rather than leveraging kerning information specified by the font designer.

I had a chance to chat with Sampo Kaasila, about the technology he helped build and its inspiration. In his words, “The realization that kerning support is inconsistent and sometimes wrong across different Web browsers provided the impetus to develop this technology. It provides Web designers with kerning that is settable, correct and consistent across browsers.”

The new capabilities within Fonts.com Web Fonts allow you to specify letter spacing in a variety of ways. You can use auto kerning to take advantage of kerning pairs designated by the font designer. Or, you can specify your own kerning value for letter pairs. A tracking control allows the adjustment of spacing between three or more consecutive characters.

Kerning can be applied globally to a CSS selector. For example, I can enable auto kerning for all of my subheads by turning the feature on for the selector (i.e. H2) designated for my subheads within my CSS. Alternatively, kerning and tracking can be applied to targeted blocks of texts.

The new letterspacing controls are an extension of our OpenType feature technology that enables OpenType features such as fractions and ligatures to be rendered in all modern browsers – including those without native OpenType feature support. We’ve also enhanced this technology to allow users to specify a preferred glyph when multiple options exist. In the example below, two options for stylistic alternates are presented for the lowercase k  in the Fairbank typeface. This enhancement lets you specify a choice instead of using the default glyph.

Custom Kerning

To give users a sense of what’s going on ‘under the hood,’ I had Sampo provide an overview of how the technology operates. “Our service works in conjunction with client side JavaScript code. Runtime adjustments are made to the inter-character spacing to ensure correct spacing, depending on if the style in the external CSS or inline style attributes has enabled or disabled the kerning. Additionally, a consistent default on or off setting will be applied if there is no style information regarding kerning. Our service reads all the kerning information within the font’s kern and GPOS tables. This is then compiled to JavaScript code in the cloud. At run time, before the page is drawn, a rule application engine applies the kerning by injecting style information, which then correctly positions the characters when the browsers draw the text.”

Here’s a quick how-to for using these new capabilities

  1. Login to your Fonts.com account. You’ll need a Fonts.com Web Fonts subscription, but even a free plan will work. Free plan subscribers have access to the technology and compatible fonts.
  2. Search for fonts containing kerning support. Use the kerning support filter like this to narrow your Web font search.
  3. Add the font to your project. Be sure to grab the variant with “OT features” in the name. To be certain you have this option, don’t add an entire family to your project. Adding one weight at a time will allow you to specify the version you want – in this case, the version with OpenType features.
  4. Visit the Manage Web Fonts page to work on your project.
  5. Open the Add & Edit Fonts control for your project.
  6. Select the OpenType Features tab (If you don’t see it, your project does not contain a font with OpenType features).
  7. Select the Basic panel to apply kerning and OpenType features globally to a CSS selector, or the Advanced panel to apply kerning, tracking or OpenType features to targeted text.

Applying kerning or OpenType features to a CSS selector

  1. From the basic panel of the OpenType Features control, enter the selector name you wish to style.
  2. Selecting the font you want to use for the CSS selector from the Choose a font menu.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Click the CSS selector you just added form the menu below.
  5. Check Apply Auto kerning box to enable kerning. Preview the impact in the preview pane at the bottom of the control.
  6. Click the icons of any OpenType features you wish to apply to your selector. Again, you can preview the impact in the preview pane at the bottom of the control.
  7. Make sure you are using the JavaScript publishing method. This will not work through the non-JavaScript (CSS linking) or self-hosting publish methods.

Auto kerning Web Fonts

Applying kerning, tracking and OpenType features to targeted text

  1. From the advanced panel of the OpenType Features control, enter the text you wish to stylize in the “test your own text here” pane.
  2. Make sure you’ve highlighted the text you wish to stylize.
  3. Use the Auto Kern check box to enable auto-kerning.
  4. Use the Kerning slider or menu to kern two consecutive characters.
  5. Use the tracking slider or menu to adjust the spacing of three or more consecutive characters.
  6. Click the icons of any OpenType features you wish to enable for your text.
  7. Click the Select HTML button to view and copy the HTML you’ll need to add to your site.
  8. Make sure you are using the JavaScript publishing method. This will not work through the non-JavaScript (CSS linking) or self-hosting publish methods.

Custom Kerning

We hope you enjoy using this new technology. You can provide any feedback or tell us how you’re using it in the comments section.


by Alyson Kuhn

Jim Wasco loves to talk about type, and when he does, he enthuses equally about highly specific details on the one hand, and the typographic big picture on the other. It’s not an either/or discussion – it’s a seamless interplay of influences and inspirations. With Wasco, you can indeed have it both ways. His newest typeface design, the Harmonia Sans family, is a perfect example.

