“Your logo is not your brand”
Well, of course it’s not! We all know that. However, we also know that it can communicate volumes. At Extensis, we have additional considerations here: If you are in our business—selling to creative teams and font enthusiasts- then the logo typography we choose will clearly communicate more to our audience (on a conscious level) than most other companies’ logos communicate to their audience. In short: our audience knows their stuff, they are smart and discriminating. And yes, they are just about as opinionated as I am. Touché.
—Extensis Marketing VP Amanda Paull
This leapt out from the many other options:
“Wow, Amanda. That’s… wild,” I said.
She had just given me my first look at this proposed (typo)graphical element of the new Extensis logo. It was just one option, and not even the one being pushed most heavily by our friends at Blue Collar Agency who were helping our re-branding effort. They had in turn roped in their friends at Owen Jones & Partners. Mark Rawlins from OJP, along with Simon Walker had come up with this thing, that I promptly dubbed the “e-head.” It was an “e” for Extensis, but it could also spawn comic-book word balloons. In fact, the first treatments had the Extensis wordmark being “spoken” by the head, like this.
In retrospect, I think that the angle of the sides of the speech balloon being just slightly off from the angle of the italics was one of the reasons these didn’t work for me. “I need some time to think about that e-head graphic,” I told her. “Can I get back to you tomorrow after I sleep on it?” She agreed, and I went off to ponder whether something this radical and arguably lighthearted would work for our brand. It couldn’t be further from the old logo:
I looked back over the feedback Amanda had gathered during the branding survey Blue Collar had done for us.
“Should be simple. Doesn’t have to be over the top.”
“I think we need a bit more kitschiness. Modern, slab serif perhaps.”
“They should use something with a no-nonsense quality, to give the sense of dependability and technology.”
“But it should have a twist, to give the sense of creativity as well.”
Well, the e-head certainly fit the bill on those counts. Perhaps except the “over the top” part. Having the wordmark spoken by the head in a dialog balloon probably met that. But if we just stuck with the e-head by itself? Simpler, and any over-the-topness came from the sensibility it conveyed, not from being overly-complex or too “busy.”
Then there were the directives arrived at for the branding redesign. As mentioned a couple posts back in this series, we wanted to communicate that Extensis:
- Loves type
- Is open and approachable
- Respects design tradition while progressing forward
- Takes our work and our customers, but not ourselves, seriously
Well, the e-head certainly communicated open, approachable, and not taking ourselves too seriously. As I looked at it more, the more convinced I became that as long as we balanced it just right with a typographic treatment of the “Extensis” name, this could work just fine. Maybe it would be a little bit polarizing, and some people would hate it. But I thought they would at least notice it, remember it, and maybe even talk about it. Yet over time it would just become comfortably familiar. The next day I made an impassioned plea in favor of the e-head (though not necessarily the wordmark-in-the-word-balloon). Amanda and other marketing folks bought it. We explored other approaches as well, but we focused more and more on what typographic treatment to give to “Extensis” that could pair with the e-head.
The setting needed to be a bit less silly and playful than the e-head, so as to counter-balance it a little. But if it got too serious it would just clash instead of complementing. Trying to find the right balance was tricky. Some more wordmarks in word balloons we tried:
But outside of a word balloon approach, they had also shown us two treatments with all-caps slab serifs, Rodeqa and Donnerstag.
Two weights of Rodeqa Slab 4F by Sergiy Tkachenko:
Donnerstag by Jeremy Dooley:
Rodeqa is a unicase font, but I looked at a lowercase version of the Donnerstag.
There were things I liked about Donnerstag, but essentially I just wasn’t happy with how a lot of the lowercase letters were drawn. It seemed very inconsistent, in that contrast between thick and thin strokes varied wildly from letter to letter. DOubtless it was a deliberate design decision on Dooley’s part, but it didn’t work for me.
Somewhere in here we agreed that lowercase was better. Not quite as formal and stuffy, I thought. So Rodeqa dropped out of the running. Then I started suggesting other typefaces. A few of my thoughts…
Museo Slab 300 by Jos Buivenga:
Vista Slab Light by Xavier Dupré:
Adelle Light by Veronika Burian & José Scaglione:
Still, nothing was quite working. Amanda and I spent half an hour going over all the options I’d tried to date, and identifying what we liked and didn’t like about each of them. Finally I went back to Amanda and said, “Give me a day or two to work with some letterforms myself and I can make something we will like. I’ll start with Adelle, because it is just so darned well drawn, and modify it until it meets our needs.”
