The Extensis Community Blog
Alexandra Snowdon‘s love for art and typography began at a young age, and her commitment to learning, traveling, and experiencing the world is reflected in her skilled designs. In 2010 Alexandra launched her own business, Snowdon Design & Craft, which has grown to include two successful online shops that sell her designs, as well as partnerships with independent retailers. We’re glad to share Alexandra’s thoughts on her work, her goals, and traveling around the world to find what really matters. Check out her 4 Questions 4 interview below.
1. How did you originally get interested in typography and design?
I started off when I was quite young. My grandpa was a commercial artist and I spent a lot of time with him during school holidays. I loved watching him hand-letter posters and signs with brushes and ink. Art was my favorite subject at school, so I was absolutely fascinated with the whole process. He picked up on my interest and encouraged me to follow a creative path, so I have a lot to thank him for. When I got to art college I felt naturally drawn to graphic design because I’ve always loved typography in all its forms. I was only a couple of years into my graphic design career, however, when the whole industry went digital. I began to really miss the hands-on aspect of designing, and felt that I was losing my drawing skills. Years went by and I felt increasingly disillusioned. I took a year off to go traveling in my mid-thirties, and when I got back I decided to go to university part-time, and concentrate on developing my illustration skills. Most of my assignments involved combining lettering and illustration. I soon came to realize that hand-lettering was the thing I did best by far. A couple of years after graduating, I was in a position to leave my graphic design job and become a full-time illustrator and hand-lettering artist. I’ve never looked back.
2. What typography trends are you loving most these days?
It would have to be hand lettering. I think it’s definitely here for the long term. It’s great to have that contrast between clean, sharp, digital fonts and the organic warmth of hand-lettering, with all its flaws and imperfections. In some ways things have come full circle. We live in such a digital world nowadays that anything made with evidence of the human hand has become something special.
3. Which of your projects are you most proud of thus far in your career, and why?
I think it would have to be the large-scale hand-painted sign I did for a local gallery. It was based on a quote about creativity by Einstein. I did it using chalk paints with the letters painted white on a black background. It was without a doubt the most challenging project I’ve ever worked on. I usually work on quite a small scale, sitting at my desk, drawing and redrawing letters on pieces of paper until I’m happy with them. Then there’s always the option of tidying the work up and making small tweaks digitally until it looks just right. But all that comfort was taken away when I had to paint the letters directly onto the chalkboard, and had only one shot to get it right. I felt sick every time I worked on it, but in a good way. I was pretty happy with the end result! It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it had a lot of character. I think that sums up the essence of hand-lettering: all its kinks and quirks are the very things that give it life.
4. Describe your dream project.
I’d love to do a book of hand-lettered quotations. A few years ago I set myself the challenge of illustrating one quote every week for 12 months. It was sometimes difficult finding the time to fit it in, but my lettering skills really improved as the year went on. I posted them all on social media, and ended up getting quite a bit of work through them. I’d love to do something like that again.
As a young man, Max Miedinger (1910-1980) was trained as a typesetter in Zurich, Switzerland. He became a typographer for Globus department store’s advertising studio in 1936. From 1947-56 he was a customer counselor and typeface sales representative for the Haas’sche Schriftgießerei in Münchenstein near Basle. In 1956 Miedinger went freelance when Eduard Hoffmann, the director of the Haas’sche Schriftgießerei, commissioned him to develop a new sans-serif typeface. His typeface Haas-Grotesk was introduced in 1957. But in 1960, the name of the typeface was changed—to Helvetica.
Cool font, Max.
Tags: font founders
Part Two of Creating a Brand Style Guide
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 Three: “Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media” (coming soon)
Your logo, the harbinger of your brand and without a doubt the most crucial of your brand assets, must be protected through strict usage rules. What are those rules? Where and when do they apply? How do you best communicate those rules for consistent, controlled representation of your brand herald? You’ll answer these questions—and more in Creating a Brand Style Guide, Part 2: “Defining and Communicating Your Logo Uses.”