Harmonia Sans

The name Harmonia Sans alludes to harmony in two realms, music and typography – and on two levels, the individual and the collective. Each musical note must be ‘right’ on its own, to ring true with the other notes in the phrase, and it must add to the composition as a whole. (Wasco, by the way, plays jazz piano every week as part of a sextet.) The letterforms of a typeface are even more inter-dependent, in that they must achieve visual harmony in almost infinite combinations. On the ‘collective continuum,’ Harmonia Sans also blends what Wasco describes as his “favorite aspects of the different sans – grotesque, humanist and geometric” in a new geometric design. He adds, “Harmonia Sans is geometric because the letters are based on a square, circle and triangle, just like architecture.”

Alignments

The alignment comparison above illustrates Wasco’s decision to use calligraphic cap to x-height proportions for Harmonia Sans. The ITC Avant Garde Gothic design has a larger x-height, and relatively short ascenders and descenders, while the Futura family has a smaller x-height, with elongated ascenders and descenders. Wasco determined that the calligraphic proportions would serve to increase both legibility and typographic harmony.

Calligraphy instruction sheet from Paul Standard (circa 1950)

Calligraphy instruction sheet from Paul Standard (circa 1950)

Wasco neatly sums up his ‘calligraphic lineage’: “Dad went to The Cooper Union in the ‘50s. His calligraphy teacher was Paul Standard, who was a friend of Hermann Zapf’s. When I met Hermann, I mentioned Paul – and his face lit up. Many people credit Paul with popularizing calligraphy in America in the ‘50s.” Standard’s calligraphy instruction sheet above is based on a cap to x-height ratio of 7.5 to 5.

Calligraphy by Jim Wasco:  banner on a piano recital invitation (2007)

Calligraphy by Jim Wasco: banner on a piano recital invitation (2007)

Wasco has always favored a ratio of 7:5 for his own calligraphy, and the Harmonia Sans proportion is close to 7:5 as well. Click here to learn more about – and to license – the Harmonia Sans family.

 

Alyson Kuhn
Alyson Kuhn (a.k.a. Kuhncierge) writes frequently about paper and printing, including typography and postage stamps. On occasion, she teaches envelope-folding workshops. She lives in Carmel, California.

 


by Ryan Arruda

Here’s a listing of the top 100 most used fonts from the Fonts.com Web Fonts service for September 2013:

Trade Gothic
Neue Helvetica
Avenir Next
Gill Sans
Univers
Avenir
Proxima Nova
Gill Sans Infant
Helvetica
Futura
Frutiger
Rockwell
Linotype Univers
Classical Garamond
DIN Next
Klint
Century Gothic
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
Courier PS
Museo Sans
VAG Rounded
Myriad
Bree
Arial
ITC Franklin Gothic
Harmonia Sans
Univers Next
Neue Frutiger
Chaparral
ITC Legacy Serif
Museo Slab
Swiss 721
Eurostile LT
ITC Lubalin Graph
ITC Caslon No. 224
Optima
Amasis
Motoya Birch
Neo Sans
Trade Gothic Next
Neue Helvetica eText
ITC Century
ITC Legacy Square Serif
Frutiger Next
Slate
ITC American Typewriter
Linotype Didot
ITC Conduit
Adobe Garamond
Soho
Helvetica World
ITC Officina Serif
Bodoni LT
Humanist 777
Lexia
ITC Officina Sans
ITC Charter
Calibri
PMN Caecilia
Delima
Droid Sans Mono
Swift
ITC Fenice
Soho Gothic
Neue Helvetica Arabic
Adobe Caslon
Bookman Old Style
Linotype Sketch
Bembo
ITC American Typewriter Hellenic
Monotype News Gothic
Francker
Egyptienne F
Auriol
Sackers Gothic
Linotype Feltpen
Baskerville Classico
ITC Stone Informal
Novecento
Brandon Grotesque
Rotis Sans Serif
Twentieth Century
Monotype Goudy
Glypha
Agilita
Andale Mono
Droid Serif
ITC Eras
C Hei 2 PRC
News Gothic
Neue Haas Grotesk
DIN 1451
Akko
M Elle PRC
C Hei PRC
M Lady PRC
M Stiff Hei PRC
ITC Garamond
Heisei Kaku Gothic
Rotis Semi Sans


by Ryan Arruda

Here’s a listing of the top 100 most used fonts from the Fonts.com Web Fonts service for August 2013:

Neue Helvetica
Trade Gothic
Gill Sans
Helvetica
Avenir
Futura
Univers
Proxima Nova
Avenir Next
DIN Next
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
VAG Rounded
Swiss 721
Neue Frutiger
Frutiger
Frutiger Next
Linotype Univers
Trade Gothic Next
Humanist 777
Adobe Garamond
Soho
Adobe Caslon
Arial
ITC Conduit
Century Gothic
ITC Lubalin Graph
Museo Sans
Baskerville Classico
ITC Franklin Gothic
Rockwell
Univers Next
Neo Sans
Optima
Bembo
Linotype Didot
Agilita
Myriad
PMN Caecilia
Linotype Feltpen
Bodoni LT
DIN 1451
Helvetica Monospaced
Heisei Kaku Gothic
Joanna
Brandon Grotesque
Neue Haas Grotesk
ITC Garamond
Monotype News Gothic
Memo
News Gothic
News Gothic No.2
ITC Century
Gill Sans Infant
Sabon
Adelle
Abadi
Twentieth Century
Soho Gothic
New Century Schoolbook
Harmonia Sans
Trade Gothic Next Soft Rounded
Bauer Bodoni
Aachen
Corporate S
Neue Helvetica eText
Letter Gothic
Bembo Infant MT
Eurostile LT
ITC Officina Sans
Times
Frutiger Serif
Sackers Gothic
Slate
Laurentian
Eurostile Next
Akko
Neue Helvetica Arabic
Calibri
Novecento
Palatino
Museo Slab
Klint
Camphor
Minion
Helvetica World
Clarendon
Sassoon Sans
New Caledonia
ITC Fenice
Futura T
Strayhorn
Museo
Monotype Baskerville
Garamond 3
Glypha
Basic Commercial
Yakout
Smart Sans
Alternate Gothic
Plantin

 


by Steve Matteson

Monotype recently announced a collection ‘eText typefaces’, designed to facilitate the best on-screen reading experience. These typefaces extend the palette of text choices available for Web and EPUB designers and developers. Our eText typefaces are part of the Monotype Portfolio for Digital Publishing, tailored for high-quality immersive reading on e-readers, tablets and other devices.

eText Fonts

Our first update to the eText collection features four new families:

GeorgiaPro — The GeorgiaPro design includes 20 weights and styles (including light, black and condensed weights), making GeorgiaPro an ideal choice for rich typographic pages where performance and readability are key across a variety of screen resolutions and technologies. Georgia Pro also includes small caps and OpenType features for setting full-height figures in addition to the figures which range above and below the baseline (old style figures). The extensive character set covers Greek, Russian and Eastern European languages.

VerdanaPro – The Verdana typeface has been a standard in screen legibility for 18 years. This release continues to improve upon the performance and readability of the design across both screens and languages.  With 20 weights added to the family, Verdana is now more versatile than ever. Light to black and condensed styles of Verdana will offer new capabilities for hierarchical typographic layouts. The extensive character set covers Greek, Russian and Eastern European languages.

Dante eText — Already shipping in some OEM reader products, the Dante eText family has brought old-world charm to immersive reading on screen. Originally designed by Giovanni Maerdersteig for fine book printing, Dante eText now brings the artistic touches of a great printer and book designer to the e-publisher’s toolbox.

Linotype Didot eText — The world of high-fashion publications would not be complete without the high-contrast thick and thins of a Didot-styled typeface. Toshi Omagari revisited the classic Didot family to make it possible to use at screen sizes. The elegance of the original is not lost in the Linotype Didot eText design, which stands up to screen display, unlike many modern serif styles.

 

 


by Ryan Arruda

Here’s a ranked listing of Fonts.com Web Fonts’ top 100 most used Web fonts for July 2013:

Neue Helvetica
Trade Gothic
Proxima Nova
Futura
Gill Sans
Helvetica
Avenir
Univers
DIN Next
Avenir Next
Neue Frutiger
Frutiger
Linotype Univers
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
Trade Gothic Next
Frutiger Next
Humanist 777
ITC Franklin Gothic
Arial
Adobe Caslon
Century Gothic
Museo Sans
Baskerville Classico
Optima
Univers Next
Bembo
Linotype Didot
Neo Sans
News Gothic
Agilita
Soho
VAG Rounded
PMN Caecilia
Rockwell
Myriad
Monotype News Gothic
Bodoni LT
DIN 1451
ITC Lubalin Graph
Brandon Grotesque
Helvetica Monospaced
Gill Sans Infant
Futura T
ITC Century
News Gothic No.2
Trade Gothic Next Soft Rounded
ITC Garamond
ITC Officina Sans
Twentieth Century
Soho Gothic
Aachen
Sabon
New Century Schoolbook
ITC Conduit
Abadi
Neue Haas Grotesk
Adelle
Neue Helvetica eText
Eurostile LT
Bembo Infant MT
Letter Gothic
Times
Corporate S
Memo
Eurostile Next
Harmonia Sans
Bauer Bodoni
Sackers Gothic
Frutiger Serif
Calibri
Laurentian
Franklin Gothic
ITC Franklin
Palatino
Camphor
Helvetica World
ITC Fenice
Neue Helvetica Arabic
Adobe Garamond
Akko
Slate
Museo Slab
Klint
Heisei Kaku Gothic
Strayhorn
Novecento
Garamond 3
Clarendon
New Caledonia
Swiss 721
M Sung PRC
Minion
Ascender Serif
Yakout
Monotype Baskerville
Plantin
Thud
ITC Officina Serif
Effra
Albany

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