I started by interpolating a custom weight, roughly mid-way between the regular and the semibold. In my experiments was about as light as I could go and still have the letters hold up nicely even when the logo was really small.
I made the letters quite a bit wider (and thus a bit more rounded), not just by stretching them—that would distort the shapes—but as real designed extended letters. (I got some help from RMX Tools, which I used to add a width axis in FontLab Studio.) After that, I modified the shapes quite a bit.
The treatment of the x was inspired by Xavier Dupré’s Vista Slab. Lopping off the left part of the t crossbar made it seem more modern and also helped with what would otherwise be awkward spacing between the x and the t. I also lopped off the inner right serif of the n (like Donnerstag or Palatino), and then I had to make the n a tad narrower to compensate for the missing interior serif. I gave the s more playful ball terminals (like Donnerstag or Archer). Although I had messed with it a lot, the great underlying craftsmanship in Vik and José’s letterforms gave me a great base. Now the whole thing was a bit more jaunty and modern, compatible with the e-head without being quite as extreme.
Soon we began to roll it out internally. The first showing was just the wordmark without the e-head. In retrospect… not such a good idea. But a few months later we showed it with the e-head, and regular human heads started to nod. They could see what I was balancing the wordmark against. Last week it went up on signs at our downtown Portland headquarters.
Every time I look at it I like it more. That’s a good feeling. But I will be very interested to hear what outside folks think of it!
This is the fourth in a series on rebranding:
- When is it time for a rebrand?
- Diving into the icy cold waters of a brand refresh
- Brand Refresh: Getting the gang on board
P.S. This is a simplified version of the logo development story. The full version would have three times as many steps and shown another 50 or 100 fonts! For the font geeks out there, in tweaking Adelle, I used RMX Tools to create a multiple master, and added a width axis! Then I tweaked both weight and width until I got the initial letters “right.”
[Updated same day to add/resize some graphics and clarify one sentence. And again to add a note on RMX Tools. And again to add links to previous posts in the series.]
March 28th, 2012 by Alexandra Barltrop
This week the lovely people at Macworld UK have nominated our Portfolio Server 10 under the Best Professional Software category in the Macworld Awards! It’s fabulous to see it receiving such great recognition in recent months.
For 17 years, the Macworld Awards have established themselves as THE event in the UK Apple calendar, recognising the products and vendors that make a significant contribution throughout the year.
All the winners are chosen by the Macworld editorial team and Macworld’s army of enthusiastic readers, celebrating the most innovative and successful products and companies in the Apple community for their achievements and contributions to the industry. The Best Professional Software category falls under the Editors awards, which means they decide who wins… Come on guys… You know Portfolio Server deserves it—it’s an awesome product! You said so yourselves after all!
To read Macworld’s five-star review of Portfolio Server, please click here.
The Awards will be held on 21st June at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Central London. For more details on how you can attend and party the night away with the creme de la creme of the industry, please click here.
If Portfolio Server wins I’m totally prepared to do a speech in the style of Meryl Streep standing on stage in front of a crowd of my adoring fans! … I want to thank my mum and dad… my ….*wipes tear*… my makeup artist…. ;D
Joking aside, huge thanks to everybody who has supported Portfolio Server since its launch and massive thanks to Macworld for recognising it as an Editors Choice for 2012.
Fingers crossed it wins!
My body, mind, soul (and voice) are still recovering from the craziness that was SXSW 2012.
Part of the recovery process for me is confessing to some of the things I did while I was in Austin. What better place to make those confessions than the public blog of my employer?
OK, so here we go…
- I thought about using our trade show badge scanner for nefarious purposes. I was scheming to stand at the entrance of a competitor’s session and pretend to be a SXSW volunteer, scanning the badges of people that entered. Talk about a highly targeted list of sales leads.
- I snuck a co-worker into an event, before he got his badge, using techniques 1, 5, and 10
- I pretended to be interested in other vendors’ products just to get free stuff during the trade show. “Oh yes! My company is definitely interested in a social network for interns in the music industry. Do you have a card?”
- I used my employer-sponsored badge to attend a session on salary negotiation.
- I played dumb trying to get into a party when I didn’t have the right badge. I had an Interactive badge and it was a Music party (“Oh, you mean this badge won’t work?”) Without a badge the cover was $10, so I tried haggling and offered $9. The girl took pity on me and let me in for free. Basically she gave up on my stupidity- success!
- I wasted way too much time at night trying to track down the RVIP Lounge karaoke bus.
- I defaced the refrigerator of an Austin startup with an advertisement (tagvertisement?) for WebINK.
- I saw a relatively unknown TV actor and got my picture with him, but then immediately ran off because I didn’t feel like talking to him.