In the Previous Installment
In Part 1 we defined what brand means and how important it is to define a framework for the consistent, controlled representation of that brand in all media.
Protect Your Logo
Few assets are as important to your business as your logo. Creating the mark that will be the harbinger of your brand goes far beyond having a great design. Ensure it’s protectable by investigating its uniqueness as an identifying mark in your area of business. Original logo artwork may be protected through copyright, but when a design identifies a brand, as your logo does, trademark protection is far more important that copyright. Your logo must be unique and dissimilar from any other trademark or service mark used within the same class or classes of businesses. If it isn’t, you will be infringing on another trademark or service mark. Copyright allows owners to go after infringers and to license some or all rights to the copyright protected material to be used by, or become representative of, other entitles. Trademark law, however, obligates mark holders to aggressively defend the uniqueness and unapportionable nature of their logos and other marks. Failing to properly vet your logo in the marketplace could cause you to lose all rights to it—and worse.
Before you build a brand style guide for a new or recently changed brand, engage an intellectual property to ensure the originality of your logo and other protectable brand elements. Trademark law falls under the domain of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As such you’ll usually find attorneys who specialize in trademarks listed under “patent law.”
November 8th, 2016 by Jim Kidwell
I recently gave a webcast about font management fundamentals. We had hundreds of people attend, and I got far more questions than I had time to answer during the webcast.
I got a variety of questions about Extensis font managers, and I thought that I’d take a minute to answer some of the specific questions that I got at this webcast that I didn’t have a chance to answer.
If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to enter them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!
Do I need to separately install my fonts if I’m using a font manager?
The basic function of any font manager is the management of fonts outside of your system fonts folder (if it doesn’t do this, it isn’t a font manager). With Suitcase Fusion and other Extensis font managers, you only need to add your fonts to the product itself, and not mess with the system font locations.
A good font manager like Suitcase Fusion also allows you to deactivate or override fonts in your system folders, so you don’t even need to remove fonts that you’ve already placed in those locations if you don’t want to.
When are updates required and how do I get them?
The most important thing with software you use in your daily work is having it work consistently. Maintaining compatibility with your Operating System and associated professional design applications is critical. This is why we strive to keep our software compatible with the newest releases from Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Quark. We will have compatibility releases for our current products typically within days or weeks of updates from our partners.
To check whether your software is compatible, check the Suitcase Fusion product compatibility page for details.
How does Suitcase Fusion interact with Adobe Typekit?
Adobe Typekit is integrated into your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. This subscription allows you to download, or “sync,” fonts to your desktop from Typekit. Once synced to your machine, these fonts are automatically activated and available to your other applications.
Suitcase Fusion automatically detects when you’ve synced new fonts to your machine and displays them in a separate font library. You can preview, sort and search on these fonts like any other in Suitcase Fusion. You are not able to disable Typekit fonts with Suitcase Fusion. They are active until you choose to “unsync” them using the Typekit online interface.
What plug-ins are available and are there plans for additional application support?
Suitcase Fusion currently supports the major design applications from Adobe and Quark. Basically, Suitcase supports Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, InCopy, After Effects and QuarkXPress. For details about which versions of these apps are supported, see the compatibility page.
We continually monitor which applications are in use in the professional design community and actively track requests for plug-in based font activation. If you have an application that you’d like to request this type of support, please feel free to enter it in the comments below.
Why do I need to login to use Suitcase Fusion?
For Suitcase Fusion, we’ve done away with serial numbers and in their place, we’ve tied your version of Suitcase Fusion to our servers. This allows you to take advantage of the TypeSync technology for syncing your fonts between machines using our cloud technology. You also no longer need to enter cumbersome numbers to validate that you own the product. It’s all just tied to your account.
If you are seeing something in your application that isn’t functioning as you expect, please don’t hesitate to contact our technical support team. It’s free and they’ve seen it all. If you do run into something new and unexpected, we are also better able to identify and fix the issue in an future update.
