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How does Extensis maintain high employee tenure in such a hot industry?

We’ve got something we’re really proud of. Over 37% of employees have been working at Extensis for over ten years! From Accounting to Engineering to Customer Support, people really like it here. This is impressive considering that, on average, employees stick around for 3 years at tech companies according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Team Extensis

St. Patrick’s Day at Extensis

 

“I love representing this organization.”

Carli Edvalson, Senior Human Resources Generalist and an 11 year Extensis veteran explains why people love working at Extensis, “Many organizations talk about work-life balance, and the importance of recognizing the value of life outside of work, but not many encourage and foster that balance like Extensis does.”

Extensis believes it is important to provide employees with the balance needed to stay engaged and avoid getting burnt out.

The company also promotes learning opportunities, cross-departmental communication and keeps up on industry and employee trends in order to preserve team happiness and engagement.

Extensis at the Oregon Food Bank

Employees packaging apples at the Oregon Food Bank

 

15 years and counting…

“Extensis has been a continuously evolving organization that challenges me to stretch and at the same time supports a healthy work/life balance,” says Marisela Alzuhn. Marisela is a Marketing Manager and has been with the company for over 15 years. “I’ve also been fortunate throughout my time at Extensis to work with some amazing people who have high standards and do their best work.”

20 years and counting!

Greg LaViolette, aka the “Voice of Extensis” (he is the important voice you hear when calling Extensis), has been part of the team for 20 years! “Recognition, fun, food, and good people,” is why Extensis’s Lead Network Systems Administrator has been part of the crew for so long. “Plus, I’m the voice people hear when they call us…I can’t leave!”

Team Extensis in our Portland office

Tenure and company culture have a lot in common

“From an HR perspective, tenure is one of the most significant metrics I track, report on, and read about,” says Carli. “It’s reflective of the culture and it serves as an indicator of the level of contentment of employees at any organization.”

“I know our tenure is impressive, and it makes my job easier when I am recruiting talent to join our team. The most common question I’m asked by a perspective candidate in an interview is, ‘Why do you like working here?’ and I can answer it confidently and without hesitation,” says Carli.

 

Here, at Extensis, we develop font management and digital asset management software and we have a blast doing it. To learn more about what we do and our company culture, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Interested in joining our team? Check out our careers page.

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suitcase-fusion-7-iconToday we released an update to Suitcase Fusion 7 (v18.1) that includes new plug-ins for the Summer 2016 release of Adobe Creative Cloud 2015, including:

  • Adobe Photoshop 2015.5
  • Adobe Illustrator 2015.3
  • Adobe InDesign 2015.4
  • Adobe InCopy 2015.4
  • Adobe After Effects 2015.3
  • QuarkXPress 2016

 

Is your version of Suitcase Fusion compatible? Find out here.

 

Already have Suitcase Fusion 7?

It’s easy to update:

 

Haven’t upgraded to Suitcase Fusion 7 yet?

We’ve added some powerful new abilities to sync your fonts through the cloud, auto-activate fonts in Adobe After Effects, as well as many under-the-hood speed improvements.

Get Suitcase Fusion 7 Now

 

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Extensis_Erik-Spiekermann_v1

Photograph by Dennis Letbetter, San Francisco.

Erik Spiekermann is an art historian, information architect, type designer, author, and the founder of MetaDesign (1979) and FontShop (1988).

He has received numerous awards and accolades, including being made an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA in Britain in 2007 and awarded the TDC Medal & National German Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Erik was managing partner and creative director of Edenspiekermann with offices in Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Los Angeles until June 2014 when he moved from that position to the supervisory board.

He now runs galerie p98a, an experimental letterpress workshop in Berlin. Erik splits his time between Berlin and San Francisco and London. A book about his life and work, Hello I am Erik, was published by Gestalten Verlag in 2014.

We are honored to have Erik Spiekermann as our next interview subject, and hope you enjoy the conversation below.

