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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.

 

Want to learn more from other font experts? Check out our interview with Kyle Bean, a London-based artist who creates one-of-a-kind designs, distinct illustrations, and playful, concept-driven imagery for a variety of editorial and commercial projects.

What’s hot and what’s not in the font world? Find out by downloading our Type Trends Report. We surveyed thousands of graphic designers, art directors, and creative people from around the globe and combined their thoughts in our most recent report.

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Polish your brand management and your image will shine

As a creative professional, you know how important image can be. Whether you are a designer, illustrator, writer, developer, photographer, project manager, or a member of an account team—helping elevate the identity of your clients is a daily task. But have you taken a step back and thought about your own brand management? As a busy professional, developing your own brand often gets pushed aside. But polishing your professional identity could be the difference in progressing your career or gaining a new client.

In this post let’s dive into the art of self-promotion and brand management. I’ll explore some tips about branding for creatives and pose questions to get the ball rolling in your professional development.

Self Brand and Brand Management

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Most designers know Helvetica & Arial are not the same, but hard pressed to tell you what the differences are.

 

Comparing Rs between Helvetica and Arial

One of the most pronounced differences between Helvetica (shown in black) and Arial (shown in aqua) can be found in the cap R. You can also see Arial’s slightly higher waistline in this example.

So Here’s The Inside Story!

A Bit of History

Helvetica, one the most widely-used typefaces for decades, has a long history. It was originally designed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger for the Haas Type. It was commissioned by Eduard Hoffmann, managing director of the Swiss foundry, to compete with other popular sans serifs of the day, particularly Akzidenz Grotesk.

This new design was therefore named Neue Haas Grotesk (translation: New Haas Sans Serif) to reflect this lineage.

The name was changed to Helvetica (an adaptation of Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland) by the Stempel type foundry, the parent company of Haas, to reflect its Swiss heritage. Its popularity soared in the mid-1980s when it was included in the core fonts for the Apple operating system and laser printers, alongside Times Roman and Courier.

Over the years, the Helvetica family was expanded to encompass an extensive range of weights and width variants.

Arial, on the other hand, is often viewed as the “poor man’s” Helvetica by designers. Although designed to compete with (and therefore be similar to) Helvetica, it has its own individual history and backstory. Arial was designed in 1982 by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders for Monotype.

Although created for use in an early IBM laser printer, its roots lie in the 1926 Monotype Grotesque design. In 1992, Microsoft licensed Arial to be included in the suite of fonts supplied with the Windows operating system.

The family has since been expanded beyond the original weights, and now includes 28 versions: six weights plus companion italics for the regular width, four condensed, four narrow, four rounded, and four monospaced versions.

What’s hot? What’s not? Learn more about the latest font trends by downloading our  Font and Typography Trends Report

Many of the differences between these two popular typefaces are related to their intended usage:  Helvetica was designed for print, while Arial was designed for laser printers and then adapted for use on computers, both being lower resolution environments than print.

Helvetica has sharper, crisper, and more stylish details, such as the leg of the cap R, more curvy diagonal spine on the numeral 2, and horizontal or vertical end strokes on many characters.

In addition, Helvetica has a slightly higher waistline and an overall less rounded appearance than Arial. Arial, on the other hand, has a less elegant, blander appearance, most likely so that it prints well on the laser printer it was intended for. These traits also make it better for other lower resolution environments, including the web and other pre-retina and other hi res display digital environments.

Arial has softer curves and fuller counters, as well as a characteristic diagonal terminal on the t, and a curved tail on the cap Q.

Other differences between the two typefaces are noted in the next three illustrations.

Other differences between the two typefaces are noted in the next three illustrations.

 

D.HelvArial

The differences between Helvetica and Arial are most noticeable in larger sizes, while they look fairly similar in smaller text. Excerpt from 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, By Charles C. Mann.

The differences between Helvetica and Arial are most noticeable in larger sizes, while they look fairly similar in smaller text. Excerpt from 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, By Charles C. Mann.

 

Helvetica and Neue Helvetica

In 1993, D. Stempel AG, Linotype’s daughter company, released a reworking of the original Helvetica entitled Neue (New) Helvetica.

This freshened up version includes the refinement of some characters, strengthened punctuation, cap and x-height adjustments, widened cross bars, and a new numerical system to identify the weights, similar to Univers and Frutiger. It also has additional weights: eight upright versions plus italics for the regular width, obliques for the expanded versions, as well as nine weights plus obliques for the condensed.

There is also a bold outline version for the regular width. The resulting total is 51 weights in all – many more than in the original family.