Contact the Extensis support team by either calling them directly:
- North America: 800-796-9798, Option 3
- Outside North America: +44 (0) 1604-654-270
Or if you’d rather not wait, login to your account and fill out this form and the team will get back to you as soon as possible.
Ready to upgrade?
If you’re running without a font manager, or with an out of date old one, maybe it’s time to upgrade? Check out the current version of Suitcase Fusion. It’s a worthy upgrade.
Today we’re celebrating typographer, book designer, teacher, and writer Jan Tschichold. The son of a provincial sign writer, Tschichold trained in calligraphy. His artisan background and calligraphic training set him apart from almost all other noted typographers of the time. As an adult he took a job as a teacher in Munich, but after Hitler came to power, all designers had to register with the Ministry of Culture, and all teaching posts were threatened for anyone who was sympathetic to communism. Tschichold was denounced as a “cultural Bolshevist” and, ten days after the Nazis came to power in 1933, he and his wife were arrested. After six weeks a policeman somehow found him tickets for Switzerland, and he and his family escaped. Tschichold lived in Switzerland for the rest of his life.
We understand that compatibility is important, and you want all of your creative tools to work well together. Here is the status of Extensis software compatibility.
Suitcase Fusion 7 & Suitcase TeamSync
We’re proud to announce the same-day release of Suitcase Fusion version 18.2 to coincide with the release of Adobe CC 2017. Our product teams have been working hard to nail same-day releases for Suitcase Fusion and TeamSync with these critical compatibility updates, so this is a great achievement for the team. This release includes all-new plug-ins that are compatible with Adobe Creative Cloud 2017.
If you already have Suitcase Fusion 7, you can use the Check for Updates feature to download the current version, or use the link below to download the installer separately.
Install Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 prior to installing the update and the compatible auto-activation plug-ins will automatically be installed. You may also use the Manage Plug-ins feature to install the plug-ins separately.
NOTE: only the current version of Suitcase Fusion has been updated. For complete compatibility information, see this page.
Universal Type Server
Version 6.1.2 includes compatibility for Adobe Creative Cloud 2017.
After updating to Adobe Creative Cloud 2017, download and run the current Universal Type Client installers below to install the new compatible plug-ins.
NOTE: If you install the Client update prior to Adobe CC 2017, you will need to re-run the Client installer after the CC update is completed.
NOTE: Only Universal Type Server 6 clients were updated for Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 compatibility. See the Client Compatibility page for details.
Helvetica is one of the world’s most recognizable typefaces. Originally named Neue Haas Grotesk, Helvetica was created in 1957 by designer Max Miedinger with input from Eduard Hoffman (its name was changed 4 years later when it was licensed by Linotype). Helvetica quickly rose to prominence because of its legibility and versatility. 50 years later, it’s still going strong. In 2007, Gary Hustwit released a critically-acclaimed feature-length documentary (called “Helvetica”) about its impact and influence on the world of design.
But familiarity often breeds contempt.
Erik Spiekermann said “People use Helvetica because it’s ubiquitous. It’s like going to McDonalds instead of thinking about food.”
Wolfgang Weingart went a step further: “Anyone who uses Helvetica knows nothing about typefaces.”
Other well-known designers were not quite as harsh.
Steff Geissbuhler called Helvetica “still the most versatile, classic, and readable of all typefaces.”
And Hamish Muir joked that “We hate to like Helvetica.”
So…if you’re a designer, you might be looking for fonts like Helvetica that aren’t so overused. Good news! Our friends at Identifont, Fontspring, Typewolf, and MyFonts recommended several similar grotesk sans-serif typefaces that we’ve assembled here to help you broaden your design pallette:
Created by the URW++ foundry in 1995 as an alternative to Helvetica, Nimbus Sans serves as an effective Helvetica doppelgänger.
Identifont did a side-by-side comparison of the two. Have a look for yourself!