Photo by: Norman Posselt Erik Spiekermann with the font FF Real, which he designed with Ralph Du Carrois.

Photo by: Norman Posselt Erik Spiekermann with the font FF Real, which he designed with Ralph Du Carrois.

How did you get into the business of type design?

I designed my first typefaces for Berthold, a German foundry, in the late ’70s. They were hot metal faces that I thought should be brought into the new technology, which at that time was phototypesetting. I also designed lots of literature for many type companies in the ’70s and ’80s, and knew everybody in the business.

When fonts became available for another new technology in the late 80s, this time PostScript, I knew that designers wanted them, and quickly.

So we started the first mail-order type business, FontShop, in 1988. I called in favors from my connections in the business, and soon had 800 fonts to ship.

What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?

I like the fact that companies or brands now recognize how important type is for their communications.

There are a lot of useful and appropriate corporate typefaces out there. I count my own work for Deutsche Bahn, Bosch, Autodesk, Cisco, ZDF German TV, Heidelberg Printing, Nokia, Mozilla, et al. amongst them. I also like the fact that there are more type designers around than ever, and they are better than ever.

It is a typographic paradise out there for graphic designers, if they take the trouble to look.

Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?

FF META

I still like FF Meta because it works for the purpose it was designed for—i.e. small type under bad circumstances—but it also works well for other types of work that I never imagined when I designed it 30 years ago. It is always gratifying to see what other designers make with my faces.

Fira Sans

I also like the work we (Christian Schwartz and myself) did for Deutsche Bahn. That type has become the perfect expression for the world’s fourth-largest logistics brand, working from the smallest type on timetables to large letters on the side of locomotives. Our Fira typeface, which Ralph du Carrois originally designed with me for Mozilla, is now a free font with Google and seen everywhere. That’s fun, if not lucrative.

ITC Officina Sans

And, finally, I am always surprised how good ITC Officina still looks after 25 years.

As design projects go, I am still proud of the passenger information we designed for the BVG, Berlin’s transit system, shortly after the two halves of the city got reunited in 1989. It still works, if it’s a little tired in places. It has become a symbol for the new Berlin.

Describe your dream project.

I’d love to redesign the information system on Germany’s highways, the Autobahn. The system is still useful, but conditions have changed since it was originally devised in the ’30s and ’50s.

It needs a functional update, and perhaps a slightly fresher aesthetic. Information doesn’t just work by displaying facts. It also works through evoking an emotional response.

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SF5-AdobeCloudToday Adobe released an update that includes multiple Creative Cloud 2015 applications. While Adobe has chosen not to update their version number, these are major updates to their applications and require updates to the font auto-activation plug-ins to be compatible.

We understand that compatibility is important, and you want all of your your creative tools to work well together. Here is the status of Extensis software compatibility.

 

Suitcase Fusion 7

On June 21, 2016 we released an update (version 18.1) that added compatibility for the Summer 2016 release of Adobe Creative Cloud 2015.

 

Universal Type Server

We are currently in the final phases of testing to an update to the Universal Type Client that provides new plug-ins that are compatible with these new releases.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for updated Client installers.

 

 

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What does font weight mean, exactly?

The weight of a particular typeface is the thickness of the character outlines relative to its height.  A typeface typically comes in a variety of weights from ultra-light to extra-bold, with as many as a dozen options.

The base weight differs among typefaces. For example, a typeface used for a movie poster might have a different normal than one suited for long blocks of text.

Here’s an example of the Helvetica Neue typeface with numbers that indicate weight:

 

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You might ask yourself, “How did those numbers become the standard measurement of font weight?”

In 1954, Adrian Frutiger was the first to introduce a range of weights using numerical classification. His groundbreaking Univers typeface featured a “two-digit numeration system where the first digit (3-8) indicated weight and the second indicated face-width and either roman or oblique.” Univers was the first “font family” designed as a complete collection of coordinated weights and widths, with the normal weight of 55 being the starting point.