 

The differences between Helvetica and Neue Helvetica are subtle yet significant: wider rounded shapes, a wider arm on the r, extended crossbars, and larger punctuation.

The differences between Helvetica and Neue Helvetica are subtle yet significant: wider rounded shapes, a wider arm on the r, extended crossbars, and larger punctuation.

 

Two of the most popular new weights are Ultra Light and Thin, which are intended for display usage.

For this reason, the spacing of these weights is a lot tighter than the heavier weights. The problem arises when they are used for small text (which has become a common usage), where their tight spacing makes the text look very cramped and hard to read. The solution is to open the tracking as needed to give the text more “breathing” room.

This will expand the usable size range of this still extremely popular typeface.

One of the biggest problems with Helvetica Neue Ultra Light and Thin (heading and text, respectively) is their use for text and other smaller settings, due to their very tight spacing (upper). This can be improved by opening the tracking as needed: +50 for the heading set in Ultra Light, and +40 for the text set in Thin (lower) in this example.

One of the biggest problems with Helvetica Neue Ultra Light and Thin (heading and text, respectively) is their use for text and other smaller settings, due to their very tight spacing (upper). This can be improved by opening the tracking as needed: +50 for the heading set in Ultra Light, and +40 for the text set in Thin (lower) in this example.

Not ready to quit reading? Take your font expertise to the next level. Check out our recent blog post about Abbreviations in Font Names and crack the code to various font abbreviation mysteries.

For more information on font trends, check out our Font and Typography Trends Report and get up to speed on the latest typography trends.

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Part Six of Creating a Brand Style Guide

The Creating a Brand Style Guide Series is written by Pariah Burke, consultant and trainer for creative, publishing, and editorial professionals.

  • Part One: “Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide.”
  • Part Two: “Defining and Creating Your Logo Uses”
  • Part Three: Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media
  • Part Four: Defining Brand Typography
  • Part Five: Using Photography, Imagery, and Video in Your Brand

The 6-part Creating a Brand Style Guide series culminates in this final installment where you will create your brand’s style guide using this free brand style guide template.

Defining Your Brand Style
Creating a Brand Style Guide is a six-part series of articles that speaks directly to business owners, brand managers, and graphic designers, in-house or external, who create and work with brands, whether their own or clients’.

In parts one through five of the series you got to know your brand, evaluating, and defining each component from logo to colors, typography to imagery. You learned how to tell others to represent your brand and its constituent elements correctly. We explored the unique challenges your brand visuals face in the most common modern channels of print, Web, social media, ebook EPUB, fixed-layout ebooks, PDF and other digital publications, and video and broadcast. For each of those challenges there was a solution strategy for assuring brand consistency regardless of the medium. All these parts logically come together here, now, unified into a comprehensive guide that communicates your brand style rules to anyone who works with it.

The Brand Style Guide Template
Series author Pariah Burke created a brand style guide template to help you create your own style guide. Of course, you are free to create your own brand style guide, but for those who need a little guidance or hints here and there, or even a complete turnkey template, Extensis and Pariah Burke offer you this sleek, easy to edit template free of charge.

The brand style guide template is a ready-to-edit InDesign document in both INDD and IDML file formats, making it usable in all recent versions of InDesign, including all editions of InDesign CC as well as older CS4, CS5, and CS6 versions. Download it here. Graphic designers, brand managers, and others are also welcome to use it as a foundation from which to erect brand style guides for their clients. The template is royalty free.

Brand Style Guide Template

Brand Style Guide Template

The template is yours to use for your own brand. Graphic designers, brand managers, and others are also welcome to use it as a foundation from which to erect brand style guides for their clients. The template is royalty free, and no credit to either Extensis or Pariah Burke is necessary in style guides used for actual brands.
For ease of use and to avoid font licensing concerns, the template employs fonts exclusively from Adobe TypeKit. The fonts are included at no additional charge in your standard CreativeCloud or CreativeCloud for Teams subscription. All linked assets in the template, including logos and images, are included strictly for demonstration purposes; they may not be used in final designs or redistributed and are protected by copyright.

To use the template, open StyleGuideTemplate.indd or StyleGuideTemplate.idml in Adobe InDesign and begin editing the text, imagery, colors, and styles as necessary to reflect your brand or the brand of your client. Use as many pages as necessary; the format and structure of the template, including the page count, is flexible and should be adjusted to the needs of your specific organization.