Inspired by Helvetica, Pragmatica was designed at ParaType (ParaGraph) in 1989 by Vladimir Yefimov (later styles were developed by Olga Chaeva, Alexander Tarbeev, and Manvel Shmavonyan with participation from Dmitry Kirsanov).
Again, practically identical to Helvetica and Nimbus Sans.
Designed by Jeremie Hornus, Volkart is a Latin-script typeface that was published by Indian Type Foundry in 2015.
Looking for some options that aren’t so close to the vest? Richard Turgeon wrote this great piece about Helvetica alternatives that feel “modern, classic, and universal” without being quite so similar.
Stag Sans (Commercial Type)
Open Sans (Google Fonts)
Proxima Nova (Mark Simonson)
Effra (Jonas Schudel)
Aktiv Grotesk (Bruno Maag)
LFT Etica (TypeTogether)
Franklin Gothic URW T (URW++)
News Gothic (Bitstream)
So there you have it—several typefaces that are remarkably similar to Helvetica and a few that deviate a bit but still serve the same purpose.
Want to know more about which typefaces are currently the “most loved” or “most hated” by experts in the design industry? Check out James Kidwell’s informative and entertaining Trends In Typography Survey.
Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide
Today we introduce a new topic and new guest author to the Extensis blog. We’ve invited Pariah Burke (http://iampariah.com Twitter: @iampariah) to speak about the creation of Branding Style Guides. Pariah is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and the author of numerous books, video courses, and articles covering InDesign, InCopy, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, typography, asset management, epublishing, and the business of design. He is an Adobe Community Professional, an Evernote Certified Consultant, and an advisor to Adobe and other companies. We’re happy to have him join us, and now on to the good stuff!
Who Should Read This
Creating a Brand Style Guide is a 6-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’. This series is about understanding the importance of various brand communication elements, solidifying the desired uses of those elements and all interactions the brand will have with any entity, and learning strategies to set down clear, concise rules to ensure control and consistency of brand element usage and every visual representation of the brand across all media. For entrepreneurs, freelancers, and brand managers, the utility of such a series is in understanding what makes up the brands they own and manage, and in establishing their control over brand usage for consistent communications and interactions with the brand that are always on-message. Designers, advertising personnel, and intellectual property workers often create brand elements, and define rules for the usage of those elements, on behalf of their clients. For these individuals, the Creating a Brand Style Guide series provides help in building fuller, richer brand style guides, establishing brand asset distribution systems, and strategies—and a template—to fix brand usage rules and guidelines in a clear, easily distributable form.
What Does Brand Actually Mean?
Before we talk about anything else, let’s define the word “brand.”
There are many conflicting laymen’s definitions you’ll find for the word “brand,” many seeking to limit the idea of branding to specific representative elements. Some people define brand as rancher’s do, as the logo seared onto their business card, website, Twitter avatar, and the remainder of their herd of assets. But that’s not your brand; that’s your logo. Even if you are a livestock rancher, the business definition of your brand is far more than merely your logo, whether that logo is on the end of an iron pole or printed on the side of pens you give away at conventions. Your brand is also the iron pole itself, and the arm and cowboy wielding it; it’s the manner, place, and time in which your livestock is seen—on your ranch, where you control the interactions with your brand, and out in the wild, when a rider comes upon a steer bearing your logo when you aren’t around to put that logo or even the cow into context. Your brand is everything about your company, everything visual and visceral. It’s the look and feel of your company to other people.
Let that last sentence sink in. Your brand is “the look and feel of your company to other people.”
