Let’s face it: back-to-school fonts tend to be boring and cheesy. So much chalkboard! So many bubble letters! That’s why for the month of September we’re bringing you a fonts roundup that’s as escapist as it gets. Introducing: FONTS FROM SPACE! A selection of typefaces that will get you not just out of school, but out of the atmosphere… into the stratosphere… and straight into the intergalactic.
Revisiting our own school days got us into a retro frame of mind.
First, Space Age makes the introductions:
Then, Orbitron shoots us into orbit.
Warning! Things may get dramatica with Plasmatica.
Of course, designers have different aesthetics. If you feel the space age theme is a little thin…
…try Quarterly BRK…
Meanwhile, if your design process is starting to feel a little robotic…
…maybe you’ll want to check out Anita:
But you can always preserve your humanity. With these typefaces humans and cyborgs can really have a dialogue.
Dual Font asks:
Terminal Dosis answers:
September 6th, 2016 by Extensis
There are number of common challenges all teams face when it comes to sharing and managing fonts. Suitcase TeamSync allows you to curate and distribute your font library automatically across your entire team.
This new cloud-based font server makes professional font management easy so you can focus your time and energy on doing great work.
An on demand version of our latest webcast introducing TeamSync is available to watch. Check it out:
International versions of this webcast will be hosted in September, join us on the time zone and language that are most convenient for you, or register to get the recording sent to your email:
- Date: September 8th, 2016
- Time: 11:00 a.m. BST – British Summer Time / British Daylight Time
- Presented by: Chris Stevens
- Register here.
- Date: September 14th, 2016
- Time: 2 p.m. CEST – Central European Summer Time
- Presented by: Jean-Michel Laurent
- Register here.
- Date: September 15th, 2016
- Time: 11:00 a.m. CEST – Central European Summer Time
- Presented by: Torsten Koebel
- Register here.
Hope you can join us!
August 24th, 2016 by Extensis
Font management plays a key role at SANDOW, a rapidly growing global publishing and media company with brands spanning design, luxury, fashion and beauty. SANDOW’s rapid growth not only brought an ever expanding list of brands, but with each brand their own sets of fonts. This skyrocketed SANDOW’s font collection into the tens of thousands making the need for effective font management critical.
SANDOW recently joined the Extensis family. They were using a different font management solution, but when they experienced limitations in their ability to manage groups effectively, instability with other key applications and technical support that was non-existent, they made the switch to Universal Type Server.
We sat down with Michael Shavalier, Director of Creative Operations at SANDOW to get a deeper look into his experiences with font management.
To hear more of Michael’s story live along with best practices he used to prepare and implement a font management solution, sign up for our webcast on Wednesday, September 14 at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern.
Extensis: Can you tell us a little about your role as Director of Creative Operations?
Michael: When people ask that I tell them that I’m a former creative director, which evolved into a creative operations role. I don’t design too much anymore. In my life before SANDOW, I worked for the Village Voice’s corporate entity as their design director. I gained lot of experience there with managing art departments and production work flows across the country in 15 locations. So, I had some creative operations experience with setting things up for a lot of users, across remote locations, and adding governance and things like that.
As SANDOW evolved, they brought in a Chief Operating Officer that was looking at everything and trying to combine it into more of a universal workflow where we could gain greater efficiencies. My role at SANDOW naturally evolved as well from being involved strictly with the creative and design teams to where I now I report to our COO. I’m in charge of “creative operations,” but I have a lot of things that involve just straight up operations now.
Extensis: Why are fonts and managing them so important to SANDOW?
Michael: Being a publishing and media company with magazines and websites that span the globe, fonts are a key component to our business. Brand consistency and license compliance are at the top of the list where fonts are concerned.
Each brand has its own fonts, which they should be able to manage. Even though the brands are well separated, there’s a lot of synergy and cross-pollination between brands. There are separate design groups, but at the same time there is some overlap.
One of the biggest problems our designers had is when they were asked to do something across brands. They had to load the other brand’s version of the font, and may have conflicted with other fonts on their system. Sometimes they had to spend a good deal of time trying to work through the glitches of having font conflicts which wasn’t productive or efficient. Now, with a centralized system that manages our fonts, we’re able to identify the font right away and make sure everyone is using the same version. It’s one less thing for everyone to manage. We now know across all brands which font is needed, where it is, or where it should come from and if we’ve got enough licenses. I don’t see many emails anymore saying “this brand is using this weird font, and I don’t know where to get it from”.