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“Does Ob stand for Oblique?” You’ll find out as we crack the code to this and other font abbreviation mysteries.

font management

A while back, we came up with a list of font name abbreviations. We’ve decided to provide that list again! Here are a few abbreviations that many of you may need help deciphering:

Kinds of Font Abbreviations

Font 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.

Download the complete list of font abbreviations here.

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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Dm, Demi: Demibold, a weight in between regular and bold.
  • IHOF: International House of Fonts. A distribution imprint of the P22 foundry.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Wait! There’s more. Check out our Abbreviations in Font Names – The Definitive Guide. You’ll get a comprehensive list of font abbreviations and acronyms to help you get on your way to font management success.

Or if you have a few minutes, read our previous post on finding fonts. We detail some great resources on finding the best fonts for a variety of applications.

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Collections Management Standard & Digital Asset Management Go Hand in Hand

Collections Management & Digital Asset Management

Many in the museum and/or heritage and culture industries are familiar with SPECTRUM©; the standard for collections management procedures in the UK. SPECTRUM, developed by The Collections Trust, helps museums ensure that all related metadata is tagged appropriately.

What do Digital Asset Management and SPECTRUM have in common?
SPECTRUM Digital Asset Management custom catalogue templates (built right into Extensis Portfolio software) and automated keywords can help Heritage and Culture organisations save time and improve efficiencies by recognizing assets and making sure they are tagged correctly.

SPECTRUM 5.0 is scheduled to be released in May 2017. What does this mean for you?
We’ve teamed up with The Collections Trust to reveal new 5.0 features during an upcoming webcast. Sarah Brown, The Collections Trust Outreach Officer, will highlight what’s new in the SPECTRUM latest release. Chris Stevens, Extensis Sales Engineer, will focus on the smart keywords module, tagging metadata automatically, API, and how museums (and other H&C organisations) can connect Portfolio to their Collections Management Systems through the use of the API.
Register today

Join us! On Friday the 24th of February, 11:00 am GMT, Extensis will be hosting a joint webcast that will showcase new SPECTRUM 5.0 features and Digital Asset Management.

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How does a font administrator achieve font management success by avoiding common mistakes?

font management

It’s amazing to me that I still see companies using fonts illegally for published content. Many are often paranoid about license infringement for all of their other software, but forget that fonts are licensed in a similar way. Here are my top five “don’ts” that every Font Administrator should consider when managing fonts. I hope this gets your wheels turning in the right direction towards font compliance:

1. Don’t: assume all fonts in use at your company today are properly licensed.

Many companies continue to use fonts that have been around for decades, but their licenses and current usage haven’t been verified in recent years.

Recommended: Don’t turn a blind eye to fonts in use today. Take the time needed to organize your list by foundry. Also, isolate and inquire about each font. Locate the purchase paperwork when possible and when not possible, re-purchase or replace the fonts you can’t find licensing for. Also, critically review all of your free fonts and confirm there aren’t special requirements necessary for commercial use. Run an audit at least once a year to make sure you are as compliant as you can be.

2. Don’t: believe you can use your fonts any way you want.

Most fonts have specific Terms and Conditions and clearly define how they can be used in the end user license agreement (EULA). For example, embedding your fonts in PDFs, ePub documents, or websites may require special licenses. Distributing fonts to freelancers and printers is usually prohibited or requires a special license.

Recommended: Be diligent. Read your font EULAs carefully and contact the foundry if you are uncertain of the Terms and Conditions prior to publishing with a font. Remember, this pertains to the license agreements for free fonts as well.

What is the risk? Determine your organization’s level of font risk by downloading the font management risk assessment tool.

3. Don’t: forget to increase your company’s font licensing IQ when managing fonts.

In a recent survey conducted by Extensis, over 80% of designers admitted they do not read Font License Agreements. 78% of those who said they do are confused by the language.

Recommended: It’s your job to make sure your users understand the rules when using fonts within your organization. Frequent reminders and a solid business process can save your company costly and embarrassing infringement lawsuits. It’s critical to come up with a simple, yet non-disruptive process and make it stick as part of your font purchasing workflow.

4. Don’t: permit unauthorized sharing of your fonts.

Designers will often collaborate and enjoy sharing their creative ideas. Sometimes they’ll go as far as to share fonts too. Don’t let them. Now, we realize your parents taught you to always share, but sharing fonts within your own company is often as illegal as if you shared them with external companies. That’s because many font licenses are restricted by geographical location, department or even to a specific set of machines. Remind your employees of the possible consequences to your company and themselves if they share fonts without authorization.

5. Don’t: allow users to purchase fonts on their own credit cards.

You’d be surprised by how many companies still allow this, but I can assure you it is a recipe for disaster and a license tracking nightmare. Also, these purchases tend to be licensed to the individual and not the company.