 

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Pictured: a “periodic table” he created for the Univers family

In Frutiger’s system, 35 was Extra Light, 45 was Light, 55 Medium or Regular, 65 Bold, 75 Extra Bold, 85 Extra Bold, and 95 was Ultra Bold or Black. He also included alternate numbers for Italics (“6 series”) and Condensed (“7 series”).

The popularity of Univers led to Frutiger being commissioned by Monotype to create Apollo, their first typeface designed specifically for typesetting. He was also hired to design the Roissy typeface for signage at Charles De Gaulle Airport (below).

 

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He became immensely popular and his work quickly spread around the globe—his typefaces appeared on London’s iconic street signs…

 

 

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…San Francisco’s BART trains, and even early Apple keyboards.

 

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In 1997, Frutiger revised the Univers typeface and created Linotype Univers, a family that consisted of 63 fonts, including weight options like Ultra Light or Extended Heavy. The new numbering system was extended to three digits to reflect the expanded number of variations.

*When Web Fonts were introduced, the numbering system was borrowed from this Linotype model.*

For 60 years, Frutiger’s “clean” and “legible” designs were the toast of the typography industry. But perhaps his biggest contribution to design was the introduction of the weight system.

Award-winning typeface designer Erik Spiekermann called Frutiger “the best type designer of the 20th century.” He also paid him a huge compliment when he said “I know of no other typeface designer who can put so much feeling into a systematic approach. Frutiger’s typefaces are always carefully planned, but they never look like it.”

Frutiger passed away on September 10, 2015. For more about the life and work of this amazing man, read Fontshop’s lovely tribute or the informative Frutiger piece in the New York Times.

 

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macOS-Sierra

Apple recently released a Beta Preview version of their forthcoming operating system, macOS Sierra.

Extensis software has not been fully tested on this operating system yet, and is not officially supported. Current releases of Extensis software may work on this OS, but may also cause unpredictable issues. Use at your own risk.

We will continue to test and update compatibility until the final release of macOS Sierra.

Currently supported software configurations can be found on these pages:

Please watch this blog, and the Extensis forums for updates on compatibility.

One note: If you take the plunge and start using macOS prior to official launch, please feel free to report any problems when using Extensis products on our forums! We want to make sure we catch and solve all issues before it the final macOS is released.

 

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The next great type designer in our Font Founders series: William Addison Dwiggins, who designed the fonts Electra and Caledonia, among others. Dwiggins coined the term ‘graphic designer’ in 1922 to describe what he did, which included book design, typography, lettering, and calligraphy.

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Summertime means romance. Long walks on the beach, rooftop parties under the stars, outdoor concerts, hot days and warm nights. But when you’re just a lonely single font, all that can seem like more torture than treasure. That’s why we are introducing Fonter, the world’s first dating app for fonts. Let’s see who’s signed up so far.

Tinder-4-fonts-Papyrus

Papyrus is an earnest, fun-loving gal with a big heart and a penchant for vegan cupcakes. Swipe right if you’re looking for a woman who will greet each day like a new beginning. Swipe left if you don’t have patience for people who are always running late.

Tinder-4-fonts-Futura

Futura is kind of a bad-ass. He lives his own life and makes his own rules. Swipe right for late night bike rides and absinthe cocktails. Swipe left if you’re looking of a guy with a great sense of humor.

Tinder-4-fonts-Stencil

Stencil is a lovable bro. If you’re looking for someone to bring you to the next Rocky movie, go rock-climbing, or just chill and play video games, swipe right. If you’re more into museums, art films, and fine wines, swipe left.

Tinder-4-fonts-Helvetica

Helvetica came to the States looking to launch a career in design. She wasn’t expecting to get so popular! Now her social life is so crazy, she can hardly keep track of all her invitations. Swipe right if you’re into glitz and business. Swipe left if you’re looking for a more intimate relationship.

