The Extensis Community Blog
“Does Ob stand for Oblique?” You’ll find out as we crack the code to this and other font abbreviation mysteries.
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.
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.
Collections Management Standard & Digital Asset Management Go Hand in Hand
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.
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.
February 14th, 2017 by Chris Meyer
How does a font administrator achieve font management success by avoiding common mistakes?
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.
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.
How do you improve font management with your new MacBook?
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.
February 2nd, 2017 by Jim Kidwell
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!
January 31st, 2017 by Pariah Burke
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.
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.
January 24th, 2017 by Jim Kidwell
Got font management needs? We’ve got answers.
Want to learn more about all of the font management applications that we carry? Here’s your chance to see them in action.
Join us for a detailed webcast where we will go through how you can use FontGenius, FontDoctor, Suitcase Fusion and Suitcase TeamSync to help speed your workflow.
- How to identify unknown fonts
- How to protect your fonts from corruption
- Effective font organization, activation and usage efficiencies
- Techniques for font sharing across multiple machines
If you register but can not attend, a recording will be emailed to you.
Typekit is a great service that Adobe provides for their creative cloud subscribers. It allows you to do two main things:
- Use a wide variety of fonts in the Typekit collection for text on websites
- Synchronize some of those fonts from Typekit for use with your desktop apps
Font managers like Suitcase Fusion and Universal Type Server are designed to manage your own collection of licensed fonts. They take your entire valuable collection of fonts and put them into a central location that is easily accessible by you and your team.
Typekit does not manage fonts that you have licensed or downloaded from locations other than Typekit.
@beatkat Typekit is not a font mgmt tool. You can sync TK font selections on your own machines, but you can’t share fonts with other users.
— Adobe Typekit (@typekit) January 5, 2017
There are spots where you may hear the term “font manager” in relation to Typekit. The Adobe documentation for Typekit does at times refer to the web tool that controls the download of fonts to your desktop as a “font manager.” This web tools only manages fonts in the sense that it pushes fonts from the Typekit database down to your machine, that is all.
When those Typekit fonts are available on your desktop, Suitcase Fusion and other professional font management tools automatically detect the downloaded fonts and make them available for use.
Because the average designer has over 4,000 fonts in her collection, keeping all of those fonts available for use, while not necessarily active on the system is critical for speedy, error-free design work.
If you are interested in testing a professional font manager in your workflow, all Extensis font managers are available for use in free 30-day trials.
January 4th, 2017 by Jim Kidwell
@TerriMarsh11 Weird…Had no idea of this man’s Existence. Is it possible to copy-write Type face⁉️
— Cher (@cher) December 22, 2016
Type designer Moshik Nadev created his work Paris Logo back in 2011 and claims that the design used on her album cover is a rip-off of his. They do seem to be quite similar, it’s pretty plain to see.
Now, does this warrant a $5 million dollar lawsuit? That’s an interesting question.
While I’m not a lawyer, from what I understand, typefaces themselves can’t be copyrighted, but the software used to deliver then can.
So, did the person who drew Cher’s logo draw everything for themselves? Or did they take the “shortcut” and digitally copy Nadev’s work?
Most of us know that you can’t copy, share or rename a font file and sell it as your own. Maybe this type of use falls into a gray area. It depends upon how the final artwork was created.
Of course, I would not recommend that you pirate, steal or illegally download any creative work that you don’t have rights to use. As creative professionals, we do ourselves a disservice if we choose to ignore the right that others have to fair compensation for their creative work.
If you need help keeping your team on the legal straight and narrow when it comes to fonts, take a moment to check out Universal Type Server. It’s built from the ground up to help you manage font distribution and keep your team’s legal worries at bay.
Celebrating 2016 & the beginning of an exciting 2017: Extensis style
An Extensis celebration means blackjack and roulette with Monopoly© money, booze, a photo booth, and karaoke. I mean, that’s all you really need to have an exciting holiday party, right? Well, that and remarkable co-workers that help round out the year and start a new one with a bang! That final ingredient was definitely on point at the Extensis Holiday Party.
The party delighted employees with great food and unlimited spirits at Cooper’s Hall, a winery and tap room. Cooper’s Hall is one of a kind with a charming, festive ambiance and wine on tap for patrons to enjoy. Yep, wine on tap.
Besides unlimited beverages, employees relished fine apps, and entertainment.
…however, a few ended the night in a big way. While many had a blast playing blackjack and roulette with faux dollars, a few actually won big! Congrats to our first place casino winner, Brooks Brown, Sr. Software Engineer and our second place winner, Don Johnson, Technical Writer. Both turned the most “fake money” by the end of the night.
There were also many raffles prizes and winners, but Kris Hurrle, Support Technician, took home the biggest prize of the night: an Ipad Mini!
Congrats to all the winners and the Extensis crew for another stellar year…and many fabulous photo booth pics to share and be proud or embarrassed of!
Here, at Extensis, we develop font management and digital asset management software and we have a blast doing it. To learn more about what we do and our company culture, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Interested in joining our team? Check out our careers page.