Designers and art directors are half of our font users with an understanding and familiarity with font management. The other half are editors, brand leads and such. Typically, the second group is where we’d find we had issues because they had the access to install fonts on their machine without the understanding that fonts are software requiring licenses to adhere to. For about eight years, it was pretty common for an advertiser to send in a font that somehow landed on one of our servers, and no one knew whether they could use it or not. It became time to think about licensing and the legal implications of using these fonts. Now, I can have a lead in each brand, usually a design director or art director, who manages the fonts for that brand by adding or taking them away. It’s allowed the non-design teams not to worry about fonts. They’re there for them.
We’ve done a couple of redesigns here in the last year. We made sure we bought enough font licenses for the brand. The nice thing is I could say, which I wasn’t able to before- when we had that redesign, the brand spent money on these expensive new fonts for their redesign purchasing the correct number of seats, and then was able to remove anyone else from being able to see or use them to maintain license compliance.
Extensis: What were the biggest challenges that lead you to implement a font manager?
Michael: As the company grew and became a little more corporate – taking on more and more smaller companies and brands – we had to integrate everyone. One of the problems we realized pretty quickly is, like so many startup companies, we had buckets of fonts. They were either on servers or people’s desktops, or you’d find 15 copies of the same font, or 30 copies of Helvetica but they weren’t the same. I’d venture to say we had tens of thousands of fonts. That’s including things people pulled offline from free font sites, or got on discs or from the different brands. If some designer was asked to put a cowboy style ad together and they grabbed a Giddyup, it ended up on our server, along with whatever else they grabbed at that time. Any designer here, could just get what they needed and move it somewhere because it wasn’t really locked down.
It was really causing a lot of havoc with the design teams, and it was also causing concerns about compliance.
Extensis: Why did you choose Universal Type Server as your font manager?
Michael: The font manager we had been using previously fell short in critical areas, in particular control in setting up users and groups, serving out fonts to them and in addition lack of technical support. Universal Type Server has given us the control we need and has excellent technical support.
Extensis: What are some of the features that are most critical for SANDOW?
Michael: We have a lot of remote editors in different parts of the country. A big feature for us is the ability to provide remote access to our Universal Type Server so editors can synchronize and manage fonts locally lessening the traffic load to our network. The Universal Type Client synchronizes with the Server automatically so an IT person doesn’t have to remotely access each system. This makes the process extremely efficient and saves hours of valuable IT resources.
Managing users in Universal Type Server is easy. With the way the admin console is set up, and by allowing us to tie it to Active Directory; it’s easy for our users to login with the same credentials they use for everything else. While I’m not doing full group mappings, because our security groups are a little different, using Active Directory does allow me to see any new users in the system, and to pull them through.
So more efficient access overall, and less taxing on our system, because we don’t have a bunch of people logging into the VPN to get their fonts.
Extensis: Where are you today with fully implementing font management at SANDOW?
Michael: Our first phase was basically to replace the other font manager for every user that was on it. We’re replacing it all now and we’re pretty close to being done. That would be at least three of our main brand groups.
Extensis: Looking a bit into the future, what are your next steps?
Michael: The next phase is going to be adding additional groups and users that weren’t using the other font management software, they are literally using folders of fonts. Our goal is to get Universal Type Server Clients installed across all brands. I’ve actually already built out a system to support the new users.
I have a feeling the next part of the project will be doing a lot of licensing and auditing. Utilizing the reporting features in Universal Type Server will help us sort that all out.
Extensis: Any parting advice for someone who needs to solve their font management challenges?
Michael: I’d carve out time to set it up for success on both the technical level and the user adoption level. There may be pain points in figuring some things out but it can be simple. I think a lot of companies, if they thought they had to go all in at the beginning, it would be too daunting. I realized early on in the project, it doesn’t have to be all in at the beginning. It’s been an ongoing project.
Extensis: Michael, thank you for your time and sharing your story with us.
August 17th, 2016 by Jim Kidwell
Learn font distribution best practices so you don’t get caught in a font licensing conundrum
Think of font distribution as a process. Not only does it keep your fonts organized and efficiently distributed, it also helps you maintain the appropriate number of font licenses by helping track which fonts are authorized, purchased, shared (with appropriate team members), and reviewed.
A proper font distribution process helps in many areas:
- Time and money spent. Incorrect font usage can cause unnecessary misprints from text reflows and require reprints that waste time and money.