If you’re a designer you know there are thousands of fonts out there to choose from. Whatever type you’re looking for, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs. Which way would you swipe on Papyrus, Futura, Stencil, and Helvetica? Tell us in the comments. And stay tuned for more profiles, coming soon.

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Say you’ve got a project that calls for a font that’s elegant and fancy (wedding invitation, perhaps) but you can’t find any exciting, new options in your Microsoft Word library (apologies to overused workhorses like Brush Script and Monotype Corsiva).

No need to panic—as Agent Mulder might say, “The truth is out there.”

 

The Truth Is Out There

Pictured: Helvetica Neue Condensed Light, definitely NOT a cursive typeface. But I digress…

Cursive fonts (also known as script, calligraphy, or handwritten fonts) are readily available online for download. Here are some useful resources to help you find the right font for your design (and bolster your tired collection of Word options):

Kerry Hughes at Creative Bloq lists the 20 Best Free Cursive Fonts that are “free to use commercially, not just on personal projects.”

 

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Pictured: Debby typeface, “works well for greeting cards” according to Hughes

Font Squirrel provides some Help Installing Fonts for Windows and Mac with instructions and video tutorials for desktop and web fonts.

Microsoft has some tips on how to Troubleshoot Font Problems in Microsoft Word and also created a quick and easy way to find out which fonts come installed with various Windows products that lets you sort by product or font name.

Nicole Martinez of eHow presents Common Cursive Fonts for Mac and PC.

 

Edwardian Script

Pictured: Edwardian Script, available on every version of Word

You might be interested in a previous blog post we did about how to choose the right cursive font that discusses the history of cursive fonts and why they’re so effective as a storytelling device.

Creative Bloq also did a comprehensive list of best places to find open source fonts that’s pretty useful but not specifically for Word so you might need to do some parsing.

Hopefully this helps you discover some exciting new typeface options for your special event. Or at the very least, gives you some alternatives to the ubiquitous options you see every day.

Happy hunting, type nerds! Enjoy your tour of the world’s finest pangrams, including my personal favorite, “Turgid saxophones blew over Mick’s jazzy quaff.”

 

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Extensis_4-Questions-For_Mark-Simonson_v1.0

1. How did you get into the business of type design?

I got interested in the idea of type design when I was studying graphic design at college in the mid-seventies. My first fonts were published by FontHaus in the mid-nineties. But I wasn’t really “in the type design business” until the early 2000s, when I started selling fonts on the web. I had quit a full-time position as a graphic designer in 2000 to go into business for myself, hoping to get freelance work doing design, illustration, lettering, and type design. I did do a bit of each of those at first, but my fonts started selling well enough that by 2005 I dropped all other work except type design.

 

2. What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?

I was rather dismayed by the grunge and deconstructionist type design of the nineties. It went against everything I knew about design. I didn’t really get it, and I definitely couldn’t do it without pretense. It seemed very reactionary and anti-design. So the trend I’m happiest about is the return to well-designed, well-made fonts.

 

3. Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?

Probably Proxima Nova, just because it has become so popular. You always hope when you design a typeface that it will catch on with designers, but you don’t seriously expect it to happen. I feel incredibly lucky.

 

4. What’s your dream project?

I don’t think I have a “dream project.” I’ve always tended to follow my interests wherever they might lead, without necessarily working toward some big goal. And I have a lot of different interests, mainly in the arts—cartooning, animation, filmmaking, music, graphic design, writing, type design. It’s not really the best strategy. You end up being kind of a dabbler, not really doing anything significant in any particular area. Better to focus on one thing and stick to it if you want to be successful. But somehow type design got traction for me. It wasn’t my only dream job, but, realistically, you’re lucky to get even one of those in life.

 

Learn more about Mark Simonson and check out his fonts at www.marksimonson.com.

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