- I did not stick to my diet. One notable meal involved a bacon waffle cone with shredded pork and a maple-bacon corn dog.
Font names often contain cryptic abbreviations. It was even more murky in the “old days”, with severely strict limits on the length of fonts menu names. Although it’s gotten better over time, there are still plenty of font name abbreviations out there. Here’s all the ones I could come up with, and what they mean. (Note: we’ll update this post with additional abbreviations! Just ask in the comments.)
Kinds of Abbreviations
Abbreviations mostly fall in several common categories:
Foundry name—usually in the form of one or two letters at the beginning or end of the name (LT, MT, A, BT, FB, URW). “Foundries” are the companies that create fonts, a term going back to the days of metal type.
Language designation—comes at the end of a name (Cyr, Grk, CE). Generally this only applies to older fonts where a separate font was issued for different languages. In most cases, newer fonts put all the languages in a single font.
Font size as intended in print—(Text, Display, Poster/Caption, Small Text, Regular, Subhead, Display). Read up on optical size for more on this concept. Note that this is usually a print-focused designation; if one is using print fonts for screen/web, using fonts designed for smaller sizes in print at somewhat bigger sizes on screen is often a good idea. A “caption” font might be great for body text on screen.
Width—designates that a font is more condensed or extended/expanded than usual. How much space the letters take up.
Weight—how bold is the font? Besides “regular” and “bold” there are degrees in between, and there can be styles even lighter than regular and bolder than bold. Three to six weights is not unusual in a typeface, and typefaces with ten or even fifteen weights have been issued! Extremely light and extremely heavy weights are generally only useful at very large sizes. The full names for some common weights, in approximate increasing order: Hairline, UltraThin, UltraLight, Thin, ExtraLight, Light, Regular, Book, Medium, Semibold or Demibold, Bold, ExtraBold, Heavy, Black, ExtraBlack, UltraBold or Ultra.
- A: Adobe, the type foundry and software company based in California.
- A2: Not an abbreviation. A foundry based in London.
- AEF: Altered Ego Fonts Foundry
- Alt: Alternates. A font that has different shapes for some characters than those found in the default version of the font. In OpenType, alternates may be built into the base font and accessed via OpenType features instead.
- AOE: Astigmatic One Eye Foundry
- AT, ATT: Agfa. A foundry. (ATT is “Agfa TrueType” and was used for an early pack of TrueType fonts.) Later acquired by Monotype.
- ATF: American Type Founders. A defunct foundry, once the dominant cold metal type foundry (1892-1993)
- Balt: Baltic language support, accented characters for Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian. Usually also included in CE.
- Bd: Bold
- Bk: Book. A designation of weight close to “regular” which may exist in place of regular, or be slightly lighter or heavier, depending on the foundry’s preferences.
- Bl, Blk: Black. A very bold weight, beyond Extra Bold
- BT: Bitstream Foundry
- Capt, Cp: Caption. A font designed for very small sizes in print, such as 8 points or less. Term standardized by Adobe around 2000.
- CC: If seen after the font name it means Carter & Cone. If before the name, it means Comicraft.
- CE: Central European. A separate font with coverage of Central European accented latin letters for languages such as Polish and Czech. Usually also includes coverage for Baltic languages and Turkish. New fonts tend to have all such languages in the main font file.
- CG: Compugraphic. Bought by Agfa, who were later bought by Monotype.
- Cm, Comp: Compressed. A really narrow version of a font. Narrower than Condensed.
- Cn, Con, Cond: Condensed. A narrower version of a font. Not as narrow as “Compressed”
- Com: Communication. Linotype’s name for fonts aimed at corporate customers, which are TrueType flavored OpenType fonts that have a specific extended character set (close to Western + CE, actually “LEEC”) and generally lack extensive OpenType alternate glyphs.
- CY, Cyr: Cyrillic. A separate font with coverage for the Cyrillic alphabet used for Russian and numerous other languages. Does not usually cover all Cyrillic languages, as some have additional character set needs. New fonts tend to have all such languages in the main font file.
- D, Disp: Display. A font intended for use at quite large sizes in print, typically 24 or even 48 pt and up. 72 points might be an ideal size, at typical reading distances. “D” by itself is URW’s abbreviation.
- DFR: Deutsche Fraktur. A font in the Fraktur style of blackletter, that includes a few characters needed for setting traditional fraktur text, notably the ck and ch ligatures and the long “s”.
- Dm, Demi: Demibold, a weight in between regular and bold.
- EF: Elsner + Flake (that’s pronounced “FLOCK-uh” not “flake”). A German foundry.