- Tracking issues. Without a proper font distribution process, your team has little (if any) insight into which fonts are being used. Some fonts may be underutilized which can result in purchasing more font licenses than needed. Proper tracking and reporting give you a meaningful way to make future font purchase decisions.
- Unhappy employees. Confusion and frustration reign when your design team can’t find the fonts they need when they need them. Life is easier when a process is in place that allows them to find what they are looking for.
- Legal concerns regarding font licensing. Without a controlled distribution and system of font access, unlicensed fonts can gain easy access into your organization or even worse, custom fonts could be released into the wild. All of which could potentially lead to a lawsuit.
Read on to learn font distribution basics and best practices to help alleviate these potential problems.
Five Font Distribution Best Practices
1. Decide how you want to organize your font collection
We recommend organizing your teams by workgroups. Workgroups are groups of fonts and users. Basically, you give a specific number of users access to specific fonts. Below are three common methods to choose from.
User Type: user types may vary, but we commonly hear about editorial, design, and production user types. These different groups have different needs and will use fonts for different reasons so it makes sense for some organizations to divide their font teams by user type.
Client: Every client is unique and so are the fonts they are using. For example, Times New Roman was built specifically for the Times of London. Companies want a specific brand identity and they can do this by creating and commissioning their own typeface, or selecting groups of fonts that most effectively represent their brand.
Project: Just like each client is unique, so is each project. However, since projects don’t have to be client specific, sometimes grouping by project makes more sense.
2. Set up compliance using permissions
One of the easiest ways to be compliant and avoid piracy issues is to set up user permissions. Instead of a whole department or company having access to certain fonts, only people who need rights to particular fonts have permission to use them. Permissions ensure your company is following branding guidelines and avoiding even inadvertent piracy because users can only use approved and/or purchased fonts that they have access to.
3. Choose roles
Who is going to be choosing, purchasing, and uploading fonts into your system? Is it your Lead Graphic Designer? Is it someone in your IT department? Having a key person who is in charge of this process helps you avoid a guessing game that can lead to problems.
4. Keep record of your font licenses and track usage
When you’re managing the distribution of your fonts, you can gain a level of control over font compliance. You have direct access into who has access to your fonts, and how many users are activating them. This helps ensure you have the right number of licenses for your actual usage and lets you make improved future font purchasing decisions – remember when we discussed saving time and money? This is your ticket to doing just that. Keeping track of all this can be a huge challenge, but font management software can help you.
5. Pick the right enterprise font management software:
Having reliable, robust font management software to save time, money, and maintain license compliance is key to making font distribution possible and successful. Look for a solution that has a dashboard allowing you to easily compare fonts side by side. Check for the ability to search for a font by specific type and set up user permissions by workgroups. Make sure reports are available so you are able to see if more font licenses need to be purchased or scaled back for future use.
What does your font distribution process look like? Let us know in the comments section.
August 10th, 2016 by Extensis
In a recent What’s New in Publishing article Jim Kidwell, Senior Product Marketing Manager from Extensis, takes a closer look on how typography is trending in today’s society and what it means for publishers.
What’s New in Publishing is a United Kingdom news portal focused on the Publishing industry and reports on innovative solutions; case studies and success stories relevant to publishers worldwide.
In Jim’s own words: “If you’ve been in business more than a few months, you’ve likely been building up quite a collection of fonts. Average solo design professionals have around 4,000 fonts in their collections, and the average business can easily have many multiples of that baseline number.”
Sounds familiar? In the full article Jim highlights how the increasing number of fonts launched to the market daily is increasing the number of challenges publishers and designers are facing with managing their font libraries… And, how to best deal with it!
Read the full article here: http://www.whatsnewinpublishing.co.uk/content/beyond-fad-typography-mainstream
August is the peak of summer, and you know what that means. Peak heat, peak humidity, peak Sunshine.
But August is no fun if you spend it complaining.
So here’s a couple of suggestions for making the best of the year’s hottest month.
Make yourself a Tiki Tropic -inspired
…and garnish it with a little
In the evenings, spread out a
…and spend your Midnights on the Shore. Pass the breezy night
…at the Starbursts in the twinkling summer sky.
Extensis and Typefi team up on end-to-end font management solution for automated publishing workflows
August 2nd, 2016 by Chris Meyer
Today we’re pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with Typefi, a leading provider of single-source automated software for print, online and mobile publishing to streamline font management in automated publishing.
We will be integrating Universal Type Server’s FontLink module with Typefi’s end-to-end publishing platform, to increase efficiencies for customers and eliminate font issues that can derail the automated process in publishing workflows.