How much can you control other people’s perceptions? Successful marketing people will answer, “quite a bit.” They’re right; you can control other people’s perceptions a great deal—never totally, but significantly—if you carefully regulate your persona and consistently present that same persona in every interaction you have with others. Individual people often do create and reveal only specific sides of themselves. Frequent presenters, for example, employ on-stage personas, personalities that are cultivated, slightly better-than-real-life versions of themselves they use during every presentation. Actors, sales people, effective managers, and other successful professionals of any vocation similarly adopt a consistent business persona, leaving out of the office, sales floor, or stage those aspects of their personalities not relevant to the job while focusing on the strengths they bring to the job. They present this polished persona every time they interact with the public, prospects, and partners. Personas adopted by individuals are part of their brands. Steady repetition of those personas during the first and all subsequent interactions is what establishes personal brand identities.
A company’s brand identity is formed by the same simple principal: consistent repetition.
Enable Consistent Repetition of Your Brand
Each time your logo is seen, it must look the same—and logo usage consistency is much more than simply choosing the same colors every time. Every document produced by your company must carry a common design and structure, no matter whether it was authored by Human Resources or by a freelance copywriter. Different mediums present color, imagery, and text dissimilarities, so extra care must be taken to enact media-specific compensations for native variances to create designs and publications that match as closely as possible across presentation forms. Every fragment of your company’s visual identity, its every use in every logical medium, must be defined first, then controlled to accomplish consistent presentation that establishes and then enforces the message—the brand—you want to convey.
The best way to create, communicate, and enforce brand consistency is with a brand style guide. Sometimes called a brand bible, a brand book, or simply a style guide, a brand style guide clearly presents the brand identity in acceptable uses with unambiguous instructions that help others replicate those acceptable uses and to present the persona of your company as you, the brand manager, want it conveyed. A brand style guide is a digital repository of all the rules and guidelines, sometimes even the intent, of presenting, of operating as, of being, the brand. The guide, which is distributed to all personnel who touch the brand, both in-house and external, ensures that everyone is following the same rules and presenting the brand the same way every time. With a well-crafted brand style guide, it won’t matter whether H.R. or Marketing authors a document or if a freelance copywriter or hired design agency produces it; every document composed by anyone will look the same and present the same look, tone, and feel of the brand.
With every presentation of the brand, and thus every interaction of the brand with outside entities, governed by your brand style guide, you can control how the world perceives your brand.
Build Your Brand Style Guide
Your brand is your communication—every communication, in every form, whether it’s an active or passive interaction. Your brand is how your company speaks for itself when a customer, vendor, or the press gives your company a chance to speak for itself as well as what your company says passively while being viewed from a distance. A brand style guide gives your team the direction it needs to control those interactions, to ensure that every interaction between your brand and someone else, communicates what you want to communicate with as little room for inference as possible.
Over the next five installments of Creating a Brand Style Guide we’ll focus on defining, illustrating, and imparting your visual brand identity. Once you know what your brand is and how to tell others to represent it correctly, you’ll learn strategies for disseminating that information, creating a comprehensive guide that communicates your brand style rules to anyone who works with it. We’ll explore 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 will be a solution strategy for assuring brand consistency regardless of the medium.
In this first installment we defined what brand means and how important it is to define a framework for the consistent, controlled representation of that brand in all media. As we move through the rest of the series, we’ll look in turn at the different elements comprised by your brand, how to interpret them, and how to define the rules and guidelines for each element’s correct, consistent and even legal use. The final installment of the series culminates in combining all of the elements and rules you’ve crafted into a cohesive brand style guide document, either one you design yourself or by using the slick, professional brand style guide template I’ll provide in Part 6: “Building a Brand Style Guide for All Media.”
In the Next Installment
In the next installment, Part 2: “Defining and Communicating Your Logo Uses,” you’ll learn to think of your logo in terms of an asset that must be protected through strict usage and placement rules. You’ll create different versions, color spaces, and formats to account for its use in any situation and medium, including print, on the Web, in ePUB and fixed-layout ePUB, video, and other media. You’ll learn how to manage and organize your different logo editions for easy access by any teammate, partner, or client, as well as how to communicate logo usage guidelines and proper treatment for each rendition of the logo right within the logo file itself. You’ll learn to document through text and visuals rules required sizes, placements, and spacing around the logo, alignment of the logo relevant to specific surrounding elements, and other common brand style guide requirements for consistent logo application. In addition, you’ll even find a guide to creating CSS code to properly set the logo position, alignment, and spacing within EPUB and Web HTML.