- Ex, Ext, or X: Extra OR Extended. “Extra” usually goes with a weight designation such as Light, Bold or Black. “Extended” is a designation for a font that is wider than usual, most often in relation to a regular-width member of the same type family.
- Exp: Expanded. Another way of saying a really wide font, like “extended.” Expanded may be wider than extended.
- FB: Font Bureau. A New England foundry.
- FF: FontFont. The “house brand” of FontShop.
- Gr, Grk: Greek. Usually means monotonic Greek, suitable for setting modern Greek, used since 1982. Classical Greek requires “polytonic” Greek, which is much less common.
- Hair: Hairline. The lightest possible weight for a font, with strokes so thin they pretty nearly vanish at small sizes. Only usable at very large sizes!
- Hv, Hvy: Heavy. A very bold weight, bolder than bold but not so bold as “black” or “ultra.”
- IHOF: International House of Fonts. A distribution imprint of the P22 foundry.
- ITC: International Typeface Corporation. A once-large foundry very influential in the 1970s and early 1980s, later bought by Monotype.
- It, Ital: Italic. An angled companion to an upright face. Unlike oblique fonts, italic fonts are not merely slanted, but carefully designed counterparts to their upright companions, generally with noticeable design differences.
- LEEC: Linotype Extended European Characters. A Linotype character set standard, roughly equivalent to Western + Central European (CE).
- LP: LetterPerfect. A foundry featuring the designs of Garret Boge and Paul Shaw.
- LT: Linotype. A large foundry dating back to the 19th century (but see also Lt), later acquired by Monotype.
- Lt: Light. A font with strokes a bit thinner than usual. (But see also LT)
- LTC: Lanston Type Co. Originally the US counterpart of Monotype a century ago, recently acquired by P22.
- Med, Md: Medium. A font with strokes just a tiny bit bolder than “regular”; in some families there may be a “Medium” in place of a “regular.”
- M, Mono: Monospaced. A typewriter-like font in which all the characters have the same width. “M” by itself is URW’s abbreviation.
- MT: Monotype. A large foundry dating back to the 19th century.
- MVB: MvB Fonts. A foundry, featuring the designs of Mark van Bronkhorst.
- ND: Neufville Digital. A foundry.
- No2: Number two. Designation used for a revised version of a font in a few cases.
- Nr, Narr: Narrow. A condensed font, sometimes in particular a font that has been simply squished mechanically, without being redrawn or adjusted so that the lines and curves look right (e.g. Helvetica Narrow, which is Helvetica but squished by 17%).
- Ob, Obl: Oblique. A slanted counterpart to an upright font. Oblique differs from italic in that the design is essentially unchanged. In many cases there has not even been any compensation for the unpleasant optical effects caused by mechanical/mathematical slanting. Generally a real italic font is preferable. In most applications, hitting an “italic” button on a font that has no italic style available results in a particularly gruesome OS-improvised oblique, at about double the angle of typical designed obliques or italics. Compare Italic.
- Offc: Office. Linotype’s standard for fonts intended to be mostly used in common office applications which are not necessarily OpenType savvy. Supplied as style-linked TrueType fonts. Alternate glyphs, if available, are put in separate fonts. Often have matching Pro versions.
- OsF: Oldstyle figures. Numbers that have parts that go up and down like lowercase text, instead of all being aligned the same. Georgia is a well-known typeface that has oldstyle figures as the default.
- OT: OpenType. A font format.
- Plus: Not an abbreviation, nor a completely standardized term. For Japanese fonts can be the same as “Std” indicating the Adobe-Japan1-3 character set. OurType uses it to indicate a variant typeface that has longer ascenders/descenders than the version that does not have “Plus” in its name.
- P: Poster. A font intended for use at really huge sizes in print, such as 144 points and up. “P” by itself is URW’s abbreviation.
- P22: Based in Buffalo, NY. Not actually an abbreviation.
- Pr5, Pr5N, Pr6, Pr6N: Adobe’s Japanese character set standards. Pr5 indicates Adobe-Japan1-5, Pr6 is Adobe-Japan1-6. The “N” suffix indicates glyph shapes conform to the newer “JIS2004″ Japanese standard.
- Pro: Pro. Not an abbreviation, really. Can have different meanings depending on the foundry. Term first used by Adobe as a designation for western OpenType fonts that have added (at least) Central European language support in addition to Western European. They may have Greek and/or Cyrillic, but there is no guarantee. “Pro” is also used by Adobe for Japanese OpenType fonts with the Adobe-Japan1-4 character set.