One of the key challenges in the automated publishing process arises at the preproduction stage. This is where publishers want to publish their final content without errors regardless if it is for digital or print. It’s at this point things can go sideways because the fonts are not available in the system. Currently, customers need to load up every font they may ever need to ensure the output looks as desired. Doing this can overload the machine and the process fail when duplicate fonts are found.
Typefi and Extensis share the mission of making creative and publishing workflow seamless and efficient, so we’ve partnered to remove the font challenges while automating the workflow from beginning to end.
How you ask? By injecting FontLink at the backend of the production assembly line, customers will have an on-demand system to get the fonts required for each document during output processing. FontLink in conjunction with Universal Type Server ensures there are no missing, incorrect or substituted fonts, and will only deliver exact matches for each document along that production path.
Whether the output is a PDF, or an InDesign document, whether it be print or EPub the final piece of output contains all of the fonts used without variations or substitutions.
Extensis is really excited to partner with Typefi to bring this end-to-end integrated solution to the marketplace.
To learn more about Typefi, click here.
And you can find more information about Universal Type Server and FontLink here.
July 27th, 2016 by Extensis
The story of fonts and typefaces in street signage is one you could start as long ago as ancient Rome. The earliest road signs were milestones, stone columns that marked the miles throughout the Roman Empire, counting the distance to Rome. Later, in the Middle Ages, multidirectional signs at intersections evolved, to point the direction to multiple cities and towns. And if you don’t already know the story of Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert’s rigorous transformation of the UK’s chaotic road signs from 1957-1967—generally known by type design nerds around the world as “one of the most ambitious information design projects ever undertaken in Britain”—then you almost certainly know the font they used to do it (Transport—or New Transport if you’re working in digital).
But the story we’d like to tell here begins eighty-three years ago today, in New York City. On July 27, 1943, the poet and humorist Gelett Burgess wrote a letter to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia of New York City with a complaint—in verse, of course—about the fonts used on the hand-painted street signs around the city.
Why is it he who paints the signs
On New York’s numbered streets combines
Such Threes and Sixes, Eights and Nines?
For, at a distance, when it’s late,
It’s hard to differentiate
Between a Six, Nine, Three and Eight.
They look so much alike they mix
Us up: we feel like lunatics
Who cannot tell a Nine from Six.
Burgess concludes on a pleading note:
Oh, Mr. Mayor, be kind! Be wise
Our street signs please do modernize
With numbers we can recognize!
LaGuardia didn’t get to be one of the greatest mayors in American history by ignoring this sort of thing. Not to be outdone, he wrote back with a poem of his own, thanking Burgess for his letter. It’s “a real delight/ When query comes, like yours, in phrase/ Polite,” his poem begins. He goes on to address the problem at hand. “Best not, piecemeal, change signs of tin,” he thinks.
A whole new set is what we want,
And meantime, praying on our knees
Our genial government to grant
“A post-war project!” we will cry
And when a fleet of signs appears
The City will look younger by
With his last line—“The City will look younger by/ Eleven years”—LaGuardia was referencing a book by Burgess, Look Eleven Years Younger (1937)—but if his reference was cheeky, his words were not untrue. The New York City of 1943 (which you can visit via the wonderful Kodachrome photographs of Charles Cushman, in the archives of Indiana University) seemed a much older place than the New York City that did, eventually, begin to replace its signage.
In 1964—thirteen years after Gelett Burgess died—NYC began replacing all its street signage with large, easier-to-read, vinyl signs. For about twenty years, these signs were color-coded depending on what borough they were in. Street signs in Manhattan and Staten Island were yellow with black lettering; signs in the Bronx were blue with white lettering; Queens was blue on white; and Brooklyn was black and white. The type was an all-caps, sans serif situation, with superscript for the “ST”s, “AVE”s, and “RD”s in the top right corners.
As LaGuardia implied, though, the story of changing street signs in America is largely a story of state versus Federal government. It wasn’t long before the Feds passed a regulation ruling that all street signage be green, with reflective white lettering. “The color-coded regime came to a gradual end as the signs were grandfathered out.”
Joshua Yaffa, who chronicled the history of road signage wrote in the New York Times Magazine in 2007: “Until the 1920s, when the development of die-cut technology allowed for the shaping and cutting of thin metal alloy, signs were often idiosyncratic, with layouts and typefaces varying by city and region. But as the popularity and accessibility of long-distance road travel increased, so, too, did the need for coherent nationwide standards. Federally approved fonts first appeared in the 1935 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the bible of federal road and highway standards that dictates the size, shape and placement of road signs. …In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an expanded Interstate System, and highway engineers worked quickly to fashion a rough alphabet by rounding off the square edges of the block lettering created during die-cut sign making.” The result? Highway Gothic.