October 26th, 2016 by Michael Crites
Join Extensis font expert Jim Kidwell today at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern as he walks through the nuts and bolts of effective font management with Suitcase Fusion.
Register to learn about:
– the basics of single user font management with Suitcase Fusion
– how to get started with Suitcase Fusion
– how to use font management to improve speed and creativity
At the end of the presentation, Jim will be available for a live Q&A. Feel free to register even if you can’t make it to the live event – we’ll email a recording of the webcast to everyone who registers.
Hope you can join us!
Kyle Bean is a London-based artist who creates handcrafted designs, tactile illustrations, and playful, concept-driven imagery and animations for a variety of editorial and commercial projects. His work is usually characterized by a whimsical and meticulous reappropriation of everyday materials and handcrafted techniques. We’re so delighted that Kyle joined us for a special edition of 4 Questions 4 to talk about his typographic work, his design work generally, and more.
1. How did you originally get interested in art and design?
As far as I remember, I have always been interested in creative things. I suppose it stems back to my childhood, when I would spend hours of the day either building something out of Legos—or, indeed, out of cardboard boxes and toilet rolls! I did a lot of drawing as a child, too, and because I often struggled with more academic subjects, this became something my teachers and peers encouraged me to develop outside of school. By the time I finished school I was very determined to pursue some kind of creative career. I just didn’t know what it would be at that point.
2. Which of your projects are you most proud of thus far in your career, and why?
There are a few I could pick out as highlights in my career.
The first was probably in 2011, when I designed and produced a set of window displays for Selfridges on the theme of ’Transformation.’ It was an amazing experience, but also kind of terrifying. I was only a couple of years out of university at this point, and so I was quite inexperienced at navigating such a large-scale project. Luckily the project cametogether fairly smoothly, and was a success. I had a lot of brilliant feedback, and having the windows on display for a whole summer got me a lot of exposure, which led to more exciting projects.
A small personal project of mine which I am very proud of is my chicken and egg sculpture ‘What Came First?’ It was an idea I had for a long time but it wasn’t until I actually started to experiment with eggshells that things came together. I like visual play on words and this piece started a new direction in my work where I started experimenting and integrating materials in a more conceptual way into my work. It led to some very interesting editorial projects and has defined a lot of my work over the last few years.
Finally, recently I worked on a series called ‘In Anxious Anticipation.’ This was a still life series for Kinfolk Magazine that I worked on in collaboration with photographer and friend Aaron Tilley. The series showcases a series of objects and set pieces where there is an underlying tension that something is about to happen. In one image we see a rock about to swing over a set of matches like they are about to be set alight. Our aim was to create a set of images that really create a reaction in the viewer. I’m very proud of the project as it set a slightly more abstract and conceptual direction for my work that seems to have resonated with the design community.
3. Does working with letterforms present any specific challenges or opportunities?
Some of the projects I have worked on have involved making some physical typography. I enjoy working with letterforms and particularly like doing something unexpected with them by making them out of everyday objects or constructing little model worlds with them. Of course, using objects and materials presents its own set of unique challenges. Keeping everything legible and yet with enough character is always a balancing act for me. Times when I have worked with typography have tended to lead on to some interesting projects though. A cover artwork I worked on for the Guardian for example led to some very interesting typographic work for Google. I think for me its important to experiment and with typography every now and then as its often a great way to communicate ideas—but still, for me, in a tactile way.
4. Describe your dream project.
I think my dream project would be something where I can produce work across a series of platforms.I am very lucky in that over the last 6 years I have worked in quite a few creative disciplines, from editorial illustration to window installations and stop-frame animations. My ideal project would be one where I can develop an idea to work across all of these platforms. That diversity appeals to me.