- PS: either “PostScript” (as in PostScript Type 1 format, or compatibility with a PostScript version of the same typeface), OR “Proportionally Spaced” (as opposed to monospaced).
- PT: ParaType. A large foundry from Russia.
- PTF: Porchez Typofonderie. A foundry from France, featuring the designs of Jean François Porchez (pronounced Zhon Frahn’-swah Pore-shezz’).
- Reg: Regular. This is usually in reference to weight, but it can also be width related.
- RO: Romanian. Generally used for older fonts where there would be many different fonts with different language support. Romanian support is generally included in “CE” (Central European) fonts as well. New fonts tend to have all such languages in the main font file.
- RTF: Rimmer Type Foundry. A foundry. Later acquired by P22.
- SC: Small caps. Usually indicates small caps in place of lower case letters in the font. Often combined with oldstyle figures (OsF).
- Sm, Semi: Usually, a weight in between regular and bold. Can also be used as an adjective with “condensed” or “expanded” to indicate and intermediate width font.
- Sm Text, Sm: Small text. A font designed for use at small text sizes in print, such as about 9 pt. Smaller than “regular” but not as small as “caption.”
- Std: Standard. Can have different meanings depending on the foundry. Invented by Adobe as a designation for western OpenType fonts that do not have added language support beyond Western European. Also used by them for Japanese OpenType fonts with the Adobe-Japan1-3 character set.
- Subh: Subhead. A font intended for use at intermediate sizes between body text and display. Term standardized by Adobe around 2000.
- T: Text. A font intended for use at body text sizes in print. Abbreviation used only by URW.
- T1: Type 1, or “PostScript Type 1.” A font format invented by Adobe circa 1984, that had separate Mac, Windows and Unix flavors. Not supported as a web font format and not much seen in new releases, having been replaced by OpenType. But still a dominant part of many graphic designer’s type collections.
- Th: Thin. A designation of font weight which is bolder than “hairline,” but lighter than “light”; much lighter than “regular.” Often only usable at larger sizes.
- TT, TTF: TrueType. A font format invented by Apple circa 1991, and licensed to Microsoft. Originally had separate Mac and Windows versions, but the Windows “TTF” flavor has become dominant, except for Mac system fonts. Also the basis of OpenType.
- TU, Turk: Turkish. Generally used for older fonts where there would be many different fonts with different language support. Turkish support is generally included in “CE” (Central European) fonts as well. New fonts tend to have all such languages in the main font file.
- Ult: Ultra. May be short for “Ultra Black” or “Ultra Bold” which would be the heaviest possible weight. Sometimes also used with “Light” or “Lt” to indicate an extremely light weight with very thin strokes.
- URW, URW++: A foundry. No longer an abbreviation, as they no longer use their original full name at all (Unternehmensberatung Rubow Weber is a bit of a mouthful!). The original URW (1972) went bankrupt, and was revived as URW++ in 1995. The name is a play on the name of the programming language C++, a sequel to C.
- X: Short for “Extra”; see “Ex, Ext” above.
March 20th, 2012 by Jim Kidwell
The issues surrounding copyright, intellectual property and design can confound even the most intrepid designer. Fortunately, there are those who specialize in the field.
One of those experts is Frank Martinez, the legal mind behind the intellectual property law firm The Martinez Group PLLC. Mr. Martinez’s work focuses on the legal issues surrounding the field of design, and this has often taken him into the legal and intellectual property issues surrounding the development, sale and use of fonts and typography.
Now considered one of the pre-eminent experts in the field, Mr. Martinez took a few minutes to answer a few questions about his design roots, font licensing and the future of design law.
JK: I understand that you have a background in design. What drew you to design as a career, and what was your focus?
FM: I studied art and design in high school and I have a BFA from Pratt Institute were I was a printmaking major. After several years printing lithographs and etchings for artists, we turned to commercial printing. Being suckers for anything technical, we soon installed an IBM PC, a laser printer and a year later, our first Macintosh. We ended up being the de facto service bureau for our Dumbo loft building in 1998. Shortly thereafter, I started working with fonts by agreeing to typeset a 150-page book on the Macintosh for one of my art schoolteachers. Once I started working and experimenting with the fonts, I was hooked. On Black Monday we put the print shop to rest and I went to work in design as a production manager where I was responsible for purchasing font licenses. In short order I was teaching myself Postscript and setting up kerning tables for fonts that were used in designing pharmaceutical labels.
JK: How did you make the transition from design to the legal world?