Recommended: Instead establish a simple purchasing process to guarantee your company’s name is attached to every license purchased and ensure the purchase receipts and EULA end up in your possession. Convert them to PDFs and keep them electronically filed for future purchase verification.

Put your organization to the test! Download our font management risk assessment tool and see if your team is on the right font compliance track. 

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How do you improve font management with your new MacBook?

Mac OS Font Management Best PracticesYou’ve got that snazzy new MacBook on your desk. You’ve figured out how to use the new Touch Bar, and are now ready to get that machine primed and ready for you to be productive.

I recommend that you take a moment to look at how your fonts are handled on your machine. Where they’re stored, how many are kept active, and how best to manage them.

To help you get started, we’ve created a Font Management Best Practices Guide that is specifically focused on macOS. We recently updated this guide to cover multiple versions of macOS, including Sierra v10.12.

This free guide will help you make the most of that machine, and keep it from being bogged-down with unnecessary font clutter.

Download the Guide

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futuretech
 

Explore how technology is evolving to enable a business to successfully manage its fonts and digital assets.

Today’s work environment forces creative workflows to constantly adapt to fluctuating user needs and take advantage of new technologies. Add the ongoing need to increase the speed of production, and you have a situation that can be difficult to navigate as a creative or an IT team supporting creative departments.

We’ve pulled together a full-day event with industry experts who will help you get up to speed quickly and prepare for the future of tech.

Featured presenters and topics include:

Clarifai: Image Recognition for Automated Keywording
Extensis: Font Management and Digital Asset Management
FADEL: Rights Clearance for Your Digital Files
The Martinez Group PLLC: Intellectual Property Law
SANDOW: Publisher & Brand Manager

This full-day free event is broken into morning and afternoon sessions, and includes lunch.

In the morning we focus on font management, and in the afternoon turn to developments in digital asset management.

  • Thursday, March 2, 2017
  • 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – join us for all or part of the day
  • 3 West Club, NYC
  • Includes hosted lunch

We will also be offering pre-release looks at Extensis software and 1-on-1 time with our engineers to get any detailed questions answered.

Come for all or part of the day – we’d be happy to have you!

Learn more and register here for this exciting event.

 

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Part Five of Creating a Brand Style Guide

The Creating a Brand Style Guide Series is written by Pariah Burke, consultant and trainer for creative, publishing, and editorial professionals.

  • Part One: “Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide.”
  • Part Two: “Defining and Creating Your Logo Uses”
  • Part Three: Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media
  • Part Four: Defining Brand Typography

Photography and video are important brand elements. A brand style guide must guide their use as well as set forth procedures and rules for obtaining properly licensed and released stock imagery, and how to future proof the brand against copyright infringement claims.

In the Previous Installment

Part 4, “Defining Your Brand Typography,” was the largest installment in the Creating a Brand Style Guide series. In it you learned about the importance of typefaces to your brand, including how many companies have commissioned custom fonts to give their brands something no other has; choosing type families over individual typefaces for maximum flexibility in your written communications and designs; selecting special-use fonts to augment your main brand type families; how to select and define font usage for digital documents such as websites, ebooks, PDFs, and more; controlling the licenses and uses of fonts to keep your organization on the right side of the law; how to share and distribute brand fonts to your team, both in-house and external entities such as freelancers, vendors, and print service providers, and; how to communicate to all the agents who may work with your brand the guidelines and rules of using type and fonts to the maximum benefit of the brand.

Images and Video in the Brand Style Guide

Increasingly common is the practice of defining brand-appropriate use of images and video without style guides. With the rise of the Visual Web, a landscape dominated by photos and videos shared through social media, as well as almost universally growing Internet speeds and bandwidth, photographs and video clips have become important elements of even formerly text-only websites as well as every other aspect of a brand’s online presence.

Defining image and video usage when representing the brand varies in its spirt and depth depending on the brand. A children’s clothing designer, for example, will define very different imagery guidelines than would a B2B SaaS provider.

Daysee Dae Fashions might include in its brand style guide directives regarding the use of images and video such as those in Figure 1.

Using photography and video

Figure 1: Guidelines to using photography and video footage.

The B2B software-as-a-service developer, serving a broader audience and being more concerned with abstract concepts and feelings conveyed by imagery than by the representation of specific products, might include more generalized guidelines in its brand style guide. It may declare moods to focus on in photography, emotions to elicit, or intellectual and emotional concepts to convey via imagery.

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