In 2004, citing a study that showed it was more difficult to read signs in all caps, the Federal government issued an order for a new font to be used on highway signs, and for all uppercase traffic signs to be changed to sentence case. In 2010, it extended that order to all US cities. “Those extra milliseconds spent staring away from the road have been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly among older drivers,” read one article. The government commissioned Meeker and Associates to design a new font for the redesign: Clearview. Around 30 states adopted the font—and other countries followed the US’ lead, including Indonesia, Canada, and elsewhere.
On a municipal level, the shift to Clearview was met with a mixed reception. In Toronto, which started rolling out new “blue and white extruded aluminum local and arterial street signs” in Clearview in 2007, the loss of that city’s former “iconic acorn-style street sign” was much lamented. Meanwhile, in New York City—arguably the grumpiest city in the world—the total cost of replacing all street signs was $110 per sign, or $27.6 million overall. As one might expect, New Yorkers were not pleased with the change.
This year, however, the Federal Highway Administration changed course, and reverted from Clearview to Highway Gothic. Just twelve years after its much-celebrated rollout, the short, sweet reign of Clearview was over—taking the designers at Meeker and Associates by unfortunate surprise. It’s not quite clear what this will mean for the fonts of New York City in the next two years. Still, many signs have already been changed, and the increase in legibility is undeniable. 73 years to the day after Mr. Burgess wrote his poem to Mayor LaGuardia, we’d like to think he, at least, would be pleased by the results.
Font Founders: John Baskerville The next in our Font Founders series is John Baskerville (1706–1775), the English businessman, printer, & type designer, who said: “So much depends on appearing perfect.”
A designer of logotypes, calligrapher, graphic designer, lettering artist, author, editor, and teacher, Sumner Stone has designed over 200 typefaces, including four major superfamilies. He was the first Director of Typography for Adobe Systems, where he originated and art-directed the first Adobe Originals program, which included Adobe Garamond, Adobe Caslon, and Trajan. Sumner founded Stone Type Foundry Inc. in 1990. He has served on the board of the ATypI, and is a member of the boards of the Edward Johnston Foundation and Letterform Archive. We are delighted that Sumner Stone agreed to be the next interview subject in our 4 Questions 4… series.
1. How did you get into the business of type design?
I became interested in letterforms when I studied calligraphy with Lloyd Reynolds at Reed College. I still find it fascinating that letters live at the intersection of mind and body, of the mental and the physical, of language and vision. Their shapes still seem magical.
Through Reynolds’ teaching, I fell in love with letters. During his class, I saw a film of Hermann Zapf making letters.
The film had been produced by Hallmark Cards, where Zapf was a consultant working with lettering artists and designing typefaces. Before long I was at Hallmark in Kansas City, looking over his shoulder.
Then I bought an old letterpress, and started to print with metal type. I designed labels and collateral material for the wine business in California, taught calligraphy at San Francisco State, and entered the world of type design. I wound up at Adobe Systems in the mid ’80s, as their first Director of Typography. In 1990 I started Stone Type Foundry, Inc. I have been designing typefaces ever since.
2. What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?
I love the fact that Trajan, a typeface that I initiated and art-directed at Adobe, has become one of the typographic hits of the late 20th and early 21st century. I just returned from Italy, where it is very widely used—just as it is here in the US.
I am also fond of the increased level of experimentation that is going on in type design now. I enjoy the process of exploring new directions in the design of letterforms with my type design students.
3. Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?
I am proud of Magma, a humanistic design which I believe pushes the envelope of the sans serif. It is part of a typeface superfamily that is both rich enough for display, and very legible for text. Nvma, based on archaic Roman letterforms, is part of this superfamily. It won an award in the letter.2 Competition, the type design competition of the ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale), in 2007.
4. Describe your dream project.
My dream project is usually the one I am working on at the moment. Of course, since I usually work on more than one at a time, dreams abound.
There are two kinds of projects that I find most inspiring. The first is when there is a very specific brief from a client. Constraints create focus, and the result is often very satisfying. The second is when there is no client—in other words, typeface design on spec. There, the vast range of type design is open. This is challenging work, but it allows me to follow paths untrodden, and that is always an adventure.