FM: I knew from the first day of law school that I wanted to work in intellectual property. When I graduated from law school I spent 2 years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a Design Patent Examiner. Within 6 months, I managed to become the Examiner responsible for issuing design patents for font designs. Within a year, I started contributing articles to ID and Print Magazines about issues relating to design and the law. By and large, most of my articles were about fonts, protecting fonts and protecting creativity. Since I went into private practice, it’s been all fonts, all the time.
I still keep close contact with the design world. I have been teaching Intellectual Property Law in the MFA Design Program and the School of Visual Arts in New York for the past 13 years. Each new class is a lesson in how the Internet is changing the practice of design. When I first started teaching, every student had a dot com equity for services deal offered to them and they wanted me to teach them how to go public. This year, I had to speak slowly enough for note taking on iPads and the students wanted to discussed how to self-commercialize their senior thesis – the world changes.
JK: What would you say makes the legal issues surrounding the design community unique?
FM: In a nutshell, there are four primary issues. First, in the United States art and design has always been the handmaiden of commerce. It is hard to get business owners to understand that good design is art and to quote Milton Glaser, Art is Work. It is the erroneous perception in the business community that making art is an escape from a responsible adulthood that underpins the general lack of appreciation for the work of designers and an understanding of the intrinsic value of good design.
Second, as a general matter, designers and artists are not particularly astute business owners. Because there is no exposure to basic business and legal studies as a part of professional design education, designers are, for the most part, unable to authoritatively provide justification for the difficulty of the creative process and value of their work. In addition, designers do not have the tools to understand the legal framework that is used to protect their work.
Third, the mechanisms for protecting creative work are fragmented and unnecessarily confusing because different creative endeavors are protectable by different bodies of law. Artworks that have any usefulness are considered “utilitarian” and cannot be protected by copyright law. If you create a set of sculptural lampshades, you cannot copyright them. But non-illuminated sculptures bearing the identical form could be copyrighted. If you design a website, you cannot protect it by copyright since the Copyright Office views the attempt to copyright “graphic design” as an attempt to claim ownership of points or coordinates on a two dimensional grid. However, a claim to a copyright of the compilation of those images and text comprising the very same website can be copyrighted. Type font designs are expressly denied protection under copyright law in an effort to make sure that no one can claim “ownership to the alphabet.” However, the software creating the font can be copyrighted. Irrespective of their creative and artistic content, logos are considered trademarks and can only be protected by trademark registration.
Finally, it can be expensive to protect design works. Enforcement of rights by litigation or providing a plausible threat of a lawsuit to protect design is daunting, complex and expensive. Most corporate infringers can fund stiff and expensive-to-counter defenses. If a designer doesn’t protect their work product by solid contracts and, where appropriate, copyright filings, it will be hard to find an attorney willing to represent them. Copyright law provides incentives to register, among them the ability to claim enhanced damages as well a right to seek costs and attorney’s fees from an infringer.
JK: You work with quite a few typeface designers and type foundries. What are the main issues that you see surrounding typeface & font intellectual property?
As I noted above, the design of a type font is not copyrightable. A font design is protectable by a design patent, but protection under design patent law is merely 14 years. In contrast, the life of a copyright is the life of the author plus 70 years or in the case of font owned by a foundry or company, 95 years from the date of publication of the work. We work to ensure that our clients secure the longest possible term of protection, which is why we copyright the software associated with a type font. Furthermore, preparing and filing a design patent almost always requires the assistance of an attorney and can be quite expensive while an online copyright application is merely $35.
JK: What do you view as emerging legal issues surrounding fonts & typography?
FM: The largest issue is the web and the historical paradigm of licensing fonts for desktop use, which was, in turn, based upon selling 100 lbs. of lead type to a job printer. The web is a rich medium and font licensing and font valuation has not kept pace with the flowering of the web as a content medium. I recently launched DigitaLingo.com as a non-legal resource for foundries. DigitaLingo employs proprietary algorithms to value font licenses in OEM type licensing arrangements. The goal of DigitgaLingo is to match the actual value of a font license with the value a font creates when used in the rich mediums available on the web and across the plethora of devices that use the Internet and fonts.
JK: What are the legal issues that you see with font usage on the Internet?
FM: The web has always been a culture of sharing. An entire generation has grown up using the Internet and believing that anything on the Internet is free to use, free to share and free to reuse or repurpose. The recent lawsuit involving the artist Richard Prince underscores the issue of Fair Use and appropriation and when does using preexisting copyrightable work become copyright infringement. This issue is not new and the doctrine of Fair Use was created specifically to provide a safe harbor for creative works where the cultural benefit exceeds the potential harm to the copyright owner. The issue of Fair Use is being tested every day in new and quite imaginative ways.
JK: Staying legal is a job for both those who design typefaces and those who use them. What can you recommend as best practices for each group?
FM: Keeping it simple, conduct an audit; know what fonts you have and make sure that you have a license for the number of users and the methods of use. A good place to start to understand whether you are properly licensed is to read the EULA and if you can’t find one, go online to the foundry website. If you are not sure whether your use and/or usage are licensed, call the foundry. Trust me, they will be very, very happy to speak with you and will probably extend a discount, just because you called.
JK: Many print designers are moving into the world of web design. Do you have any tips for designers making the jump?
FM: Make sure you are properly licensed. Most uses of fonts in Flash type animation require a separate license and the use of fonts as webfonts will almost always require a special license. Don’t create liability for yourself and your clients; 15 minutes of research can make a significant difference to your career.
JK: Are there any differences in how the law considers font licensing and software licensing, or are they treated identically?
FM: Fonts are software but they need to be treated according the value they create. It is the cultural and historical impediments to understanding the value created by fonts and typography that needs to be understood and changed to meet the usage methods.
JK: Do you have any tips for those who are reviewing font EULAs to determine appropriate use?
FM: Most current EULA are pretty explicit as to what is allowed and prohibited. If the EULA you are reviewing is not, seeking to exploit perceived loopholes in the EULA will eventually cause a dispute. Again, if you are not sure, call the foundry.
JK: Can you recommend when it’s a good idea to consider legal counsel for font issues?
FM: If you are a foundry; as soon as reasonably possible. If you are a designer or the client of a designer and you believe that there may be a font use or license issue, sooner than later. Font designers will eventually find unlicensed or improperly licensed uses. If you are a designer and you need to purchase a font license, make sure that your use and your client’s uses are adequately licensed. If your client will need the font, make sure your client is also licensed.
JK: Fonts can be easily copied from one machine to another, and even easily downloaded from the Internet. This has lead many to treat fonts as “free.” What would you say to help convince people to better monitor their use of fonts?
FM: Font foundries are usually small businesses. It can take thousands of hours to design and implement a good font family. Using unlicensed fonts is no different from stealing from the corner mom and pop store. Proper licensing will result in a richer selection of fonts and better fonts because foundries will be incentivized to create products that the market will license. Finally, if you are designer, be self-interested, it is a lot less expensive to purchase a license than to lose a client and fight a lawsuit.
Extensis is here at stand 513 in the SXSW trade show to show off WebINK and our web font plug-in for photoshop. I got a chance to sneak away from the booth for a few minutes and take some pics of some of the other cool stuff here.
Maker Bot 3D printer
If you have a 3D printer, why not get a 3D scanner too?
A funny, but slightly disturbing booth graphic
Play plinko with your iPhone (just make sure it’s in an Otterbox first)
Our own Thomas Phinney talking to Stephen Wolfram about font rendering on Linux
I would totally roll this to school
These girls were talking about cuddling with this thing in bed (not a euphemism)
March 14th, 2012 by Alexandra Barltrop
We had an amazing time at the Technology for Marketing & Advertising event in London a couple of weeks ago. It was our third year attending and we were happy to meet many of you who are as mad about fonts and DAM as we are!
Davin Kluttz, our Senior Product Manager came all the way from Extensis HQ in the US to present two amazingly well received seminars (seriously, they were queuing out the door!) for us.
The first one was “Classy, Clowny or Crude? How your site’s typography affects your brand”, which illustrates how web typography affects your website, and how you can select and implement web typography that is just right for the job. So many people these days think it’s OK to use Comic Sans on their websites. This may come as a shock, but it just doesn’t cut the mustard! Davin illustrated this by showing how some iconic brands would look if their logos were in this font (Chanel, Coca-Cola, Star Wars) which got several laughs from the crowd. To drive the point home, he also showed us several examples of “classy”, “clowny” and “crude” web typography, which gave the audience a feel for the direction in which they should be taking their sites.
The second one was entitled “What does this DAM thing do?” Ever find yourself pulling your hair out trying to locate an image in a sea of thousands? Don’t you think it would be nice to preview a video on your iPad without a special plug-in? Or even just have access to all your digital content on the go, so you are able to act fast if a client unexpectedly throws a “let’s see it now” lasso around your neck? Well Extensis has a solution for all of these problems and it was all nicely wrapped up in this presentation, which not only explained what an ”asset” is, but also demonstrated how to leverage digital asset management solutions to find, locate, archive and access files, regardless of location.
If you couldn’t make it to the show, couldn’t get in to the theatre or would simply like to see what we had to say on web typography and digital asset management, we have very kindly provided the slides from both presentations below!
Enjoy! If you have any feedback, please let us know – we’d love to hear from you.
March 13th, 2012 by Jim Kidwell
The National Geographic Society, a media icon for more than 100 years, manages its library of more than 10,000 fonts used to create its collection of magazines, books and interactive media. We’re extremely proud that Universal Type Server is trusted by this prestigious institution to manage their font collections.
National Geographic Society has hundreds of creative professionals who work across multiple publications, including the flagship National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic Kids. Their breadth of magazines, books and marketing materials are read by more than 300 million people each month in every country in the world. In keeping with the brand’s upstanding reputation for visual and editorial excellence, National Geographic Society uses thousands of fonts to create these iconic pieces.
With such a vast library of fonts, it’s imperative that National Geographic Society have a system to distribute fonts to their creative teams while maintaining effective font licensing control. Keeping all the various design groups in synch, and legal with the right fonts, is critical.
According to Dave E. Smith, VP of Publishing Systems Technology for National Geographic, “It’s imperative that we comply with font license terms without hindering production work. Universal Type Server allows us to manage font distribution and use across our organization while delegating some control and freedom to our publishing groups.”
Taking some of the stress off of the Information Technology department, Universal Type Server allows various workgroup administrators to grant or remove access to workgroup fonts, effectively controlling the number of individuals who consume font licenses. The reporting and data export functionality of Universal Type Server also allows the team to gather, examine and share font usage data in an easily decipherable and searchable format.
National Geographic Society is part of Extensis’ prestigious list of global customers who are using Universal Type Server, including Condé Nast, Future Publishing, Young & Rubicam, The Art Institutes and Conair.
To explore more about how Universal Type Server can help your team maintain font compliance, see http://typeserver.com.
That’s one word for it. Changing a brand that people have lived with so long. You can’t please everyone. You hope to get 2 out of 3.
It’s so easy to overlook that the group most invested in the current brand are those in your own backyard. Employees will prove the most skeptical, which is a good benchmark for “does this pass the sniff test?” After all, if your brand messengers can’t get on board, then you’re not accomplishing much, are you?
Skepticism is natural since we’ve all lived with this current brand for so long. It’s like an old friend (or at least your favorite, albeit ripped to shreds, T-shirt) Familiarity breeds comfort. ‘New’ does not.
My thinking was that the best way to get people on board was to bring them along for the ride. In my previous post I talked about the research process and how involved our employees and partners were at the early stages. Since not everyone was involved in each phase, I started there.
Keeping in mind that those who ‘know’ a brand don’t necessarily understand consciously all the ways in which it touches them, we wanted to weave that in as well: What is a brand? Why does it matter? Research results? How does this alter how we talk about ourselves? What visual directives come out of this?
I modified this presentation so you could get the gist of where I was going.
Aside: You can see that I used Prezi as the medium- it is an awesome tool for presenters who are global thinkers (as opposed to linear). Complex concepts are rarely linear in nature. That’s what makes Prezi so spectacular for communicating (it is also so visually engaging that you can lull your audience into a trance, which can come in handy). If you haven’t used it, you should definitely check them out: http://prezi.com
I presented the research information first. Some weeks later we then did a recap of this and presented the visual elements that key off of it. The visuals were in a state of ‘partial’ completion, but enough to give a real taste. For fun, at that time we passed out a backpack to everyone with the new logo and made some fresh, new-branded desktop art available for people to use on their internal machines. While not ready for prime time, it was just a simple way for the team here to test-drive the new brand. You know, try it on for size.
Following the ‘reveal’, I received a little bit of feedback immediately following. It was all positive, but vague. Then people here started living with it and talking about it and about a week or 2 later, I started to receive regular comments from people about how it made them feel, how others responded to it, etc.
Not that this is the definitive word. It’s a small thing. But my point remains the same: you have to win over the neighbors before you can run for Town Mayor (ok, admittedly, that metaphor is weak, but I think you get the point.)
Is everyone elated? Surely not. But at least we were able to bring them along for the ride so they could see the method behind the madness. At least then, like it or not, they know why we chose the path we did.
So far so good. But next up is our most critical audience yet: YOU.
The new features of version 3.1 include:
- Improved LDAP features including workgroup and permission mapping, synchronization, services browsing and real-time focused LDAP synching
- Kerberos single sign-on improvements
- User management administration usability and speed improvements
- Improved user management within workgroups
- Ability to upload font license files to the server
- Additional fixed issues and feature improvements
This update is free of charge for all users with current Annual Service Agreement.
For a complete list of updates included in this release, see the release notes on the Support page.